Whatever industry you work in, your ultimate goal is to perform your duties in a proper and timely manner. When you have everything organized and structured, your work doesn’t have a spontaneous and chaotic nature. The truth is that this constitutes a real problem for many individuals and teams. So, it’s better to start any activity with a robust plan and create a workflow.
If you work with content and content marketing in general, you definitely have the same concerns. In 2017, 70 percent of marketers lacked well-thought strategies as they simply didn’t pay attention to their content workflows. But the more tasks and projects you have, the more likely you are to miss crucial phases that define your success. Having a plan for producing content is of a special importance as a content workflow influences any following distribution activities.
What is a workflow and why is it important?
A workflow is a pattern that reflects all the steps you need to take to work on your tasks and projects. It has a logical organization where actions go one after another and do not impede natural process. Depending on a number of tasks or projects, individuals and teams can have a few workflows.
In 2017, 86 percent of B2C marketers in North America used content marketing. It is highly likely that this number will be moving towards 100 percent in a few years. And yes, marketers will put more emphasis on their content management workflows.
Here is a step-by-step guide that will help you create your content management workflow and keep up with it. Moreover, you will also find useful tools that will save you hours of time.
This is one of the most vital steps during the whole process of content creation. If you haven’t still made your name and aren’t an expert with tons of followers, you’ll want to start with thorough research to gain some credibility. Go through lots of relevant sites, especially those where professionals in the field share their expertise. Note that the higher rank or authority a site has, the more natural credibility your readers will find in your research.
After you are ready with materials, figure out what exactly you will cover in your article. Break it down into logical blocks and depict them. For example, you can use Mindmeister and create a mind map that is a perfect way to visualize your ideas.
But what if you’ve run out of ideas for your next article? No worries. There are special tools like Buzzsumo. It analyzes how your content performs as well as studies your competitors’ content to help you build great strategies to promote yourself in your industry. In terms of content marketing, it’s one of the leading tools for content creation.
“When you create content without a strategy you’ll find that you have tons of articles with little to no traffic. Roughly half of your time should be spent on strategy and marketing.” – Neil Patel, co-founder of Crazy Egg, Hello Bar, and KISSmetrics.
This is another critical step. Without proper planning, you miss all the dates and deadlines of content creation and distribution. Here is where project planning tools and project management software help a lot. Moreover, most of these tools allow teams to collaborate and keep participants on the same page.
There are few approaches that prevail in project planning tools and project management software. One of them is a Gantt chart. This is a chart with a vertical and horizontal line. The first one is where you put your tasks. The second one depicts start and end dates of each task thus showing timelines. A classic example of Gantt chart visualization is GanttPRO online Gantt chart software.
For example, you need to write four articles during two weeks. For this, create your project, break it down into smaller tasks (articles), set dates and dependencies if needed, and track the progress of your tasks.
You can also choose the Kanban approach – another popular way to plan and manage tasks and projects. It differs from Gantt charts in its core pattern. In Kanban, you work with tasks that are visualized as cards. Here you can create columns and drag & drop cards between them thus changing a status of your tasks. As a rule, here it is preferable to create To do, In progress (Doing), and Done columns. Trello will meet your requirements if you choose this approach.
3. SEO analysis and keyword research
SEO still plays an important role in content marketing. Tools like Semrush are great for analyzing keywords and making your content optimized for search engines. These tools also help to analyze competitors’ content and niches where you fall behind.
If you are not experienced enough with SEO, with Semrush it is not a problem to create a detailed SEO template with the keywords you need. There you will receive recommendations based on how to write a competitive piece of content based on top-10 search results.
The tool also shows backlinks to your site, ranking scores, traffic volume, and lots of other useful statistics.
People listen to those who achieve high results in their fields and earned respect. Therefore, to give your article weight, find relevant people, interview them, and enrich your content with their opinions. Such articles will receive more recognition from the public and more content outreach for you. This is why we write an article, isn’t it?
Platforms like influence.co provide a list of people with whom you can collaborate.
Writing lets us talk about our brand or product, create relations with our audience, or tell a story. Before you start writing your piece of content, you have already conducted research, found keywords, and got influencers’ points of views. All the rest depends on your ability to express your thoughts and convince readers with them.
If you work in a team, Google Drive is a perfect tool to organize collaboration. You can simultaneously work on the same document, edit it, leave comments, etc. But if you work alone, it is still a great choice for saving documents and working on them online.
No book goes to publication immediately after a writer finishes it. The same goes for content. As soon as you are ready with your text, it is time to check it from different angles.
First of all, it should have a logical structure and cover all the points that give a reader a full and clear picture of the issue. Give answers to as many «Why» questions as possible. If you think you are biased toward your own writing and can’t see this piece of content clearly, consult editors and proofreaders.
But some work you can make on your own. Grammarly helps to check spelling, punctuation, and grammar. It offers free functionality that is enough to write mistake-free content.
There is also a great tool to help you create clear and precise writing. If Grammarly checks your grammar, Hemingway Editor polishes the style of your story and helps to deliver your message without prose distractors. Its core purpose is to create readable content. The lower grade you get, the more readable your content is.
7. Social distribution
A well-written article should find its audience. There are many ways of distribution and sharing. Every professional content marketer knows his/her best working channels and always works on finding new ones. This process is not fast and in many cases can be even a secret one.
But there is one working way to distribute your content – social channels. With Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and other social networks you can directly speak with your audience without much effort. The only pain here is time: it requires hours to schedule each piece of your content, post it, and analyze.
Fortunately, there are social media sharing apps that help to manage your accounts in minutes. Some of them are on everybody’s lips. Some others are also great but less widespread. With the help of Kuku.io, you can create content calendars to schedule your posts and work with insight analytics of your content, followers, etc.
There should be some kind of analysis in all work. Otherwise, we would be creating content and putting it on shelves where it is not interesting and reachable to anyone. Working with content, you should be ready to analyze how it performs.
Tools like Curata help to track content and its metrics, work with lead generation, sales impact, and shares. It also offers an editorial calendar where it is convenient to collaborate inside big content marketing teams.
Working on content creation is not an easy task. But if you have a logical workflow and proper tools, you can significantly succeed in content management with less made efforts.
Andrew Stepanov is a content writer and communication specialist at GanttPRO. The company develops intuitive Gantt chart software for efficient project management. When he is not writing, he spends time with his family, listens to rock music or watches sports games.