Beat the Bottlenecks: How to Create a Smooth Content Marketing Workflow

By: Chris Thompson on June 8, 2017 Categories: Content Marketing, Content Strategy, Corporate Communications
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A clear, systematic editorial workflow can save content marketers up to 50 hours a week and double the productivity of your creative team.
What’s wrong with your content marketing workflow?

Companies will usually settle into a de facto workflow. In theory, it should be simple: assign, produce, approve, publish.

However, a workflow can be so vaguely defined that people spend more time coordinating than they do actually creating. Content is shuffled through several layers of approval and often gets stuck in limbo until somebody remembers to follow up. Files and conversations are scattered in different email and chat threads.

What should a workflow define?

A good workflow defines process.

  • How to request content
  • Who will produce content
  • Where and how it will be delivered, reviewed and approved

A good workflow defines roles.

  • Who are involved?
  • What are their key responsibilities?
  • How much access do they have?
  • What are the lines of authority and approval?

A good workflow protects and aligns strategy throughout the process.

  • Are all team members informed of campaign objectives?
  • Are the customer persona and key messages clear?
  • Are brand assets easy to access?

Start with a basic workflow

Write down the content process and break it into milestones or tasks. Then, list the steps typically required for each stage and who is normally involved. Depending on your industry, you may need to have content reviewed by another department (legal, medical, finance). If you outsource some of your content, include the additional processes involved in hiring and monitoring a freelancer or agency.

Identify breakdowns in communication and production

If this is your first time formalizing a content management workflow, take a look at any previous campaign that may have been riddled with delays or problems, and then work backward. “What happened, what should’ve happened, what steps or processes could’ve led to a better outcome?”

List common bottlenecks and brainstorm how to improve speed and efficiency. Ask team members where they typically encounter delays or miscommunication. This usually signals a breaking point in your editorial workflow that needs clearer processes.

Centralize information and communication

Just like a workflow provides one clear process, a centralized messaging system and databank provides a single, clear source of information. Scattered files and isolated group chats will inevitably lead to miscommunication and delay.

Set clear standards and style rules

Content creators can save a lot of time by simply defining what is expected from every piece of content, and it also helps approvers. What should they check for? Accuracy, readability, voice, compliance with policies, etc. all these things help the creative team to tailor their work to the style guide.

Lock in deadlines and schedules

A clear content marketing workflow will also give you a good idea of how long it realistically takes for content to be completed. If you have reoccurring deadlines (ex: weekly blog posts, or monthly newsletters) then block them into the editorial calendar and set mini-deadlines in place.

By locking in your regular deadlines, your workflow already prevents delays and helps all team members manage their workload. Managers can also clear their schedules to anticipate days when they need to review content, or meet with the creative team for a brainstorming session.

 Automate your content marketing workflow

Mintent provides content marketing teams with one platform to plan, produce, publish, and measure content. It automates the content marketing workflow so that managers and creative teams can work faster and more efficiently. Take the free trial: