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How to Streamline Your Content Workflow to Improve Content Creation

Learn how to streamline your content workflow and enhance content creation. Discover effective strategies to optimize productivity and create high‑quality content efficiently.

Creating content is crucial for every business. Without content, you won't have a website, social media profiles, ads, or anything else you can use to promote your business. But is your content workflow impeding your ability to create valuable content more often?

Unfortunately, this means creating lots of content. In fact, as a marketer, you'll never stop creating content. A content creation process — or workflow — makes it easier for your team to create valuable and effective marketing content.

A content workflow is designed to streamline content creation efforts from start to finish, enabling your team to create more content in less time. So how can you improve your content workflow? Keep reading to find out.

A content workflow is your process for creating content. It consists of a series of steps you take to produce marketing materials like blogs, advertisements, social media posts, and so forth, encompassing everything from content planning and creation to publishing.

Your content workflow can be simple or complex, depending on how many people are involved in the process. You might have writers, graphic designers, website developers, editors, and content managers all working together during the content creation process. On the other hand, a smaller business might have a team of only one or two people.

The typical content workflow is a collaborative effort, but it's necessary to realize your content strategy.

A content marketing strategy that includes your content creation process and the various roles and duties of employees can help streamline things by eliminating bottlenecks and confusion. Ultimately, every team member will know exactly what they should be working on and when.

Having a defined content workflow enables marketers to:

  • Set clear objectives
  • Allocate resources properly
  • Guarantee deadlines and delivery

The main goal of a content workflow is to develop a plan of action for creating content from start to finish.

Identify the key stages in content creation

To understand your existing content workflow, you must identify key stages in content development. This may vary depending on the type of content you create. For instance, you won't need a web developer if you're creating social media content, but you may need one if you're creating blogs or new website pages.

The basic content marketing workflow looks like this:

Content ideation and planning

Content ideation and planning is the first step to building a content marketing strategy. At this stage, you're essentially brainstorming and coming up with ideas for content, whether they're social content, blogs, new website pages, or advertisements.

Having an overall plan for the types of content you want to create can streamline the process and means everyone involved won't be waiting for the next instructions. After finishing their part, they can move on to a new piece of content.

Content creation

Content creation is the part of the process where you start creating the content. If you're creating a blog, your writer will start writing while your graphic designer creates supplemental materials like infographics and other images.

Editing and proofreading

Once the content is created, it must be edited and proofread. We recommend having another person within the organization edit the writer's work because it'll make it much easier to identify errors. Don't forget to review any images or graphics with copy on them and fact-check any information within the content.

Publishing and distribution

Once the piece of content has gone through the editing and proofreading process, another person will take over the publishing and distributing of the content. A social media manager may publish a social media post while a website developer publishes web pages.

Performance tracking and analysis

Every piece of content you create can be tracked to help you measure its success and effectiveness. This is especially true for digital content in the form of social media posts, blogs, website pages, email blasts, text messages, and any content you create for public consumption.

Assess and analyze your current workflow

Is your content workflow working for you? If you frequently run into problems like bottlenecks and missed deadlines, your current workflow might not be effective.

The modern consumer expects relevant content regularly, so following a strict schedule is crucial. Yet, that isn't always possible when you have a disorganized workflow.

The first step to improve your current workflow is to analyze your existing one. If you're creating content, you have a workflow, even though it might not feel like it. Identifying bottlenecks and inefficiencies can help.

If you have a team of marketers and it takes them several weeks to create a single piece of content, you should understand why. Talking to each of them or holding a meeting can help you understand the bottlenecks and inefficiencies and why they're happening.

You should also analyze your time and resource allocation. Do you have multiple people waiting for one step to be completed before they can begin working? Are multiple individuals working on the same task?

While having your teams collaborate is beneficial, you should determine how many people need to work on each part of the content creation process to maximize efficiency.

In addition to identifying problems, you should also look for strengths within your current content workflow. For example, you might have knowledgeable employees who create great content, but they don't have the right tools.

On the other hand, you might find that inefficiencies are due to bottlenecks within the organization as a whole rather than the content team. An example might be if your product development team doesn't communicate with your marketing team about a new product release, leaving them little time to create valuable content to promote a new product.

Every business relies on content to effectively market its products and services. Not having enough content because you're too slow to create it can be your downfall. Streamlining your content workflows enables employees to get more done in a single day. Instead of working on one piece of content, they can work on multiple pieces of content.

Think of your content workflow as an assembly line, with each person responsible for a single task. The content will build and build until you have a finished piece. Here are a few ways to streamline your content workflow to create better content faster:

Define clear roles and responsibilities

Clearly defining roles and responsibilities can help your team members understand what they should be working on and when. You may have an entire team of marketers who are used to wearing many hats. While their expertise is valuable, they don't need to work on several tasks at once. Instead, they should focus on a single task. Writers should write, designers should design, and so forth.

Clearly defining the roles and responsibilities in a team helps employees understand where they fit within the content creation process. Having clear expectations also helps managers understand their team members' roles so they can better manage various projects and tasks.

Implement an editorial calendar

Having an editorial is crucial for developing a better content workflow. If your team doesn't know what comes next, they won't be able to create any content. The editorial calendar tells them which pieces of content should be created and when, giving them a series of tasks to complete by a certain deadline.

One week, the team might be working on a blog post, and the next, a social media ad campaign. Once one person has finished their role in the blog, they can easily move on to the social media campaign to keep the assembly line moving smoothly.

Establish efficient communication channels

Effective and efficient communication is crucial when working with teams. One person must know when another one finishes their portion of a content project. A website developer won't know to add a new page to a website until the design is complete. If the designer doesn't notify them, it will never get published.

In addition, individuals within the content creation team might need information from others. A writer might need to collaborate with the SEO team to optimize content, while a designer might need to ensure their designs are possible in a certain situation.

Having efficient communication channels encourages individuals working on content to collaborate and quickly get the information they need.

Utilize project management tools

Content project management tools can improve communication and collaboration efforts. A website developer won't know to begin working on developing a website until the design is finalized and approved. Whose responsibility is it to tell them they can begin the development process? While designers and developers often work closely together, the designer won't always know when their work is approved, especially if there's no proper communication between team members and leadership.

Project management tools can clear up the line of communication between members of the same team. You can add notifications, comments, and statuses to let other people know when they can begin their tasks.

A website designer won't know management has approved their designs until they see the status in the project management tool.

Automate repetitive tasks

Project management tools do something a regular pen-and-paper to-do list can't — enable you to automate some aspects of the workflow. Automation can help content marketing teams communicate more effectively to make sure everyone's goals are aligned.

You can set up automation to notify individuals when tasks are complete, telling them whether they need to keep working on the same content or move on to the next one in the content calendar.

Implement version control and collaboration tools

Version control refers to the process of managing changes made within a piece of content or file. You can track an editor's changes to a piece of written content. When working on a single piece of content, you might have multiple drafts floating around, and managing all of them can be daunting if you're not using the right software and labeling each version correctly.

Collaboration tools can mitigate the risks of having multiple versions of the same piece of content because it automatically tracks changes. This way, everyone will always have access to the same up-to-date content.

Optimize content creation and editing processes

The content creation process is the longest stage in the content workflow because it's when your team is developing written and visual content. You should have writers, designers, and editors working together to create a single piece of content.

In these cases, the writers and designers can work collaboratively to determine the style of a piece of content. If you want to develop an infographic, the writer and designer must work together to ensure the copy on the page matches the design. Then, an editor should review the content once completed and edit and proofread it.

Here are a few tips to help you streamline the content creation and editing process to help keep everyone on the same page.

Create a content style guide

Creating a content style guide ensures writers and designers understand the brand's voice, tone, and overall personality. It should include important brand information and establish grammar, formatting, and design guidelines.

A style guide will help maintain consistency across contenting, ensuring designers use the same colors, imagery, and styles of graphics and writers use the right tone, grammar, and overall voice. Every brand has a unique personality, and that should be showcased in the style guide.

Use templates and standardized formats

Using templates and standardized formats reduces the time it takes to create a piece of content. For example, all your blogs should look the same. That way, you completely eliminate the need for a developer or designer to create a brand-new web page for each piece of content.

Having a standard template for everything from email marketing campaigns to blogs and social media posts will ensure everyone knows what they should be doing because they'll have examples to pull from. Additionally, it eliminates the extra work required to create new designers for every piece of content.

Set up an efficient feedback and revision process

Once a piece of content has been written and designed, you should have editors and quality control practices in place to ensure the content is accurate, grammatically correct, and within the brand guidelines. An editor will take over editing the written content and providing feedback to writers when necessary.

This is another example of when project management tools can come in handy. By changing the status of a project or task, you can send it to review and back easily.

After an editor reviews and finalizes the copy, another person can add it to the design template and review it for quality assurance (QA). This person is typically a manager or supervisor responsible for checking for errors and ensuring the content is up to standards.

Incorporate SEO best practices

Your SEO team should always be involved in the content creation process if your goal is to generate organic traffic. Content optimization in blogs and web pages can drive website traffic to those assets, so it's crucial to collaborate with the individuals that optimize the content on your website.

We recommend beginning with keyword research before writing web content because it will help you optimize content more naturally and avoid keyword stuffing.

Once the content has been edited and approved by leadership, you'll need to publish or distribute it. Social media content and e-blasts will need to be scheduled while blogs are uploaded and taken live. Luckily, you don't need to rely on coding to publish and distribute your marketing content. Instead, you can use content management systems and scheduling tools to streamline publishing processes.

Leveraging content management systems (CMS)

Using a content management system (CMS) like Mailchimp's web builder can help you automate the process of publishing content online and scheduling social media posts and email marketing campaigns.

A CMS enables you to create, edit, and publish content without having coding expertise as long as you have the template available. Many also feature drag-and-drop functionalities that enable you to create new templates with a few clicks of a button.

Implementing a streamlined publishing process

Many small businesses don't have a clear content workflow or publishing process. They simply publish new content whenever it's ready. However, you can take the hassle out of publishing content by scheduling it instead. Many CMS tools allow you to schedule content to be published around a schedule.

This can be especially beneficial if the content is finished, but you're still waiting for final approval or want your content publishing to align with other marketing campaigns.

Utilizing social media scheduling tools

Social media scheduling tools allow you to create a content calendar and schedule posts well in advance. Instead of creating a new post every day, you can create a calendar complete with all the posts you want to publish within a month, saving you time in your day-to-day.

Monitor performance and make improvements

Monitoring the performance of your content workflow can help you determine whether you need to make improvements. You may discover new bottlenecks that can be addressed through collaborative efforts among leadership and team members.

Using the right tools can streamline your content workflow. Mailchimp's all-in-one marketing suite is designed to help you improve your content workflow with content creation and scheduling tools for websites, ads, and social media.

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