Following an effective content marketing workflow offers you the best chance of producing successful high-ranking content. Failing to create a solid workflow will likely result in content without goals or structure.
Without proper planning and strategy, your content is unlikely to increase leads and conversions and will just be another piece of content out on the web that doesn’t rank.
While a content marketing workflow seems like a time consuming and complicated process, it’s actually far from it. Today we’re giving you the lowdown on how you can leverage it to produce consistent results from your content.
What Is a Content Marketing Workflow?
A content marketing workflow is a series of different stages you complete to strategize, plan, create, and manage your content. Each stage is broken down into smaller pieces to ensure tasks don’t become too large or overwhelming. This makes it easy to divide up processes and tasks between team members, whether they’re in-house or freelance.
A solid content marketing workflow sees content from the start of brainstorming right through to the publishing and reporting stages.
Here’s one example of a workflow in action. Remember your workflow will vary based on your business’s unique set of needs.
Source: Content Marketing Institute
Why Is Establishing a Content Marketing Workflow Important?
Content marketing is undeniably growing in popularity. Studies show that 91% of B2B marketers use content marketing to reach their target audience. Since 28% of adults say they’re online all the time, there’s clearly a huge opportunity for businesses to reach consumers.
Despite the demand for content, the majority of it fails. Why? Lack of strategy is usually to blame. Without clear parameters and goals, content can quickly descend into a mess of different ideas and unfinished projects.
Creating content is not as simple as writing an article on a topic related to your business hitting publish, and waiting for the clicks to roll in. Producing valuable content that your users love requires strategy.
A robust workflow streamlines the content marketing process, ensures content stays on track, and results in high-quality optimized content that has the best possible chance of ranking well.
Step-by-Step Guide for Creating a Successful Content Marketing Workflow
Creating a content marketing workflow is surprisingly simple. The first time you create one it may take you a little longer, but once you’re in the habit of building workflows, you’ll find that they make the whole process more streamlined and quicker.
Here are our top tips for each stage of the workflow.
1 - Plan Your Content and Its Goals
Planning successful content boils down to understanding what your audience wants to read, how your content can help them, and what your business hopes to achieve through publishing content.
Taking time to plan your content according to its audience, content gaps, and finally, your business will result in higher quality content.
Understand Your Target Audience
First, you need to figure out who your target audience is. What’s their age range? Where are they based? What’s their daily routine? The key is to work out who your readers are, where their pain points lie, and what problems they can solve by reading your content.
Consider creating detailed buyer personas so that you’re clear on who you’re addressing while you write. A fictional buyer persona will help you solidify which of their daily problems your helping solve along with what types of content are most likely to resonate with them.
Source: Buyer Persona Institute
For example, if your buyer persona is an executive director at a technology enterprise, you may find detailed eBooks containing lots of data and factual evidence are an effective way to engage with them. If however, your buyer persona is a college graduate you may find short, direct, and humorous blog posts are the best way to engage with them.
The more you understand about your target audience the more you can tailor your content to solve their problems and provide real value.
Once you’ve got a clear idea of who your target audience is and what kind of content they’re likely to prefer, draw up a list of topics that are most relevant to them. Figure out what they're searching for on Google and which industry-related questions they want answers for.
This is the time to perform keyword research or any other question-related research that’s linked to your readers’ search queries.
When you’re thinking about which topics are most important to include in your content, try using Dashword to scrape the top 30 results for a given keyword. This will tell you which topics are most frequently covered helping you see which are most important to include and where you may find a content gap.
Read more: How to Use Dashword
Once you’re happy with your key topics to cover within the content, think about how they’ll fit together to solve your readers’ problems.
Determine Goals of Content
Creating goal-oriented content is key to attaining success. If you don’t know what you're trying to achieve, how can you succeed anyway?
Think about how many quarterly impressions, social shares, or email sign-ups you hope to obtain through your content.
Depending on where your target audience is in the buyer’s journey, your content will have different goals. If you’re looking to simply build awareness your goals may be linked to page views and social shares.
If your target audience is already past this stage, your content goals may shift to encouraging your readers to take action by signing up for a free trial or booking a consultation.
Make sure you’re being ambitious while being realistic - you don’t want to feel demotivated by goals that are too overwhelming.
2 - Organize Your Content Team
A streamlined and effective content strategy comes from a highly organized content team. When you’re planning content, it’s better to err on the side of overplanning and drill down into the detail rather than leaving things open and half planned.
Having said that, always leave a little room for maneuver in case content has to be adapted to fit in with any changes to the business.
Involve a Variety of Marketing Team Members
Including a diverse set of team members will ensure you’re incorporating different perspectives and solutions. If you can, include members from all levels of seniority within the company. Whether they’re the VP of marketing or an intern, they’ll each have their own unique fresh perspective that another person may not have.
If you’re working alone, it’s still a good idea to set aside time to brainstorm before beginning to write. You can do this by setting aside five to 10 minutes without any distractions and writing down as many ideas as you can on a piece of paper. While they may not all be ultra high-quality ideas you want to work with, it will help you embrace your creativity and narrow down what you want to write about.
To keep things running smoothly, assign each individual task to a relevant content marketing team member. Dividing each portion of the project up into small chunks and assigning them accordingly ensures everyone is aware of their responsibility. This helps people stick to deadlines and produce work efficiently.
If you’re just working individually, it’s still a good idea to map out each individual task and decide how it should be delivered and when.
Use a Collaboration Tool
Tracking each individual component on platforms like Trello and Asana can help streamline processes between managers, editors, and writers. Having everything laid out in a clear and visual format helps keep communication and collaboration flowing.
Even if you’re working alone, tracking content on boards is a great way to stick to your personal goals and deadlines.
Dashword is also a handy collaboration tool for working with both freelance and in-house writers. Once you’ve created a report, and written a content brief you can generate a public link that allows anyone to view reports and briefs.
Build an Editorial Calendar
Successful content marketing strategies all have one thing in common - they’re consistent.
Sporadically publishing content isn’t helpful for achieving desirable results. A consistent publishing schedule that sticks to a calendar will ultimately help you achieve your content goals.
Creating an editorial calendar helps save time and keeps content on track with the company’s vision and goals.
Planning content in quarterly or monthly segments will give you the benefit of organization along with enough maneuver to change things according to changing company priorities.
While you need to know what’s being published when it’s a good idea to leave a little bit of room for building content that ties in with company events and other similar opportunities.
3 - Ensure Content Remains on Track During the Writing and Editing Process
Once you’ve assigned all the content tasks to relevant team members, it’s time to write and edit the content. Instead of diving straight into writing, it’s best to have a clear direction for the content instead of leaving it to the writer and their own creativity.
Some structure and processes go a long way and will keep writing and editing on track during this phase.
Before writing anything, build an outline of the blog post. An outline acts as a skeleton of the final piece which you can then build on while you’re writing.
The best way to create an outline is to divide the content into subsections and headers. Beneath each header, you can write a line or two of text you’re going to include.
You can make the outline as detailed or brief as you like. The important thing is that it provides an overview of all the topics you’re going to cover. Mention whether you’re going to incorporate any stats, data, and images within the piece.
When it comes to writing the content, you’ll find it much easier to include everything you want to and are less likely to miss out on any key details.
During the writing phase make sure to stick to the outline and initial research. Ensure you keep your content relevant and use the right keywords throughout the piece in a natural-sounding way.
Don’t be tempted by keyword stuffing and risk a harmful Google penalty.
If you’re wondering how to identify the most valuable keywords for your content and how frequently you should include them, try Dashword’s keyword optimization tool.
The platform shows a list of relevant terms related to your initial keyword ranked by importance. As you write within the text editor, each term is grayed out once included. Dashword will also give you other writing pointers like how well your content covers the subject along with the recommended length.
Read more: Best Clearscope Alternatives
Editing is best done as a collaborative process between editors and writers. Try tracking changes and suggestions in a platform like Google Docs so everyone working on the content can easily see what’s changed since the last time they visited the document.
If you want to see how your piece stacks up against the competition, run the complete version through Dashword. Receive a letter grade of how your content compares to other pieces and check if there are any necessary improvements you should make before publishing. You can easily share Dashword content reports between in-house teams and freelance writers with a link.
Performing on-page SEO is essential for ensuring content ranks. You could write the most relevant and comprehensive content but if you neglect this step, it’s unlikely your content will rank well in SERPs.
While on-page SEO is about helping search engines figure out what your content is about, it’s also important for improving user experience and making sure content is digestible and readable. We've written an entire guide on content optimization but here are a few basic steps you can take before hitting publish.
- Format your content clearly with subheadings and digestible paragraphs. Always use header tags to tell search engines which pieces of content are most important.
- Write a catchy meta title that gives search engines and users a clear idea of what your piece is about. Put your target keyword at the beginning of the title and keep it between 50 and 70 characters.
- Optimize your images. Compress images to ensure they’re not large files that take a long time to load. Slow page speed will hinder your content in the rankings so making sure content loads quickly is key.
Read more: The Most Important SEO Metrics in 2020
4 - Streamline the Publishing and Promoting Stage
When your content is ready to go it’s time to publish and begin promoting. While it’s easy to hit publish and move onto the next piece of content don’t move so fast! A successful promotion strategy will result in more views of your content and more visits to your site.
Coordinate a promotion strategy with the aim of showing your content to the relevant target audience on channels they are most likely to use. Think carefully about where your target audience is most likely to spend time. Posting at the right time is also key for reaching your audience.
Are they business owners? Or are they fashion bloggers? You may want to consider if your content is best suited for LinkedIn, Instagram, a newsletter, or Twitter. In some cases, your content may be a fit for several channels. Experiment to find the best results for your content.
Social media is a great way of getting your content in front of your target audience. Use company accounts to boost the piece and see if your in-house team will share the piece on their social media.
The more social shares your content receives, the more credible and useful it will appear to search engines and users. Paid social media ads are a great resource for reaching your target audience.
Using filters allows you to reach your target audience more easily. When creating ads, you can choose to show your content to users based on their interests, location, and age group, etc.
Leverage influencer marketing to get your content in front of more users. Build connections with established voices and brands that already have a larger audience than your own.
This is a quick way of getting your content in front of people who may not usually come across your site. You can also include a few links to your site, so you drive some organic traffic back.
Outreach for Backlinks
Backlinks are an essential part of SEO and help increase targeted traffic back to your site. Not only do they show search engines your content is trustworthy but they also encourage users to click through to your page.
Set up a backlink strategy where you send out a couple of targeted emails to sites you want a backlink from. Remember that while you may not hear back from every site you reach out to, a few successful emails can result in profitable backlinks that generate lots of organic traffic.
5 - Don’t Forget the Analysis Process
Too many content marketers skip the analysis process as soon as the content has been published and promoted.
Although measuring the success of your content marketing efforts can be challenging - only 39% of content marketers consider themselves successful at tracking ROI - it’s a critical step for figuring out what works for bringing in organic traffic and what doesn’t.
On a basic level, you need to know how content is influencing your marketing efforts and what’s having the most or least impact.
Set Up a Spreadsheet
It’s a good idea to set up a master spreadsheet so you know where you are with your content marketing efforts. Enter all the details related to your content including the topic, publish date, and social media channels.
From here you can track their performance including organic traffic, dwell time, and social shares. You can also include any other stats that may be relevant to the content including the number of newsletter sign-ups, and conversions.
Regularly updating this spreadsheet will also help you track which pieces require updating and content optimization. You won’t need to worry about content decay or pieces going out of date since you’ll already have important data in front of you.
Leverage Google Analytics
Google Analytics is not only free but a complete powerhouse when it comes to tracking your content’s organic traffic. You can set the tool up to track key measurements across your site including page visits, how users find your content, and time spent on the page.
Google Analytics is also useful for getting an overview of seasonal or other user trends that may impact your content’s organic traffic.
Rounding off your content marketing workflow, it’s a good habit to get into regularly reporting on your content. Depending on the size of your projects and the amount of content published each month, you can provide quarterly or monthly reports.
Reporting varies between marketers and there’s no one way to do it. You may prefer to just report on big projects once a month or report on all content once a quarter.
Producing reports on content helps highlight what’s fueling your content efforts and what requires improvement. You can see how your initial goals align with outcomes and either set bigger targets or figure out what needs changing.
Building an effective content marketing workflow can be the difference between creating successful high-ranking content and content that doesn’t bring any targeted leads.
Ultimately following a content marketing workflow is about keeping processes streamlined and organized, so content is targeted and optimized to help achieve your business’s goals.
Remember, that while it may seem like a lot of extra work to create a content marketing workflow, it will save you time in the long run and give your content the best chance of performing well and hitting your goals.
Try Dashword Today
Using Dashword will help streamline your content marketing workflow from start to finish. Helping you understand the most relevant topics and keywords to include along with how you can improve your content to outrank competitors, Dashword is a must-have in any content marketer’s toolkit.
Easy to use within in-house content teams and external freelancers, Dashword makes the whole process easier. Want to see how much easier Dashword makes content marketing? Sign up for a free trial here and get your free report.