Handling a content workflow is a routine task that can turn into a nightmare if you don’t follow a systematic strategy.
Think of the times you got your project deadlines mixed up. Or those occasions when you ‘overstack’ a writer’s workload and clog up the entire content workflow.
I feel your pain.
During the early days of managing content for my company’s social media campaign, I messed things up a few times.
But once I adopted a well-structured content workflow, the sailing has been smooth, and the team’s productivity has skyrocketed.
So, this article will show you why a workflow is essential for all scales of content management. You will also discover the meaning of content workflow and the tools to implement it.
What is a content workflow?
A content workflow is an arranged framework that features tasks focused on completing a content creation cycle. This framework also contains the process of requesting, executing, reviewing, and publishing content.
To create a comprehensive content creation workflow, you need to include a content calendar, the respondents, the goals, the naming conventions, and templates.
These workflow elements improve your team’s productivity by providing a centralized view that is accessible to everybody. At the same time, you can also monitor the content’s engagement metrics to figure out adjustments.
Why do you need a content workflow?
If you are curating content for your website, you might get away with not having a content workflow. But when you are in charge of multiple writers or content creators, keeping track of everything becomes a challenge.
According to CoSchedule, 397% of content creation efforts are likely to succeed with a predefined workflow.
So, let’s look at the key reasons why you need to arrange your content workflow.
- Define processes
With a content framework, you can monitor the expected results of every project. Since you have a clear view of the workflow, you can divide the tasks into subtasks and curate individual workloads.
- Unify conventions
A content workflow puts the entire team on the same page. Similar naming conventions and style guides add an extra layer of uniformity to the process.
- Identify the project contributors
Taking a glance at the dashboard gives you an instant picture of every contributor and their required input.
- Manage your time better
Defining a content workflow is an excellent time management strategy because it eliminates redundancies and saves time.
Nowadays, advanced workflow management tools also come with essential communication and notification features. These tools also hasten the entire content creation process.
How to arrange your content creation workflow
With a better understanding of a content workflow, let’s get down to the fine details of the organization process. Some of these tips require automation and advanced software to implement, while others only need a culture change.
So, let’s focus on the quick fixes you can apply without compromising the company’s timeline and overall objectives.
1 — Use a visual planner to track progress
Committing everything to memory is an invaluable skill, but your memory can fail you. Besides, not every team member has this superpower.
So, you need a visual content planner.
Gantt charts and spreadsheets are efficient planning tools when creating content. But you can use other advanced planners with more visual abilities.
Content management tools like Trello and Asana use advanced features to improve a company’s content creation strategy. Use these tools to track every task and monitor completion statuses.
Besides, visual planners provide advanced metrics on employee contribution. They allow managers to distribute workloads evenly and measure key performance metrics.
2 — Outline every step from ideation to publishing
Every content creation effort starts with an idea geared towards a defined objective. So, you need to document every stage of the content strategy.
Write down everything in detail and mention every contributor’s specific roles.
Don’t hesitate to make changes as new information comes to light. When the company’s objectives change, revise the process and document the final versions. The same principle should apply to personnel changes.
Also, outline the purpose of each project. If you want to upload the task to social media, specify the particular platform and publication date.
You can also add links to valuable resources in the content attachment folder.
3 — Create an idea bin
Ideation is key to every content marketing strategy. This process often starts from an inclusive brainstorming session involving team members. C-level employees might also make inputs at their convenience.
Nevertheless, always create an idea bin for every brainstorming session. Request input from every staff member involved in the project and document them.
Even if the ideas don’t form part of the strategy, the records will reflect the contributions for future references.
4 — Record the findings from your research
Research is also part of the ideation or the precursor to brainstorming. Either way, you always need to conduct market and consumer research for your content strategy.
Send out surveys and questionnaires to your audience to discover their interests. You can also gather useful information from consumer engagement data.
Besides, competitor research also gives you a competitive advantage over your close rivals. Through close evaluation, you can find out their strong and weak points and capitalize on this info.
With all that information within your grasp, you need a centralized repository to store and analyze the data. You should also enable access to every team member.
Although some of the data will become irrelevant over time, you still need to get the best out of it while you can.
5 — Use a clear naming system
As designers and writers working on several tasks simultaneously, we often fall into the trap of using random naming conventions.
This bad habit muddles up the entire content workflow. You will spend trying to figure out the location of files instead of focusing on your responsibilities.
To avoid confusion, create a naming convention for every project and stick to it.
For instance, you can name Facebook content marketing posts with acronyms followed by the date of creation, e.g., FBCM020221.
Always choose a system that makes sense and doesn’t require too much effort to master.
Besides, mention only the roles of contributors rather than specific names. Your team members won’t stay with the company forever. And when they leave, new staff members will struggle to figure out the assignees and respondents to tasks.
6 — Create templates for repetitive tasks
Every member of the content marketing team has a few repetitive tasks. Some of these include email chains and weekly reports.
So why spend time creating those documents from scratch?
Instead, you can create or download templates for every type of content. Most of these templates are free — or affordable.
For instance, you could write a standard email opening and save it in a file. You could even pin the document to the frequently used section of your content workflow for easy access.
By creating a template for repetitive tasks, you eliminate the blandness and monotonous nature of content creation. And most importantly, your team members will use their time efficiently.
7 — Organize the flow based on specific criteria
You can organize the content flow based on status or tasks, depending on the company’s priorities.
A status-based workflow focuses on the progress of every task and subtask within the project. The content manager has to monitor each project and label the tasks as follows:
- To do
- In progress
- Awaiting review
- Posted or published
The task-based content workflow is a horizontal system in which users assign tasks to specific contributors once they finish their part. This strategy removes the entire burden of monitoring every task from the content manager’s shoulders.
Nowadays, most modern companies combine both strategies to improve productivity. After all, the bottom line is to meet the publishing deadlines and maintain a consistent content calendar.
So, try both workflow arrangement strategies to discover the best approach for your team.
8 — Optimize the workflow with content management tools
You can track every task manually or use a simple spreadsheet. But why go through the unnecessary hassle?
Unless you prefer doing things the old way (like I do), you can find online tools to streamline your content workflow.
As mentioned earlier, automated management tools can improve your content workflow significantly.
Collaboration tools like Atlassian offer calendars, reminders, and deadline features to speed up the content creation process. You can also automate your email marketing campaigns with tools like MailChimp.
In general, here are the advantages of using content management tools.
- They provide advanced metrics of team workload and content priority at a glance.
- They provide remote access to every team member.
- These tools eliminate the redundancies and bottlenecks in content management.
- They are cost-effective when compared to the financial implications of not using them.
- They are secure from third-party access without your consent.
- Content management tools increase productivity by streamlining processes.
Content workflow management is an integral part of every company’s marketing strategy. Monitoring your workload and team performance improves productivity and streamlines the company’s goals.
Besides, a well-structured content marketing workflow creates a centralized data repository for the company’s content strategies.
So, use advanced management tools to plan your content workflow. Integrate visual planners and dashboards into your company’s operations. And don’t forget to establish naming conventions and idea dumps for brainstorming sessions.
Most importantly, organize the content workflow to maximize every team member’s productivity.