Project Management Workflow For Content Marketing Teams

project management workflow content marketing team

“We’ve breached the deadline!” 

“We’re losing retention in our main category!” 

“I can’t send 80% of the reports to the client!” 

Any of these pleasant scenarios sound familiar? 

Real-world content creation and marketing teams are not perfect and this type of stuff happens. Even with more experienced editorial teams. However, if your team scales along with the number of projects, you’ll need an organized process to keep everything on track and aligned with set goals and deadlines. You need to ensure great workflow and define it even before your pen touches the paper or a keyboard button gets hit. 

Why Define The Workflow? 

Every content marketing team has its workflow defined - either spontaneously or by a person in charge. Everyone in your team knows that certain people do certain things at certain times. And the process is repetitive. However, not all workflows are properly organized. This is best seen when number of projects starts growing and the volume of work increases. 

By leaving your workflow regarding content marketing production and promotion - undocumented and undefined, you risk getting stuck. Workflow definition and documentation allows your team to: 

- Break down the project and processes in manageable tasks 

- Identify the content stages of development 

- Identify people who are in charge of defining the tasks and deadlines 

- Easily identify eventual problems, assess the quality of performance, and monitor different task phases 

- Determine applicable project management software needed

This system enables transparency and keeps the whole team oriented towards the common goal. It helps with the early discovery of the process’ bottlenecks and countermeasures against them to improve overall efficiency and optimize delivery. Most importantly, by having everything well documented, it helps you learn faster, onboard new members with ease, and scale your team. 

Setting Up The Framework For Your Content Workflow 

Every type of content usually requires the same people included. Whether you are building a web page, publishing a blog post, writing a whitepaper, or designing a newsletter for your email campaign - your team roster will include: 

- Writers 
- Graphic or Web designers 
- Developers 
- Niche experts 
- Marketers 
- SEO strategists
- Clients or Business owners 
- Editorial team (legal consultant, human resource manager, heads of department) 

The content creation workflow is always defined through five stages which should be applied for every project, regardless of its type or size: 

- Discuss and outline 
- Draft and design 
- Review and edit 
- Approve and publish 
- Validate and promote 

For workflow visualization, click best presented on kanban. 

Prioritize Goal Focus And Transparency - Assign Tasks To Dedicated Roles 

Usually, the main problem with work framework (process) implementation with any team - is in understanding the process itself. Even if you hire an experienced project manager to run your team, it will not necessarily work for you. It’s up to the team and its project manager to optimize the workflow to its needs. In order for it to scale, it would need to properly stage each phase of the process. 

Discuss & Outline 

Team members need to visualize the goal of the project clearly before it even starts. While marketers and writers will be focused on content, audience, conversions, and funnels, the designers will put their attention to purpose, experience, journey, and emotion. Even though they are still oriented towards the same goal - and that is providing a piece of content that will activate the end user, they all see it through different lenses and take in mind different metrics. 

- Discuss the project with the whole team 
- Define what you want to achieve with a certain piece of content 
- Define the audience to which it will be delivered 
- Brainstorm ideas and outline or wire-frame the content 

Draft & Design 

The number of people at your business included in this phase varies based on the scope and volume of the project, as well as the type of content that needs to be delivered. When it comes to collaboration on static content, the basis should always consist of a writer and designer working together. Interactive content (like quizzes or games) requires including a developer to add the interactive layer to the draft. 

- Discuss the outline with dedicated team members 
- Assign individual tasks to prepare required assets 
- Compile the assets into a working draft / content prototype and prepare it for the review 

Review & Edit 

The working draft/content prototype accounts for the 80% of the final version that will be deployed as a part of your marketing tactic. This can be a banner for a display ad, a quiz for gathering email subscribers, or a landing page that will generate leads/conversions, etc. Depending on the type of content and its goal orientation, the editorial team can grow in size and complexity. This phase should include: 

- Proofreading for spelling and grammar 
- Alignment to style guides 
- Follow best SEO practices
- Consultation with niche experts on data validation and relevance 

Optionally, depending on the complexity of the content and its orientation, you will need to include a legal adviser. 

People tend to work outside the initial outlines of the project without consulting the production team or the content strategist. 

This is why this phase in particular has to be backed with QA testing. A UX designer and QA tester need to be included, and survey research and user testing are always recommended, no matter the project size. 

Approve & Publish 

It’s almost impossible that the initial draft goes published without edits. But let’s imagine a perfect world. After the content has been approved, it’s set off to the production manager and then it gets published. Most often, the developer gets overseen and everything is left guided solely by the content strategist and the designer. 

Validate & Promote 

Each piece of content needs to be validated for its success in achieving the goal it was designed for. Setting up early monitoring (conversion and performance tracking) can help you develop and test different variants of the content. Whether it’s A/B/n testing (different variants of the page) or multivariate testing (different variants of individual elements of the page), you will always need to test and adapt. 

The initial content concept may not perform well on every distribution channel. Maybe it’s the type of content that’s wrong, or the messaging it conveys is incomprehensible, or it hasn’t reached the right audience. But the beauty of the workflow is that, with early monitoring and process documentation, you can identify the problem and return the project to the desired phase. 

Project And Asset Management - Leveraging Remote Work & Cross-Team Collaboration 

Whiteboards, post-it pads, and markers are fun, but not effective with larger or remote teams. Group meetings are valuable for brainstorming sessions, but are not always easy to organize. Email communication and various messaging apps can create too much confusion. 

In order to implement the framework, each team member needs to have a clear visual of the task assigned to them. In most cases of managing projects with larger scope or volume, several people will be assigned with a single task. 

Assets need to be available to be handled by multiple people at the same time, rather than going through peer- to-peer process. It’s time-consuming and a huge setback. You can leverage this with cloud based project management. 

Things you need to focus and implement in the process to optimize the workflow: 

- You need a tool that updates in real time 
- Colleagues need to be able to work simultaneously 
- Discuss work right where it's being done 
- Have a consolidated place to manage & store work info + assets 
- Changes to project details need to be immediately visible to team 
- Have a road-map for upcoming tasks, objectives, and milestones 
- Set up monitoring, QA testing cycles, and feedback loops 

Content Conclusion

By adding more QA testing cycles and feedback loops, you add layers to the project management process complexity, but the framework stays the same, since the phase kanban is consistent. Experiment with the setup to see which works best for your team. And put emphasis on monitoring and documentation. That way you can learn from your mistakes, identify and take measures against process’ bottlenecks, and create a scalable solution for your team’s expansion.

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I hope you enjoyed this article about the project management workflow for content managers & marketing teams.

Interested in more articles about content management?

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