It’s been almost two years since I started at Craft Your Content and I’ve probably had more titles than any of my fellow editors. That’s not to say I’ve been promoted a bunch of times; it’s actually because Elisa and I struggled to find the right words to describe what I do.
I started out as a proofreader and copy-editor. In that role, I proofed copy for our blog and our clients before it went into the formatting and publishing stage. I liked that role but I wanted to do more.
Seven months into my CYC career, I moved to Los Angeles for a writing program. Elisa, the angel that she is, saw this as an opportunity for me and the company. She knew that living in LA was going to be expensive and my 8–10 hours per week weren’t going to cut it. She also knew that the company needed someone to handle its social media.
So I started managing the social media for CYC.
And then she asked if I wanted to be the assistant managing editor.
As assistant managing editor, I kept track of the Trello boards and assignments, as well as the social media.
When our graphic designer and WordPress formatter left, I also took up that role.
It all became a little too much for me to handle while I was still getting settled in LA and working my way through a demanding writing program, so I dropped a few of my roles and stayed on part-time.
And then, one day in mid-2016, my title changed to Content Producer. And it all seemed to fall into place.
Wait, What Exactly Do You Do Now?
The term “content producer” isn’t necessarily a common term, but it certainly isn’t made up. The definition as provided by Wikipedia is this:
The online producer’s (also known as a content producer) responsibility is usually to create, edit, and arrange the text, video, audio, images, and other materials that may be included on a website. Online producers define and maintain the character of a website, as opposed to running it from a technical standpoint.
That’s a basic and general definition of what I do here at CYC.
I make sure all of CYC’s content looks good, is published on time, and is promoted right after it goes through the editing process.
This includes transferring the articles from Google Docs (where we write and edit) to WordPress; picking out images that fit the article; setting the keywords, meta-description, categories, and tags; and coming up with clever statuses to bring in traffic from our Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.
I’m also the go-to for any tasks that aren’t necessarily in the job description of a copy or content editor.
You know the line on a resume that says: “Other duties as assigned”?
That’s basically my entire job.
A Content Producer is a lot like a Film Producer.
Films wouldn’t be made if it weren’t for the producers. To some, the word “producer” sounds like some bullshit term that is just given to the people who will profit off the movie, but it’s so much more than that.
The writers write the script, the directors shoot the film, and the producers figure everything else out.
They coordinate the budget, the actors, the promotion, the editing — even the food that they serve on set.
They make sure that the film the writer has written actually gets seen by an audience.
Sounds a little like a content producer, doesn’t it?
What Does a Normal Week Look Like?
At first, my weeks were somewhat chaotic. A normal week involved Google searches, tutorials, and a lot of trial and error. Now, I have a pretty set schedule, thanks in part to Gina Edwards, our full-time managing editor extraordinaire.
These are my set weekly tasks:
Monday: Format and schedule client’s Wednesday article (includes SEO configuration).
Tuesday: Format and schedule CYC and client’s Thursday articles (includes graphics and SEO configuration).
Wednesday: Format and schedule client’s Friday article (includes SEO configuration), write client’s and CYC’s newsletters.
Thursday: Format and schedule newsletter for client.
Friday: Format and schedule newsletter for CYC.
Saturday: Format and schedule CYC and client’s Monday articles, including one promotional email for client (all of which include SEO and graphics configuration).
Sunday: Find articles to share throughout the week on social media.
These days sometimes get shifted around, as the writing and editing world is a mystical place where things don’t always go as planned. I also get assigned extra tasks as needed that have to do with website changes, client work, and social media promotions.
I’ve had to break up a client’s 200 page manuscript for editing, put it back together, then break it up again — all to maintain the aesthetic of the manuscript.
Recently, I’m in the process of learning how to split test on our site so we can try out a few new marketing funnels.
And of course, I still write about two articles a month for both CYC and our clients.
As you read this, you might be thinking: This sounds quite technical; aren’t content producers less about technical and more about “the character of a website”?
On the surface, yes, my work does seem rather technical. A lot of the time, I can go on autopilot while I remove span tags from text or resize images.
However, the goal of every task that I complete is to maintain the integrity of the business and the content that we produce.
And that’s a big responsibility.
Integrity Comes First
Since Elisa gave Gina and I the reins for CYC’s editorial calendar and promotions, we’ve put some systems into place that help us manage 50+ articles a month. With these systems, l ensure that every article matches the brand’s voice and vision while also maintaining the level of quality we guarantee to every one of our clients.
While an article is undergoing its three rounds of edits, I perform a pre-formatting check. I make sure the title is catchy and relevant, that the article has clear keywords but isn’t keyword stuffed, and that there won’t be any issues as it goes out into the world.
One of the reasons Gina and I are in the positions we are in is because we showed Elisa that we were dedicated to the company’s goals of helping writers in more ways than just editing their work. We’ve also been with CYC the longest and understand the changes that the company has gone through.
We used to be inconsistent with our content, lacked effective promotional funnels, and didn’t present ourselves the way we wanted to be seen.
(We’re still working on that last part.)
No matter what I do, I try to make sure our clients and our company are well represented in articles, emails, website copy, and promotional materials. If there’s a piece of content that doesn’t do that, it reflects poorly on everyone.
Why You Should Hire a Content Producer
If the section above didn’t convince you to hire a content producer immediately, there are some other benefits to having one that you may not be aware of.
1. We’re the closers.
If you want quality content, then hiring an editor is practically a requirement. You need someone who is going to take your rough drafts and help you turn them into beautiful final drafts. But once your work has been edited, what do you do with it?
That’s where a content producer comes in. We can take your Google Doc and turn it into a webpage, blog post, landing page, or email — and make sure that it will rank high on the search results page.
We finish what you started when you put pen to paper. We’ll even hit the publish button if you want us to.
This frees you up to focus on content creation, business strategy, and forming relationships with other entrepreneurs.
2. We’re promoters.
Any content producer you hire should know basic formatting (WordPress preferably, but any site-building platform will do), SEO, and social media marketing. When you designate those tasks to them, you’ll want it done right, and you’ll want your money’s worth.
Even if you decide to run your own social media, the content producer should know the best way to frame your content to get the most engagement, and maybe even be able to write some promotional material for you.
We can also help you get your name out there. Elisa and I have been brainstorming a pitching project for some time now, collecting websites that she could pitch to in order to get her and Craft Your Content’s names on everyone’s radar.
If your content producer understands your brand (which they should), they can do research on where it fits in the online world and help you penetrate new markets.
We’re kinda like a whole marketing team, all rolled up into one paycheck.
3. We’re reminders.
One of the best ways to grow and keep an audience is to post consistent content. When you’re trying to run a business and a blog, that’s not easy.
Content producers go beyond editors in that they expect content to be done and be ready on time. Whereas editors may work with you through a drafting process, content producers are about results and deadlines.
We’re going to expect that your article is ready for us to format before the publishing date — a good deal of time before it goes live. We need time to get everything right, and if you don’t have something for us in time, your content is not going to go up on time.
And I don’t need to tell you how important consistency is when you’re trying to grow your business.
We’re your accountability. You’re paying us for a reason — to produce your content. If you’re not creating content for us to produce, then you’re wasting your money.
You Can’t Publish a Post and Call it Art
There are so many writers out there who think they can do it all, from content creation, to graphic design, to WordPress formatting. Some can, but most can’t.
There’s a lot of due diligence that goes into a post between when the proofs are cleared and when it’s posted on your website. If you want your article to be read by more than just your family and friends, you need a professional who knows what to do with your content after it’s been written.
Just like having a producer for your film makes it legit, having a producer for your content makes it legit.
So if you haven’t hired one yet… it’s time.