“This is top priority right now. Let’s get this done.”
You hear the words and you scramble. You schedule interviews, conduct research, and write a spectacular piece of content on that high priority topic.
But once your part is done, it sits, waiting for the green light. Or it’s put on hold because something else popped up that’s even higher priority.
You poured yourself into that content. You know it’s fantastic and your audience will love it. But sadly, you’re used to this “hurry up and wait” modality. In your department, it’s the norm.
Whip Your Content Production Process Into Shape
Getting content published isn’t just about research and writing — it’s about having a steady, well-organized content workflow. Use this guide to write compelling content and tell great stories.
Think of these 5 steps as your trusty roadmap to creating content more effectively and efficiently, every time.
1. Assign someone to own content production workflow
A project manager is indispensable. We don’t expect a pilot to fly the plane while also handling air traffic control. And we shouldn’t expect a content creator to manage workflow.
That’s where a project manager comes in – to act as traffic control. They keep tabs on content requests and assign leads. They set the strategy and see the content through to final approval and execution. And they track team utilization and the volume of work coming in and out of the workflow.
The key to this position is relieving the content creator from dealing with workflow management tasks. I think they’re a pretty big deal.
2. Identify and stick to a content workflow
Without a step-by-step action plan for content production, things can get messy. Use a defined content workflow to keep steps organized. Here’s an example of a workflow that can keep things moving along:
- Identify a content need
- Submit a project request
- Begin planning (including budget approval, resources, and due date)
- Research (such as SEO and stakeholder interviews)
- Content creation
- Review and approval
- Publishing and distribution
- Project close (including analysis and governance)
3. Implement a project request process
Do you often get content requests from other internal departments? Is leadership constantly asking for new marketing materials? To keep all of your requests more organized (and strategic), implement a project request form.
The project request form helps project initiators and stakeholders break down what content they need, when, and why. This process ensures that critical, need-to-know information gets to the project manager or lead before work even begins.
The project request form lets project initiators/stakeholders take a moment to think strategically about the request and understand what they’re asking for and why.
4. Use an editorial calendar
Content calendars come in all shapes and sizes. No matter the size of your marketing team, it’s crucial to have a central place with the details and logistics of each content piece. Make it easily accessible for all team members. If possible, use a calendar that keeps track of deadlines, individual tasks, and strategic details.
The editorial calendar should cover how to plan ongoing content, but it should also evolve as your strategy does. As your workflow becomes more efficient and streamlined, your calendar will, too.
A highly organized editorial calendar can do so much more than keep track of due dates. Today’s content marketers use sophisticated editorial calendars, like DivvyHQ’s content calendar, that do a lot of the organizational work.
5. Set (and stick to) a defined meeting cadence
One of the smartest ways to create more organized content is to make meetings more efficient.
When conducted without structure or goals, meetings drain resources and time. Some team members notice this and stop attending altogether. But when structured correctly, meetings can help achieve alignment, remove roadblocks, maximize strategic planning resources, and build stronger, more cohesive teams and stories.
Meet regularly with your content production team. Discuss the latest developments, such as new content requests and current project statuses. This approach keeps your team in the loop (so they can’t say they didn’t see that update via email.)
The Goal: Make Your Life Easier
No matter how large or small your marketing team is, the goal of workflow management is to create a process that leads to fewer headaches. No more rushing to get started only to face hurdle after hurdle along the way.
Invest in making content workflow management a priority for your marketing team. When it pays off, you’ll be able to describe your process as “smooth sailing.”