8 Easy Ways To Better Design Content Workflow

by Mark Stephens

Content production may seem like a simple process that involves generating an idea, writing an article, checking SEO, and publishing. But this is rarely the case. If you’re working with a team to produce content for your company blog or guest blogs, content workflows can be confusing.

Where workflows aren’t streamlined, last-minute changes and miscommunication can happen in content production processes, making it a nightmare for those involved. It’s impossible to design a perfect content workflow because each piece of content is unique. However, if every high-quality piece of content takes a long time to complete, you’ll find it challenging to keep up with your schedule or meet deadlines.

If you’re looking to improve your content workflow design, here are eight easy ways to do so.

  1. Create A Visual Presentation Of Your Content Workflow

Although visualizing your content workflow management process may seem like a daunting task, it is highly beneficial if you’re looking to improve your design. You can write the basic steps quickly, then add boxes and arrows to show how the steps connect. This simple visualization lets you clarify the journey you or your team need to take, particularly when you need to repeat specific steps.

You can sketch your content workflow visualization on a piece of paper. Better still, you could use basic software that allows you to create documents, or use advanced software if you’re focused on developing a professional visual presentation of your content workflow.

Ideally, the visual presentation of your content workflow should highlight steps such as the following:

  • Conduct keyword research.
  • Develop an article outline based on a title and headings that connect with keywords identified.
  • Submit the outline to relevant stakeholders, like editors and publishers, for approval. If the outline gets approved, continue to step 4. If not, repeat steps 1 and 2.
  • Draft the article on the hosting website, integrating SEO and readability suggestions.
  • Include a featured image and a supplemental image in the article.
  • Ensure that the meta description and SEO title describe the content appropriately and are a suitable length.
  • Preview the article and share the preview with the content production team for feedback.
  • Implement the feedback from the team and share it again for approval.
  • Publish the article once you get approval.
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  1. Clarify Content Production Goals And Steps

Whether you handle content production alone or you work with a larger team, the easiest way to design an effective workflow is to start with a clear goal based on what you want to achieve. In addition to having a clear goal, consider identifying the steps involved in developing the content and how long each step might take.

Content production processes vary depending on the type of digital content a business needs. For instance, blog posts need to be optimized for search engines because they target organic traffic, but this isn’t the case for social media posts.

To determine your content production goals and steps, be clear about the topics you want to focus on and how deep you want to delve into them. Be clear on your target audience and what you want to achieve with the content. This may include increasing sales, driving organic traffic to your website, and boosting social shares.

Furthermore, develop a dissemination strategy. Think about where you’ll publish your content, how you’ll share it, and when you’ll share it.

  1. Set Editorial Standards

Another easy way to improve your content workflow design is to set clear editorial standards. If you apply the tips discussed above, you should have internal deadlines for having a rough draft or the final draft ready for approval. To have these editorial deliverables ready, you’ll need to define what each one means.

For instance, you need set standards that define the quality of rough drafts and final drafts. Clarifying these standards ensures that you don’t end up with articles with basic outlines and several bullet points when you expect a well-written, near-perfect article at the final draft stage.

If your company uses an SEO plug-in, clarify the results you need—for example, state whether you expect a parameter like readability analysis to be green for final drafts. Also, you may decide to make internal linking suggestions a requirement in final drafts.

Whatever editorial standards you put in place, ensure that your content production team is well informed about them and agrees with them. Furthermore, ensure that they know the end goal and are comfortable using any content development tools your company may be using.

  1. Craft A Content Development Plan

To make your content workflow design better, you need to develop a content development plan. A content plan makes monitoring content production much easier and faster. If you have a content team, be sure to share the plan with them to get their approval before you start implementing it.

Getting your team’s nod of approval on the initial content development plan makes referencing easier whenever the need to explain decisions arises. A content plan also helps in clarifying the role that each team member plays in the content production process, which eliminates the need to respond to basic questions.

  1. Assign Responsibilities To Content Team Members

It’s one thing to have a well-designed content workflow on paper, but it’s another to ensure every person on your team knows what’s expected of them. Once your content production plan is in place, you need to assign responsibilities to your team members and let them know how and when they should communicate with each other to ask questions or hand tasks over.

Clarifying these issues in advance saves everyone in the production team time. If your team isn’t required to undertake these tasks regularly, ensure they are aware of them. That way, they can manage their work schedules to accommodate the additional task. You can do this by ensuring they have sufficient time to work on the content.

Also, consider finding out what other priorities your contributors may have, as those may hinder efficient workflow if your tasks become too demanding. If you have the power and authority to prioritize content production, ensure that everyone in the team is aware of your decision.

  1. Include Sub-Deadlines In Your Plans

It’s natural to set deadlines for publishing content. However, it’s important not to send initial instructions with the final deadline for tasks. Considering the process that your content goes through before it’s ready for publishing, you must work with sub-deadlines between the different steps.

Besides sub-deadlines, consider including contact moments at all critical points of the content process. Sub-deadlines and contact moments allow you to work with a more reliable action plan while keeping contributions by every member of your team aligned as content gets developed. Further, sub-deadlines and contact moments enable you to eliminate bottlenecks in the content development process by identifying issues early.

When setting internal deadlines, consider having the content at least seven days before the intended publishing date. This way, you avoid last-minute rush or changes and the mistakes that come with them.

  1. Allocate Time For Final Edits And Checks

Businesses that have a regular schedule for publishing content should draft content pieces and allocate time for final reviews and checks. When you assign enough time for final edits, you avoid the stress of making last-minute changes and managing deadlines.

Ideally, final content reviews involve checking posts for SEO to determine whether it’s good enough. The content review also involves checking articles for readability and relevance of images used. Reviewers or editors also check for title relevance and optimization for social sharing.

The title and meta description are also checked for length and content alignment. Furthermore, editors check for the presence of internal links to and from relevant website pages, relevance of tags, comment preferences, and time and date settings for the post.

Ensure that your content workflow design allows sufficient time for these checks and edits, because the process takes time.

  1. Review Your Content Workflow Regularly

Even after improving your content workflow, you need to review it regularly to check for unnecessary tasks that may have been included. In some instances, one change can create new issues that have to be dealt with. Reviewing your workflow enables you to identify those issues and rethink the steps and the persons involved.

For instance, you may realize that some steps lack clear decision makers who make the final decision after everyone else has had their say. Such an issue can waste time, as no specific person would be responsible for specific aspects of the workflow.

Final Thoughts

Any company that wants to attract new customers in today’s digital world must implement a content marketing strategy. Content marketing involves developing and sharing online content, like blogs, videos, infographics, and social media posts, to stimulate readers’ interest in a company’s offerings without directly promoting them.

Companies need to design a workflow that makes the production and publishing of such content efficient. A poorly designed content workflow can affect the quality of your articles and publishing schedules.

The opposite is true. A well-designed content workflow enables companies to publish quality content regularly, which leads to high traffic, improved brand awareness, and increased sales. You can improve your content workflow design using the eight tips discussed above.

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