The 1-2-3 Guide to Simplifying Your Content Workflows

At its heart, content marketing is not rocket science. Compared to PPC, buying ads, and other types of traditional and digital marketing, typical content workflows are pretty simple: create a piece of content, publish it, and promote it.

But, as the size and scope of an organization grows, the process can turn into complete chaos pretty easily. The increase in people and teams mean more cooks in the kitchen. Each of those stakeholders have specific agendas, needs and expectations. And then there’s all the technology required to manage, publish and promote the content in all its forms. All of this tends to make content marketing more complicated than it needs to be.

Eighty-five percent of CEOs blame internal complexity for their failure to grow and deliver sustainable performance, with the most commonly cited problem being too much focus on internal metrics rather than the customer.

If you feel like your content workflows are involving too many steps and it’s taking too long to get a piece of content from initial idea to final publication and promotion, it’s probably time to rethink your process.

By streamlining and simplifying your content workflows, you’ll become more efficient, become more productive, and ultimately benefit more from your content marketing efforts. Here’s our 3-step guide to help you simplify, deploy the right technology and automate much of your process.

1. Identify Current Barriers and Sticking Points

Until fairly recently, email was the main way that many companies used to communicate and collaborate on their content. But email was not designed for this purpose, and so there are a number of problems that can occur when using email as your primary method of managing your content workflows, including:

  • Missing or late messages
  • Direction slipping through the cracks
  • Version control problems
  • Lack of clarity on edits
  • Data security issues
  • Inefficient search
  • No file centralization or management system.

A content workflow using email as the primary communication method might start with something like this:

  1. Research topics and schedule content.
  2. Content manager emails writers their list of topics and article due dates.
  3. Writer emails first draft of content to content manager.
  4. Content manager forwards that email content to editor.
  5. Editor sends an email back to content manager or writer with revisions.
  6. Content manager creates a new email to send content to stakeholders for approval.
  7. Stakeholders reply individually with comments and revisions.
  8. Content manager forwards each stakeholder email with revised content drafts to writer.
  9. Writer aggregates stakeholder drafts and revisions, edits content, and returns it to content manager.
  10. Previous six steps are repeated until final content is approved.

As you can clearly see, there are a lot of inefficiencies in this workflow and potential bottlenecks that will add extra time into content publication. For example, waiting for approval from stakeholders often holds up content significantly.

example of content workflows

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With this way of working, everyone gets a lot of messages and may have to review a single piece of content multiple times. The writer may end up with multiple revisions requested by different people, and confusion between different drafts and versions can easily occur.

Some other common issues in content marketing workflows include:

  • Lack of data-driven strategy
  • Lack of analysis and optimization
  • Inflexible workflow if something in the organization changes
  • Too many people involved in the workflow
  • Too many content silos
  • Bouncing back and forth between workflow and content management platforms

Forty-two percent of marketers surveyed by the Content Marketing Institute said that content production flow was one of their biggest challenges for the coming year.

top content management challenges

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Businesses can overcome these issues by using a content platform specifically designed to make content management and collaboration smoother and more efficient.

2. Choose Tools and Platforms to Assist Your Content Marketing Management Process

Once you have a better idea of where you’re going wrong with your current content marketing workflow and management process, you can take advantage of tools that are designed specifically to make the process smoother and easier.

Some examples of content management tools you should consider include:

A content calendar or scheduling tool

A content calendar that provides a top-down view of all your content projects and that everyone has access to is a must for making sure that your content marketing campaigns stay on track.

Planning out your content in advance and assigning clearly visible responsibilities will ensure that everyone knows what they’re supposed to be doing and when they should be doing it.

A content calendar also makes it easier for you to plan out different activities across a single content campaign and to integrate your campaigns across several different channels.

A content workflow tool

Make sure to build content workflow into your workflow, too!

Your carefully thought out content management processes will only work if everyone involved has a clear idea of the process.

Content workflow tools lay out every step that you need to take to get the most out of your content, from idea generation to publication and promotion.

Content storage and management tools

How do you keep track of your content once it’s published? It’s common to store content assets in many different places, but this introduces inefficiency and can make it difficult to find what you need later.

An efficient content management tool will enable you to tag and categorize your content, making it easy to search later. This in turn makes it easier for you to repurpose content and to monitor and analyze published content at a later date.

Performance measurement and analysis

Once your content is live, it’s important to analyze and monitor its success so you can continually optimize your content production.

Review and analysis should always be built into your content workflow, and there are many content analytics tools available that can assist you in measuring the effectiveness of your content campaigns and improving them in the future.

3. Automate Repetitive Tasks

Once you’ve decided on a robust content workflow and management process, you can streamline it further by identifying tasks that can be automated.

Marketing teams waste hours every week by manually performing tasks, such as replying to emails, updating spreadsheets, and posting on social media, all of which can easily be automated with marketing technology.

The content promotion stage is one area where most businesses can save a lot of time and streamline their workflows by using marketing automation.

Automation platforms can be set up to automatically publish notifications to social media and email lists when a particular piece of content goes live.

Automated approval processes after a set amount of time will also ensure that no individual holds up the content publication process. When everyone has a clear picture of the content workflow and understands their responsibilities and the timeframe involved, the whole process will run smoother and more efficiently.

If you’re interested in seeing a tool that can do all of this for you (and more), schedule a one-on-one demo today.