A Content Marketer’s Guide to Designing Efficient Workflows
Designing a content workflow may not be the most exciting part of content marketing—but it’s critical to success.
Content workflows inform who needs to complete what task at any given moment, all while ensuring the content is accurate, in alignment with your strategy, and optimized for distribution. Simply put, they’re the secret to any high-performing content program.
Let’s look at how you can create better workflows in your organization.
Why Effective Content Workflows Matter
A workflow is a series of steps by which you organize your content so that it moves seamlessly through the production process. Naturally, your workflow will depend on many factors—including the relevant parties involved in the content creation process, the size of your team or company, and the scope of the project.
As a content marketer, you may be juggling multiple projects at once, so workflows can help keep you on track. They can also align expectations between contributors and help overcome common content roadblocks, like a lengthy stakeholder review.
But to craft workflows effectively, you need the right tools and people in place, plus an understanding of how different dependencies will affect the overall process. You should proactively iron out a high-level workflow for all content when building your strategy and then a more granular workflow for each specific content asset.
Adding workflow management tools to your MarTech stack can help increase accountability and eliminate process redundancies. What’s more, they enable you to solidify and document content workflows, giving full transparency into the processes needed to get projects from ideation to distribution.
Building Efficient Workflows
Workflows are at the core of meeting your content strategy goals, whether that be driving traffic from organic search, generating revenue, or anything in between. Overall, aim for consistency and structure among workflows for different assets, with some flexibility depending on your content goals.
When building efficient workflows, start with these five steps:
1. Choose the right writer for the job.
A good content writer will produce work developed with well-defined goals. Considering your budget, identify somebody on your team or external to your company who understands your audience, objectives, and brand’s needs. You may want to find a freelancer or contributor with a background in your industry or hire a writer with a strong background in a specific format or channel. Remember: High-quality, audience-driven content will help drive efficiency.
Tools like Contently can help you build your creative dream team. Our Intelligent Talent Recommendations feature matches content marketers with award-winning freelancers who are right for any job based on your content strategy. Contently also assists with contributor staffing, management, invoicing, and payment, so you can focus your attention on telling great stories.
2. Incorporate subject matter experts into your workflow.
Some content assets, especially those written for more experienced or knowledgeable target audiences, should have a layer of review from a subject matter expert (SME) to ensure accuracy, which builds brand credibility.
In my own experience, I have found that involving an internal expert offers a sense of comfort when publishing content on a particularly complex or sensitive topic. SMEs can also be helpful in content creation, whether you interview them for podcasts, turn a conversation into a blog post, or even leverage them for influencer marketing. Plus, involving internal SMEs is an excellent way to build cross-departmental relationships and rapport across the organization.
But SMEs who don’t work for you directly or recognize the value of content may hesitate to invest time in content creation. This is where solidifying a workflow, establishing clear deadlines, and articulating your goals from the get-go can help.
With Contently, you can get internal or external SMEs to review content, whether they are a user on the platform or not. With the standard or off-platform tabs, you can email the Contently link to an SME for review inside the platform. With no need for a login, this off-platform step enables all of your edits to remain safe in one place. This provides a clear deadline, enables you to track a project’s progress, and maintains version control of your deliverable.
3. Embrace consistency and accuracy.
For readers to view your brand as a thought leader, you need to create factually sound content. Providing incorrect or outdated information can damage your credibility. One solution is to embrace fact-checking as a standard practice in your workflow, ideally in the early stages of review.
Consistency within the review cycle itself is also essential. It confirms that voice, tone, and brand style across your content assets are aligned. Tools or materials like style guides can make this easier, too.
Contently’s integration with IBM-Watson helps our clients maintain a consistent brand voice throughout the content they create. Using this machine learning algorithm, you can assess how closely your content aligns with your brand’s tone. Illustrated above, you’ll see the goals of The Content Strategist, ranking a piece for the publication’s ideal tones of openness, conscientiousness, extraversion, and agreeableness.
4. Get your legal team on board.
Identify upfront what projects will need an additional layer of review beyond the SMEs involved. Including your legal team in your workflow as an extra precaution can help protect you from legal hurdles you may face by publishing certain content assets.
A senior executive or your PR team may need to review content where, for instance, your brand is taking a solid stance on a sensitive topic. Think about the potential ramifications of publishing a piece of content and work backward when establishing your workflow.
With Contently, this is where the off-platform feature can come in handy, especially if your legal or PR team is operating outside of the Contently platform. In the screenshot above, you’ll see a place to select the off-platform approver. You can even add this contingent review to a workflow template if it’s a repeatable task to save time on future deliverables.
5. Document your workflow.
Stay organized by documenting the steps of your workflow before the content creation process begins, so you can focus more on the quality of your content and less on operations. The Contently platform enables you to create workflow templates for repeatable tasks.
Workflow documentation also makes the editing process fully transparent to all key stakeholders, who can then factor their specific tasks into their to-do lists as they juggle multiple responsibilities.
Leverage project management software or other tools to set deadlines, create tasks for key players, and notify employees of missed deadlines. For example, Contently enables you to create workflow templates that auto-populate dates based on the start date of a project.
Content Planning and Workflows With Contently
To drive results in marketing, you need great content. But it’s hard to get there without first establishing the right steps and processes. Effective workflows can only make your content production that much stronger.
In the Contently platform, you can build “smart workflows” that ensure compliance and process adherence, with automated notifications to keep writers on track. You can also create an individualized workflow for each project you create, with clear visibility for everyone involved in editorial processes and procedures.
With our technology and freelancer network, you can turn around content quickly and easily with the right tools, dashboards, and stakeholders to drive measurable results.
Request a demo to explore how Contently can help you create a content workflow that drives efficiency.