A lot of moving parts need to be put in place strategically to get content marketing materials out of the door in a swift and timely manner. Have you in recent months struggled to deliver content when it’s needed most? You might need to define a workflow to keep your production and campaigns on track.
An initial idea, keyword or topic is unlikely to make or break a campaign, no matter how relevant or engaging it is. That’s because there are many stages between the brainstorming of ideas and the end game of publishing an infographic, blog, article or video capable of resonating with your target audiences.
Content marketing cannot be created in a vacuum by a single person. It requires a team of copywriters, editors and managers who should be aligned in their quest to publish the highest-quality content possible.
How does a workflow help?
A workflow connects the dots so that everyone is working from the same page and knows what they have to do to move content along the production cycle.
Initially, you need to create a brief internally or with the help of an agency. Following that, you need to get a copywriter to write a blog or an article, assign an editor to revise it, appoint a content manager to approve it, and finally have someone ready to publish it and cross-post on social media platforms. If you miss one of these phases or people at different stages struggle to work together, content production can reach an impasse. Sunk costs and a lack of return on investment will not deliver the results you need.
A standard content workflow covers most of the tasks below:
- Turn ideas into workable brief
- Write content
- Review work
- Make edits and amendments
- Approval by manager
- Publish content online
Undefined workflows can be messy as everyone across the chain of content creation and production can get lost without clear direction. Defining workflows, especially for larger projects, will ensure that everyone knows what they have to do and at what point.
Workflows also help to outline responsibilities as someone in your internal or external team may not be sure what exactly they have to do or when.
To start creating a workflow, you first need to break down each process into manageable tasks such as those in the bullet point section noted earlier. You can tailor the functions for your requirements as a one-size-fits-all approach is unlikely to suit every brand.
You also need to define each stage of content development and how you will go about approving it. Every person along the chain needs to know what they are responsible for.
Working with an agency can bring many benefits during a workflow as external managers will delegate tasks to copywriters for a particular deadline. Everyone is on the same page and knows what to do next.
An effective workflow will also enable project managers to take action to address issues and bottlenecks if and when they arise so that they can keep everything moving. Without a documented workflow, a project manager will be left in the dark about how to mitigate any problems.
Start defining your workflow
Content projects usually require a number of different employees with distinct responsibilities. You may have content strategists, graphic designers, writers, marketers and even business owners all contributing to a project depending on its scope and scale. You need to identify who is involved and what tasks they need to complete during each stage of the project.
When defining roles and tasks, it’s a good idea to go into a bit more detail about what needs to be done. For example, approving a draft sounds straightforward, but you might need an editor to run the rule over accuracy and readability. Does it need to be compliant with any internal policies or external legal obligations?
When everyone knows their specific responsibilities, you can move on to different phases and how they will connect to get content from start to finish. Simple projects usually begin with an idea that becomes a brief before production takes place. You then review the piece and publish it. If this works for you, go ahead and follow this workflow.
You can create loopbacks and offshoots for the workflow if your requirements are a bit more demanding. Maybe you need to send content back to a specific department for feedback before it’s completed. This adds complexity to the workflow, so you need to know when and how this will happen. They also need to know, so communicate and collaborate as much as possible.
Establishing some sort of timescale for the project is also needed. Try not to be too demanding here. Give each stage a realistic amount of time so that everyone can work to the best of their abilities.
Finally, you also need someone to oversee every project. As mentioned earlier, this person will be able to step in and solve any problems if there are any pitfalls. They will also be responsible for keeping content moving through each stage. This can be a manager, a strategist or a marketer, but everyone should know that they are effectively in charge of keeping content campaigns on track.
The great thing about outsourcing your content marketing is that many of the core tasks of content creation can be expertly managed by a third party. If you come up with a few ideas, agencies and freelancers will be able to turn it into a workable brief that can then be used by copywriters to craft compelling content. Agencies also have editors to ensure that copy hits the highest standards before publication.
However, outsourcing does not mean that you should not define a workflow. It just helps with keeping many of the moving parts central to a campaign in sync so that content moves through the pipeline seamlessly.
Workflows will work for you and your brand by giving your content marketing efforts a structure and path forward from start to finish. By identifying who is involved, their respective roles, and when tasks need to be completed, you can push engaging content to your target audiences exactly when you need to.