Content by committee

Content by committee

Have you ever heard the phrase “too many cooks spoil the broth”? This expression can definitely becontent by committee applied to creating content – if you have too many ideas being thrown into the pot, the whole thing will bubble over and you’ll be left with a mess to clear up.

But don’t worry. We’re here to help you figure out the best way for you to create effective content that will delight your readers.

Different tastes in content

Creating content is a bit like preparing a meal (yes I’m carrying on with the cooking analogy). Once you’ve spent all that time slicing and dicing, and slaving over a hot stove, it’s time to dish out the grub – and the more people you’re feeding, the more opinions you’re going to get. “It’s too salty!”, “Can I have mine without peas?”, “Is it meant to be this spicy?” and so on.

Content, like food, is subjective, and can therefore be interpreted in many different ways, so asking lots of people’s opinions and acting on them all could leave a bad taste in your reader’s mouth!

Trying to integrate everybody’s feedback can result in jumbled content and an incoherent message.

I’m not trying to say that getting a second opinion is a bad thing, in fact I’d really recommend it! When writing you often become snow blind to mistakes that a fresh pair of eyes could spot instantly, and working with others allows you to bounce ideas off each other and explore new arguments. It’s when it gets to the ninth or tenth opinion that I start to worry.

A recipe for content creation success

Step one: Cut the fat off the meat

Streamline your approval process. Only include those vital to the editorial process. By eliminating the middlemen and the extraneous voices from the process you will have fewer people to deal with and the process will become much quicker.

Step two: Organise your ingredients

Each ingredient needs to go in to the pot at exactly the right time to release the flavours and make sure the dish doesn’t burn. Establish an editorial hierarchy to make sure that it gets approved at every level in an appropriate order. Don’t give it to the big boss before you’ve had those beneath them check it. You’ll be wasting their time and yours. (That said, don’t spend too much time going back and forth with non-decision makers as the boss could easily overrule everything they’ve said!)

Step three: Plan your timing

Similar to step two, timing is key so create a content schedule to plan the project out in detail. This should include plans for the subjects/ themes to be covered, your initial ideas for the content itself and a defined workflow with deadlines. By doing this, you’ll almost entirely eradicate the last minute changes that so often crop up in copywriting, as everyone will have signed off on the pieces before you begin writing them.

Step four: Mix together your ingredients and leave to simmer

Put everything in the pot and stir well. Once steps one to three are complete, you can begin creating your content. Don’t be afraid to sample bits yourself – taking a step back and looking at what you’ve created and thinking how each of your editorial team may react to it. If you can pre-empt them, you can speed up the final editing process.

Step five: A final taste, then dish up

Take one last look, see if it needs any ‘seasoning’ then send it out for review. Watch your wording with this, make sure that you establish that you are happy with it and that your deadline is final, you just want any vital feedback or advice. Take all feedback with a pinch of salt and make amendments to your recipe accordingly, just make sure that it doesn’t drastically change the dish you already made.

Creating content ‘by committee’ can be tough, but it does have its benefits. Input from multiple people can bring different insights and highlight points you may not have considered. By listening to feedback in moderation you can create tasty content that does not overpower your reader and makes them want to come back for more!