If only creating content was a simple as getting a topic and then writing some words.
Content marketing is an effective marketing approach, when done right.
And one of the most important aspects of an effective content strategy is having a clear plan, structure and process.
The beauty of this blog is that it may be focused on my experience of creating and leading a content workflow at agencies and in-house for brands, but it’s flexible to all areas of marketing.
That means you can use my thinking below for you and your team.
Keep reading to reduce human input (and error!), speed up your content creation, and save time to do more of the things you want to do with your team.
By doing all of the above, you can achieve your growth goals for the year!
Table of Contents
Choose the right tool/software for you and your team to work together
It all begins with where you wish to create your new content workflow.
You could do it in an Excel spreadsheet or Google Sheets. I’ve been there and done that, it can be done. However, I don’t recommend you do this.
My personal recommendation would be to use a project management software, like Monday.com.
Why I recommend creating your content management workflow in a project management tool
Project management software tool creators put a lot of money into creating their software. So it’s not surprise that they offer so much functionality for you to use.
In just a few clicks you can create an automated workflow board to manage your content.
If you try to create a content workflow in Google Sheets for example, it requires you to do a little bit of manual work around creating everything you need.
Whereas in a project management software, like Monday.com, you pretty much have everything you need ready to go.
From here on out I am going to be talking you through how I took a company from publishing a couple of blogs a month to 50, 80 and even 100 blogs every month!
All done by creating a personalised content creation workflow in Monday.com.
It was so successful it saved my team and I thousands of manual steps in each piece of content we created.
Best of all, the company’s SEO traffic went from 800 sessions a month to hitting 1 million a month, thanks to all of their new and quality content going up on the website.
Create your board
Monday.com offers several templates that you can choose from and customise. Or, if you prefer, you can start from scratch and be in full control.
This step in the process will involve you thinking ahead to create a board that fits with your content creation process: from ideation and research through to that first draft, editing and publishing.
Create your board, name it, and get customising it.
Pin down your process to structure your content board
Think about every single step your content typically needs to go through before it’s live on your website/blog.
You’ll want to think about this carefully as it will help you in structuring your board. What columns are needed for which point of the journey, along with any labels to show a quick view of the current status of your content.
For example, a blog post will typically require SEO, planning/research, writing, proofing/editing and creative assets.
My recommended content workflow process for blog writing – if you have a process, skip this section by tapping here
I don’t think this will be news to you if you’re a copywriter or content manager, but this would be the typical process
Step 1, a new topic or title is added to the board.
Step 2, get your SEO experts to begin keyword research.
Step 3, once your keywords come back, the content exec, manager or maybe even your copywriters, can review the keywords and begin creating the brief for the content to be written. No idea what’s needed in a content brief?
Make sure you check out this brief writing template.
Step 4, once a brief is written it may need to be reviewed and approved before the next step.
Step 5, hand the brief to your copywriter to get to work on their first draft.
Step 6, when the writer is happy with their work to be reviewed, you should have a 1st draft review, maybe even two or three draft reviews.
Step 7, once you’re happy with the draft, you can then have it uploaded onto your content management system for your website/blog.
Step 8, with the draft now uploaded onto the back-end of your website you will want someone to check it over to make sure it’s been added correctly. You can check the copy one final time.
Step 9, preview the content front-end to make sure it looks how it should.
Step 10, hit publish and do a celebration dance.
Automate your content workflow
Say goodbye to boring manual tasks and hello to more free time!
You can also say hello to publishing more content without having to spend more hours on it yourself, or hiring more copywriters, content execs or managers to run it all.
The best part of a good content workflow is that it moves along nicely without too much human input.
If you use Monday.com’s automations correctly, one single click can kick off a whole automation process that you have created.
How do I know what I can automate?
List every single one of your steps you or your team takes to create content and pick out any manual steps you have to take.
Once you have a manual step, think about the step that follows this.
If that first manual step and the steps that follow are always in the same order, you could automate this.
Automations can do anything from changing a status after an action is made through to assigning one of your team members when a status changes.
When creating automations, remember, every automation has a trigger, a condition, and an action (or multiple!).
Examples of my automations in content planning and creation
Example 1 – Automations for when a new topic is added – perfect for in-house or agency content/marketing managers
When adding content to my content calendar for myself or a client, my content follows a very similar process.
First step, add the topic and then start your research, including SEO keyword research.
My automation is that when a new task is created, it automatically changes the task ‘Status’ to ‘Keyword research’ and automatically assigns an SEO Executive to begin their SEO research into the topic.
Example 2 – Automations for when SEO research is complete and ready for content brief
SEO research is great and all, but after you have the research now is the time to write up a content brief using the SEO research.
To automate this, I identify what the ‘trigger’ will be to move the content onto the next stage. It needs to be something that is consistent and will be the same step each time.
To clarify, I want to move the content ‘Status’ from the ‘Keyword research’ stage into the ‘Brief’ stage.
We like to store our keyword research in a Google Sheet. So the trigger on my content board will be if the ‘link’ column changes, which is called ‘Keyword research link’.
So here’s how I create the automation:
When the column ‘keyword link’ changes, change ‘Status’ to ‘Brief’ and add ‘Person’ to the task.
‘Person’ will be whoever will be writing the brief. If you have multiple people who do this, you could create a team and assign the team to the task at this point to assign all of them.
Example 3 – Quality checking before go live
That final quality check is absolutely essential in your content creation process.
When your content is at the final draft stages, you might be thinking about getting it live.
For example, if it’s content to go on your website, you will want to get it added onto the content management system (CMS) of your choice (WordPress, Wix etc.).
But, before the content is added to the CMS, or after it’s added as a draft on the CMS before it’s published, you might want final eyes to approve and put the content live.
This is what I do to make sure there is an automation in place to get a lead editor or content manager to proof the content and check everything is as it should be on the CMS.
I have a ‘Status’ which says something along the lines of ‘Ready to go live’ or ‘Final review’. The automation will be:
Once ‘Status’ is changed to ‘Final review’, assign ‘Editor/Person’ as Owner.
By doing this, you can specifically have your editor and proofreader get notified when a piece of content is ready to go live.
Quality is absolutely essential in your content, so this automation is a must to make sure you keep all content consistently reviewed before going live.
Example 4 – Change ‘Publish Date’ once status is changed to publish
To my fellow neat freaks who like consistency and organisation, this is a really enjoyable automation I do on my board.
Once your content has been edited/proofed and it’s live, that will mean the ‘Status’ will be manually changed to ‘Published’.
Monday.com has a fun little confetti update for published/done label status updates, but don’t let the fun stop there.
Instead, when you hit published, add an automation so that the ‘Date’ column updates to the date of the day it is today.
That way, you know when that piece of content went live. You can keep track of its performance and know when to look from.
Test your workflow and make sure everything does what it should do
Once you have your board all set up and your automations ready to go, it’s time to test it!
Imagine your process and go through each step of your typical content process to see if all works as it should on your Monday.com board.
Just by doing a dummy run you may find issues or automations that actually do not make sense or work as you would like.
Tweak it as you need to and keep testing the process until you’re happy.
Once happy, get your team involved to test it!
Invite your team and start using!
Get your team on the board and using the workflow.
I always find it’s good to get the team together to talk them through the board and the automations in place. That way they can get to know the process, board and automations.
Keep innovating your content production workflow and Monday.com board
Your Monday.com board will likely have new additions as you and your team use your content workflow. These changes will only come as your processes develops. So be patient and keep an ear out for gaps or reoccurring issues.
You might find you can easily solve problems in your process with the help of slightly tweaking your content process and automations.
Whether you work with clients or you have senior leadership, you’ll want to make sure you have considered reporting on team output/productivity or even to help you weigh up writer capacity.
With Monday.com you can easily create reports for a whole host of reasons; team output, improved productivity from automations, sales, really, anything you need.
Any questions that get asked about your content or the process, you can quickly review or share your reporting with them as long as you set it up.
Managing a team of writers? Take the guesswork out of assigning work – Here’s a report I built to help me assign the right amount of work to each writer
Sometimes, you might have copywriters with different capacities each week or month that they can write.
To help take the guesswork out of assigning work, I created a visual report that gives me a view of whether a writer is at capacity, over or under capacity.
Here’s my LinkedIn post on this if you’re interested to know more:
Use Monday.com integrations
There’s a list of integrations within Monday.com that you can use, which is so helpful.
Monday.com integrations however can really help keep a team in the loop and aligned.
Best of all, setting up integrations is really simple in Monday.
It has parameters that you customise, similar to how the automations work.
Monday.com is the bees knees when it comes to creating marketing workflows. I wouldn’t build my content workflow anywhere else.
I’ve tried Jira, I’ve used Asana. They’re ok, but for me, Monday.com does trump them all.
If you have any questions, drop me a message. I’d be more than happy to answer questions or help you to build a content workflow for you and your own team on Monday.com too.
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