Are you in the business or creating content? There’s an artform to managing a content business, whether it’s filmmaking, blogging, or podcasting. And it gets even more complex once you start producing at scale.
Why Hollywood Is a Successful Content Business
The entertainment business (aka Hollywood) in its current state is extremely mature. It is characterized by high volume, low margin, and increasingly low cost to consumers. In other words, deflation is happening, and it’s been happening for the past 15-20 years.
Think back to Apple and their $.99 per song purchase price, or buying an entire CD for $17. Now, you can buy a single track for $1. The introduction of digital “singles” and selling singles blew up the record business and became all of the above: high volumes, low margins, and low cost to the consumer.
This is the environment we’re working in.
Producing Content at Scale – Break It Down
Delivering at scale looks easy, but it’s time-consuming in content creation, no matter what you do. If you’re a blogger, video creator, or any type of content creator, you know all too well the volume of output and the time required to sustain that output it requires to stay relevant and keep up.Managing a content business alone is more than a fulltime job! Click To Tweet
So, how do you successfully do that in Hollywood? Well, we’re going to emulate what the studios and networks have done for a long time. There are four categories or points you want to hit in order to produce content at scale:
- Set a Schedule
- Pick a Time
- Determine a Delivery Frequency
- Stick To It
And you also want to break down your work into three phases of production:
Arguably the biggest tip for managing a content business and producing content at scale is this. Once you build a body of work, you don’t have to produce the same volume of work constantly. The trick is creating a pattern of work and how you do it. But don’t pick something that sticks you in a corner and places an unreasonable standard of on your content creation. You can always scale back the amount of content you actually create versus the content you manager and curate once you have built a library and an audience (no matter how small).
Successfully Managing a Content Business
When you are producing content at scale, you will have to delegate the majority of the creative and technical work at some point- depending on the volume. Making high-quality content takes time, energy, and pure focus. When you’re in it, you’re in it 110%. Whether you are putting together a seven-minute or seventy-minute piece, you’re managing many details at scale. For example, when we make a movie, we’re breaking it down shot by shot – location, time of day, props, wardrobe, day in the storyline, etc.
So, when you’re pooling your work together and managing a content business of any kind, it involves working detail-by-detail at scale. It works for Hollywood, and it’ll work for you too.
Genius Starts In Development
Great content starts in the development stage. This is where you’re building an idea, hashing out an idea, or sorting the shitty from not-so-shitty ideas. What’s the story? Everything you do in the content business (even journalism) is about a cohesive story. Think of the legendary three-act process: beginning, peak, ending. Everything follows that format, from podcasts to TV shows to novels.
When you throw in crap that doesn’t support your story, it becomes trash. So, idea development is critical to producing content people want to consume.
There’s this idea that you have to sit down in front of an empty blank page and barf out concepts, ideas or an entire page of dialogue. But some of the greatest creators don’t do that. They talk into their phone and use speech-to-text and at the most random times. Then, go back and put it all together to make sense of it. Development can happen in a million different ways. You are not limited by a strict blank page.
If you’re struggling with the development stage or in the actual writing, go do research. If the page is not filling up you don’t have enough information to pull your ideas together. Gather information and pour over it until you can develop the overarching points of your story.
Ready, Set, Production
Once you have a story you’re happy with, put it into production. Producing your idea is the next stage in managing a content business.
Pro Tip: Before starting production, put a budget on your project. Break down the costs associated with every layer of production.
Once you have the funds secured, gather your resources and assemble everything you need. Think props, location, staff, wardrobe, whatever. In Hollywood, it works day by day. You have people prepping, shooting, and boxing up shit all at the same time. You shoot what needs to be done for the day, and then take it all down to move on to the next scene or location.
Post-Production Builds the Wall
Producing content at scale is a bit like building a wall. Development lays the foundation, production creates the actual bricks, and post-production assembles those bricks into a wall. There are two major phases of post-production: artistic and technical. Good content is benefited by having more time in the editorial stage. If you don’t allow time for editing, the likelihood of that material coming out good is very slim. Give yourself the time you need to deliver a sturdy, high-quality wall. So to speak.
Managing a content business for – let’s say – YouTube is straightforward compared to major Hollywood productions. Grab an editing software like DaVinci Resolve and go to town on those videos.
Post-production, for whatever media you’re creating, is truly where the magic comes together.
Conclusion: Managing a Content Business at Scale
So, what’s the key to doing all of this and managing a content business at scale? One word- people. Lots of people.
There’s an old adage that applies to Hollywood, content creation, and a lot of different businesses. Imagine a triangle that has three points: fast, good, and cheap. Now imagen only having two of those three points. You can have content that is:
- Fast and good, but not cheap.
- Fast and cheap, but probably trash.
- Good and cheap, but slow as hell.
No one can produce content at volume with all three points. So, choose your weapon.
There is nothing wrong with producing content by yourself. But you’ll eventually reach a point where you need people on your team. Scale requires a lot of people. It’s just a fact, but you can start with just one and ass people as you aggregate an audience.
Scale means building a business and means structuring a team to deliver content on time, on schedule (together they are on budget), and on quality.