The Complete Guide to Content Lifecycle Management

When you create content, you’re giving life to ideas. Each idea is conceived, matures, blossoms, and makes its way out into the world to do something good. But the story of the content lifecycle doesn’t end there. There are many steps, from ideation to distribution to preservation, within that lifecycle. Much like good parenting that creates productive humans that go off to do great things, the process of content lifecycle management should be a pillar of your enterprise content team’s content strategy.

As a parent myself today, we don’t have to look very hard to find resources on how to be a great parent. We can dig in deep on all stages of childhood and gain a better understanding of how to manage each stage of a child’s development. I’d highly advise you not skip the chapter on dealing with teenagers. 🤪


In a similar vein, the content lifecycle needs to be understood and managed properly. There are major benefits to this in the form of better content that actually fulfills its purpose in life. And there are horror stories of wasted time and resources on content that goes nowhere. Today, I’d like to provide you with a guide that should help ensure your content operation is producing winner after winner.

Let’s start with more on what this process entails and why content lifecycle management is important.

Managing the Content Lifecycle Increases Its Usability

You’ve probably heard that a lot of content has no impact on your target audience. A report from the Content Marketing Institute (CMI) revealed that 70 percent of content assets remain unused due to not having a management strategy. Further, LinkedIn research suggests that sales teams don’t use 80 percent of marketing content.

What a waste. You can help shrink these numbers to deliver relevant, engaging assets to audiences by leveraging content lifecycle management.

What Is Content Lifecycle Management?

To start, let’s define the process. It includes the planning, creation, optimization, organization, distribution, measurement, and preservation of content. The framework intends to:

  • Increase the efficiency of content workflows
  • Ensure understanding of performance by using content analytics
  • Extend the life of content, even if it’s not evergreen
  • Remove barriers inhibiting the success and usability of the content

The Stages of Content Lifecycle Management

The content lifecycle includes seven stages. Let’s review each so you’re prepared to launch your own program.

Content Planning

divvyhq elements of content planning diagram

In content planning, you’re executing your content strategy. This is the phase where you get granular about tactics. You’re determining what content initiatives to pursue, building a foundation of processes and workflows. It includes these core elements:

  • Documented processes and content workflows
  • Creating a content calendar, which becomes your central schedule of projects and all the tasks associated with them
  • Repeatable setups for projects to support new team members’ onboarding and training
  • Identifying how you’ll promote and distribute content
  • How you’ll eliminate barriers to content collaboration
  • Formulating what metrics to track to understand performance

These critical components set the pace of the following six phases.

Content Creation

Next is doing the work to make ideas turn into assets. First, you need to come up with ideas. This can involve brainstorming around your content clusters, which are the overall categories content fits into. In ideation, you’ll also need to include data from current content performance, keywords to target, and the business’s goals.

After you have these in place, it’s all about the content workflows. They should entail every task necessary to complete the project, from the first draft to review to publication and promotion.

Those should be part of your content calendar so there’s no confusion about the status of a piece.

Content Organization

You have assets, but don’t consider the work complete. You should store content in a central, searchable repository. This ensures easy accessibility by your content team and sales or other teams. Ideally, you want to use a content marketing platform to house the content.

A quick tip to make things easy to find is using a consistent naming convention. This may include the title of the piece, keywords, or any other feature.

Content Editing and Approvals

content lifecycle management - content editing and approvals

At this part of the content workflow, your work receives the final review. It may involve these principles:

  • Copyediting for grammar and checking against brand style guides
  • Reviewing by the head of content and other stakeholders (i.e., subject matter experts, product managers, legal, compliance, etc.)
  • External approval should the content be a case study or include a quote

For you to streamline this, content collaboration must be easy within your platform. Once all parties weigh in, writers will make the final edits.

Content Publication and Distribution

Post-approval, content is ready for publication and distribution. Your content needs to get in front of the right audience to maximize its value. You also need to ensure that sales, customer service, or other teams are aware of it. They’ll need access from the storage repository or the website page.

Your content marketing software should also support the distribution. Your central channel is likely social media. Being able to do this from one system saves time. However, that’s not the only avenue. Look back to your planning. How else can you maximize distribution? Some examples include:

  • Email marketing, as part of a newsletter, one-off message, or nurture series
  • Paid channels — social media advertising, SEM (search engine marketing), or sponsored content
  • Earned media outlets, such as references in an industry publication story
  • Amplification platforms that syndicate content

Not every piece of content will have a big distribution push. Put your efforts and dollars there for those you deem as the most valuable.

Content Reporting

Next, you’ll analyze the results. Data on content performance can live in multiple spots — your website, social media profiles, email marketing tools, and other systems. Make sure you have a solution that aggregates this to one dashboard. This makes content analytics access so much easier.

From there, you’ll determine what topics and formats are most effective. This will influence your next round of planning. See how it works in DivvyHQ.

Content Preservation

The last stage is preservation (a.k.a. content governance). It’s what happens post-publication and measurement. In this part of content lifecycle management, you decide what to do with an asset. Some you’ll retire because they are no longer relevant or providing any value. Others are evergreen in nature. In that example, the message remains, but it may need minor changes over time. Others will be worth a refresh. That refresh can be updating statistics, changing keywords, or removing information that’s now inaccurate.

Many of your assets can still attract audiences long after publication. Revitalizing them extends their life!

Content Lifecycle Management Is Easy with DivvyHQ

To implement a content lifecycle initiative, you need technology designed specifically to manage that process. Our platform has all the features and tools to help you with all seven stages. From customizable workflows to analytics dashboards, you’ll find managing the content lifecycle to be straightforward and hassle-free.

Experience it yourself by starting a free trial.