Over the last couple of weeks, organizations around the world have been scrambling to make working from home their new normal in a concerted effort to flatten the curve of COVID-19. Here at Mintent, we are in the same boat, though many of us have been working from home off and on for a while now. In most areas, we are fortunate telecommunications infrastructure and video conferencing technology have advanced to be able to support this change in the way business needs to be done. Imagine if we had to be doing this at scale over some of the first generation web conferencing solutions. Even today we all struggle from time-to-time with the questions, “Is everyone on?” “Can you hear me?” “How about now?” 

However, being able to meet and communicate “face-to-face” is only part of the transition. Organizations also need to look for ways to become better, more efficient remote communicators the rest of the time. Content and communications are often time-sensitive and always need to be reviewed by multiple stakeholders to ensure they are accurate, compliant and on-brand. Processes and systems need to be developed and put in place to ensure the ideation, creation, distribution, monitoring and optimization of content and communications are streamlined. Distributed teams and team members should have clear visibility into the volume, substance and status of all of the content they are required to collaboratively create. 

Disjointed spreadsheets, unstructured shared calendars and tangled email threads do not help, but rather hinder, the efficient flow and distribution of content. But this is still the unfortunate norm for many. In most organizations, all content to be shared externally needs to follow a well-defined workflow and approval process to ensure accuracy and organizational compliance. However, not all groups have had the time or perceived need to put these types of processes in place. 

Now, more than ever would be a great time to get started defining and implementing more efficient content and communications operations. Here are a few things to think about in terms of defining your processes.

Content Planning: How do you strategize and plan for future content creation? Do you have a documented content strategy? How do you deal with unplanned, but necessary content and communications?

Content Types: How many different types of online and offline content do you create? What specific information is required to create, classify and organize each type of content?

Workflows: Which teams or team members are typically involved in each stage of content ideation, creation, distribution, monitoring and/or optimization? Do any of these stages require approval from single or multiple stakeholders before proceeding to the next stage? Who needs to be notified as a piece of content moves through its lifecycle?

Collaboration: How does your team collaborate during content creation? How is content reviewed and how are changes tracked?

Storage: Where do you store and organize all of your content and related items (e.g. images, documents)? How should these be tagged for future reference or retrieval?

Organization: How do you organize and keep track of all of your content and its current status? How do you identify what’s past due, due now or upcoming? How do you identify gaps and what content needs to be created next?

Performance: How do you measure the engagement and/or performance of your content? How do you identify what content is working, when and where? Do you have a process in place to adjust your content and/or distribution on the fly to maximize its effectiveness and ROI?

Reporting: How do you report on all of the content your team has created, distributed or planned to assess the past or plan for the future? 

Tools: What tools do you currently use to manage your content throughout its lifecycle? How effective are these tools? Can you identify areas where additional tools or integrated content marketing platforms could introduce efficiencies?

Overall Process: Have your content/communication processes been documented? What gaps exist in your current process? What tools or procedures can be added to fill those gaps?

All reports seem to indicate our new normal is here to stay for a while. Those organizations best able to adapt, introduce operational efficiencies and provide a better user experience for their team members will no doubt be the ones who thrive. Our suggestion is to start by ensuring you have clear answers to the questions above in a documented process, then look to fill any of the gaps you’ve identified with people, procedures and/or technologies.

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