Creating content for your marketing campaigns is always an ongoing process. If you feel like you’re always running to catch up, that’s a sign that you need to properly nail down your content workflow. When you have a workflow in place, it makes everything work much more smoothly and allows you to put out the best content, on time. Here’s how to create that workflow yourself.
What is a Content Workflow?
Before you can create a content workflow, you need to know what it is. The fact is that even if you haven’t defined it, you have a workflow of some sort.
The content workflow is the process in which your content is sourced, created, checked over, and then delivered. When you have a well-defined workflow, that allows you to get things done in a much more efficient manner.
Typically, your workflow will look something like this:
A ‘swimlane’ diagram visually depicts this process. That has the progression of the above tasks shown horizontally, with each task in the ‘swimlane’ of the person in charge of it. For example, writing and editing will be in the copywriter’s lane, while reviewing and approval are in the subject matter expert’s lane.
Why a Workflow is Important
Why should you take time to put a workflow together? When you have one in place, you’ll know who does what in the process, and when. “You’re very likely going to be working on several projects at one time,” says Simon Lane, a business writer at Boom Essays and Academized. “As such, it’s very easy to lose track or get stuck on what’s meant to be happening next.”
With a content workflow in place, if you’ve ever stuck you can simply refer back to the workflow itself. Defining your workflow allows you to break every section down into component tasks, and identify every step needed. It also helps you see who’s responsible for what, and when.
When you have all that information identified and laid out in a workflow, you’ll find it much easier to stay on top of content production. It makes it easier to identify any bottlenecks too. This way you start removing them to make the workflow more streamlined.
Creating Your Content Workflow
You know why it’s so important to have a content workflow, now you need to start making yours. There are several steps you’ll need to take in order to do so.
Work out who’s involved
The first step is to work out exactly who is involved in your content creation. There are going to be several people in the process, and knowing who they are will help you identify who should do what during the workflow.
The number of people, and the roles they play, will differ depending on exactly what you do. For example, you may have marketers, content strategists, writers, graphic designers, project managers, and so on. Who, in your business, manages content?
Identify what each role does
Now you know who’s involved in making content, you need to know what they do in the content creation process. Each role will have a number of assigned tasks that they’re responsible for.
Define the tasks in as much detail as possible, as this allows for more streamlined work and less confusion. For example, rather than simply ‘approve a draft,’ you’ll define this as ‘approving a draft’s spelling and grammar, accuracy, readability, voice, and tone.’ Then you’ll need to allocate that task to one of the roles involved in your workflow.
Work out task due dates
You’re always going to need a deadline for your content, to ensure that it gets done in a timely manner. It’s never as simple as ‘create content by x date’ though. There are going to be several complexities, such as getting content reviewed by legal or marketing.
“When creating deadlines, keep these complexities in mind,” says Jen Harries, a marketing manager from UK Writings and State Of Writing. “Understanding individuals’ responsibilities and schedules will help you keep things on track.”
Assign someone to oversee tasks
Once you have the basic content workflow put together, you’ll need someone to oversee it. They will be responsible for identifying any bottlenecks that arise, and ensuring every piece of content makes its way through the workflow with ease. Having a visual depiction of the workflow, which can be done with specialist software, makes it easy for them to have a bird’s eye view of what’s happening.
Once you have a content workflow in place, you’ll see just how much easier it is to get content done and published quickly. Put together your workflow and you’ll quickly see the difference.