Taming the Content Chaos with Workflows
Our latest research has found what we long feared: marketers haven’t found the right balance of who’s responsible for what tasks in content creation. Everyone from marketing leaders to content operations has a hand in producing assets, and their roles ebb and flow, often with no rhyme or reason.
Want to see what else the report found? Download the B2B Content Strategy and Operation Benchmark now.
With marketing directors asked to approve content ad hoc and writers and editors going endlessly back and forth on the same piece, content creation becomes infinitely more chaotic. Enter a content marketing workflow template to simplify marketers’ lives.
I’ve long been a proponent for writing things down—from grocery lists to to-do items. If I don’t write it down, I probably won’t get it done. But never has it been more important than when running a complex content operation. Creating a workflow template that applies to each content type lets you hit the ground running and deliver valuable assets to prospective customers.
Here’s how you’ll know your workflow is effectively enabling your team:
- Your entire team can see where there are roadblocks
- Deadlines that aren’t being met can be addressed and revised to streamline your entire process
- Everyone in your organization has visibility into all the amazing things you do each and every day to create killer content
A Content Marketing Workflow Template Broken into 7 Steps
With a well-crafted workflow, every piece of content is instantly prepped with the steps you need to produce a valuable asset. To get the most out of a documented process, cover every stage. Of course, the actual creation is a crucial component, but don’t forget the strategic components of setting it up for success and evaluating that success. Check out this template for your content marketing workflow steps:
Step 1: Open Ideation across Departments
The key to creating a robust content inventory is involving as many people as possible in the ideation phase—with one person or a small team acting as the filter. This creates diversity in coverage but maintains consistency in message.
Create a streamlined process for anyone in your organization to create and submit a content idea to the responsible team, maybe even encouraging idea submissions with shout-outs for particularly insightful ideas.
With Kapost, creating an idea is as simple as clicking a button and selecting the associated initiative. Of course, we’re proponents of our amazing software—it’s what we use, after all—but you could also recreate this process (post-its, perhaps?).
Step 2: Tag Content for Internal Identification
If you haven’t already, it’s time to introduce a taxonomy into your content organization. A content taxonomy is a tagging system that identifies the exact context for which a piece of content is relevant. For example, when speaking to an enterprise-level executive in the consideration stage, a salesperson should be able to search that context and find all applicable content they could use.
To create sales-ready content, add a workflow step to tag content with key attributes:
- Buyer persona
- Funnel stage
Bonus tip: make these tags available in the ideation step. This will allow you to streamline the entire process and make better content more efficiently.
Step 3: Identify and Assign Key Contributors
Now that your content has been tagged so that everyone can instantly see its specific role in your content operation, it’s time to curate the team responsible for its creation.
Depending on your team, you might want to automatically assign tasks to certain people in your workflow template. At Kapost, only one person is responsible for publishing blogs, but many different contributors are assigned the “submit” task. Regardless of how you choose to integrate a template structure, make sure to fill in each task with the appropriate individual once it’s been properly tagged and documented.
Find what works for your team and find a way to notify contributors of deadlines without dragging everyone into an extra meeting.
Step 4: Set Priority Level and Timeline
The next step to getting your content on its way to creation: slating it in your calendar! Each deadline should already have a team member assigned at this point. So, determine an ideal deadline and be ready for feedback on whether that deadline is feasible.
Some best practices to implement:
- Fully communicate with all involved departments to determine bandwidth
- Be honest with yourself and your team about how much time you can devote
- Build deadlines backward from publish date to give ample time
- Keep everyone in the loop to stay aligned on the progress of the asset
Step 5: Write, Design, and Edit, Oh My!
Now to the main event! Setting up the creation and revision of your content is nothing new to marketers. While the previous workflow steps have been more about the strategy and position of your content, now is the time to put those thoughts into words!
All of the cliches apply here: read your writing out loud, get several eyes on the asset for feedback, and when you’re feeling stuck, take a couple days away to come back with a fresh set of eyes.
Step 6: Publish to All Relevant Channels
Now, you have a beautiful piece of content to distribute across all the channels that’ll take it.
Some advice: Publish in advance. Your content should not be published the day it’s going live.
The benefits of publishing at least two weeks out:
- Eliminate fire drills: Holes will come up when you realize content you thought would be ready is being held up. When you have a backlog of content that’s ready to go, you can plug that hole in no time.
- Spend time with content: Letting content sit in the back of your mind gives you time to get creative and think through unexpected, amazing ideas before it goes live.
- Aligning assets to priorities: Getting your ducks in a row—and making sure that row neatly aligns with your business priorities—is infinitely more manageable when you’re not hard pressed to race against the clock to get an asset published.
While content published across different channels doesn’t have to be completely different, make strategic adjustments based on what performs best. We’ve found questions as CTAs work great on Facebook, but flop on Twitter. Play with your headlines to see what your specific audience prefers.
Step 7: Archive When Appropriate
Produce evergreen content whenever possible. But for the times it’s not possible—product launches, a buzzword you just have to address, etc.—keep a workflow task to evaluate the asset to determine if it needs to be archived. There’s nothing worse than a prospect landing on a piece of content that makes your company seem out-of-date and irrelevant to their individual needs.
Depending on the context, a good framework for this workflow task is to set a deadline one year after the publish date. At that time, evaluate the content and either archive or set another date for evaluation. This will keep your content on brand and effective.
When creating a content marketing workflow template, the most important thing is flexibility within reason. That means that, yes, your workflow template should be adjustable. But once you strategically implement the steps above, try to follow the process consistently before deciding it needs to be adjusted.
With these steps, you’ll be able to create a workflow for each and every asset to streamline your production process. The content chaos that results from poorly constructed—or nonexistent—workflows shouldn’t impede your content operation or leave anyone in your team questioning who’s responsible for what portion of content production. To see how the team at Kapost has used workflows to make our content operation more effective, check out our on-demand webinar, Kapost on Kapost: Content Marketing Workflows.