“But I’m not a project manager!” We hear that from lots of creatives that move up to marketing leadership positions and face the challenge of marketing project management without any specialized training in the field.
If this is you, relax. With the right tools and a few project management basics, you’ve got this.
Project Management for Marketing 101
As Fool.com’s Robert Izquierdo points out, project management in marketing differs from other types of project management in two ways:
- Marketing project management always requires research: Whether it’s a new product that your teams need to investigate so they can point out its best features or determining the target segment for a new piece of content, your teams must dig into product and buyer persona research to deliver the results your C-suite demands. And speaking of executives, part of your research needs to focus on aligning your marketing goals with those of your company’s leadership.
- Using data wisely is the key to success in marketing: Once you’ve aligned your teams’ goals with your company’s, you need to use data to estimate a project’s cost and which key performance indicators (KPIs) are essential to its success. With a robust content analytics solution that you can customize to your company’s exact needs, all you need to do is to plug in the variables and measure the results.
Tackling a project management plan boils down to covering four areas, says Izquierdo – the scope of the project (its objectives, what it will cover, and what work it needs to complete it), the resources you’ll need to carry out the project, the budget you’ll set, and the timeline your teams will need to finish it.
Follow These Steps for a Successful Project
To carry out your plan, you need to follow four steps:
- Brainstorm: Meet with your teams about all the tasks your teams need to complete, the resources you’ll need for each task, the KPIs you want to achieve, the research you need to do, and the timeline you need to follow to meet the project’s goal.
- Input the plan into your marketing content calendar: List all the tasks your teams need to complete, along with the resources they need for their work in the order they need to complete them. Assign tasks to members of your team, and then set deadlines, including milestones for each major step, to avoid the all-too-human tendency to procrastinate.
- Give your teams the go-ahead to start putting the plan into action: Although you’re delegating most of the creative tasks to your team members, you need to stay in close communication with your team throughout the process. Avoid the tendency to micro-manage. Instead, make it known that you’ll welcome input from them during the project, whether it’s clarifying a topic, difficulty completing a deadline, or if they need input from other teams, such as subject matter experts, the sales team, or the customer support department. Keep an eye on your calendar to see how work is progressing throughout the project, and don’t hesitate to reach out if you see that one of your team members is having difficulty.
- Measure the results: After you’ve published your content, watch your social media and content analytics closely to see how your project performed. If it’s not performing up to par, look it over for any weaknesses and revise it to perform better. In fact, we recommend a yearly audit of all your content so you can keep it up to date and performing at its best.
Tips for Marketing Project Management Success
We’ve covered the basic elements of project management for marketing teams. But now, let’s get into a few details that can really elevate your project management game.
Emphasize Content Collaboration
The larger your organization, the better the chance that teams live in their departmental silos. Instead, encourage your marketing operations teams to reach out to people outside the department for their input.
As you jot down each team member’s tasks on the content calendar, include notes that instruct them to collaborate with others about the topic.
For instance, if a team member is producing a video about the new car that’s about to roll out of your factory, a note that says, “Get input from Eva in Engineering about the deets” can help your teams add a wealth of technical details that only content collaboration with subject matter experts can provide.
With a central repository for all your content and an ideation area for collaborators to add their two cents’ worth without emailing back and forth, collaboration will come naturally to your teams.
Make Resources Easy for Teams to Find
Referencing past content in new pieces adds depth to your audience’s experience. If your content platform accommodates a robust content metadata solution, they can find past content quickly by topic, the audience’s place along the buyer’s journey, and the buyer personas to whom it would likely appeal.
And, if your content marketing platform integrates with your digital asset management (DAM) system, your content creators can add elements of visual interest to their written content, breaking up the monotony of long blocks of text and conveying information in a form that visual learners best comprehend.
Using some of your most valuable pieces as content pillars also helps your new content rank higher in searches, making it easier for your target audience to find it. But if your teams spend all their time hunting for it, they’ll likely not use it. So, include these “pillar” pieces on all your briefs.
Use a Dynamic Content Calendar to Handle Last-Minute Changes
No matter how well you plan, there’s always that last-minute content request from Development for a quick blog post touting the benefits of their new app just before the deadline you set for your upcoming ebook.
With a dynamic calendar, you have the flexibility to shift tasks around to accommodate those requests. And, if your calendar is transparent to all stakeholders, you won’t have to send those frantic emails and texts out to notify people of the sudden shift. They’ll see it as soon as they log in.
Conquer the Chaos with a Platform Built for Content-Centric Project Management
Cookie-cutter project management software can’t provide the cross-channel, cross-silo integration that today’s marketing teams need. With full transparency in content planning across the enterprise, real-time notifications, and analytics that integrate all your company’s analytics under a single roof, DivvyHQ is the solution marketing project managers need to take their game to the next level.
But don’t take our word for it. Put DivvyHQ to the test free for 14 days starting today!