How does your organization create content? What types of content do you create? Are multiple teams or individuals involved? Are approvals required before content can be published? Do you have a formal process and, if so, how is it structured and managed?
Content marketing workflows enable you to define repeatable processes including individual or team task assignment, approval structures and communication protocols. A good workflow should first define the roles and responsibilities of all members of your content management team at each step of the process for each of the different types of content you create. You can then lay out an effective timeline and communication system for making it all happen, while keeping all necessary stakeholders informed.
Besides the obvious benefit of becoming and staying organized, workflows can also help you do a lot more with your content, all the way from ideation to the realization of ROI. In this post, we will show you five things you can do to improve the success of your content marketing program using workflows.
1. Regularly audit your content
Some marketers spend a lot of time tracking their content inventory and performance metrics using spreadsheets. If all is well in their world, they will have time to periodically check and manually update the spreadsheet to make sure they are on track.
That’s the best case scenario. As marketers, we know we don’t always have extra time to dedicate to actually keeping a documented record of everything we do in a day. Some days, we even need to be reminded to breathe.
The other problem inherent to spreadsheet content management is wasted time. It doesn’t matter how diligent we are in updating it, it still takes time away from our day and it can quickly become outdated (sometimes within a matter of minutes). A quarterly review might be sufficient to see how much you’ve accomplished, but it’s not enough to know what, out of alllll of your content (not to mention your blood sweat and tears), actually worked. You might be missing opportunities to create content for a certain market or repurpose content you didn’t know was ranking on search engines and you might end up missing out on content actually addressing your buyers’ needs. A content marketing platform can help to consolidate all of the data you’ve been trying to cram into all of those spreadsheets and then make it readily available for scheduled auditing. By auditing your content, you will be able to see where the gaps are in your workflow. Here is an easy to understand graphic to help you identify those issues:
In the rest of this post, we’ll show you why implementing a solid workflow process can avoid these common pitfalls.
2. Develop a templated, but flexible, process
An effective workflow management system will enable team leaders to define repeatable content marketing processes. For example, when creating an article, if you know your typical design and content creation stages each take 1 week to complete, your legal or executive approvals are required in a maximum of 2 days and your publishing process can typically be completed within a day, you can build a reusable template and then work backwards from a Final Target Due Date to determine when each stage within a project must be delivered. However, we all know projects never go exactly to plan despite our best efforts, so it’s important to have a system, which offers the flexibility to change your workflows on the fly and then automatically adjust timelines accordingly. Introducing efficiency will give you and your team more time to focus on creating great content.
3. Focus on your top performing content
Does part of your workflow process include analyzing your content to determine which content types, themes or channels you should be focusing your efforts on?
By adding a content marketing software platform to your stack, you can automate much of this work , keeping you organized, and keeping your whole team on track — allowing you more time to focus on strategy (woohoo!). You will also be able to easily identify your top-performing content and get more out of it by repurposing and recycling it using other formats or across different channels.
By having an analytics solution integrated seamlessly into your content marketing process and workflow, you’ll be able to see the how each channel, type of content or geographic region is performing within your campaign. From here, you can adapt your efforts based on results and finally start measuring the ROI generated by your content. By creating your content within our platform, Mintent’s proprietary tracked links technology can enable you to see your buyer’s entire digital journey. Using tracked links, you will be leveraging content tags, cookies and conversion paths for all of your content- both on and offline. This empowers you to view detailed engagement and conversion analytics which will allow you to identify your best channels and messaging, prove marketing contribution to ROI.
4. Get the entire team aligned and communicating
When drafts and content items are buried in long email chains, personal desktop folders, Slack channels and various Google docs, staying on top of deadlines and your team members’ responsibilities can become a nightmare. Versioning can also be a huge roadblock to getting things out the door because people have different ways of storing and naming their work.
Take for example our client, Cross Border Communications, a busy marketing and PR agency. They were using a combination of email, Skype, and Google docs to manage projects for multiple clients. Given their team creates press releases, blog posts, eBooks, white papers, video scripts, infographics, presentations (and more) for clients, workflow management became a big problem for them.
The agency works as a distributed team with writers and graphic artists based all over the world, so intra-team communications is important. They used Skype for team meetings and to message each other with quick questions. But the real problem was sorting through the email and spreadsheets and the lack of visibility into the overall team workflow. Founder Elena Verlee knew there had to be a better way. “We started to turn down work because it was difficult to keep up with all the emails and changes to our project management spreadsheets,” said Verlee. “I couldn’t tell where the bottlenecks were, and whether we were over-resourced or under-resourced for our projects. We are known for our excellent client service, but projects were falling through the cracks and I didn’t want clients upset due to missed deadlines or poor communications.”
They started using Mintent’s automated workflows to get organized and were able to keep track of all projects and deadlines seamlessly. Using a workflow means you can easily assign tasks to teammates. Each team member will get notified automatically when they’re up to bat, so you can hit every deadline, and stop managing your content with confusing email chains and complicated spreadsheets. You can also link due dates to certain project components, request revisions, and add new assignees or watchers as your project requirements change.
Elena from Cross Border stated that “for the first time in months I felt that I could just set a project in motion and everyone else would take care of what they needed to do, without me asking or micromanaging. I could literally set it and forget it and projects would pop out on time – and if it didn’t, I could easily see where it got stuck.”
5. Distribute content across the right channels for your organization
When you have a structured workflow, it should do more than just make you more productive. It should also help you to reach your content and marketing goals. By building in necessary elements such as keyword research, buyer personas, scheduling, performance analytics into your workflow, you’re much more likely to hit your goals.
For example, keyword research is critical to developing content based on the organic keywords required to help readers find your content. Without actually identifying the high value keywords you need to incorporate, you won’t have much luck being found or even ranking on search engines. This begs the question, “Why are you creating content in the first place?”
As you learn more about how your content marketing actually affects your business outcomes, this can help you optimize your workflows accordingly, based on what is important and what works for your organization.
Workflows and content automation are absolutely imperative to any company with a marketing team of more than one person. This being said, putting a proper automated workflow process in place will require a little help from technology. If you’d like to try our automated workflows out for yourself, get in touch with us to schedule a free, no pressure, personalized demo.
Learn more about our content workflows here.