Creating an effective content workflow is a lot like baking a cake. If you accidentally pour unfinished batter into an unprepared pan, the damage is done. You can’t go back and prep the pan after the fact.
Imagine your cake batter is your content, and the cake pan is its publication. If your content goes straight from the writer to your consumers, you are running a lot of risks. You must first edit and fact-check the content before publication and distribution. Readers become disinterested or upset at careless, incorrect content. And once the information is out there, it is nearly impossible to recover.
Having the right people in place on your content team is not enough. To create quality content every time you post, your company needs to outline its processes in a content workflow.
In this post, we’ll cover the topic of content workflow — what it is, how to manage it, and how you can create one for your business.
What is a content workflow?
A content workflow is a series of tasks your team performs to take your content from ideation to delivery as efficiently as possible. Although it outlines the processes, a content workflow is also heavily reliant on the people, tools, and resources needed for content creation.
Strategists, writers, editors, and managers are people you would have on your content team. Their tasks, seen in a workflow, include planning, writing, editing, publishing, and more; however, each function is not necessary for every content type.
Depending on the content type, your workflow will change. Businesses can publish various content like newsletters, blog posts, and social media posts. The content workflow is different for each asset. For example, compare the publication of a newsletter and a social media post. The most evident difference in this process is that the content types go through different channels. Once you break down the workflows, you will discover that each may require separate people, processes, tools, and resources.
With so many moving pieces necessary for creating a content workflow, managing the process becomes a top priority.
Content Workflow Management
If left untamed, your content workflow can become complicated and confusing for your team. To successfully manage your workflow, start by outlining the processes, people, and tools involved in the content creation process.
To manage your content workflow, identify the steps needed to create content. They are:
While this is the basic workflow for content, each step has supplementary processes depending on the content type. You can build these extra steps as you create your content workflow. At this stage, it’s helpful to outline a content strategy.
An effective content workflow focuses on the processes needed to publish content, but people are arguably the most vital part. One aspect of managing content workflow is identifying and managing key players. These people are responsible for fulfilling the steps in the content creation process listed above. For example, for strategizing, you’d need a strategist. For reviewing, you’d need an editor.
In conjunction with managing your people and their processes, content workflow management also covers the tools needed to complete the work.
For your content team to fulfill their roles and work through content creation processes, they need tools. Content has to be created, edited, shared or managed somewhere. Managing your team’s content workflow means managing the tools it needs.
Content management systems, like CMS Hub, are essential for publishing blog posts. Canva and Adobe Photoshop are great tools for design. These are just three of the many tools your company might add to its content tech stack.
As the content marketing industry booms, your business needs to expand to accommodate this growth. This expansion reflects an increase in the people, processes, and tools associated with your content workflow. The more comprehensive your workflow becomes, the more daunting it is to manage; however, integrating content workflow software can solve the problem.
Content Workflow Software
Content workflow software, or a workflow management system, is a program that manages the content creation process through planning, production, and publication. Instead of teams using multiple methods and approaches to monitor the content process, workflow management systems help you create a centralized location for your team to visualize its processes. It promotes the execution of your content strategy in alignment with company goals.
The added benefits of using content workflow software include:
- An increase in productivity
- A reduction in errors
- An improvement in workplace collaboration
Increase In Productivity
Without using a content workflow software tool, team members are left with extra work and time wasted. These issues are removed with content workflow software because it is automated. It eliminates sending email updates because the software sends them for you. Content teams don’t have to guess the timeline of a project because the system manages it for them. Everything happens quickly and efficiently.
Reduction In Errors
Nothing is perfect, and you can’t expect the same from your content workflow. Even so, content workflow software helps reduce errors. It helps your team stay ahead of deadlines. It allows you to identify what processes in the content workflow need adjustment. Content management software gives your company the tools for improving your workflow.
Improvement In Workplace Collaboration
Content management software improves workplace collaboration between team members and the apps and platforms they use. Executing your content strategy requires many different people who use various tools. Workflow management software allows your team to notify and update another member while the software integrates with several content management systems, email providers, messaging services, and social media platforms.
To take advantage of the benefits of using content workflow software, learn more about Marketing Hub and how its marketing automation technology simplifies tasks.
Content Workflow Template
Content workflow software is fundamental in keeping up with your content strategy; however, you need the appropriate steps to build your workflow. Only then can you get the most out of the software. Where do you begin? Here’s how you can create your content workflow.
How to Create a Content Workflow
The people, processes, and tools necessary for executing your content strategy are helpful markers in creating your content workflow. To create a content workflow, you need to:
- Decide what content to create.
- Create a breakdown of actionable tasks.
- Assign roles.
- Determine the time associated with each task.
- Document your content workflow.
Decide what content to create.
First, decide “what” you are creating. Is it a social media post? Is it a newsletter? Your company has the choice of creating many content types like infographics, blog posts, video content, and more, and you will need to create a workflow for each.
Create a breakdown of actionable tasks.
Once you are focused on a particular content type, outline the necessary steps needed to get it from strategy to publication. Consider this sample workflow for a blog post. Its process might look like this:
Strategizing > Planning > Creating > Editing > Publishing > Analyzing
While these are broad tasks for creating a blog, this is where it needs to expand. Strategizing typically includes performing content audits, creating buyer personas, and conducting keyword research. Editing might involve implementing SEO techniques or adding images and links.
Every step in the process needs to be accounted for so it can be assigned to the appropriate team member.
After you have the tasks for your content process, it’s time to decide who does them. This step can help identify if anyone is at capacity in their role and if you need to bring in additional members. Using our blog example above, this is how you might assign roles.
- Strategizing > Content Strategist
- Planning > Content Manager
- Writing > Copywriter
- Editing > Editor
- Publishing > Content Manager
- Analyzing > Content Manager
After assigning responsibility for each task, determine how much time is necessary for completion.
Determine the time needed for each task.
To determine how much time you need for each task, consult your content team. How much time does your writer say it takes them to write a 500-word post? What about a 2500-word post? Use the length of time they give you and build in additional time. It can help your company avoid working with tight timelines or missing deadlines.
After this step, your content workflow might look like:
- Strategizing > Content Strategist (1 day)
- Planning > Content Manager (<1 day)
- Writing > Copywriter (2 days)
- Editing > Editor (1 day)
- Publishing > Content Manager (<1 day)
- Analyzing > Content Manager (Ongoing)
Once you have outlined a process for the tasks, people, and length of time needed for creating your content, your content workflow is complete.
Document your content workflow.
The last step in creating your content workflow is documenting it. Companies typically use standard operating procedures (SOPs) to keep their teams aligned with the process. Marketing Hub, Trello, and Evernote are examples of systems that give teams easy access to documents like SOPs.
Content workflows work, so you don’t have to.
Content creation isn’t simple. There are many elements in publishing content and successfully executing your content strategy. Creating a content workflow helps your team stay on task by increasing productivity, reducing errors, and improving workplace collaboration. The predetermined flow of each process makes it easy, but managing individual tasks becomes increasingly chaotic without content workflow software.
When managing how your content transforms from an idea to publication, content workflows handle the heavy lifting.