8 Stages of Content Production Process and Planning


GatherContent have outlined the 8 stages of typical website content production process including who should be responsible and how long each stage should take (per web page). Use this template to help you plan a content production process for your clients.

After you have agreed on the website’s goals and established what content is required (IA), it’s time to start producing the content. Bear in mind, this process may vary from project to project or client to client. Some sites will need a legal review. Others may require the CEO’s sign-off on every page. Don’t forget translation for multi-lingual websites too – be prepared to adapt the stages in your process. It can often feel like a factory assembly line, as each piece moves its way through the many stages towards eventual publication. GatherContent gone through a likely content production process to give you a better idea of what stages to expect.

Research

  • Writer (usually!)
  • Amount of effort: 2 hours
  • Get briefed by the Senior Editor or Content Strategist on the page’s communication goals. Then review existing content, third party sources and consult the Subject Experts to pull together the info, facts, quotes, and materials to write the page.

Write

  • Writer
  • Amount of effort: 2 – 4 hours
  • The Writer now has what they need to produce the actual content. But remember: it takes time to develop the structure and apply the body copy, headings, descriptions, snippets, captions, call to action labels, and links. The content team may also need to produce images and other media at this stage.

Do you have a style guide yet?
A good content style guide will cover the tone of voice for your digital content, house style rules, and writing for the web best practice. Don’t start content production without one.

Review

  • Subject Expert / Senior Editor
  • Amount of effort: 1 – 2 hours
  • Content reviews are an important and often difficult stage in the process. Depending on the project you may want to break this stage up into multiple steps. Typically Subject Experts will be asked to check the content is factually accurate, on message, and complete. The Senior Editor (role) then checks the content is well written, consistent with other content, and applies the style guide and house rules.

Revise

  • Writer
  • Amount of effort: 0 – 2 hours
  • The Writer interprets the Reviewer’s feedback, updates the copy, and reissues a new version. The Writer may need to speak with the Reviewer for clarification to avoid the risk of the content getting stuck in a loop.

Be clear about what to review

Content stalls at the review stages when stakeholders are unclear on their role and the remit of other reviewers.

Approve

  • Subject Expert
  • Amount of effort: 0 – 1 hours
  • The reissued content is reviewed for approval / sign-off. It’s then ready to be uploaded to the CMS.

Upload to CMS

  • CMS Editor
  • Amount of effort: 1 – 2 hours
  • Populate the CMS page with the approved content, adding links, images, files, feature content, and meta data (taxonomy labels and descriptions). Only at this stage can you see how well the content works in its website template. A good Digital Producer or Site Editor will adjust and format the content to work best.

Web page review / sign-off

  • Subject Expert / Senior Editor
  • Amount of effort: 1 hour
  • Time for quality assurance: Is the formatting suitable? Is the page consistent with other pages? Do the links work? Did any typos creep in during the upload? The page may also need to be signed-off by the Subject Expert or Project Owner who will want to be satisfied the content achieves its brief. The content is then ready to be published.

Publish

  • CMS Editor
  • Amount of effort: n/a
  • Web pages in a project are usually published when the entire site is deployed (launched).

Publishing is just day one

Ensure there is a plan for maintaining the site’s content after the project finishes. In the hurry to publish content for a new site, this critical planning is often overlooked and the site soon deteriorates.

Source from GatherContent