Content Workflow | Glossary

A well-defined, properly documented content workflow is a key component of any marketing strategy. The best content workflows map out the steps a marketing organization follows, from an idea to published content. This ensures success throughout the content creation process. Without an effective content workflow, you risk delivering low-quality content and failing to meet your goals.

What Is a Content Workflow?

A content workflow is the series of tasks taken by your marketing team or content creation group. In an optimal content workflow, these tasks and their related steps are accurately documented, and all team members closely follow the process. Close adherence to the content workflow process helps ensure delivery of quality content.

For best results, a documented content workflow considers all of a marketing organization’s resources, including people, software tools, outsourced services, and materials. No matter how small a part of the process may seem, all tasks and steps should be represented, leaving no room for guesswork.

In most situations, you need a multi-faceted content workflow that accounts for different content creation activities, such as blog posts, video production, or social media promotion.

What Are the Benefits of a Content Workflow?

By clearly defining every step of the process, content workflows help you avoid the common problems that arise in the content creation process. Some benefits of employing a content workflow include:

  • A consistent, trouble-free content creation process
  • Deadlines and project goals are understood and met
  • Content creation problems are anticipated and more easily avoided
  • Every team member knows their role and understands the whole process

Without a content workflow, your team will likely miss critical deadlines or produce low-quality content. A well-defined workflow keeps everyone working toward the overall goals.

What Are the Different Types of Content Workflows?

Content workflows can, and should be, customized for each company or team. However, there are two main types: task-based and status-based workflows.

You might choose one workflow type or the other or use each type in different scenarios. Here’s a brief overview of both content workflow styles.

Task-based workflows
In a task-based workflow, each step is a task that must be completed before continuing. In this type of workflow, each step is described in detail, with little room for interpretation. New or inexperienced content teams benefit the most from this approach since everyone’s role is well-defined, and the next steps are always clear.

Status-based workflows
Experienced content teams tend to prefer a status-based workflow. This is a more high-level approach, with each stage of the workflow defined by a project’s status. For instance, when a blog post is completed and published or social media posts are live, one stage is complete. With a status-based workflow, there is less emphasis on minute details and more on deadlines.

Status-based workflows are easier to track, but they require an experienced team that understands the content creation process. A task-based workflow works well for less experienced teams but may require dedicated personnel to monitor the progress.

Image credit: Pixabay

How to Create a Content Workflow

Content workflows are regularly created with project management tools or diagramming software like Microsoft Visio or the cloud-based ClickUp. However, you don’t need specialized software to create a content workflow. Text-based content workflows can be documented with any word processor, and they"re frequently created in spreadsheet apps.

Content management systems often have workflow-based functionality that will guide your team. But it’s still a good idea to define your process in a separate document. Regardless of which approach and tools you choose, here are the essential steps required to create a content workflow.

Define your audience and your goals
The most critical step of any content marketing strategy is to establish your core audience and the goals for your content. Some common high-level goals include brand awareness or converting more leads into customers. Understanding the audience you hope to reach and defining your goals effectively shape your content creation process.

Make a list of roles and responsibilities
With an understanding of your target audience and your content goals, the next step is to decide which team members will help you meet those goals. Content marketing teams typically include a wide range of creators, like bloggers, scriptwriters, editors, managers, and stakeholders. Make a list of all the roles involved in the process, and define each person’s responsibilities.

For example, senior editors might be responsible for blog post topics in a series. The bloggers write, and editors review the blog post copy and suggest revisions. The project manager gives the final approval, and a website admin publishes the content. From there, marketing staff, such as analysts, monitor the blog post’s performance.

This is also the time to look at the software and other tools you use in the content creation process and define their roles, too. If you use any outsourced services, like freelance writers, their roles and responsibilities should also be defined.

Map the process
Now that you have high-level details sorted out, it’s time to map out each stage of the content creation process. Think about where the process starts. Do you hold a strategy meeting? Or do writers submit ideas? Once a first draft is complete, how does the editor receive the copy, and how do they notify writers of their suggestions? Do you have a separate SEO optimization process, and when does that take place?

You’ll likely be surprised at just how many different touch points there are in your content creation process. That’s why thorough process mapping is so important. Without proper documentation of each step in the process and without defining how one step leads to the other, content creation can devolve into chaos. Process mapping may take a while, but it’s worth the effort to properly define your process.

Capture the results
The final step of creating a content workflow is documenting the process in a format that’s easily accessible to the entire team. You might use a shared doc, post it on an internal website, or deliver printed copies. Whichever tools and approach you choose, the important thing is to have thorough documentation that’s available to everyone.

For more information on content strategy and workflows, check out these Scripted blog posts for further reading:

Content Marketing Statistics: 2023 Trends & Predictions

The Step-by-Step Guide to Conducting a Content Audit in 2023

Content Marketing 101: What is a Content Writer?

8 Essential Content Marketing Tools for Your Enterprise Business

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