The past few years have completely changed the way we create content. It’s no longer (just) about creating the best content possible. Visibility is just as important as quality, which means you need to consider audience, format, and optimization well before you begin the actual content creation process.
If you’re a freelancer or agency, you also have to take into account client guidelines and review processes, as well.
Gone are the days of write, edit, publish. You need a comprehensive content strategy to make sure content that is primed and ready to reach your audience before it can begin engaging them.
And, equally important, you need a streamlined project and task management to keep your content production pipeline under control!
Streamlining Content Production
The best way to improve content production is to create a workflow that you can follow again and again.
As you repeat the workflow, you can identify bottlenecks—what steps take the most time? Are there certain team members or clients who are slow the process down? Are there ways you can distribute work more evenly?
You can then come up with a plan to reduce those bottlenecks and improve efficiency.
A common workflow for many content creators is as follows:
Ideating Your Content
Ideation is more than just brainstorming interesting ideas. It involves…
- Identifying your content objectives and KPIs
- Researching keywords.
- Identifying content verticals
- Determining who is in charge of each step of the process
- Researching trending topics with tools like Buzzsumo or SEMrush.
Creating Your Calendar
Anyone in the content industry knows the importance of deadlines. For some, an old-fashioned day-planner can be helpful to keep track of deadlines and other tasks. You have important dates written out, and get the satisfaction of crossing them off when you’re done.
Unfortunately, a simple day planner won’t suffice if you’re keeping track of multiple deadlines for a single piece of content: dates for it to be completed, edited, reviewed, published, shared, and so on.
If you’re creating content with SEO in mind, you need an advanced content calendar that can help you track all those ideations and any other relevant data, such as…
- Keywords and metadata
- Audience, persona, or vertical
- Which stage of the buying funnel you’re targeting
- Social sharing information
- Client or editor notes
…to name just a few!
Many content creators turn to online planning tools to help keep them organized:
- Spreadsheets like Google Sheets or Airtable can help you track dates and misc. content data.
- Kanban boards like Trello can be used to track content as they move from one status to the next.
These tools are great for project management, giving you a big picture look as you ideate and execute your content strategy.
But what about the small picture: the day-to-day tasks required to actually create quality content?
Creating Your Content
As involved as content creation has become, the actual “creation” stage is still the meatiest part of the process, requiring the most time and creative energy. At the same time, this is not the stage to cut corners, as the quality of your content will suffer.
Here is where you can focus on strengthening your workflow and task management. How can you reduce the time spent between creating, editing, and reviewing content? If you are assigning content out to other team members or third-parties, how can you improve your instructions to reduce back-and-forth edits? What are the best stages to incorporate client review to reduce bottlenecking?
A dedicated task management system can be extremely helpful. Automating your tasks is also a great way to reduce time spent on creating new tasks. Every second counts!
In the same vein, consider time tracking to see what tasks take you the longest (writing vs. editing, for example). You can aim to reduce the time spent on these tasks or see what you can do to reduce time on other tasks, to give you the freedom to take the necessary time for those tasks.
Improving Communication with Clients and End Users
Beyond your own deadlines and organization, it’s important that you maintain constant communication with your clients and end users. Depending on the type of work you’re doing, you’ll need to reach out with various questions and project updates along the way.
You can do this from your own personal email, but if you want to integrate it with your team or clients, things can quickly get clumsy. Using a messaging service like Skype or Slack can improve the speed of communication, but tasks or notes can easily get lost after time has passed and the conversation has moved forward.
In some cases, you may need to refer to a past conversation when discussing options with a current client. If you could easily search and manage your email, you would be miles ahead in the process. Creating folders and tags can make it easy to search through communications to find the information you need when you need it.
Utilize Cloud Storage for Project and Task Management
As content creators, we are often tasked with creating the same kind of content over and over. Improving project and task management can help you avoid having to “recreate the wheel” by making it easy to store and rework ideas for a different customer or client.
That isn’t to say you ever duplicate any content, but having a library of content to pull from will help you create better, more focused content over time.
You can keep thousands of files on your local drive, but that can become overwhelming, depending on the amount of work you complete. Cloud-based storage can be a viable solution and having all-in-one access to a cloud storage solution will enhance your ability to discover materials when necessary.
The Project and Task Management Solution: Gryffin!
Don’t stumble through project and task management on your own without the tools to be an effective marketer or content manager. Sure, you can cobble together solutions from a variety of free accounts that get you halfway there, but there are better solutions.
With Gryffin, you will have access to tools that integrate seamlessly into your own processes, including:
- Cloud Storage
- Email Integration
- Project Chat
- Task Management
- Calendar Views
An investment in the right tool will make all the difference. So why not invest in something that enhances your workflow? The Gryffin integrated productivity system will allow you to take your work to the next level.