Although Go Overseas had been investing in content marketing for several years by the time I joined the team full-time, it lacked strategy, process, and was difficult to scale with limited resources. As the Content Marketing Director of Go Overseas, I was responsible for developing a strategy for all of our web content (listings pages, help content, and blog articles) and a process that would help us scale our content creation across 3,000+ unique pages. I did this by focusing on four core areas:
Result: Created alignment on goals, objectives, and tactics across our different content types, which re-focused our efforts on the highest impact content investments.
Rather than simply produce content for the sake of producing content, our entire company needed to be aligned on the goals and objectives of each of our content types, what part of the user journey they served, what audience they were reaching, and the overall business impact.
Excerpts from strategy presentation
I worked closely with our CEO, product team, and account managers to develop answers to each of these key questions, then create an operational plan to turn our strategy into action.
Result: Brand, messaging, and style consistency throughout all content (website, email, social, print).
Initially, Go Overseas’ voice, messaging, and style was highly variable from author to author, and content to content. To build a more consistent voice, tone, and style, I worked with our UX & brand designer to articulate our brand voice and messaging, then set clear guidelines for writers, designers, and photographers to follow when producing content.
Result: Created a centralized space to manage content production, which reduced the amount of time spent on communicating with writers, planning calendars, and staging content.
There were three key areas where we wanted to improve efficiency:
Communication: Instead of managing assignments for our freelancers in Google Spreadsheets, we adopted a CMS that cut down on communication by 15% by providing a centralized space to see what assignment each writer was responsible for, its status, and instant notifications when the article went live.
Production: Instead of hardcoding each article into HTML, I chose a CMS that was able to automate it, reducing the amount of time it took to stage content from 2 hours to 20 minutes.
Planning: By having a centralized source of truth for all of our content, what was ready to publish, and what was upcoming, I was able to spend less time organizing and scheduling our content calendar.
Result: Increased the quality and factualness of our content, which allowed us to go from producing 5 blog articles per week to 3, with no negative impact on website traffic, while also increasing the amount of organic search traffic we got to our listings pages, thanks to more in-depth guides attached to them.
Go Overseas Blog
Go Overseas “Listings” Page
As a small, boot-strapped startup, Go Overseas relied heavily on more junior writers to cut costs on content production, which often meant writers were taking up topics outside of their areas of expertise, or simply not producing high-quality enough pieces.
To attract quality subject matter experts to write for us, I first increased our pay rate, then built out a diverse team of 15 geographically distributed writers, each of whom had subject matter expertise in one or more of our core themes (volunteering, studying, teaching, or taking gap years abroad) and/or a geographical area. For assignments where they lacked direct experience, I established a process to pair writers with experts we were connected with to interview.
Finally, for photography, I worked closely with our community manager to source photos and get approval for re-use from our community reviews.