Google any topic, and you’ll find virtually endless results. The only way for brands to stand out today is by publishing high-quality content (which is favored by both Google and content-weary consumers).
Content collaboration is one of the best ways to create quality content that engages, educates, and adds value. Yes, individual contributors can deliver great content, but adding more perspectives and ideas into the mix takes content to a new and higher level.
In this article, we’ll explore the idea of content collaboration, including its benefits and challenges. We’ll also discuss strategies to ensure your large-scale content projects unfold seamlessly for all involved.
Table of Contents
- What is content collaboration?
- Content collaboration benefits
- Content collaboration challenges
- Strategies for efficient content collaboration
- Content collaboration reigns supreme
What is content collaboration?
Content collaboration is when multiple people or teams work together to execute a piece or series of content — from ideation to publication. Collaboration can happen among different marketing team members, between multiple departments at your company, or even with another organization entirely.
Examples of content collaboration:
- When writers work with the customer success team to craft a blog series on your customers’ most common pain points.
- When your marketing team works with an influencer on a social media campaign to promote your brand.
- When marketing and sales teams draft an eBook on your products or services for potential enterprise clients.
- When you partner with a like-minded organization to write a white paper about how your combined services solve a significant problem.
Collaborative content in action:
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Content collaboration benefits
Completing a large-scale marketing project alone is a daunting experience. The process may be stressful or take a long time, from finding fresh ideas to managing multiple deadlines. But content collaboration alleviates many of those burdens.
Multiple people and/or teams can share the workload. This streamlined approach saves time and ensures no individual feels overwhelmed. Plus, more contributors add new perspectives and ideas. Collaboration can also increase feedback, which usually results in more polished and inclusive results.
Lastly, adding more collaborators enhances your credibility. More contributors mean more expertise, experiences, and backgrounds — you get the picture. It’s why scientific studies are peer-reviewed: There’s trust in numbers.
Content collaboration challenges
As fantastic as content collaboration may be, it has challenges. Collaborators may have personality conflicts or clashing ideas about the project. Without a clear process, more voices and opinions can lead to miscommunication (and missed deadlines).
Like any endeavor, adding more people into the mix can mean potential problems — if you don’t follow the right strategies.
Strategies for efficient content collaboration
Don’t let the potential challenges of cooperative work stop you. A clear and logical plan allows your team to reap the rewards of content collaboration.
Strategy 1: Start on the same page
Build your collaborative projects on a foundation of clarity. Before taking any steps, make sure every employee and team member is on the same page.
Craft a thorough and straightforward creative brief so team members immediately understand the scope. Outline the project’s purpose, goals, deliverables, and timeline. You can even include visuals or content examples to get the ideas flowing. Share this brief at the kick-off meeting (more on that next), and keep a digital copy in a shared file easily accessible to all team members.
Host a kick-off meeting to discuss the project, explore ideas, and address any questions or concerns. This meeting is also an excellent chance for contributors to get comfortable with one another (especially important if you work across separate departments or organizations).
Foster a sense of psychological safety during the meeting, which sets the tone for authentic collaboration and helps generate more ideas.
Define roles and responsibilities
Once the project details are known, focus on roles and responsibilities among the collaborators. Everyone should be crystal clear about who’s doing what — from writing to editing to design. You should also discuss your review and approval process. These tactics will make large-scale content creation much more efficient.
Strategy 2: Set micro deadlines
Every collaborative project has a final deadline: the day it’s published, uploaded, emailed, or otherwise made public. But this date should be the last in a series of manageable micro deadlines. Smaller deadlines alleviate stress for several reasons:
They’re less daunting
“Write a book by April!” Or, “Write one chapter per week.” Which directive sounds scarier? One big, looming deadline is overwhelming. However, smaller tasks spread out over time feel more manageable.
Divide your large-scale content project into bite-sized chunks. For example, make concept ideas due one week, a content outline the week after, and so on. This strategy allows team members to digest all the parts and pieces. They focus on one thing at a time and put the rest out of their mind — for now.
They improve time management
Did you know most people procrastinate more when deadlines are farther out? There’s no sense of urgency. Plus, many workers have a thousand other things to accomplish in the meantime.
Smaller milestones give structure to collaborative projects and help contributors know what to focus on first — and when. They’re less likely to procrastinate when there’s a firm deadline next week. And, because the deliverable is small and achievable, they’ll be more eager to tackle it right away.
They’re more iterative
Feedback and revision are essential in content creation, especially when many people touch the same project. One of the benefits of content collaboration is having more minds and perspectives to improve the results, but waiting until the end means the feedback will be excessive.
Micro deadlines allow collaborators to iterate in smaller chunks, which is less overwhelming and can save hours. Imagine having to redo a huge portion of the work — that’s the opposite of efficiency.
Strategy 3: Streamline workflows with digital tools
There are many digital tools available that enhance content collaboration. Don’t hesitate to use resources like:
Quillbee for writing
Start by summarizing your thoughts and perspectives in the Point of View section, then provide other details, like your target keyword and desired tone and perspective pronoun. Then, let Quillbee work its magic. Once it generates the long-form content, you can make manual edits or use built-in features like condense, expound, and rewrite.
Whether you’re writing a blog post, a YouTube video script, or an email campaign, Quillbee can help streamline your large-scale content projects.
Asana for project management
There are lots of moving pieces in collaborative content projects. Project management tools provide clarity and ensure cohesion through each step of the project.
Asana helps teams manage and prioritize their goals. Organize your micro deadlines into lists, timelines, or boards, and track collective goals with ease. You can also set automatic updates and track time spent on a project.
Asana keeps collaborators organized, updated, and in sync. In fact, Forbes chose Asana as the best cross-collaboration tool in 2023.
Slack for communication
Clear communication is another way to enhance efficiency. Consider creating a dedicated Slack channel accessible to everyone collaborating on your content project. Channels centralize information so team members don’t have to move between — or search through — emails, chats, meeting notes, and other exchanges.
Slack channels are also an awesome tool for asynchronous communication, including feedback and problem-solving. An async workflow can better accommodate everyone’s schedules when working across multiple teams or organizations.
Strategy 4: Follow best practices for meetings
In content collaboration, meetings can bring contributors together and revitalize lagging projects. They can also provide clarity. Still, there’s a right way to go about team meetings for large collaborative projects:
Hosting meetings from time to time is helpful — necessary, even. However, excessive meetings waste time and become a pain point, not a resource. Instead, hold fewer meetings so collaborators can focus on deep work like content creation.
Have a purpose
If too many meetings harm team efficiency, when should you call everyone together? Focus on your purpose. For example, you may need to discuss the design team’s mockup of your ad campaign. If you can’t articulate why you need to have a meeting, don’t have it.
Create an agenda — and stick to it
Many people hate attending meetings because they tend to stray off-topic and drag on for too long. Create an agenda with specific action items before each meeting and follow it closely. Don’t go over the scheduled time. If attendees try to bring up other topics, suggest discussing them over Slack or putting them on the agenda for the next meeting.
Strategy 5: Reflect and celebrate
Content collaboration brings people together. It’s a shared opportunity to build connections and exchange ideas. And when you pull off an elaborate large-scale project as a team, everyone should feel proud and excited. But what happens next?
Just as a kick-off meeting gets the project started on the right foot, a wrap-up meeting provides closure. Use this meeting to reflect on the project as a team. What went well, and how can you replicate those wins in future projects? What were your biggest challenges, and how can you avoid them in your next content collaboration?
Remember to keep this meeting positive. The goal is to learn and grow, not to play the blame game.
Imagine the day has finally arrived. You’ve collaborated for months, communicated clearly and strategized across teams, met each deadline, and produced high-quality content. If you return to business as usual or start planning the next project, it’s not only anticlimactic — it’s also disheartening for contributors.
Instead, bring collaborators together to celebrate! Whether an offsite gathering, lunch, or even a simple toast — do something that makes people feel appreciated and recognized. Celebrations solidify the connections formed, making future collaborations more seamless and energizing.
Content collaboration reigns supreme
Content collaboration is one way to ensure that content remains king. Whether your goal is to inspire, entertain, inform, or persuade, high-quality content is the ultimate solution.
Despite some inherent challenges, content collaboration doesn’t have to feel like those dreaded group projects in school. Instead, they can be transformative experiences.
Make the process efficient and enjoyable by following the strategies discussed above:
- Start with clarity.
- Set manageable deadlines.
- Streamline workflows with digital tools like Quillbee.
- Follow best practices for meetings and communication.
And, of course, don’t forget to reflect at the end of every project — and celebrate a job well done.