Create a Stellar Content Marketing Workflow in 7 Steps

Matthew Stafford Jun 17, 2016

Reading Time: 4 minutes

Effective content marketing doesn’t happen in a vacuum. It should never be up to just one person in your organization. Building and maintaining a content marketing workflow will help you keep your content marketing efforts on track, which can help you drive massive levels of engagement. An effective content marketing workflow balances the needs of the entire content marketing team. In this post, we’ll share no-nonsense tips that will empower you to manage your team like a pro.

1. Keep it simple

A pitfall of sophisticated software like MindJet or Microsoft Project is that they can make it easy to over-complicate things. When creating your workflow, ensure two things:

  • Your team can see the big picture.The team knows what they’re doing, and more importantly, why they’re doing it.
  • Individual team members understand their role.Each team member knows what they’re supposed to do, and when they’re supposed to do it. They know why their role is important. Everyone sticks to the established communication channel.

2. Let it run itself.

An ideal workflow is mostly self-operating. No one person should sit at the helm at all times, making sure things are done. As mentioned, employees should stick to a pre-determined channel of communication. Additionally, you should establish a hierarchy that allows employees to pass work up from one person to another. Some of these are obvious, such as writer to editor. For instance, you could plug your SEO expert into the chain and your most social media savvy employee. Remember, creating a workflow isn’t just about managing tasks, it’s about managing people. Once you have assigned people to roles, create a flow chart that shows the chain of events.

3. Create a powerful Editorial board.

An editorial board supports your content marketing workflow in four ways:

  • Keeps people sane
  • Reduces duplication of work
  • Ensures consistent management of tasks across channels
  • Helps you determine how well your content performs

This board helps your people focus on the brand. Roles include:

  • Executive Overseer. The head of marketing or otherwise qualified individual. This person checks in when needed or at quarterly meetings, but a hands-on role should not be necessary.
  • Board Leader.This person manages the editorial calendar and leads board meetings. They make sure that everyone is on the same page and they delegate work.
  • Secondary Board Leader. This person sits in for the board leader when the board leader is not available. They may also fill one of the roles below.
  • Creative Representative. This person leads a team who is responsible for keeping everyone up to date on changes to brand identity. This includes changes to branding as well as to copy style.
  • Social Representative. This person or team is responsible for monitoring what customers are saying about the brand. They are the advocate for the consumer and help upper management stay in touch with what customers want. They also identify and reach out to social media influencers who could become valuable brand ambassadors.
  • Public Relations. This person or team creates press releases and articles that inform the public about news concerning the company.

Important note: Your editorial board should not have a rotating membership. Put your best people on the job and keep them there. You want your team members to develop a rapport so they can work efficiently together.

4. Make a list of your distribution channels and keep it updated.

You want to know how your content is getting distributed. Here are the typical channels:

  • Social media networks
  • Outbound emails
  • Public relations staff
  • Customer support staff
  • Any digital distribution channels you own (websites, blogs, third-party blogging platforms, guest blogging)
  • Internal collaboration systems (SharePoint, Google Docs, Trello)

You can’t create a smooth content marketing workflow without keeping tabs on these distribution channels.

5. Assign distribution channels to your board members.

Add additional oversight to the members of your editorial board. The idea isn’t to set your workflow in stone here because people will come and go. But what you want to do is have your most trustworthy people overseeing segments of the entire operation.

Important note: ideally, you want to match people with tasks based on interest and expertise. It should feel like a collaboration, not a dictatorship. You don’t want your creative talent feeling as if they’re being trampled.

6. Stick to deadlines.

Everything in your workflow should have a deadline, no matter how trivial it seems. Remember, intentions are worthless; only action matters. Aside from helping to ensure things are done, deadlines are crucial because they encourage accountability. Flexible deadlines breed a casual environment, and in the world of content marketing, timing is everything. If your team can’t stick to deadlines, you’ll miss the wave and losing thousands of hits to your site. Content that goes viral does so quickly, and the attention span of the public is quite short.

When you’re just starting out, you may have to estimate how long certain jobs in the chain will take. That’s fine. But be prepared to refine your deadlines as you go.

7. Create workflow templates for particular types of content.

You’ll find you can’t use the same flow chart for webinars that you use for long form content or infographics. You want visual templates because they crystallize all the work you’ve done up to this point. Make sure your editorial team has easy access to your templates at all times.

Naturally, your workflow process will change as your content marketing operation evolves. You should revisit your marketing plan quarterly, so you can incorporate anything you’ve learned over the last three months. Don’t be afraid to experiment, and as always, have fun.
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Matthew Stafford

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