In order to stay organized and on top of your content output, you were told you needed a calendar. Then you were told to form a management hierarchy of sorts, so that everyone has their own job—whether it’s writing, editing, or approving—and everyone knows who reports to whom.
But if you’ve tried these two things, you may have also figured out how important a good content workflow is in getting everything done, done well, and done on time.
Your current workflow might include a project management tool, spreadsheets, a team Dropbox account, or maybe you’re still stuck in email hell—either way, you need more of a method to your madness.
If you want to manage your content workflow effectively, you’ll need to keep two basic, but critical, objectives in mind.
1. Keep Your Workflow Consistent
The first step here is to transition critical project information out of whatever email platform you’re using and either start to use a content marketing software platform that organizes all of your content workflows and processes, or start introducing pieces of software into specific areas of your workflow to make smaller efficiency gains.
An effective and organized content workflow shouldn’t center on sending constant emails that assign responsibilities and deadlines. It also shouldn’t hinge on your content creators and editors sending their content back and forth via email using whatever attachment they wrote everything in—think Microsoft Word, Google Docs, or a SharePoint link.
When content workflow depends on sending and receiving emails and hoping everyone reads what they’re supposed to, it will fail, and it won’t produce the results you’re hoping for. And, you’ll have no central place for documenting the ongoing conversation around a particular piece of content. Or, no place to store different versions of the asset. And worse, no actual tasks or ownership identifying who should be doing what, when. Bottom line: if you are still working and collaborating via email, you’re on the downfall.
Instead, consider implementing new processes and software that can support those processes.
For instance, you can create spreadsheets that indicate deadlines and responsibilities; just make sure everyone has access to them. Then implement a shared Dropbox account for images, important links, and standards and practices.
Next, create the blog posts in your CMS from the beginning of the assignment and have your writers write their content in that specific post; then have your editor edit the content directly in your CMS.
Final approval becomes a lot easier when there’s one specific place to look. Use project management software like Basecamp or Trello that will allow people to virtually check off their tasks when finished. If your team is ready to level up to highly organized content workflow, consider a content management tool that incorporates all of the above in one place: responsibility assignments, deadlines, and space to write, edit, and approve.
No matter what, you need to be clear and consistent about these processes. Everyone should know, without a doubt, which tools they are using for what.
Once you establish your new workflow, create a reference guide for your team so everyone is on the same page about how they use the workflow to contribute to the final result.
2. Keep Team Members Accountable
One of the effects of poor organization within your content workflow is that team members may not know what their roles are and when their deadlines are approaching. Even if they do, it’s easy to miss deadlines or create excuses when solid processes and operational oversight aren’t in place.
Good workflow management keeps each of your team members accountable, and it starts with better processes.
By creating a new process, utilizing better software, and making a reference guide for your team members, the excuses start to dwindle. When your team knows what the big picture looks like, they are accountable for their own tasks and can take stewardship in your team goals, holding others accountable as well: “Jenny, I finished up that blog yesterday; just wanted to check and see where you are on your edits before I need to take on my next role with it.”
With clear roles, responsibilities, and tasks to keep team members accountable, your team (and marketing organization) will have better visibility into your workflow, allowing them to collaborate better as well. They will know who is assigned to what, and who to talk to if issues arise.
Last Word on Workflows
Don’t lag behind with your content workflow with outdated processes and communication methods. The success of your content engine depends on the right technology, clear processes and well-thought workflows to ensure every important step is covered when creating content. Your company needs content to thrive, and production can increase in volume and effectiveness if you organize well and implement the right tools to help you and your team move forward.