For a long time, content strategists and editorial teams relied on whatever literature was available to outline their content strategy and come up with relevant content ideas. These were then researched thoroughly so a content brief could be prepared for the actual writer.
Nowadays, topics we write about can be very narrow and specific. Especially with blogging, we have entered an era of niching down. Not because we want to, but because it is quicker and more rewarding to get a large slice of a small cake, than the opposite. Then, as your content inventory grows, your topical authority grows alongside you. Finally, you can write about broader topics, and short-tail keywords with real chances of ranking high on search engine results pages, or SERPS.
What tasks do editorial teams perform?
Editorial teams are very different from one company to the next. Some teams are just a one-man band, while others have a string of people touching the piece of content before it gets published. Regardless of the size of an editorial team, the tasks remain the same, or very similar to the following:
- Analyzing existing content and core topics
- Studying what your audience looks for
- Prioritizing ideas at that intersection
- Researching the selected article idea
- Outlining the article
- Writing the blog post
- Editing and illustrating
- Optimizing and proofing
- Distribution to gain backlinks
Pretty much any content publisher I know perform some version of these tasks. Some can take a few seconds while others may take days to be perfectly executed.
First, you strategize the entire year or next cycle of topics so that they align with business goals (content strategists). Then you come up with concrete article titles and ideas to cover core topics with depth and breadth (content marketers). Eventually, the content is researched, written, edited and illustrated (content editors and writers).
Then, analytics are studied to either write more about a successful idea or to rewrite an old piece of content because it underperforms.
How do software and tools help content publishers?
For every step of an editorial team’s content publishing pipeline, there are software tools available to help each team member out. For example:
- studying your audience using Google Search Console
- prioritizing article ideas using keyword search volume data
- outlining the article using LSI keyword and question generators
- editing and proofing the content using Grammarly
- monitoring an article’s performance using Google Analytics
And many more. The point is, doing any of these tasks manually takes a lot of time and brain juice. For a computer or algorithm, it is a matter of milliseconds at worst.
The thing is SEO and SEO content tools often want to replace humans instead of enriching and helping the human executing the task. Even with today’s progress in artificial intelligence and natural language understanding, replacing the human brain is not even on the map. Automating tasks, however, is very much possible – especially simple tasks like getting a ranked list of the top keywords in a group of documents.
Research Phase – Example
Take the research phrase. You are preparing a content brief or the outline of your blog post. You have the core idea to convey, and even the primary keyword. Yet, you need to come up with the article’s sections, headings, and important keywords and key phrases to use. With search engines becoming smarter, you need a comprehensive keyword universe that supports your primary target keyword.
The manual and human way of doing it is to Google your primary target keyword, open each blog post on that first page of the SERPS. Then, read each article carefully and write down the keywords that matter and relate to that primary keyword. Do you know how long that would take? Very long. And if you are writing long articles, you would probably need to read up 20 or 30 articles.
Using a sementic SEO tool, you can view the most relevant key phrases within a large group of documents. Add every blog post to your content library, and within seconds you can see this group’s most valuable key phrases to add to your next piece of content in order to outrank them.
Are content editors in danger due to AI and machine learning?
Content strategists, editors, and writers are all very much in demand. Heads of marketing around the globe understand that publishing content is crucial to be perceived as an authoritative website by their target audiences. So, these marketing directors and company founders hire one person or a team in charge of publishing content.
There is no tool, today, that writes amazing content on its own. It does not exist, and if you have seen examples of natural language generation (machine-written text), it’s horrible to read. So content writers are most definitely here to stay for a few decades at least.
Content editors and strategists are the brains behind an organic search engine optimization plan. What topics must be covered is what these people are in charge of. Then, they need to come up with actual keywords and search queries that are used by the target audience. With voice and smartphones rising, people now ask real questions so content strategists must consider these, too. Here again, there is no tool that does this job for you from start to finish.
However, there are many high-quality pieces of content marketing tools that will help strategists, editors, and writers of blog posts so much in their daily lives. Some are free while others are pricey but they provide you with so much value that their price is irrelevant.
What tools should I use as a content marketer?
The best tools content marketing teams use to focus on providing guidance on topics to cover, keywords to prioritize, and questions to answer. Such tools often crawl and analyze millions of web pages to generate a very accurate knowledge graph. As a human, even as a large team, you would never be able to process so much data in your lifetime.
Our own SEO software, topicseed, helps you discover questions real people ask about your core topics and subtopics. We also provide you with syntactic data on what words seem to appear a lot near your top keywords. We also allow you to compare two groups of (or two singles) blog posts to visualize content gaps. We make it easy for you to update existing articles, and outrank existing competing pages for keywords you will publish content for soon.