How to Perfect Your Creative Workflow [Template Included]

Perfecting your teams’ creative workflow has never been more crucial when you’re leading content marketing operations for a major company. According to a new NetLine study, B2B leadership’s appetite for content is growing by leaps and bounds. On average, B2B executives must digest 13 pieces of content before they even consider engaging with a sales team.

Even more telling, B2B’s content consumption time is growing ever shorter over the years. For example, in 2020, it took the average B2B executive 16 days after downloading one piece of content from a brand to download another. In 2021, that time shrunk to 13 days.

Netline research - time to consume content

Image Source: NetLine 2022 State of B2B Content Consumption & Demand Report

It’s not only B2B teams that need to perfect their content workflow. B2C content teams, too, need to up the ante when it comes to content production – or risk a competitor overtaking them in brand reach. 61% of B2C companies plan to spend more this year on content marketing than last year, according to a Content Marketing Institute report.

To handle the increased content production that you’ll need to stay on the leading edge of your industry, you’ll need to streamline your creative teams’ workflow while improving your content’s quality. With a documented content workflow that everyone in the process can access, you’ll do just that.

Our advice is to have a creative workflow template on hand that can guide internal process discussions in an organized and transparent way.

Need a starting point for your template?

We have one you can download below. Then continue reading to learn about the various phases of a typical workflow. We don’t want anything slipping through the cracks!

The Ideation Phase

Start by looking at your company’s business goals. Then, define goals for each project that will align your content with those corporate goals. For example, if your C-suite wants to expand into new markets, you’ll need to sketch out how each piece of content can help you reach those new markets.

If your content marketing platform has a dedicated ideation area, use it to jot down your ideas during this early phase of content planning. Then, when you flesh all the details out, document it so that all the stakeholders taking part in the process can see it.

Steps you should follow during this early stage include:

  • Define the target audience and buyer persona.
  • State the type of content you want to create (blog post, video, infographic, etc.).
  • List the topic and the goals you want the content to achieve, including key differentiators you want your content to emphasize.
  • State the team members who will participate in the content collaboration, creation, and approval processes, including resource persons, such as sales teams, customer support personnel, or subject matter experts.
  • List the tools your teams should use to streamline the process at every phase.
  • Set the timeline for each task in the process on a dynamic content calendar.
  • Create and document the content brief.

Include directions for accessing your brand guidelines, especially if you work with outsourced talent or have new in-house creatives.

The Creation Phase

If you’ve laid the groundwork right for the ideation phase, your content creation process should go more smoothly. Still, your workflow should define each step, so your teams don’t waste time wondering what comes next. Here’s what we suggest you include in the creative workflow for this phase.

  • Brainstorm ideas with subject matter experts and other stakeholders.
  • Conduct research on the topic and your target audience’s pain points.
  • Create an outline and rough draft.
  • Make sure that your creatives have access to content leadership in case they have questions as the content develops.
  • Keep track of your teams’ progress on the stated timeline.
  • Be sure to indicate to whom your creatives need to submit their work for approval, such as the editorial team or the compliance and legal departments.

The Review and Revisions Phase

Depending on your company’s policies, your content might need to go through additional approvals in addition to your editorial teams. Make sure that your creative workflow lays out the steps in each process.

  • Document the proper order for approvals and revisions: If, for example, your compliance team wants to look over the content before your editors check your teams’ work for factual or grammatical errors, note the proper order for approvals on your workflow.
  • Provide approval teams with your brand guidelines: It’s not only your creative teams who should have access to your brand guidelines. Editorial, legal, and compliance teams might also need to refer to them if they come across something questionable in the content they’re reviewing. Making your guidelines easily accessible to these teams will save time during the process.
  • Give editors access to automated grammar checkers and other time-saving tools: Grammar checkers don’t always get it right, but they do catch most common errors. Also, consider giving your editors as well as your creatives access to a plagiarism detector, a readability calculator, and a keyword density analyzer. It never hurts to double-check your creatives’ work, especially when they’re working on a tight timeline.

The Publication and Promotion Phase

Once your creative and approval teams finish their tasks, it’s time to go to publication. Be sure to note on your workflow document if there are any protocols to follow during the publication process, such as saving the final version in your digital asset management system or loading your content onto a publishing platform.

Here’s a tip that can save you time during this phase of your creative workflow. When you build content automation into your workflow, as Michael Brenner advises, you can increase production without taking time from the creative process.

Here are some ways automation can promote your content to the right audience at the right time:

  • Segment your email audience by interests, time zone, and pain points: You don’t want to spam your email list’s inbox with irrelevant emails. Instead, take the time to segment your list so they only receive information they need at a time when they’ll likely read it. Then, use an email automation tool to deliver your content to your recipients at the optimum time.
  • Automate social media posting: Save time and reach more people by automating social media posts. Time them to post when your target customers are likely to be online. For paid and promoted posts, use social media analytics to identify audience segments that will benefit from the information your posts provide, and limit your audience to them.
  • Notify your company’s non-marketing teams when you publish content: Break down the corporate silos and get everyone in your company involved in spreading the word. With an employee advocacy program, your content can generate up to 64% more customers. Sending automated notices to all employees when you publish new content will encourage them to participate. After all, helping the company grow its revenue is in everyone’s best interest enterprise-wide.

The Measurement Phase

Your creative workflow doesn’t stop with publication. Learning what content worked and what didn’t will give you valuable insights that will help you create more effective content in the future.

Make content measurement a part of your overall workflow, and you’ll always be on top of your game. Include the following steps in your documented workflow:

  • Do a quick analytics checkup once or twice a week: Send yourself (or whomever you designate) automated reminders to do a quick check of your analytics at whatever intervals work best to achieve your content goals.
  • Schedule a content audit at least once per year: Conducting a thorough review of how well your content performed can identify your best- and worst-performing pieces over the content lifecycle. Armed with that information, you can revise your poorly performing content to perform better – and repurpose your best performers in another format.

Simplify the process by using a content workflow platform designed specifically for content marketing teams, like DivvyHQ. Having both a project management tool and everything you need for content production on the same platform is a game-changer for content, marketing, and communications teams across the enterprise.

And, to simplify your work even more, we have a creative workflow template that you can customize to your teams’ needs.