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Very few marketers can say that their content production workflow is a well-oiled machine. That’s because too often, they try to fit into a rigid workflow instead of creating a process that works for them.
You need high-quality, carefully crafted content that delights your target audience while delivering results month after month. But how can you achieve that without having the right systems in place?
This is where the right workflow comes into play—perfecting the end-to-end production process or resolving minor bottlenecks.
In this article, we’ll cover everything from developing a content marketing workflow to refining your existing process.
Before finding one that works for you, you need to know how to create one. Here are a few things you need to keep in mind before making your content workflow:
Setting clear and realistic expectations is crucial to create an efficient workflow. Why? Because it prevents burnout and ensures your content teams are accountable for the process. Everyone knows what’s expected of them, they work independently, and the review process works itself out without too much intervention.
According to Matthew Ramirez, Founder of Rephrasely, you need to be realistic about how much time it takes for research, compared to other processes. Since that forms a bulk of what you do, accounting for that ensures you meet your deadlines.
He also adds, “In the early days of our business, we were operating on a shoestring budget, which meant that we had to keep an eye on every expenditure. This made tracking our content production workflow even more important, to ensure that we were getting the most bang for our buck.”
So, create a living document or template and populate it with the deliverables, timelines, and roles for each process. It gives you an overview of the following:
The goal is to ensure that all content creation tasks are completed efficiently and organized. You can achieve this using two types of content workflows: Task-based and Status-based.
Task-based workflows work best for new content teams. It gives each team member a clear idea of their job, what has been done so far, and what needs to be done next.
On the other hand, status-based workflows are more suitable for experienced teams as they provide a more flexible approach to project management. In this type of workflow, stages are defined by status instead of tasks.
For example, instead of “_Write the blog post," _you’d use something like “Draft in progress."
For a truly straightforward workflow, do both. Since each status has multiple stages, you can add specific tasks. This type of atomization makes the process run as smooth as butter.
Establishing a content calendar and schedule is crucial. Here are a few options you can use to do that:
Courtesy: Meisha Bochicchio, Senior Content Marketing Manager at Goldcast
Just remember to train your team on the tool of choice, so everybody’s on the same page. Mia Comic, Content Marketer at Instrumentl, emphasized that this was a key challenge for her. “We provided training sessions to our team and gave them the opportunity to ask questions so they could better navigate Asana. This made a huge difference in how smoothly our content production process ran afterward,” she notes.
It’s essential to give roles to each stakeholder to ensure smooth operation. Having an established set of roles allows stakeholders to understand what they need to deliver at each stage of the process.
Jon Davis, Content Marketing Manager at OnPay, offers his perspective for the review process. “It should be collaborative, whether the SME is providing insights for a new piece of content or lending a hand with an old article that can use a different angle (or fresh perspective). By making it a group effort — and providing guidance, creation efforts go up a notch. For instance, instead of just asking an SME to read and review an article, share the gaps in the content that need to be addressed, and ask open-ended questions so they can offer different perspectives. It’ll make it easier for them to identify opportunities (and provide 2–3 insights) you can use to improve the content,” he says.
This clarity helps ensure that tasks are completed promptly and efficiently, reducing delays and improving productivity overall. Plus, everyone’s expectations are aligned, allowing them to work together more cohesively.
Here’s what it looks like when you’ve assigned roles to relevant team members:
The best way to structure your workflow is to break them down into small chunks. The three stages (creation, publishing, and auditing) need to be broken down to support your current process. Here’s a baseline structure you can use to get started:
It’s the first part of the process where ideas are generated and assessed for their potential value and viability. This is when you decide the content type you want to produce—depending on the industry, subject matter, and complexity level. At this stage, you refine concepts, determine the goals and objectives of your content, identify target audiences, brainstorm topics, perform keyword research for optimization, and curate resources.
It’s all about gathering data points to inform your decisions to ensure your content is highly relevant and has maximum impact. You can find that by:
Using this, you can drill down on how to differentiate your content and create a content marketing strategy that is best suited for your current goals.
This process involves condensing whatever you’ve learned through your research and applying it to your business goals. The planning phase involves the following:
The intention is to solidify the plan and activate the content strategy so that you can start publishing high-quality content.
As the content producer, you establish the foundation for the final product during this phase. Here, you provide context, conduct topic research, and ensure editorial alignment by creating a practical framework to guide the development process.
Here are a few things you can include in your content brief:
Then, you can get this reviewed by the relevant SME before assigning it to your writer. Ideally, the brief should provide direction to your writers and editors on the topic so that they create the best possible product.
Next, the writer creates the outline for the topic. It might not be necessary sometimes, but we’d recommend doing it. When outlining, it’s essential to include any additional information for complex topics. It removes any unnecessary edits once the draft is done and sets expectations for what to expect.
Once the content manager approves the outline, the writer begins drafting. Once a draft has been completed, it’s then ready for review and edits—but having a good outline speeds up the process.
During this stage, the content that has been developed is reviewed and approved by all teams. This includes reviews from copy editors, content managers, subject matter experts, the legal team, and other members who are vested in the project’s outcome.
Defining the approval process and feedback is essential. Without a proper approval process, you run the risk of error-prone content that could damage your brand reputation or confuse customers. Invest time into a thorough review process to ensure only optimal content reaches the intended audience.
In this phase, you need to consider how to present the content, where it’ll be posted, and create internal links in previously published posts. For example, when publishing a blog post, you can add photos or videos to break up blocks of text and make it more engaging.
When working with a CMS (Content Management System), you have options to customize how your posts will appear on the page, including:
After making all these decisions, preview the post and publish when everything looks good.
Measuring success and making adjustments is a key part of the management process. You gather data on its performance and adjust your strategy accordingly. For example, marketers can look at metrics such as page views, click-through rates, and time spent on the page to understand whether the content resonates with their audience. They also assess qualitative measures such as feedback from user interviews to determine how customers view your content.
After you’ve published the content, your job’s not done. You need to distribute and continuously monitor its performance every quarter.
You can regularly audit your content to ensure it reaches its maximum conversion potential. Here are a few things you can optimize:
This improves its chances of gaining traction and achieving success in terms of engagement. At the end of this process, you will have high-quality content that engages with its target market.
By creating an organized system with clear roles and responsibilities, marketing teams can focus on creating content that resonates with target audiences while avoiding content burnout and writer’s block.
Creating a sustainable workflow for long-term success is an absolute must. With the right content workflow in place, the content creation process can be streamlined, which inspires and motivates content producers. So, implement the process discussed in this blog post and create a process that works for you and your team.
If you’re looking for a tool to manage your content assets and create a content-enabled team, start a free trial of Content Camel today.
Put content to work. Organize. Share. Track.
Content Camel is a sales enablement tool used for sales content management. High-growth sales teams use our system to quickly find and share the right content for each specific sales situation and measure content use and effectiveness.