How to Stick to Your Content Marketing Schedule: The Glue Guide

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Meta: Consistent publishing is a pillar of content marketing. Learn how to stick to your content marketing scheduling easily with the right tools.

Ideate, plan, create, edit, post, track, repeat…the mantra of every enterprise content team. If only it the content process were as simple and easy as that! Consistent publishing of content is critical to ensure your efforts drive results. Yet, it’s really hard to stick to a content marketing schedule. In the best of times, any number of things can disrupt and delay the process. In the worst of times, there is no documented process, which typically equates to your publishing schedule being little more than a pipe dream.

So, what’s the key to committing to and executing on your content marketing schedule? It comes down to the big three: people, process and tools. More specifically, you need to have:

  • The right people in place who understand their content workflows (and will be held accountable for their role)
  • A documented strategy and plan that they are working from
  • The right technology tools needed to execute.

In this post, we’ll explore how you can stay true to your schedule with what we call “The Glue Guide”.

A Quick Preface: Commitment, People & Accountability

Before we get into the meat of this article, which largely covers the tangible best practices that the most successful content teams use to stay on track, there are many intangible factors that you and your individual team members introduce into a creative production environment. Many of these things are beneficial to the group (unique skills, abilities, perspectives, etc.). Some are a detriment (poor organization, time management, stubbornness).

Probably the biggest red flag that we notice when working with struggling teams is that the leadership has not made a true commitment to content marketing, which, like traditional publishing, requires consistency. The lack of commitment trickles down to a lack of expectations on hitting deadlines, and no accountability for individual team members who have plenty of other things to do.

In some industries, inconsistent content publishing might not have much impact on the bottom line. In others, it could mean that a competitor is consistently stealing your lunch money. So, ultimately, you have a decision (a commitment) to make. If you don’t make the commitment, set appropriate expectations, and start holding your team accountable, all the tips listed below aren’t going to get you very far.

Ok, with that out of the way…

Step One: Document Your Content Strategy

To stick to a schedule, you must have a roadmap, and that’s what a content strategy is. It contains the blueprints of delivering content that achieves your desired objectives. It includes:

  • Brand guidelines
  • Goals and objectives
  • Defining your audience with buyer personas
  • Mapping the customer journey
  • Processes for content development
  • Frequency of content development
  • Parameters for each type of content
  • Resources you need—people and technology
  • How you’ll promote and distribute content
  • What content analytics you’ll track to measure performance
  • How existing content should be maintained

Without this foundational document, you can’t develop a content plan, which is the next step and involves the strategy’s actual execution.

Step Two: Develop a Content Plan

A content plan is different from a strategy. It’s the go-to-market plan that incorporates essential elements for the “who”, “what”, “when” and “how” you will deliver content “where”. Content plans are often unique per channel or content property. The key components are your content calendar (schedule), content workflows, and collaboration.

For example, a content plan for a corporate blog should define the audiences you’re targeting, the topics you’re covering, the frequency of your publishing, the workflow for producing blog content, and who will need to be involved in the process.

Content Calendars

The content calendar is your scheduling hub. It details every project and its stage. It’s a transparent and accessible tool that keeps everyone on the same page. It allows you to define every part of the creation process. It can also help you identify bottlenecks that prevent you from meeting your schedule, which could be anything from approval delays to lack of resources.

Many content teams encounter problems when they don’t have a dynamic calendar. They may use spreadsheets or other shareable documents. These are fine for small operations but they can’t keep up with an enterprise. Ideally, the calendar should be part of a content marketing platform, syncing changes and notifying contributors.

Content Workflows

Content workflows are the processes to get from idea to publication and measurement. It standardizes how you create, and these are vital for staying true to your schedule. If you have consistency in these, you can produce more content with higher quality.

These workflows are fluid and may change depending on your strategy and available resources. Keep them updated and communicate changes. Check out the video below for more details.

Content Collaboration

The third critical aspect of planning is collaboration. In an enterprise team environment, lots of people are necessary for each project. It includes content marketing professionals and those outside it, like sales, subject matter experts (SMEs), legal, and compliance. Having a technology stack that enables collaboration promptly is crucial.

Content collaboration is difficult in any organization. If you have silos, it’s even more so. The more inclusive you can make the process with all stakeholders, the better. That includes clear communication on expectations as well as technology to support it.

Step Three: Analyzing Where You Are and Charting Ahead

You didn’t just start content marketing today, but you have to look back before you can leap forward if you want to improve throughput. In your analysis, you should determine:

  • Your average frequency: How much content are you producing right now?
  • On-Time Completion Rate: How often did you hit your publishing deadlines?
  • Biggest challenges: What were the issues that kept popping up that slowed down production? How can you address them moving forward? (Most likely with steps one and two.)
  • Workflow effectiveness: If you have workflows, are they working? What are the gaps? What can you do operationally to improve them?
  • Production goals: Where do you want to be with production? If your average now is eight pieces a month, but you want to get to 12, how do you do it? What do you need?
  • Accountability: Finally, you need to assess the accountability factor. You can’t be true to a schedule without it. So, if there are failures, why are they happening? Is it due to technology? Bandwidth? Or is the problem on an individual level?

So, what you do in step three will inform the previous steps because a content strategy and content plan are fluid and always evolving. You’re on a fact-finding mission in step three, looking at the data to move forward.

Step Four: Visiting Technology

MarTech is essential for modern marketers. No one has the time to work manually. Technology gives you greater confidence in sticking to your content marketing schedule. In addition to a content calendar within a platform, you should seek out some other features as well:

  • Content automation: We don’t mean robots writing your blogs! Rather, content automation is looking at repetitive tasks in the workflows that don’t need human intervention. The most important are production workflows, notifications, publishing, and reporting.
  • Centralization of strategy and planning: Your platform should be the house for your strategy and planning. By having these accessible and part of the technology, content management is much easier. It simplifies processes with an intuitive user interface that supports your team, goals, and schedule.
  • Content analytics: While measurement isn’t part of the schedule exactly, it’s an integral part of content marketing. It closes the loop by aggregating metrics and providing them in an easy-to-view manner. These analytics then inform the process.

How Will You Stick with Your Content Marketing Schedule?

With these four interconnected, cyclical steps, you’ll have a much better handle on your content marketing schedule. Don’t expect changes overnight. You have to commit to consistency. To do this, you need the right platform. Check out how DivvyHQ can be just that. Try it for free today.