Content Marketing

A Detailed Guide to Creating a Content Marketing Workflow in 2022

David Miller
March 15, 2022

Every single day, we create almost 2.5 quintillion bytes of data in the form of content.

That’s a lot of carpal tunnel!

Despite such aggressive content creation, most of which is directed towards the marketing efforts, content marketing challenges resemble a mammoth – in size, gravity, and management.

Gartner reports the massive challenges faced by content marketing teams for scaling their content efforts (in %):

  • Creating high-quality content – 41%
  • Creating enough content – 20%
  • Producing content with a limited budget – 18%

So now we have statistical support for our analogy, right?

Well, to manage this mammoth so much so that you can enjoy a delightful ride on it, you need to master one thing – content marketing workflows.

It is your key to successful content marketing management and encompasses the following stages:

  • Planning
  • Creating
  • Publishing
  • Distributing
  • Analysis

Here, we explore all the activities involved in all these stages, the challenges content marketing teams encounter during these phases, how to overcome them, and finally, how to tame this mammoth task!

Let us begin by understanding the meaning of workflows in content marketing.

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What Is Content Marketing Workflow?

A content marketing workflow is a series of steps that you take to plan, create, and manage your content marketing team as well as the content they create. It involves everything that you have or require for your content marketing strategies – content pieces, content teams, content channels, tools, schedules, etc.

You can understand it as the entire process and operational components of everything and anything related to the content you create for targeting customers, spreading the word, describing your offerings, etc.

An excellent example is shown in the following image:

content workflow flowchart

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But then again, why do you need it? Remember the mammoth? You need to tame that giant, and hopefully, enjoy a delightful ride on it one day!!

Why Do You Need a Content Workflow?

The content marketing process is highly complex, especially if you wish to leverage its benefits at scale.

This is because the content doesn’t necessarily mean text or blogs. It also encompasses videos, social media mentions, demos, descriptive videos, ads, emails, texts, and even documentation!

Further, you have to implement the right type of content over the right customer segments, via the right channels, and in the right frequency. This brings the best results, in terms of customers, impressions, conversions, and sales.

By now, you might be realizing how dense and daunting content marketing can be.

For an even better understanding, take a look at the following image that shows the various steps involved in it:

seven stages of the content marketing process

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Now imagine completing all these steps for different campaigns with a team of different content creators and for multiple channels.

Yes, it becomes unmanageable and fragmented.

Hence, content marketing workflows. 

Let us explore the use case at length.

Breaks Down Silos and Boosts Team Collaboration

Nothing ails workplace productivity and marketing results as much as creativity silos. Working with fragmented teams only leads to longer project timelines if there is no proper channel or method of collaboration and inputs.

Content marketing workflow allows you to bring everyone on board in the process of creating refined, well-defined, targeted, and well-researched content. You can organize all the activities involved in content marketing, and stats suggest that organized marketers are 397% more likely to deliver successful campaigns.

Workflows also allow you to break the creativity silos as every team member gets to contribute in a relevant, proactive, and consistent manner. So, your writers know whom to ask for graphics, technical details, and whom to report to. Likewise, your SEO team knows which strategies to choose for which content.

Setting a Wave of Motion

The creative workflow management process has so many moving parts making them sync seems nothing short of a miracle. Further, with multiple ongoing projects, all these moving parts have their priorities, deadlines, and operational challenges.

A content marketing workflow creates a “push” in your content marketing process and all the moving parts enter into a perpetual motion.

So, once you have a workflow established, everybody knows what to do and how to sync with the other stakeholders.

Task delegation becomes easier, and you can define clear-cut boundaries for roles and responsibilities for every person. There is no confusion or overlaps as far as content responsibilities are concerned and your operations become streamlined, organized, and systematic.

Productivity and Efficiency

As every person involved in the content workflow has a firm understanding of “what to do and how to do”, the overall productivity and efficiency get improved. You can accomplish more tasks in a lesser amount of time and improve the quality of content you create.

The following image shows how complex and time-intensive the entire content creation process is:

content creation process complexity

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You can set the proper flow for creating briefs, drafts, revisions, approvals, publishing, and promoting with proper content marketing workflows.

Hence, you take out the confusion and re-iterations from the content-related activities and unlock high efficiency at every stage. No repeated alerts or reminders are needed, and no time gets wasted in responding to long email threads.

Building on Previous Efforts

A proper process of marketing your content resulting from a proper and step-wise process allows you to build upon your previous efforts.

For example, you can create a series of thought leadership guides or a series of videos to describe the business or product use cases to your customers. Such connected content pieces keep your customers engaged at all times.

These related pieces of content are addictive and more enticing as well. This is because any customer stumbling upon any part of this series will be naturally interested to learn more about the entire thing, such as somebody watching the third part of the movie would naturally feel like watching the second part.

This becomes extremely important when you target buyers via content, as 84% of buyers purchase after reading the product descriptions in a blog.

Hence, content marketing workflows also allow you to sharpen your customer targeting efforts and skills.

Resource-Efficient Content Creation

Content creation workflows allow you to optimize every single resource – human, time, effort, money, and technology. They help managers identify bottlenecks that impede the timely and successful deliveries of your content pieces and reduce the overall stress of delegation, following up, and sticking to deadlines.

Your content creation teams don’t have to waste time in content duplications and endless revisions stemming from multiple perspectives of different stakeholders. Each member can save and manage their time invested in every single content project and ensure timely deliveries by sticking to the preset schedules and deadlines.

So, you are able to make the best possible use of all your resources in an organized and streamlined manner.

Now that we know how beneficial a content marketing workflow is, let us explore what happens when you don’t have a proper strategy workflow.

The Downside of Working Without a Content Strategy Workflow

When you work without a well-defined and targeted content strategy workflow, the odds of your projects failing or suffering increase massively. Your teams are always busy doing small edits, revisions, reminding editors to collaborate over the content pieces and whatnot.

There is no proper flow of any sort as your people and processes are siloed and disjoint. Thus, things can get messy with lots of duplication and inconsistencies.

Let us understand this with the help of an example.

Suppose Mary and Susan create content for social media and website respectively. Amy is the graphics designer who is collaborating with both of them for the upcoming sales event.

Now, Mary asks Amy to create an engaging design for a social media post, and the next day, Mary takes a leave. She asks Susan to help her create the content for the post that Amy is designing.

Susan has no previous experience with social media content creation and opts for long sentences and typical blog jargon.

End result: Revisions, inconsistencies across the social media marketing, lost opportunities, and lots of confusion.

There is no proper task delegation and no clear hand-off from one team member to another without a well-defined workflow. In the above example, a content workflow would have helped Mary to understand that she needed to create the content before asking for design and approve the same before taking the leave.

Finally, you risk wasting your time, money, and resources when you create content without a proper content strategy workflow.

Up next, we discuss the various components of content creation workflows.

Important Components of Content Marketing Process Workflow

While every content marketing endeavor has different objectives and different processes, there are some common and crucial components in all of them.

These common components include processes, people, tasks, and channels. These components play a crucial role in ensuring that every content piece is well-defined and well-aligned with your marketing objectives.

Process

Inspect and analyze every entry and exit point of every content creation step, right from approval to publication and optimization. This way, you can quickly identify the points and activities where your content creation slows down. Based on your inferences, you can easily pick out the areas where you need to make changes and bring efficiency into the picture.

Take a look at the following image that shows the various steps involved in the content creation process:

Untitled

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By energizing efficiency across all the steps, you can quickly deliver excellent content and ensure that it stays more reactive and relevant to your customers. To enable quick creation and delivery of high-quality content, you need to create a smooth and efficient process that is built with experiential learning and consistent testing.

Finally, it is important to optimize the approval process in your content marketing workflows as well. This way, you can ensure the content quality and keep the content voice in sync with your brand vision and brand voice.

People

Every content marketing stakeholder has their specific “zone of genius” and specific skillset. Hence, it is important to ensure that all of them contribute as per their talent, skills, and job responsibilities.

With such a clear-cut understanding of their roles and contributions, the team members can steer the projects to completion quickly and effectively. This way, you can also ensure that your content operations run smoothly, and there is no need for micromanagement or constant monitoring.

Take a look at the following image that focuses on the people component of content marketing workflow: 

Untitled

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As a content marketer, you need to create different types of content pieces for different results and audiences. Hence, with a well-defined understanding of the responsibilities and skills of your team members, you can maximize the value for our clients by serving them highly relevant content.

As you are always recruiting the right content team member and leveraging the right skillset for every task, your content drives better results. Thus, content marketing workflows ensure that all your tasks have a relevant workforce at all times.

Tasks

The tasks that you include in your content marketing workflow are also crucial for the smooth functioning of the workflow. A task-based workflow emphasizes all the tasks you need to complete to create, publish, and promote a piece of content.

The following image shows the various tasks involved in a workflow for content marketing:

Untitled

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These tasks vary from one campaign to another and depend on the type of content you create.  For example, video content creation requires story development, filming, editing, getting approval, revising, finalizing, and publishing.

On the other hand, a blog involves fewer tasks, such as drafting, editing, getting approval, publishing, and sharing.

Apart from the tasks discussed above, you need to reuse and repurpose your content to make it useful for multiple platforms.

It is important to define proper tasks that come without task dependencies and are independent. This will allow every person to work on them individually and without having to collaborate again and again with some other team member.

Channels

Finally, you have channels, the medium you use to distribute, publish, promote and save your content pieces. There are three different types of content channels – owned, paid, and earned.

Take a look at the following image for a better understanding of these channels:

Untitled

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It is important to use proper channels for publishing, distributing, sharing, and promoting your content pieces for the best results. For example, less formal, small, direct, and engaging posts for customer targeting are best shared via social media. And detailed, insightful, and well-penned blogs work best for websites.

Choosing the right mix of channels and content pieces is essential to ensure that your content management workflow is flawless, efficient, and targeted.

Next, we discuss the various steps involved in a workflow.

Steps of Content Marketing Workflow

When it comes to content marketing, there is no “one size fits all” model because every content piece is different and is created for a different channel.

Take a look at the following image that shows how different types of content require different resources and efforts:

Untitled

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Therefore, it is critical to make sure that the efficacy of your workflows remains the same no matter whether you are using your content marketing workflow for a small team or a large team.

To ensure this, all the steps involved in a workflow must be relevant, well-defined, comprehensive, and value-adding. While you might need to add or delete steps from your content workflow depending on the type of content and campaign you are aiming at; every robust and versatile content strategy workflow has the following 5 steps.

Take a quick look at them to understand how to write a workflow.

Strategizing Content Channels

A content marketing channel management strategy has many different components, and none of them are streamlined or come pre-synced with each other.

So, at any moment, the visual representation of channels, marketing efforts, campaigning, and content management looks something like this:

Untitled

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As you can see, unless you have a well-defined, highly exhaustive, and data-driven channel management strategy in your content marketing workflow, you are never ever going to make a difference with your content.

You will not be able to figure out which campaigns spurred the best results and which content brought you the maximum conversions. Without proper insights into the campaign results and marketing efforts, leveraging content at scale for boosting sales is just like finding a needle in a haystack.

So, when it comes to channel strategizing, you need to keep the following things in mind:

  • Begin with understanding your customers and incoming traffic
  • Identify and split your incoming traffic, visits, purchases, and complaints on the basis of channels
  • Channel-wise customer segmentation to offer highly streamlined content on every channel
  • Test and refine the content promotion strategies for each channel to formulate a channel management strategy for different types of content
  • Honest, wise, and frugal utilization of your resources and expertise to approach content marketing in a priority-based manner without hurting your finances

Finally, it is important to remember that you need to work upon your channel management strategy and refine your content marketing workflow accordingly, in a consistent manner. This will ensure that you stay in sync with the latest trends.

Right Person for Every Job

Gartner identifies 5 levels of content marketing, and each one of them has different challenges and results, as shown in the following image:

Untitled

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So, in order to gain the best results out of every single content effort, you need to ensure that your content management workflow is flawless.

And, it is a well-known fact that such efforts are driven by the right staffing, motivated employees, and the right teams. When right-minded people work together on a project in a synergistic manner, you are able to create content that drives value in a frictionless manner throughout the customer journeys.

So, the next step in content marketing workflow is to assign the content duties to the right teammates that can help you create high-quality content. Blogs need thoughtful writers with seasoned writing skills who are supervised by expert editors or SMEs (subject matter experts).

On the other hand, videos require graphic designers, videographers, video editors, proofreaders, etc.

Now, before we move on, it is important to point out one of the most underrated facts – content creators might know what SEO is, but they are definitely not SEO experts. Likewise, a blogger knows how to write content, but might fail to create a marketing pitch that brings investments.

So, compile your team such that every job has a sole person responsible who has an in-depth knowledge of every task involved and can do the right job.

Publishing the Content

Now you might be wondering – why publishing is  so important that it needs to be an entire step in the content marketing workflow.

Well, there are many reasons behind the same:

  • Consumers hesitate to pay for digital content
  • When you publish your content at the right place, you can unlock a higher number of purchases, as 56% of people have made a purchase after reading a blog post
  • You need to figure out the right frequency and the right time to publish your content as per the channel you are using
  • There might be any new trends or a specific set of guidelines that you need to follow for publishing your content on new channels or platforms

Okay, so content publishing is the next step that is vital and detrimental to the success of your marketing efforts.

This is where the marketing workflow tools come into the picture. These tools let you create highly engaging and dynamic content effortlessly with built-in editors and smart functionalities, such as publishing the content on multiple channels as soon as it is approved.

These tools also allow you to maintain a consistent brand voice across all the channels as all your team members are following the same content format.

Content Promotion

Content promotion involves multiple activities and encompasses team efforts. Promotion is different and more detailed than content sharing. It helps you send your content to the right places at the right time so that you can derive the best results from every content effort.

Take a look at the following image that shows the different steps involved in content promotion:

Untitled

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By now, you might have realized that content promotion cannot be done entirely manually. By using marketing workflow tools, not only can you increase your reach manifold, but you can also get the best value out of every single content. You can target new prospects and existing customers with each of your content pieces and leverage different means of promotion.  

Some of the key considerations for this step of content marketing workflow include:

  • Advertising the content on the right channels
  • Personal selling of research and insightful content
  • Sales promotion activities
  • Public relations activities
  • Direct marketing on all your channels for driving the sales and promotions with full throttle

Content Marketing Result Analysis

No content management workflow is devoid of analysis. It is just like baking a cake and not tasting it to check whether your experimental recipe worked or not.

Every content marketing effort must be analyzed for its results, in terms of numbers, impressions, clicks, reads, reactions, conversions, etc. Not every marketing campaign is planned for sales, but all of them have one common goal – targeting the customers, essentially the business side of your operations.

Take a look at the following image to check the various ways you can use analytics in content strategy workflow:

Untitled

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The analysis process involves many different steps, such as audits, and analysis of SEO metrics, online and website metrics and campaign measurement, etc.

Further, you have to list your major competitors and analyze their content marketing practices, audiences, and SEO metrics. Thorough competitor analysis allows you to find the brand differentiators that work for you and target your content efforts in that direction.

While all these steps will help you create amazing workflows for content marketing and management, the main question is – How to write a workflow?

Manual management, process workflow creation, and strategizing are nothing short of a Herculean task, and that might consume your time and resources endlessly.

Hence, automation!

Should You Use Content Marketing Workflow Software?

The short and direct answer is – YES!

Investing in a content marketing workflow software allows you to accomplish more in a lesser amount of time and leverage the power of automation to energize content efforts for multiple campaigns at one time.

The automated workflows come with fewer errors and delays, and your projects are more likely to be delivered as per the deadlines. Workflow automation also helps streamline the entire process so that all the tasks in your workflow become less complex and free of task or resource dependencies.

Some other benefits of using a content workflow software tool are mentioned below:

  • Content calendars for automatic formatting, updates, and distribution of information and tasks
  • Email automation for sending personalized content to all the customers
  • Analytics and reporting features for accurate and in-depth measurement of campaign results, numbers, and comparison
  • Effortless and optimized distribution and publishing of all types of content pieces on multiple channels at once
  • Ability to generate more leads in a lesser amount of time and improve your accountability by sticking to deadlines

Next, we discuss our top 3 choices for workflow automation software that you can choose as per your business needs.

Best 3 Software to Simplify Content Marketing Workflow in 2022

While there are a plethora of options available in the market, we are going to discuss our top 3 picks for automating your content management workflows. All these software have rave reviews in terms of features, capabilities, and ease of use.

So, take a quick read of all of them and pick out the one that aligns with your brand offerings and content marketing goals in the best manner.

Proprofs Project

It is a smart, intuitive, and highly versatile software that comes with excellent workflow automation to energize your marketing process and results like never before. You can assign primary and secondary tasks to your teammates, share files seamlessly, enjoy unified communications and plan deadlines with a shared calendar.

It also allows your teams to collaborate for efficient working and rapid deliveries. Also, you can create roadmaps, set milestones, and accomplish more projects in a lesser amount of time.

ProofHub

This is yet another powerful software that allows you to automate your content marketing workflows via task management, proofing, Gantt Charts, chats, and discussions. You can share and export files and use workflows or charts to make your operations more organized and streamlined. This software also comes with time tracking to ensure that all of you stay on the same page regarding deadlines and deliveries.

nTask

This software offers Kanban Boards, Gantt Chart, issue tracking, time tracking, and task management routines. You can create sub-tasks, milestones, and track the “percent-complete” metric for even better control over the entire process. It comes with collaboration tools and calendars for seamless and effortless collaboration across teams.

Content Marketing Workflows: Empowering, Enabling and Efficient

Embracing automation always comes with a little bit of skepticism and resistance from various levels of an organization. This is because it involves all the three key drivers in an organization – people, process, and tasks.

However, automation can be empowering, efficient, and enabling like nothing else when leveraged in the right manner. This is because it works on the ground level to uproot any redundancies and inconsistencies across your operations and processes.

So, take the first step towards energizing similar efforts across your content marketing efforts by investing in a smart, robust, and intuitive workflow automation tool mentioned above.