Great marketing content has a number of attributes. If you were to prioritize them, “relevance” would be at the top of the list. And in many cases, timeliness has a direct bearing on how relevant a piece is.
Producing a key features overview for a software release that’s been available for six months is pretty pointless. On the flipside, writing a review within a few day’s of a product’s availability not only is helpful to readers, it shows that you are aware of what is important to them and are willing to commit resources to creating content that they find useful.
But while having new material available right when it’s needed is ideal, for many companies, that’s just not realistic. Why? There are many reasons, a few of which include lack of access to:
- Subject matter experts.
- Writing talent.
- Design resources.
- Approval authorities.
So what do you do? Well, let me start with what you don’t do. You don’t turn content creation into a fire drill in which everyone ends up scrambling to produce an end product that is, in all likelihood, subpar. You also don’t hire more people just so they’re available to pounce on your content “red alerts” and in the interim spend much of their time just looking for something to do.
Here’s a better approach:
- Explain the urgency. Writers, designers, subject matter experts… anyone involved in the creation of content is more likely to be helpful with urgent requests if they understand why they are urgent. Explain that timely content is more powerful content, and that powerful content (and the leads and sales it generates) makes life better for everyone.
- Commit to collaboration. Identify your key content contributors and, if possible, negotiate a certain percentage of their work week that is dedicated to content. Then do your best to keep some of that time in reserve for urgent issues.
- Streamline approvals. Often content gets run further “up the flagpole” than is necessary, simply because people want to cover their… backside… in case the material contains errors, omissions, etc. Discuss the delay that this creates and see if you can settle on a more reasonable review process involving fewer reviewers or reviewers with less hectic schedules.
- Simplify when it’s time sensitive. Rather than trying to create a 10-page ebook in three days, how about an engaging, informative, and less labor intensive infographic instead? Most content consumers will trade length for timeliness any day.
Not all content is time-sensitive. But for those pieces that are, laying the groundwork for a fast turnaround can pay huge dividends, not the least of which is lowering everyone’s stress level.