Templatize Your Content Marketing – Part 2: Ideation, Planning & Production Templates

As a marketer or content practitioner, you’ve probably been using various types of templates throughout your career. But perhaps you’re trying to learn and tame the new animal that is content marketing, and not aware of how the content marketing process can be successfully templatized. That’s the subject of this series, and if you’re just joining us, you should check out last week’s post (link below) where I walked through a myriad of content marketing templates that can be used during the up-front strategy phase of the content marketing process.

Templatize Your Content Marketing – Part 1: Strategy Templates

Part 2: Templatize Your Processes & Workflows

Using templates within any industrial process normally results in speed, quality and efficiency improvements. Three areas where templates can deliver efficiencies in the content marketing process include content ideation, planning and content production workflows (how individual content items should be produced, edited, approved and published).

Content Ideation

On the ideation side, we’ve all probably experienced the sometimes-fun, sometimes-dreaded brainstorming meeting. These can be valuable if facilitated well, but in our experience, inspiration doesn’t respond to meeting requests. Hence we created the Parking Lot in DivvyHQ that provides a repository for ideas, and ideas can be added whenever inspiration strikes.

It’s also useful to create or find a tool that enables employees to submit ideas (or requests) by filling out a shared form or content brief. This process can be templatized across business units to create an endless flow of new ideas. For a great content brief template, check out this article by our friends at Velocity Partners.

Content Planning

I realize that the thought of having more meetings is nauseating, but holding a regular editorial planning meeting is critical for content marketing success. Regular (weekly?) content planning meetings ensure that you are proactively looking ahead and maintaining a consistent schedule of new content for your marketing properties/channels. In the traditional publishing world, these meetings often happen daily, but today’s marketing departments need to think of themselves as publishers and get on board with a consistent editorial planning schedule.

To help facilitate these planning meetings, we created a content planning meeting agenda template that is designed to set expectations for what will be covered in the meeting, what attendees should have prepared for the meeting, and provide some prompts for brainstorming new ideas that align with your content strategy. The downloadable meeting agenda template can be tailored to your specific needs.

Production Workflows

As marketers and communications teams take on more and more content channels, properties and initiatives, the shear volume of content to produce can get overwhelming quickly. The result? Missed deadlines and inconsistent publishing frequency.

Imagine this… You have a favorite magazine that you crave. For years, it has hit your mailbox on the same day every month. You can’t wait to get your hands on this month’s issue and you open your mailbox… it’s not there. WTF? In the publishing world, that’s unacceptable. We, as content marketers, should have that same mentality. But how do you ensure deadlines don’t get missed and your publishing schedule is consistent? Workflows.

For every type of content that you regularly produce, you and your team should sit down with a whiteboard and map out the workflow. Ask yourselves:

  • What are the specific steps we need to complete in order to get this type of content done from start to publish?
  • Who is responsible for each step?
  • How much time do we need to allot for each step?

The process of mapping out your workflows can be templatized and repeated for each type of content. To dig into this more, Robert Mills of GatherContent recently wrote a great post on defining your production workflow for the Content Marketing Institute.

Workflow Templates in DivvyHQ

Part 3 Preview

Next week, we’ll dig into various content marketing template examples for different content formats that you probably produce regularly, like blog posts, case studies or website landing pages. Using templates for these types of content assets can ensure consistency in formatting and higher-quality content. If you’d like to be notified of the upcoming posts in this series, please subscribe!