Written by: Andrew Stepanov
You need to produce some content. You know when it’s due. But you’re sitting at your desk, staring at a blank page, with no idea where to start. Sound familiar? If you’re struggling to think of new topics, organize your content calendar, or stay on top of deadlines, then you need to create a content management workflow.
It sounds sophisticated, but it’s a very simple idea. You need a plan to research, target, and create your content. Then you can look back, and figure out what to improve next time around.
A well-planned content marketing strategy can certainly transform the way you conduct business. Therefore, we’ll take a look at how to set up a content management workflow which produces shareable, useful, and timely content in this article. Follow these 7 easy steps, and you’ll be producing quality content in no time.
Step 1: Targeted research
If you have trouble finding content ideas, start with your readers. What do they want to achieve, learn, know, or think about?
Use personas to understand what your readers want. If you’re new to setting up a persona, then start with this handy guide and templates for personas. Fill in the description for your ideal reader, and use your shiny new persona to pick a content topic.
Use your contacts and social media to research content ideas, too. Run an online poll to pick between topics, or ask your followers to suggest content they want to see. Watch where your audience spends their time online – sites like Reddit and Twitter are a fantastic source for content ideas and updating your content style.
Step 2: Informed planning
Understanding your audience helps you to predict what consumers need. So you can anticipate useful topics, and plan your content well in advance. Ideally, you should always think at least a quarter ahead.
Lay out a content calendar with your team, and make sure everyone understands the content management workflow. That way, you won’t be scrambling to publish content before deadlines come up.
Here are some of our favorite project planning tools:
If you prefer a timeline style. GanttPRO is a sophisticated project management tool, but it’s very intuitive to use. It’s great for planning weeks and even months ahead: nothing will be lost, all the activities are very easy to track. You can add clients and colleagues to work together across multiple projects at once.
If you keep it kanban-style. Trello is a popular tool for visualizing tasks and planning delivery. The big advantage of kanban boards is being able to see every element of a project, laid out side by side.
If you’re a visual learner. If you ever used mind maps to study, then you’ll remember how useful they are for collecting and processing information. Xmind helps you to mind map, brainstorm, and share ideas digitally.
Step 3: Keyword research
Let’s be clear: this is separate from your general research at the start of the content management workflow. In Step 1, you picked out a content topic that would benefit your readers. Now it’s time to make that content visible.
Keyword research is for search engine optimization purposes. It’s what makes your content rank highly with search engines. But it should be secondary to your content planning – it’s a tool to produce content, not the reason for it.
Once you have a gripping topic in mind, use tools like SE Ranking to track keywords and see what your competitors are up to. Google’s Keyword Planner is also useful, although it takes some practice to use.
Beyond keywords, there are tools like BuzzSumo, which check how content performs for specific topics and competitors. If you have access to an SEO specialist, check in with them about any gaps in your SEO strategy, and how to optimize your content.
Step 4: Content creation
Now, you’re ready to create something new. Bring your audience research, planning, and SEO skills together to publish fresh, exciting and valuable content.
When so many marketers work with blog and email marketing, it’s easy to just focus on the text. But your content creation should go beyond that.
Liven things up with powerful visuals and witty gifs.Try “translating” your content ideas into ebooks, slide decks, or video tutorials.Get expert opinions or film interviews with your favorite industry leaders.Readers love specific information. Add charts and statistics to grant your content more authority.
Step 5: Style review
The best editing advice we can give? Read your content out loud. You’ll notice any awkward phrasing, mistakes, or messy grammar instantly.
Step 6: Share, share, share
It doesn’t matter how good your content is, if no one ever sees it. So get your content out there!
Start with social media. You don’t have to create different content for every channel that you use. You can share the same content across social networks – just make sure you adapt your posting style for Twitter, Facebook, Reddit, and so on.
Posting on social media can be laborious, so try a tool like Kuku.io to automate and schedule your content distribution.
Leverage your contacts on other websites, too. Share content through your mailing lists, and get in touch with anyone you mention in your content, or who you think might be interested in sharing it.
Step 7: Analysis
Finished? Well, no. As soon as one content cycle begins, another starts. Look back over your project, and think about what worked – and what didn’t.
How can you make the content management workflow more efficient? Are you happy with the results? What does the rest of your team think?
Feed all that information back into your workflow, ready to produce more amazing content. With the right tools for content workflow management, you’ll soon see the results.