Why Content Management Teams Might Consider Switching from a Project Management Tool to an Editorial Calendar Solution

Want to hang that accidentally artful photo you shot from your smartphone but can’t find your hammer? Consider this: Compass the grounds until you find a flat-ish rock that’s small enough to wield yet big enough to force a metal spike through wood.

Now, before pounding, please know that my experience with this method is limited to recently finding it on the internet to make a forthcoming point. So if you’re scared for the safety of your digits — an entirely rational fear — maybe just spring for a new basic hammer. That way, if you need to reshingle next week, you’ll have a perfectly functional hammer to pass up on your way to buying a more apt roofer’s hammer, replete with shock reduction and a shingler’s hatchet.

My content marketing-related point being, if your team is on the hook to produce just a few pieces of content per month, a rock (spreadsheet) might do. Add a few more content deliverables, and your spreadsheet will start to cause blisters, at which time a traditional hammer (project management tool) can feel like a delight.

Add still more deliverables, incorporating more channels, formats and people, and eventually your traditional hammer shows its limitations, too. Your team, getting raw from the friction, compensates. Consistency suffers, followed by quality. It’s at this time when a roofer’s hammer (a content planning tool with as many editorial calendars as you need) might feel like manna from heaven.

Today, you won’t find as many high-volume content teams messing with spreadsheets (thankfully), but you will still find too many teams trying to patch together a comprehensive content operation with a tool that’s less than ideal for the work.

If you oversee a high-volume content marketing operation, here are three specific ways your team might benefit from replacing your project management tool with an editorial calendar-based solution. If you’re already convinced that your next solution needs to feature an editorial calendar, I also recommend learning what to look for in a content planning tool.

Repeatable, Scalable Workflows

Suppose you need to create both an email nurture series and a webinar this month. Those two processes shouldn’t mirror each other as they’ll involve different people using different technology to deliver different inputs and different types of quality checks.

To consistently create the optimal output, you should be able to start with a workflow that’s customized for the task at hand, needing to make only minor tweaks – which you’ll want the ability to do, and should be able to do with ease – to adjust for situational specifics.

When you’re working within a specific calendar or on a specific content format, these specified workflows can be templatized and generated automatically. That’s a major difference from project management tools, where it’s not so much that content teams can’t create customized workflows, it’s more that the customized workflows aren’t all that intuitive to apply, making it all but impossible to scale them.

Because it’s typically harder to implement a customized workflow within a project management tool, team members too often default to the “traditional” workflow for everything. That requires customizing “in the moment,” which often means either more process overhead, or workflows go uncustomized. And when that happens, content leaders are left wondering whether proven processes are being followed.

Iterative Content Creation

If your team is like most, you don’t need to create everything “from scratch.” That is, you’ve got certain deliverables like similar website pages and episodic content that take on the same look and feel as something that already exists. When this is the case, iterative content creation can save your team loads of time and lead to greater consistency.

For example, let’s say that you routinely produce case studies. Using DivvyHQ, you could either create your outline in the WYSIWYG editor, or you could attach a document template to be downloaded and used whenever anyone creates a new case study. Now, the person creating the new case study can skip past the first few steps while also having mission-specific information at a glance.

Creative Collaboration

When you generate lots of content, you also generate lots of conversations about content. Your tool should make it easy to have conversations that move content forward both in terms of production and quality.

For example, your team can take advantage of the “Activity” field within each content item in DivvyHQ to facilitate tighter content collaboration in the following ways:

  • Isolate conversations related to a singular piece of content. By tying conversations to a content object, there’s no confusing what each conversation pertains to.
  • Get notified when someone adds a comment to your content projects. These updates will show up on your Recent Activity dashboard for instant, prominent visibility. That way, you can contribute in a timely manner to keep the project moving.
  • Keep a record of any intricacies happening outside the normal workflow. This allows anyone to step in and gather the context so they can contribute. This can also be helpful when it comes to reviewing workflows for potential process improvements.

If your title includes “marketing,” and you’re working, you’re probably working with or within a tool. Are you spending your days as wisely as you could? If you’re not sure, we humbly suggest taking two week’s worth of practice swings with DivvyHQ to make sure it hits your nail on the head.