Whether you have an official, documented process to manage content within your organization or you roll with the punches (like many companies are still doing today), you have a content workflow.
How organized and efficient it is, of course, depends on how well-documented and streamlined your processes are.
Here’s the thing: You need a plan.
“Content is being churned out at a much higher rate than ever, without any proper plan of action. And all you see around you, is ordinary content that adds value to no one,” explains Asavari Sharma in an article for Wigzo.
“For the content to be truly engaging, the efforts must be strategically guided, so that the written word is valuable and targeted towards the end goal.”
When you don’t have a plan or a clearly defined workflow and content production management system, your content may lack consistency, but you’ll also find that your marketing and sales teams spend far too much time re-creating content that already exists.
Yet because of the multitude of content repositories utilized by most companies today, it’s often just simpler to recreate an asset designed for a specific marketing or sales scenario than to spend hours searching through the many repositories where they might find what they’re looking for.
Related Article: How Content Marketing Campaigns Can Drive Huge SEO Impact
Are You Stuck in Content Workflow Limbo?
Many companies are stuck in content marketing workflow limbo, the state in which it seems as though you’re constantly chasing a moving target, creating content on the fly to meet in-the-moment needs instead of being prepared. And it’s no fun to be stuck in limbo; in fact, it can lead to less-effective content in the long run because content created on the fly doesn’t always hit the target objectives you’d aim for if you had planned it out in advance.
Of course, there will always be the occasional need for on-the-fly content when unique and unexpected circumstances arise. But remedying your content workflow shortcomings will dramatically reduce the state of chaos that comes along with loitering in limbo-land.
Implementing these best practices will not only streamline your workflow and boost your team’s efficiency but also boost results by fueling your lead generation, nurturing, and sales processes with relevant content from the top of the sales funnel to the bottom.
1. Bring Your Sales Team in on Content Brainstorming Sessions
Who better to offer real-world insight into customer pain points and objections that result in lost opportunities than the team members hearing them every day? Use a systematic brainstorming process allowing every team member to contribute ideas, filter out the best ideas, finalize project details (will this asset be a white paper? e-book? Blog post?), and move them to production.
2. Assign Roles and Tasks
Trap.it recommends giving ownership of different marketing campaigns to specific employees, assigning posts, articles, and other assets to individual team members, placing someone in charge of monitoring social media accounts and responding to questions and comments, and other tactics that clearly define ownership of various responsibilities to ensure that nothing falls through the cracks.
Related Article: Create Better Content With These Content Marketing Rules to Live By
3. Map Content to Touchpoints Throughout the Buyer’s Journey
While many companies rely on the concept of buyer personas to create relevant content, the truth is people and prospects are far too unique, particularly when combined with the various buying stages, touchpoints, products, services, and other details that collectively contribute to infinite variations of potential buying prospects.
You simply can’t lump your prospects and customers into five or six buckets and call it a day. Instead, creative relevant, compelling content mapped to the touchpoints throughout the buying journey and make your content assets easily discoverable by sales.
Mixing and matching various content assets, selling points, and other elements to create the perfect asset (one that will aid sales in converting their unique prospect to a happy, paying customer) becomes a much more productive exercise.
4. Make Your Content Assets Accessible and Discoverable
In our 2014 State of Document Management report, we found that the majority of companies (68 percent) rely on five or more storage repositories, many of them file servers.
Despite investments in document management, many companies are continuing to struggle with breaking down the silos that exist between these various repositories. It’s just not feasible to get your employees to use a single, central repository, but you can make your content assets accessible and discoverable.
5. Conduct Content Audits to Identify Content Gaps
Complete visibility is critical for identifying the missing pieces and existing gaps that present opportunities for content development. When you know exactly what’s missing, your content development effort is precise and on-target.
6. Reformat and Repurpose to Get More Leverage From Every Asset
Need an e-book to convince leads close to the ready-to-buy stage? Some content teams would start from scratch upon discovering such a content gap (or opportunity, depending on how you look at it), but the odds are slim that reinventing the wheel is actually necessary. If you’re using a central repository or library with tagging and classification, finding existing content that’s relevant to your purpose should be pretty straightforward.
Analyze what you have and combine and repurpose existing materials, reworking content and filling in missing pieces instead of starting with a blank slate.
Related Article: Outside the Box: Unique Ways to Get Noticed With Content Marketing
When you implement all of the practices above, your content development efforts are precise, efficient, and effective as well as consistent. Consistent brand messaging is essential for solidifying your brand identity and cultivating customer loyalty.
Your sales reps have a single source of truth to discover the most recent and relevant content assets for their sales situations and instead of chasing the moving target, creating content to meet a specific sales scenario on the fly, and often after the moment of opportunity has passed, you’re operating a few steps ahead of the game.