Setting Realistic Expectations for Content Creation
Setting Realistic Expectations for Content Creation

Setting Realistic Expectations for Content Creation

You’re hiring someone to help with your marketing, content creation, and implementation. This will free up so much time so you can go on and do what you do best in your business.

But you’re probably ready to hire help because you know how long it takes you to do the work. Even though you’re hiring a professional who specializes in marketing and content, there’s still a learning curve and process to take into account. And both of these take time.

This week, I’m sharing what realistic expectations look like when you’re hiring someone to support your business’s marketing and content and giving some background on what’s happening on the content creator’s side. It’s a great episode to help reframe each person’s role in the process!

Listen in!

Mentioned in This Episode Podcast


Welcome to episode 244 of The Content Experiment Podcast, a podcast for service-driven business owners who know that content is important but there’s so much more to marketing and business growth.

Here we talk about showing up for your audience in a way that they want to hear, in a way that’s sustainable for you. This might mean publishing a weekly podcast or blog, but it also means paying attention to your email list, leveraging other people’s audiences, building relationships, and getting over the limiting mindsets that often hit when we’re reaching for the next level in our business.

I’m Abby Herman, fractional marketing officer, content strategist and podcast manager for business owners who want to make their marketing feel easier and more streamlined so they can get back to serving their clients and making those sales. I’ll show you how OR do it for you, while you do business in a way that works for you–I can help by supporting you through building and implementing a content and marketing strategy, taking care of the podcast management for you, or giving you the tools and resources to take this on yourself.

If you’ve been around the online business space for a bit, you know that being visible online is important. And you also probably know that creating content for your business can be pretty time-intensive, even if you hire it out.

It’s important to know what you’re getting into and to have some realistic expectations about what can and can’t happen within a particular timeframe.

When I start working with new clients, it’s at least three to four weeks before we release new content. It takes time to get to know the client, their voice and style, and to put processes and workflows into place so that we can start smoothly. And it also takes time for the client to record any audio or video needed for the content. It’s a process, and it often changes after the first few pieces of content, as we get to know one another and the tools at our disposal.

This week I want to talk a little bit about what realistic expectations look like for business owners who hire someone to do it for them. I think you’ll be surprised!

And this episode isn’t meant to be tongue in cheek, it’s meant to be a true educational piece about what content creation looks like. As I work with more clients who need fractional marketing director type work, this is something I’ve been thinking a lot about. I’ve been working to reduce the number of clients I have and do deeper work for each of them. That includes content creation, but it also includes a lot of other pieces of the marketing puzzle.

Why set expectations?

Clarity: Clear expectations ensure that both the business owner and the content creator are on the same page regarding the content’s purpose, goals, and desired outcomes. It minimizes misunderstandings and reduces the risk of delivering content that doesn’t align with the business’s vision.
You should have this conversation, and the outcomes, the expectations, should be in writing
Usually the content creator you’re hiring will have recommendations and it’s important for you to have some buy-in
Time Management & workflows: Well-defined expectations help establish realistic timelines for content creation and delivery. It allows the business owner and content creator and marketing support team to plan their content marketing strategy effectively and ensures that content is published consistently. It also allows everyone to plan their calendars so everyone has what they need, when they need it. When deadlines are missed, it throws everyone’s calendar off.
Feedback and Revisions: Clear expectations make it easier to provide feedback and request revisions, as both parties have a shared understanding of the desired outcome.
For some of our clients, we create the content for them and then send it to the client to review before moving forward with posting.
For other clients, we create the content and publish it without the client in the middle.
It’s up to both of you to decide what works best for you. If you review and approve the content before it goes live, you’ll have to figure that into the timeline and process.
Quality Assurance: Setting expectations helps maintain a consistent level of quality in the content produced. When the content creator understands the business owner’s expectations, they can tailor the content to meet those standards.
No one will get it perfect right out of the gate. Instead, aim for “good enough” and then make changes along the way.
Accountability: Expectations create a framework for accountability. Both parties know what is expected from each other, which fosters a sense of responsibility to meet those expectations.
That said, I know I find myself reminding clients of deadlines and doing a lot of follow-ups when we don’t receive the video or audio in a reasonable timeframe. It’s okay to have a discussion about what’s too much follow-up and it’s important to communicate (in both directions) when there’s a roadblock that is preventing you from holding up your end of the content process.
Budget Management: Clear expectations help avoid scope creep, which could lead to increased costs. By defining the scope of work upfront, the business owner can plan their budget more effectively.
I find that many clients want to adjust the scope of work at some point in the engagement, and that’s okay! This is why having everything in writing is so helpful, because if the scope changes then the budget will have to change too.

So what should your expectations be, for how much content can be created in what kind of timeframe?

Honestly, it depends on the content creator. They should talk to you about their availability and let you know how long it takes to create a piece of your content. Sometimes they won’t know until they start working but after a few pieces of pillar content and seeing how responsive you are, they’ll be able to give you a more clear idea of what’s possible.

Some things to consider when you’re setting your own expectations for content creation:

There’s a process for creating content for someone else:
They need to gather information from you and develop a strategy for the content
If your pillar content is a YouTube channel or podcast, you have to record before they can do anything with that content
If your podcast or video is an hour long, chances are it will take the content creator two to three times as long (so two to three hours) to create show notes, descriptions, and social media content for it. And that doesn’t count editing.
But your content creator’s job isn’t done there. For many of our clients, we’re also creating an email for them and other, complementary social media posts. This takes time too.
And don’t forget about the time it takes to create graphics and load it to your website, the host for the podcast or video, to create transcripts, and to get it loaded and scheduled to social media.
All told, if someone is creating content for you, it might take them about five hours for one video or podcast. And yes, that’s even with using some of the new AI tools that are available. The amount of time it takes for someone to create content for you is something to consider when you think about your budget. And from experience, I can tell you that content for some clients is always going to take longer than others because of the subject matter. The more complicated it is, the more in-depth it is, the more cerebral it is, the longer it will take.
Now, because I said it might take five hours for one piece of content doesn’t mean that if you pass along the audio or video your content creator needs that they’ll be able to have it ready to post tomorrow. They’ll have other clients and a dedicated time to work on your content. It might take a week or more.
If you’re launching something new or you need to release a lot of episodes at once, consider the timing. Whoever is helping you with the content is going to need more time to process it and get it ready for release. Again, most content creators are working with multiple clients so have a discussion about what’s possible.
When you’re marketing yourself through content, your content creator will also look at what’s working and what isn’t. So they’ll take time to track analytics for you and likely even meet with you to discuss it from time to time. That’s factored into the schedule as well.

And don’t forget that if you’ve hired someone to help with your content creation, they’re also human. They have families and pets and emotional and physical needs, so they won’t work 24/7. Or maybe they’re taking some time away to travel or help a family member. Or maybe their kids are home for the summer and they aren’t working in the afternoons.

I love the 1:1 work I do with clients, and I also think that there can be a disconnect around what the process looks like. I know that having conversations about what this looks like and what’s possible is so important to the relationships I have with my clients.

If you’re working with someone, or looking to hire someone, to help you with your marketing and content, I hope this was helpful for you as you consider your budget and your schedule.

If you found value in what you learned here today, be sure to share it on social media. Take a screenshot of the episode on your phone and share it over on Instagram stories. Tag me at thecontentexperiment. Or head over to LinkedIn and connect with me. Be sure to tell me you found me on the podcast when you send the connection invite! The more you share this podcast with others, the more we can get it into the hands of more business owners, just like you, who need to hear the message that they are not alone.

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