Streamline your content management process, save time, and improve efficiency with these practical tips.
5 Tips For Streamlining Your Content Management Process
Looking to streamline your content management process? These practical tips will help you save time and create high-quality content.
Content management is a crucial aspect of running a successful business or organization. It involves creating, organizing, and distributing content across various channels and platforms.
However, managing content can be time-consuming and complex, especially if you don’t have a streamlined process in place.
In this article, we’ll cover five practical tips for improving efficiency in your content management process. By implementing these strategies, you can save time, reduce errors, and better engage your audience with high-quality content.
Tip #1: Automate Repetitive Tasks
One of the easiest ways to streamline your content management process is to automate repetitive tasks. This can save time and reduce the risk of errors, allowing you to focus on more important tasks.
There are many different tasks that can be automated, including publishing social media posts, sending email newsletters, and updating website content.
To set up automation, you’ll need to choose a content management system (CMS) or third-party tool that offers automation capabilities. Many popular CMS platforms, such as WordPress and Drupal, offer built-in automation features or plugins that you can use to automate tasks.
Alternatively, you can use specialized third-party tools to automate social media or email marketing tasks, such as IFTTT (If This Then That), Zapier, or Buffer.
Here are a few examples of tasks that can be automated:
Social media: You can use a tool like Hootsuite or Buffer to schedule social media posts in advance. This allows you to create and schedule content in bulk, rather than having to log in and post manually every day.
Email newsletters: If you have a regular email newsletter, you can use a tool like Mailchimp, Aweber, or ConstantContact to automate the sending process. Simply create your newsletter template and schedule it to go out at a specific time.
Website updates: If you use a content management system for your website like WordPress, you can use automation to publish new content at a set time or to update existing content on a regular basis.
When setting up automation, it’s important to carefully plan and test your workflow to ensure that everything runs smoothly. You should also consider the potential risks and limitations of automation, such as the potential for errors or the need for ongoing maintenance.
Tip #2: Utilize Project Management Tools
Effective content management involves coordinating the efforts of multiple team members and having a project management tool can help with this.
A project management tool allows you to organize tasks, set deadlines, and track progress in one central location. This can improve communication among team members and help ensure that projects are completed on time.
There are many different project management tools to choose from, ranging from simple to-do list apps to more comprehensive platforms like Asana, Monday, or Trello. When choosing a project management tool, consider your team’s size, workflow, and budget.
Here are a few ways to use a project management tool in your content management process:
Assign tasks: Use the tool to assign tasks to specific team members and set deadlines. This ensures that everyone knows what they are responsible for and helps prevent overlap or gaps in coverage.
Collaborate on content: Use the tool to share drafts and collaborate on content in real time. This can help speed up the review and approval process and improve the overall quality of your content.
Monitor progress: Use the tool to track the progress of each task and project. This can help identify bottlenecks and potential delays and allow you to make adjustments as needed.
Tip #3: Set Clear Guidelines For Content Creation
Having clear guidelines in place for content creation can help ensure consistency and reduce the time spent on editing and revisions. These guidelines can cover things like tone, formatting, and approval processes.
To create guidelines, consider the needs and goals of your audience, as well as the tone and voice that you want to convey. You should also consider the specific platforms and channels where your content will be published.
Once you have established your guidelines, it’s important to document them and communicate them to your team. This can help ensure that everyone is on the same page and that there is a consistent approach to content creation.
Here are a few things to consider when creating content guidelines:
Tone: Establish the tone and voice that you want to use in your content. This could be formal, casual, informative, humorous, etc.
Formatting: Determine the formatting standards for your content, including font size and type, headings, bullet points, and other formatting elements.
Approval process: Set up a clear process for reviewing and approving content. This can include establishing who is responsible for reviewing content, setting deadlines for review, and outlining the steps for making changes or approving content for publication.
Tip #4: Create A Content Calendar
Having a content calendar in place can help you plan and organize your content in advance. This can save time and reduce the risk of missing deadlines or forgetting to publish content. A content calendar can also help you identify gaps in your content and plan ahead for events or promotions.
To create a content calendar, start by determining the types of content you want to create and the frequency with which you want to publish it. You should also consider the needs and interests of your audience and any upcoming events or promotions that you want to feature in your content.
Once you have a list of content ideas, you can start organizing them onto a calendar. You can use a spreadsheet, a paper calendar, or a tool like Trello or Asana to create your calendar.
Here are a few tips for creating and using a content calendar:
Schedule content in advance: Plan out your content as far in advance as possible. This can help you take advantage of seasonal trends and plan around events or promotions.
Be flexible: While it’s important to have a plan in place, be prepared to adjust your calendar as needed. You may need to shift content around due to changes in your business or in response to current events.
Integrate with other marketing efforts: Make sure your content calendar aligns with your overall marketing strategy. This can help you create a cohesive message and ensure that all of your marketing efforts are working together.
Tip #5: Regularly Review And Optimize Your Content Management Process
Effective content management is a continuous process, and it’s important to regularly review and optimize your strategy. This can help you identify areas for improvement and make adjustments as needed to ensure that your content is meeting the needs of your audience.
To review and optimize your content management process, you can analyze data and gather feedback from your team and your audience. This can help you identify areas that are working well and areas that could be improved.
Here are a few tips for reviewing and optimizing your content management process:
Analyze data: Use analytics tools to track the performance of your content. This can help you identify trends and areas for improvement, such as which types of content are most popular or which channels are driving the most traffic.
Gather feedback: Ask your team and your audience for feedback on your content. This can help you identify areas where you are meeting their needs and areas where you may need to make changes.
Set goals: Establish specific goals for your content and track your progress towards meeting them. This can help you focus your efforts and ensure that your content is aligned with your overall business goals.
Experiment: Don’t be afraid to try new things and see how they work. This could include testing different types of content, experimenting with different formats or channels, or looking for ways to improve your workflow processes.
Identify bottlenecks: Look for bottlenecks in your content management process that may be causing delays or inefficiencies. This could include things like a lack of clear guidelines, inadequate resources, or overly complex approval processes.
Make changes: Based on the data and feedback you have gathered, make changes to your content management process as needed. This could involve adjusting your content strategy, implementing new tools or processes, or making changes to your team structure.
Continuously review: Make reviewing and optimizing your content management process a regular part of your content strategy.
Streamline Your Content Management
In this article, we’ve covered five tips for streamlining your content management process.
By automating repetitive tasks, utilizing project management tools, setting clear guidelines for content creation, implementing a content calendar, and regularly reviewing and optimizing your process, you can save time and improve the efficiency of your content management efforts.
So take these strategies to heart, and see how they can help you manage your content with ease.
Streamline your content flow
Efficiency is key, my friend
Try these tips today
There once was a content manager, whose job was quite a go-getter.
She streamlined her process, and saved lots of stress,
Now her team is much more productive, no debtor!
(AI-generated limerick about content management)
Note: This article is entirely AI-generated. The entire process from start to finish is described in this article: Generate Web Content Using AI.
Editorial calendars are sometimes also referred to as content calendars. However, according to Neil Patel, there is a difference:
“These terms are often used interchangeably. However, an editorial calendar generally outlines each step of the process, while a content calendar usually covers one aspect—such as when posts are published or shared to social media.”
Let’s briefly cover what a content calendar is and how to create one, and then we’ll focus on the editorial calendar.
What Is A Content Calendar?
A content calendar is a schedule for creating, publishing, and promoting your business’s content.
A content calendar helps your business stay organized and on schedule when creating content and ensures that you have a steady stream of relevant, high-quality content to share with your audience.
How To Plan And Create A Content Calendar
Follow the steps below to plan a content calendar for your business and see the rest of this lesson for more detailed instructions on how to create one:
Define your audience: Identify the demographics and psychographics of the people you want to target with your content. Understanding your audience will help you create content that resonates with them.
Set your goals: Determine what you want to achieve with your content. Goals can include increasing website traffic, generating leads, boosting brand awareness, or improving engagement on social media.
Research your competitors: Look at what other businesses in your industry are doing with their content. This can give you an idea of what has worked well in the past, and what strategies you might want to avoid.
Identify your topics: Choose the topics you will create content around. This might include product- or service-related information, industry news, or thought leadership pieces.
Plan your content: Decide on the format of your content (e.g. blog post, video, podcast, infographics) and schedule out when you will publish it.
Create a production plan: Decide how you will produce your content, and include it in your content calendar.
Create a promotion plan: Decide how and when you will promote your content, and include it in your content calendar.
Use a tool: Use a content calendar tool or spreadsheet to organize and schedule your content, and to make it easy to track progress and make adjustments as needed.
Example Of A Content Calendar
Here is an example of what type of information might be included in a content calendar for a marketing agency:
Audience: Small to medium-sized business owners
Goals: Increase website traffic, generate leads
Competitors: other marketing agencies
Social media marketing
Blog post: once a week
YouTube video: once a month
Webinar: Once a quarter
Social media: LinkedIn, Facebook
Email marketing: send a newsletter once a month
Paid Advertising: Google Ads, Facebook ads
Tool: Google Sheet
By following these steps, the marketing agency will be able to create a content calendar that helps them achieve its business goals while engaging its target audience with relevant and valuable content aligned with its overall promotion and distribution strategy.
Also, by using a tool to organize the calendar, it will be easy to track progress, make adjustments as needed and share it with the team members.
What Is An Editorial Calendar?
“An editorial calendar is a visual workflow that helps a team of content creators schedule their work on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis. Editorial calendars can help you track content types, promotional channels, authors, and most importantly, publish dates.”
Records how, when, and where you plan to publish upcoming content.
Lays out every step of the content planning and production process from idea to publication.
Lets you track and manage different content types (e.g. articles, videos) and promotional channels (e.g. blogs, social media, emails).
An editorial calendar should be the single version of the truth, and only projects that are actually going to be created should be added to the calendar.
Note: You can have a column in your calendar where content topics or ideas for review and discussion can be added and then either moved into production or discarded if the team decides not to go ahead with it.
“The editorial process for a business can be surprisingly complex; it’s not just a way to plan a few content ideas ahead of time, but rather it implies establishing content marketing objectives, developing a strategy and carefully strategizing all of your content ahead of time so that you can generate better results for your business – whether it’s an improved search engine ranking, more traffic, more social shares or more leads and conversions.”
If you are working with a team of content creators, you need organization, structure, and a system for planning, writing, and scheduling content on a regular basis to avoid missing deadlines, miscommunication with team members, and the accumulation of a growing pile of unfinished content.
If your business is serious about using content marketing (e.g. blogs, social media, email marketing campaigns, etc.) to improve its results, then it needs to plan, strategize, create, publish, and promote content in an organized manner, keep track of its content production in one place, and give its team complete visibility into the process.
An editorial calendar allows businesses to do this effectively.
Content Calendar Goals And Objectives
Common content calendar goals and objectives include:
Content planning: The goal is to plan and strategize the creation, distribution, and promotion of content. This can be achieved by creating an editorial calendar, identifying your target audience, and defining KPIs.
Timeliness: The goal is to ensure that content is created and published in a timely manner. This can be achieved by scheduling blog posts, social media posts, and other content well in advance, and creating deadlines for content creation and review.
Consistency: The goal is to ensure a consistent flow of content to keep your audience engaged and interested. This can be achieved by publishing regular blog posts, scheduling recurring social media posts, and creating a content calendar that covers the year/month.
Brand alignment: The goal is to align content with your company’s brand messaging and values. This can be achieved by creating and sharing branded graphics, videos and infographics, and guest blogging on relevant websites.
Audience engagement: The goal is to engage your target audience by creating and publishing content that is relevant and valuable to them. This can be achieved by creating a calendar that includes a mix of different types of content, such as blog posts, videos, infographics, and social media posts.
Content optimization: The goal is to improve the visibility and performance of content by ensuring it is well-written, visually appealing, and optimized for search engines and social media. This can be achieved by optimizing headlines, meta descriptions, and images, using keywords and hashtags, and making sure the content is mobile-friendly
Integration: The goal is to integrate your content calendar with other systems and tools to improve efficiency, collaboration, and automation. This can be achieved by integrating with a CRM system, integrating with social media platforms, and integrating with analytics and reporting tools.
Flexibility: The goal is to ensure that your content calendar can be easily adapted to changing business needs and goals. This can be achieved by incorporating a feedback and testing process, making it easy for stakeholders to provide input and feedback, and implementing agile methodologies.
Collaboration: The goal is to promote collaboration and communication among team members to ensure that content is created and reviewed in a timely and effective manner. This can be achieved by using shared tools for content creation, review and publishing, setting up regular meetings and check-ins, and providing clear guidelines and instructions
Budget and resources allocation: The goal is to plan and allocate the budget and resources needed to achieve your content goals. This can be achieved by identifying the cost of creating, distributing and measuring the content, and allocating resources to create, review, and publish your content.
Benefits Of Using An Editorial Calendar
Some of the benefits of using an editorial calendar include:
Better planning creates better content.
With an editorial calendar, you can include content research information in the planning process that content writers and creators need to create in-depth content targeted to the right audience, like supporting sources, quotes, stats, and references, keyword research, editorial briefs, notes from other team members, competitive intelligence data, etc.
This can save valuable time and help generate an ongoing pipeline for the production of high-quality content.
One Place To Organize, Delegate, And Manage Everything
Depending on your content strategy, after a certain point, it can become unwieldy to keep track of all content production activities using spreadsheets, emails, text files, word docs, or sticky notes.
An editorial calendar allows businesses to plan, organize, delegate, track, and manage all of their content production effectively from one place.
It also allows a content production team to plan and work collaboratively and break the process into manageable workflow steps, assign tasks to individual team members, set priorities and deadlines for each item, adjust shifts in content needs and timing, and communicate with each other during each stage and level of production through notes and comments.
Keep in mind, however, that while some businesses may choose to use one ‘source of truth’ application for managing all of their content production, other organizations may have different departments or teams with different calendars to meet their content schedules.
For example, an organization may have a team of writers focused on creating content for their blog, a team (or individuals) managing their social media campaigns, and a marketing team or person running email campaigns and newsletters.
In this case, the organization could have different calendars to manage different content needs and all these separate content schedules would need to be coordinated to make sure that every team meets its targets and deadlines.
Helps Achieve Strategic Goals
An editorial calendar can assist a business to achieve goals set in its content strategy in a number of ways, including helping to:
Meet critical milestones.
Track promotional activities.
Grow leads and improve conversion rates.
Increase sales and sign-ups on newsletters and registrations.
Build brand awareness.
Determine whether sufficient content is being produced for each persona being targeted by the business.
An editorial calendar can help team members plan content ahead of time to meet specific timeframes and deadlines.
This is especially important if the business strategy requires new content to be published by a certain date to coincide with product launches, sales, or other time-based events.
It can also help to eliminate writer’s block. If the topic is set, a brief is clearly stated, and all background information is provided, the content writer can log in for the day, check the calendar, and begin working immediately on their project or assignment.
Managing Your Content Calendar
As a content manager working with a content production team, you will probably be the person responsible for managing the content calendar (unless someone else is appointed as calendar manager).
Even if you allow team members to add and edit items on the calendar, it’s helpful to have one person managing it and being accountable for it.
The calendar manager is responsible for deciding:
Who manages the calendar
Who can access the calendar (view only, view and edit, etc.)
Which projects will be added to the calendar
How often the calendar will be reviewed, updated, and cleaned up
Additionally, the calendar owner/manager is responsible for:
Making sure that deadlines are being set and met.
Nudging team members as deadlines approach.
Calling out anything that doesn’t look right.
How To Create An Editorial Calendar
Before creating an editorial calendar, make sure that the following processes are already in place:
You have set up a schedule for your content production team. See this lesson for an example of what this step might look like: Content Production Team Schedule.
Once these processes are in place, you are ready to create your editorial calendar. The video below provides an overview of the process.
Let’s go through the steps:
1. Decide On Content Types
Check your content plan and decide on the content types your team will create.
Blog posts and articles
Social Media posts
Lead Gen Reports
Guides and Ebooks
Print magazines, brochures, or newsletters.
Other marketing projects.
2. Choose Your Tools
You can use a range of tools to create and track content production. Often, a combination of tools is needed to achieve the best results and these can vary from organization to organization and even from team to team.
Your business may or may not have already invested in some of these tools. If it has, then learn to use these tools. If not, refer to the Content Production Tools section for free and paid tools that will help you build and manage a content production workflow.
Types Of Content Calendars
An editorial calendar doesn’t have to be a digital tool to begin the process. Depending on what the business wants to do and how much content it plans to create to start with, you could begin with a diary, printed calendars and/or a whiteboard.
While this is a step in the right direction toward organizing your content workflow if you’re just getting started, non-digital tools are limited in what they can do. You can’t edit these easily, or use them to coordinate assigning editorial work or move projects through different stages of content planning and production.
In this case, using a spreadsheet is a better option to start with. You can make your own content calendar or use a spreadsheet template. There are many editorial and content calendar spreadsheet templates available and we provide links to these in the “Resources” section of this lesson.
Using a spreadsheet template or Google calendar is not a bad way to start, especially if you’re designing a prototype for your content scheduling or production workflow.
You can also use a Kanban board to create your content calendar. A Kanban board application looks like a virtual whiteboard with digital post-it notes that contain information about each project and can be moved across different columns after each stage of the process is completed.
For a list of free and paid tools you can use to create and run an editorial calendar that lets you assign tasks to individual team members or authors, set publishing schedules, allow your entire team access to track content through different stages of production, and know what and when content is being published, see these sections:
Make changes to draft and submit for review. (Author)
Review/edit amended draft. (Editor)
Make changes to draft, then transfer to CMS, format content, and add additional elements like artwork, media, etc. (Author)
Submit draft for technical review [optional]. (Author)
Technical review/edit. (Product Manager)
Make changes and submit the final draft for review. (Author)
Approve content in the final draft. (Editor/Product Manager)
Schedule content for promotion. (Editor/Marketing Team)
So, documenting the above workflow would look something like this…
Once you have figured out your content production workflow, set the processes up in your content planning tool/editorial calendar as columns in your spreadsheet, kanban board, etc.
Note: Some workflow processes include subtasks that need to be completed before content production can proceed to the next stage, so make sure to document these as well.
For example, adding a new task to production can involve completing subtasks like:
Gathering research sources and references
Performing keyword research
Analyzing content from the competition
Creating an editorial brief for authors
Sourcing internal linking opportunities
And creating an initial draft can involve subtasks like:
Requesting visual artwork (images, banners, etc.) from illustrators or graphic designers
Requesting media (e.g. videos) to be created
Interviewing subject experts
Some tools allow you to add checklists and templates to explain the workflow and ensure that all essential or required tasks and subtasks are completed successfully at each stage.
4. Create A List Of Content Ideas
After deciding on the editorial calendar tool(s) you will use, the next step is to build a content backlog (i.e. a list of content ideas) to start organizing and tracking ideas and topics for articles and other content.
You can use a spreadsheet for this or just create a column on your content planning board for adding content ideas and topics for team discussion that may or may not make it to production.
Next, start adding a few headings to organize your content.
Title – Article title or content topic
Author – Assign an author (if there are multiple writers)
Status – Set the project status here (e.g. discussion, assigned, draft, review, published, etc.)
Date – Add the publication date
Additional headings you can add include special dates and anniversaries, themes and distribution channels, trending topics/new launches relevant to your industry or niche, seasonal content, and key sales dates.
Once you have this information, you are ready to begin using your editorial calendar.
How To Use An Editorial Calendar
With the prerequisite Content Strategy and Content Planning steps done, you can avoid the chaotic, disorganized, and often stressful scramble to come up with content at the last minute, begin the more methodical and effective route of scheduling content in advance, and get your content production pipeline rolling.
5. Schedule Your Initial Content
Ideally, you would schedule anywhere from 2-6 weeks’ worth of content ahead of time, depending on how much content you plan to produce and how many people are on your team.
Set up your content tasks into your content production tool, allowing enough time for each step of the process to meet content production targets and deadlines.
6 . Move Content Into Production
After scheduling your initial content, your team can begin to produce it. Make sure that every member of your team knows how to access and use your content production tool to move things along when each stage is completed (e.g. from writing an initial draft of an article to initial review).
Color coding the content on your calendar helps to keep your content activities organized, and allows your team to quickly identify content types, projects, or other agreed-upon ways to classify your processes.
You can color-code your editorial calendar however you like, as long as the color scheme is consistent and everyone in the team understands what the colors refer to. Some tools offer built-in color-coding functionality and allow you to specify custom colors and color schemes.
Some examples of using color-coding in your calendar include classifying content by:
Campaign, theme, or category
Content marketing channel
Any content-related activity where there is more than one type involved.
7. Build Your Content Pipeline
If the goal of your organization is to keep publishing content on a regular basis, then you need to build a forward-looking content pipeline into your editorial calendar.
You should be continually adding and queuing up new content for production, moving things along each stage of the pipeline, and having articles or other content ready for publication coming out at the other end.
If you’re just getting started with your content production process, you will probably need to put in extra work at the beginning to start filling your editorial calendar and feed your content pipeline.
This might mean getting a team of in-house or outsourced writers to create extra content until you have a suitable volume of content to publish or spending some time each day or week creating additional content.
8. Optimize & Refine Your Content Process
Content production is not a “set and forget” process. It needs to operate like a well-oiled machine. And like all machines, your content process needs to be periodically reviewed, maintained, and adjusted.
This means identifying and eliminating unnecessary processes, removing bottlenecks, making sure that all tools being used are fit for their purpose, reviewing processes and procedures with your team, and ensuring that the editorial process works for everyone.
In addition to making sure that your content team isn’t being slowed down or affected by a lack of skills or training on using tools or understanding processes, some of the more common areas to review periodically include:
Your content production schedule
Your content production tools
The volume of content that’s backed up and why it’s not getting published
The average time the content sits in the pipeline between each stage of production.
Define the goals and objectives of your content calendar: Clearly define the goals and objectives of the content calendar, such as ensuring a consistent flow of content and aligning with business objectives.
Identify key themes: Identify the key themes that align with your business goals and audience interests.
Gather existing content: Gather existing content, such as blog posts, videos, and social media updates, that can be repurposed or used as a starting point for new content.
Create a content calendar template: Create a content calendar template that includes columns for the content type, topic, target audience, deadline, and any other relevant information.
Fill in the calendar: Fill in the content calendar with the content ideas and existing content.
Set a publishing schedule: Set a publishing schedule for the content, taking into account the desired frequency and the target audience’s behavior.
Allocate resources: Allocate resources for creating, publishing, and promoting your content.
Coordinate with other teams: Coordinate with other teams, such as marketing and product development, to ensure the content aligns with the overall company goals and objectives.
Continuously monitor and update: Continuously monitor and update the content calendar based on the results and feedback.
Creating and managing a content strategy can be daunting and trying to maintain a regular publishing schedule without a tool for planning, tracking, and coordinating content activities can be challenging.
An editorial calendar is an ideal tool for managing content planning and streamlining content production activities from a central hub. It will help your team stay focused and on track and ensure the consistent delivery and publishing of high-quality content for your business.
Decide on the right editorial calendar tool for your business, set up a content production schedule, get your content team involved in using it to build a content pipeline and publish regular new content, and periodically review and improve your processes.