Editorial Calendar

Learn how to create, use, and manage an editorial calendar, and how it can help with your content planning, scheduling, and production.

Editorial Calendar

Learn how to create, use, and manage an editorial calendar, and how it can help with your content planning, scheduling, and production.


An editorial calendar is a powerful content planningcontent production, content promotion, and content management tool that lets you organize and schedule all the content your business or organization needs to produce and publish to meet its strategic goals.

In this lesson, we’ll cover:

  • What Is An Editorial Calendar?
  • Why Use An Editorial Calendar?
  • Benefits Of Using An Editorial Calendar
  • How To Create An Editorial Calendar
  • How To Use An Editorial Calendar

Before You Begin

Please review the Content Planning Overview before starting this lesson.

Editorial Calendar vs Content Calendar

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.”

Source: NeilPatel.com

AirTable content calendar demo
You can use a template to build your content calendar. Image: Airtable.

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
  • Topics:
    • Inbound marketing
    • Content marketing
    • Social media marketing
  • Plan:
    • Blog post: once a week
    • YouTube video: once a month
    • Webinar: Once a quarter
  • Promotion plan:
    • 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.”

Source: HubSpot

An editorial calendar:

  • 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).


Editorial Calendar example - Asana
Editorial calendars are typically used to track upcoming pieces, planned promotions, and social media posts. Image: Asana

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.

Why Use An Editorial Calendar

According to Forbes.com

“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.”

Source: Forbes.com

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

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.

Screenshot of Jira board used as a content calendar.
An editorial calendar lets you include all the background information your team needs to create high-quality targeted content.

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.

Content Schedule chart with multiple content calendars.
Some organizations may need to run multiple schedules and calendars to meet their content needs.

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:

  • Improve focus.
  • 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.

Meet Deadlines

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:

  1. Goals, audiences, budgets, etc. have been defined in your content strategy.
  2. content plan has been created for your team.
  3. 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.

Source: coschedule.com

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.

For example:

  • Blog posts and articles
  • Social Media posts
  • Emails
  • Videos
  • Infographics
  • Lead Gen Reports
  • Guides and Ebooks
  • Webinars
  • Podcasts
  • 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.

Stock image of diary on a desk with a pen, paper clips, mobile phone and glasses.
This is a step in the right direction if you’re just getting started but has many limitations for content planning and production. Image: Pixabay.

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.

Content Calendar Excel Spreadsheet Template
You can use a spreadsheet template to create a content calendar. Source: Vertex42

You can also use a tool like Google Calendar to schedule your content.

Google Calendar
Image source: Google Calendar

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.

Editorial Calendar Template - Trello
Editorial calendar template from Trello. Image source.

For more information on different types of tools you can use for editorial and content calendars, see this article: How to Create an Editorial Calendar [Examples & Template]

Additionally, see this excellent article on creating a social media content calendar.


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:

3. Set Up Content Production Processes And Workflows

The easiest way to get your marketing/content team involved in using the editorial calendar is to build workflows for your standard content creation processes into it.

To do this, you need to:

  1. List all the individual steps (processes) in your content production process,
  2. Organize these in a logical sequence, and
  3. Set up a workflow in your calendar tool.

For example, the following processes and team members may be involved in the production of new blog posts or articles:

  1. Add a new topic. (Editor)
  2. Research background information (e.g. create a content brief, do topic research, competitive analysis, keyword research, linking opportunities, etc.) and add these to the item. (Editor/SEO)
  3. Assign an author. (Editor)
  4. Create an outline of the post or article. (Author)
  5. Approve outline. (Editor)
  6. Write an initial draft. (Author)
  7. Design/create/source visual content. (Illustrator/Graphic Designer)
  8. Create/source media [optional]. (Video Producer)
  9. Review/Edit initial draft. (Editor)
  10. Make changes to draft and submit for review. (Author)
  11. Review/edit amended draft. (Editor)
  12. Make changes to draft, then transfer to CMS, format content, and add additional elements like artwork, media, etc. (Author)
  13. Submit draft for technical review [optional]. (Author)
  14. Technical review/edit. (Product Manager)
  15. Make changes and submit the final draft for review. (Author)
  16. Approve content in the final draft. (Editor/Product Manager)
  17. Publish. (Editor/Author)
  18. Schedule content for promotion. (Editor/Marketing Team)

So, documenting the above workflow would look something like this…

Flowchart - Blog Content Production Workflow.
Example of a content production workflow for creating new blog posts.

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.

Blog Production Spreadsheet - Workflow
Add the workflow processes to your content planning tool.

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
  • etc.

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
  • etc.

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.

CoSchedule task templates
Task templates help to ensure that workflow processes get followed and tasks get completed on time. Source: Coschedule

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.

Screenshot of Jira board used for content planning.
Add a column to your content planning board for content ideas and topics for discussion. Source: WPMU DEV

Next, start adding a few headings to organize your content.

For example:

  • 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-Code Content

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
  • Team member/author
  • Content marketing channel
  • Any content-related activity where there is more than one type involved.
Infographic: Color code your way to an organized workspace with office products.
Use a color-coding scheme to organize your content calendar. Source: Quill.com

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.
  • Other metrics that the business is tracking.

For an excellent step-by-step tutorial on setting up an editorial calendar, see this article: How To Create An Editorial Calendar The Best Way

Editorial Calendar - Infographic
Infographic: How to plan a perfect editorial calendar. Source: Co-Schedule

Content Calendar Checklist

  • 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.
  • Research content ideas: Research content ideas based on the themes and audience interests identified earlier.
  • 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.

Action Steps

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.


Visit our tools and resources section for additional courses, guides, and helpful tools and resources for content managers.


Next Lesson


Source: Calendar

Content Workflow

Learn how to define a content workflow for your organization, from content ideation and creation to scheduling and publishing. 

Content Workflow

Learn how to define a content workflow for your organization, from content ideation and creation to scheduling and publishing. 

WhiteboardKeeping content projects on track and on time requires organizing and managing processes with specific tasks, done in a specific order, by team members assigned to specific roles.

If you are building a content pipeline and your content team is working on various projects, things can quickly become unwieldy and difficult to manage. People will start to get confused about where things are at, and projects will end up getting stuck and delayed.

This is where having a defined content workflow can help.

In this lesson, we’ll cover:

  • What is a content workflow?
  • The importance of defining your content workflow.
  • Key elements of an effective content workflow.

Before You Begin

Make sure to review the Content Production Overview lesson before starting this lesson.

What Is A Content Workflow?

The Content Marketing Institute defines a content workflow as follows:

“A content workflow is a set of tasks that a team needs to complete for a given client or content type — a web page, a blog post, a white paper, an email, or any other kind of content that the group needs to deliver.”

Source: Content Marketing Institute

The article also mentions Kristina Halvorson, author of Content Strategy For The Web, as saying that a content workflow determines “how content is requested, sourced, created, reviewed, approved, and delivered,” and goes on to explain:

  • Why a business needs to define a content workflow
  • How to define a content workflow, and
  • How to:
    • Identify the roles (who is involved in production)
    • Identify the tasks (what each role does)
    • Determine when tasks should get done by to maintain consistent production flow, and
    • Assign accountability for overseeing and tracking projects through to completion.

This lesson will cover these areas, but we also recommend reading the article: Marketing Workflow: How To Keep Content Production On Track

The Importance Of Defining Your Content Flow

As we touched on in the Content Production Overview lesson, creating a content workflow involves defining things like the steps involved, who does what to make each step happen, how/when the process should move from one step to the next, what formats, guidelines, and procedures should be followed to ensure consistent standards, how/when to deliver each step, etc.

Even a simple content workflow can have many moving parts. For example, consider the steps involved in writing an article for a blog.

At first glance, it may look something like this:

  • Create an outline.
  • Write a draft.
  • Review the draft.
  • Edit the draft.
  • Get changes approved.
  • Publish the article.
Simple content production workflow.
A simple content workflow.

However, if you map out the sequence of all the steps involved in the actual article writing process, you may find that your article creation workflow ends up looking something more like this:

Content workflow for creating an article.
Your content workflow for creating articles could look like this.

From the above, it should be clear that:

  1. Certain aspects of the process need to be assigned to and performed by different roles.
  2. Some steps cannot proceed until other steps have first been completed.
  3. Certain processes involve steps that “loop” (i.e. repeat) before the workflow can move to the next phase.
  4. Different content requires different content workflows – a workflow used to create content like blog articles won’t necessarily work for other types of content (e.g. videos).

It’s important, then, to define content workflows in the content production process, as it helps the content team to:

  • Keep everything organized, saving time, reducing costs, and increasing production efficiency,
  • Break down different processes into manageable tasks,
  • Identify each stage of development and what needs to happen for the item to move forward and get approved,
  • Know who should take over responsibility for each step and when,
  • Identify and deal with bottlenecks in the production process.
  • Identify different workflows for different types of content.

Content Workflow Goals And Objectives

Common content workflow goals and objectives include:

  • Efficiency: The goal is to streamline the content creation process and reduce the time and effort required to produce, review, and publish content. This can be achieved by creating a content calendar, using project management tools, and automating repetitive tasks.
  • 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.
  • Quality control: The goal is to ensure that all content meets the established standards for quality, accuracy, and compliance with legal, ethical, and brand guidelines. This can be achieved by creating and enforcing a content style guide, regularly reviewing and updating content, and ensuring that all content is accessible and inclusive.
  • Scalability: The goal is to ensure that the content workflow can easily adapt and scale to accommodate changes in content volume, team size, and complexity. This can be achieved by using cloud-based tools, creating a flexible and modular content creation process, and implementing a version control system.
  • Security: The goal is to protect the confidentiality and integrity of the content and the workflows by implementing security protocols. This can be achieved by using encryption and access controls, creating backups, and monitoring for unauthorized access.
  • Flexibility: The goal is to ensure that the content workflow 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.
  • Automation: The goal is to automate repetitive and time-consuming tasks to improve the speed and efficiency of the content workflow. This can be achieved by using a content management system (CMS) to automate the publishing process, using workflow automation tools, and integrating with other tools and software.
  • Integration: The goal is to integrate the content workflow 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.

Key Elements Of An Effective Content Workflow

As mentioned, you may need to define different content workflows depending on the content strategy of the business and the purpose of the content it intends to create.

For example, consider the following types of content:

  • Blog articles to boost search engine visibility and drive traffic to the business,
  • Videos to inform and introduce products to potential customers,
  • Social media posts to increase brand awareness.

Each type of content listed above requires different processes to create and serves a different purpose. Each of these processes needs to be clearly defined to ensure efficient content production and consistent standards of quality.

While each of these content types requires different workflow processes, they also have certain elements in common.

Let’s look at these.

Content Production Phases

Content Production Phases
Different phases of content production.

While different content production processes result in the creation of different content types, they all tend to move through similar phases.

Your content workflow has to move content production through the various phases below:

1. Concept Development / Strategic Ideation

In this phase, team members brainstorm content ideas. Ideally, this will flow from the content strategy and include input from all stakeholders (e.g. the content team, designers, writers, editors, channel managers, creative agencies, etc.) to provide a fuller perspective of all the essential aspects of the project.

This phase should also involve a discussion of factors that can affect the project, like concept, style, budget, resources, timeframes, etc.

2. Pre-Production

This is the preparation phase where you source, gather and line up everything you will need before starting the actual process of creating the content. Depending on which project the team is working on, pre-production may include activities like researching, preparing outlines, sourcing graphics, scripting, etc.

For example, if you are shooting a video, pre-production will probably involve doing things like:

  • Create a video timeline
  • Write a creative brief
  • Estimate the video budget
  • Write the video script
  • Draw the video storyboard
  • Recruit video talent

Source: Vidyard.com

On the other hand, if you are planning to write an article for a blog, pre-production will involve different activities, such as:

  • Create an outline
  • Research information
  • Gather quotes, stats, etc.
  • Source media (images, banners, videos, etc.)
  • Interview subject experts
  • etc.

3. Production

This is where the content gets assembled. Production can take place internally (e.g. by the content team) or externally (e.g. an agency or outsourced provider), or split between the two.

4. Post-Production

In this phase, content either gets fine-tuned and polished (e.g. adding video titles and intros/outros to videos) or prepared for different channels and purposes (e.g., adding video transcripts or translations, creating longer and shorter versions of videos, repurposing articles for social media, infographics, slide presentations, videos, etc.).

Post-production activities can also be split between internal and external teams.

5. Feedback Loop

Once the content is ready for initial review (e.g. an article draft or video rough), it will typically bounce around a loop (e.g. Draft 1 > Review 1 > Draft 2 > Review 2 > Draft 3 > Review 3) involving different people (e.g. editors, subject experts, managers) or different departments (e.g. HR, legal) who provide feedback and additional suggestions until the final content is approved.

6. Final Delivery / Publishing

This is where the content is approved for publishing or distribution via the agreed channels (e.g. blog, social media, email newsletters, etc.)

Content Purpose

There are different ways to define your content’s purpose. For example, the overall purpose of the content may be to help the business achieve a strategic goal, such as building brand awareness or generating leads and sales.

While knowing why you are creating a certain piece of content is important and should be incorporated into the workflow’s production notes and the content brief (see further below), asking a writer to write an article or a video producer to create a video designed to “build brand awareness” doesn’t provide sufficient direction to help them with the actual article writing or video scripting process.

So, additional information about the purpose of the content may be required.

For example, SEOptimer describes the three types of content produced for most websites, often to be used in conjunction with one another:

  • Cornerstone Content – This is longer, authoritative content that will remain mostly unchanged, covering single topics in a definitive way to build awareness of your brand and establish authority rather than to sell products. Cornerstone content is the content you want to rank highest in the search engines, so it needs to be well written, updated often, and targeted to rank for your most competitive keywords.
  • Gated Content – This is content (usually of very high value) designed to be exchanged for something of equally high value (e.g. opt-in subscriber or lead information), such as email newsletters, downloadable guides or templates, podcasts, etc.
  • Evolving Content –  This is content produced regularly that changes over time and often needs frequent updates, such as blog posts, news, a video series, etc.

While the aim of content marketing is to use content to convince your audience to take an intended action (e.g. buy something), the aim of content production is to connect with individual members of that audience, and this also has to be reflected in the content’s purpose.

EngageContent describes three types of content that connect with individuals:

  • Entertaining content – Content that connects with people on an emotional level, such as subjective stories centered around people.
  • Educational content – Content that connects with people on an intellectual level, such as objective content that describes processes or analysis of data.
  • Informative content – Content that connects with people on an attentional level, e.g. news content that attracts the reader’s attention because it’s current, new, and relevant.

Understanding the above differences and incorporating these into your content workflow will help your team create and deliver content that is on-purpose.

Content Types

Your content workflow may be geared exclusively to the production of one type of content or to multiple content types, such as blog articles, videos, emails, social media posts, downloadable PDF guides, whitepapers, infographics, templates, etc., and/or produced for print and digital formats.

See the Content Types lesson to learn more about different types of content that can be included in your content workflow and content production.

Team Roles

When defining a content workflow, it’s important to understand and identify:

  • Who will be involved in the content production process,
  • Which stage of the project they will be required to participate in, and
  • What the responsibilities of each role will be.

A project may require assigning different roles to people who may also be working on other projects or areas of the business at the same time, so it’s important to define how all the different roles will work together seamlessly and efficiently in the workflow.

Swimlane diagrams, for, example, are a useful way to map roles in content workflows.

Example workflow - swimlane diagram
A ‘swimlane’ content workflow involving a number of roles. Source: Content Marketing Institute.

We provide an entire section dedicated to helping you understand different team roles in a content production team and a digital organization.


After identifying the roles in the workflow, the next step involves the following:

  1. Identifying the tasks required to complete a project (i.e. what needs to be done).
  2. Defining each task in detail (to minimize time-wasting and confusion once the project gets underway).
  3. Assigning tasks to the roles (i.e. who will do what).
  4. Organizing tasks in a logical and sequential order (i.e. their flow).

Without clearly-defined tasks, things can fall through the cracks, especially if there are multiple people working on a project and/or or multiple teams responsible for ensuring the completion of projects. Vaguely-defined tasks can lead to confusion and lack of accountability (e.g. “I didn’t know I was supposed to do that…I thought such and such was looking after that area!”).

For this reason, it’s important that tasks be made clear enough so that anyone occupying the role assigned to the task will know exactly what needs to be done to complete their part and move it along to the next stage of the production process.

Here’s how to ensure this happens:

  • Break each task down into its smallest possible elements. For example, after a blog article has been approved for publishing and before hitting the “publish” button, there may be additional steps involved to the post itself (i.e. not the content), like adding a post excerpt, meta description, author’s note, related articles, categories, tags, etc.
  • Work out who is responsible for each element. For example, if you are creating an infographic, make sure to specify who will do the research and who will supply the graphic designer or illustrator with accurate data (and in which format, e.g. a list, table, slide mock up, etc.). Similarly, who will upload the final article to the blog and hit the publish button…the writer, the editor, or the production manager?
  • Assign each element of the task to a specific team member. This will help you work out whether certain roles have excessive workloads in the production process and whether these can be distributed, reassigned, or consolidated within existing roles and the available resources.
  • Ask for feedback when assigning tasks. It may be more efficient for someone else to take on a task. For example, when writing a technical article, a product manager may be more suitable for writing out all of the key points and then handing this to a writer for making the content flow in a more readable way to the audience. This can be worked out during the team production meeting.
  • Work out agreed ways to signal the completion of a task. Using good workflow management tools can help in this area.

As most tasks in workflows tend to be repeatable processes, it’s best to document these tasks and anything else that helps to complete them, like style guidelines, company information (e.g. mission, vision, and value statements, legal compliance policies, etc.), and store this documentation somewhere where your team can easily access it.


Ideally, you would start from the deadline or final publication date for the content, then work backward to create a timeline, adding in specific dates or time frames for all the steps in the process. This way, each team member knows when their task is coming up and when it is due and can plan their workload accordingly.

For example, Let’s say that you are in the first week of July and during your production meeting, the team is informed about a new product due for release on August 1st that needs an accompanying article to be written and ready to publish by the end of July.

Let’s also say that from past experience, you know that it takes articles one working week to go through the feedback loop for reviews and approvals, 2-3 days to write the first draft, and 2-3 days to research and create an outline once the writer is given a content brief.

Working backward from the deadline, the initial schedule for making sure that the article will be ready in time for publishing would look something like this…

Example of a content production calendar with project milestones written in.
What your production calendar timeline would look like working backward from a deadline for submitting publish-ready content.

From the above schedule, you would then assign all the tasks required to complete the project to different roles and incorporate your content workflow into your content management tool to track its progress.

While this approach may work for getting content delivered in sync with a specific marketing promotion or event (e.g. a “Black Friday” sale) and is quite useful for content planning purposes, things often don’t work out to plan, so it’s important to include enough time into the content production process for additional edits, revisions, and unexpected events, such as:

  • A team member gets sick or goes on leave,
  • Competing priorities create delays, hold-ups, or bottlenecks in the production process,
  • The project schedule is brought forward (e.g. to match a product release or company announcement).


Using the right tools allows everyone involved in the project to have a clear idea of what, when, and where their contribution is required in the workflow, and to keep track of where things are at during production.

We cover this area in more detail in this lesson: Content Production Tools

Workflow Approach

Once everything has been defined — phases, timelines, roles, tasks, etc., the next step is to choose a workflow approach and arrange all production elements in a way that will work for the business or organization.

As explained in this article, there are three main workflow approaches:

  • Status-based: The workflow is organized around the status of a content piece.
  • Task-based: The workflow is organized around the tasks needed to complete the project.
  • Swim lane: The workflow is organized across different roles over time.
Swimlane Diagram
An example of tasks organized using the ‘swim lane’ workflow approach. Source: Smartsheet.com

Project/Content Brief

A content brief (or project brief, or creative brief) is a document that outlines the project’s context, purpose, and deliverables. It provides whoever is assigned to create the content with all the information and direction they need to make sure that their efforts will be on track and on purpose.

A content brief helps to:

  • Set out project expectations clearly and concisely.
  • Make the team focus on the most important areas of the project.
  • Save unnecessary editing and revisions.
  • Deliver content that fits the purpose and goals of the organization’s content strategy.

Depending on the project type, a content brief may include/address the following areas:

  • Project background (i.e. why is this content required?)
  • Target audience/buyer persona (if the organization targets multiple audiences)
  • Content type(s) and deliverables
  • Project timeline, deadline, and key milestones
  • Suggested titles, target keywords
  • Initial research (e.g.  competing articles, reference sources, etc.)
  • Resources (e.g. supporting statistics, quotes, related articles for internal linking, etc.)
  • Access to subject matter experts (if required). This can be as simple as pointing out who to contact in the organization to obtain information (e.g. a product manager), or something more elaborate, such as lining up interviews with industry experts.

To help you understand what a content brief looks like, here is an example of a content brief for an article listing the best espresso coffee machines:

*** Start Content Brief ***

Title: “Top 10 Best Espresso Coffee Machines for At-Home Brewing”

Purpose: To provide readers with a list of the best espresso coffee machines for at-home brewing, based on factors such as performance, ease of use, and price.

Target audience: Home coffee enthusiasts who are interested in purchasing an espresso coffee machine for at-home brewing.


  • To help readers find the best espresso coffee machine for their needs and budget.
  • To provide detailed information about the features and performance of each espresso coffee machine.
  • To offer tips and recommendations for selecting the right espresso coffee machine.

Keywords: espresso, coffee machine, at-home brewing, performance, ease of use, price, features


    1. Introduction
  • Explain the purpose of the article and introduce the topic of espresso coffee machines.
  • Provide a brief overview of the different types of espresso coffee machines available, and explain why they are a popular choice for at-home brewing.

2. Top 10 Best Espresso Coffee Machines

  • Introduce the list of the top 10 best espresso coffee machines, and explain the criteria used to select them (performance, ease of use, price, etc.).
  • For each espresso coffee machine on the list, provide a brief overview of its features and performance, and explain why it made the top 10.

3. Tips and Recommendations

  • Offer tips and recommendations for selecting the right espresso coffee machine, based on factors such as budget, intended use, and personal preferences.
  • Provide guidance on how to properly use and maintain an espresso coffee machine to ensure optimal performance.

4. Conclusion

  • Summarize the main points of the article and encourage readers to consider purchasing one of the top 10 best espresso coffee machines for at-home brewing.

**** End Content Brief ***

Content briefs are not only useful for helping your content team nail projects when creating standardized content types internally but they can also be used in projects that involve working with new or inexperienced writers and content creators, outsourced (e.g. freelance) writers and marketing agencies, partners who are writing content about your company, or when creating projects on behalf of clients.

In all of the above instances, writing content or creative briefs before starting on the work will help content creators stay focused on the project’s goals, audiences, topics, keywords, etc., and deliver content that will meet your defined standard, voice, style, and needs.

Useful Tips:

  • Don’t overload content creators by supplying them with more information than they need to complete the project.
  • Ideally, the brief would also incorporate some form of initial meeting or discussion with the content team and individuals involved in the project to address any questions or concerns they may have and to make sure that everyone clearly understands the project and what is expected of them.
  • It’s also useful to develop a content brief template that the team can easily understand and follow.

For additional information on creating content briefs, see the ‘Resources’ and ‘References’ sections at the end of this lesson.

Workflow Sub-Processes

Depending on the size of your business and the complexity of its projects, certain aspects of content production may take place in different areas of the business or outside the organization.

In this case, you may want to consider creating separate workflow sub-processes to ensure that content production remains manageable.

For example, in larger companies, content approval and content publishing often involve more people, different departments, or outsourcing to professionals outside the organization, so the business may want to consider treating these as sub-processes of the content production process and having separate workflows to manage these areas.

The content approval workflow would then focus on the ‘sign-off’ process and deal specifically with content approval or rejection, while the content publishing workflow would focus specifically on the publication process.

Document Storage

An efficient content production process needs a system that allows content to be stored, organized, and retrieved at each stage of production.

This will depend on what works best for your organization.

You can use workflow management software to do this or just simply set up a numbered series of folders on a shared drive or cloud storage location that allows each member of the team to go into the folder on a specified date and see at a glance whether there is work waiting for them to do and what their tasks and responsibilities are for that day.

Ideally, you will use a combination of both methods. For example, you can run content projects from a workflow management tool and allow team members to add and access media elements such as images, videos, and downloadable files from numbered folders saved on a shared drive.

Example of using numbered folders to organize a content project
You can organize your content project using content workflow software of numbered folders. Source: EngageContent.com.au

We cover this area in more detail here: Content Workflow Documentation

Content Production Schedule

The next step after defining your content workflow is to create a content production schedule.

This is the schedule that your content team will work to in order to meet content production targets and deliver content within specific deadlines.

The content production schedule will depend on how much content the business needs to create and the structure of your content team. This schedule can be refined as you go.

Once your content team gets into its stride, you will have a better idea of how long it takes to create content outlines, edit drafts, wait for people to review articles, coordinate items and events between different calendars (e.g. content production and content promotion calendars), what days are best to publish content, etc.

This is covered in more detail in this lesson: Content Production Team Schedule.

Content Workflow Checklist

  • Define the goals and objectives of your content workflow: Clearly define the goals and objectives of the content workflow, such as streamlining the content creation process and ensuring consistency in the quality of the content.
  • Identify all stakeholders: Identify all stakeholders involved in the content creation process, including content creators, editors, and approvers.
  • Define roles and responsibilities: Define the roles and responsibilities for each stakeholder in the content creation process.
  • Establish a content creation process: Establish a content creation process that outlines the steps for creating, reviewing, editing, and publishing content.
  • Use a content management system (CMS): Use a content management system (CMS) to manage and organize the content creation process.
  • Set deadlines and milestones: Set deadlines and milestones for each step of the content creation process.
  • Implement a content review process: Implement a content review process to ensure the quality and consistency of the content.
  • Use a version control system: Use a version control system to keep track of the different versions of the content and ensure that the final version is accurate.
  • Set up an approval process: Set up an approval process for the final version of the content before it is published.
  • Continuously monitor and improve: Continuously monitor and improve the content workflow based on the results and feedback.


Defining content workflows ensures that the content production process works efficiently by following a logical and repeatable order.

Content workflows also help your content team set clear milestones and recognize any dependencies required to help them meet project deadlines on time.

Action Steps

Identify and document all the different content workflows your organization requires to meet its strategic objectives.



Next Step

Learn how to document content workflows: Workflow Documentation


Image: Whiteboard

Workflow Documentation

Learn how to document your content workflow for ease of use and quick access to everything your content team needs for content production. 

Workflow Documentation

Learn how to document your content workflow for ease of use and quick access to everything your content team needs for content production. 

Workflow DocumentationDocumenting your content workflow is not only important to ensure the efficiency of your content production process, but it is also an important aspect of your organization’s overall content documentation system.

In this lesson, we’ll cover:

  • The Importance Of Documenting Your Content Workflow
  • Workflow Management Tools
  • Additional Workflow Documentation
  • Storing Workflow Documentation
  • Accessing Workflow Documentation


The Importance Of Documenting Your Content Workflow

According to the Content Marketing Institute, documenting your content workflow:

  • Provides structure and visibility to content production processes
  • Increases execution efficiency to help deliver content on time
  • Helps your team to better understand how dependencies affect processes
  • Increases clarity into when and how to push work forward
  • Enables faster content approvals and less rework

Documenting workflows not only helps to define the roles, tasks, processes, and steps involved in the production of content, it also helps to organize content ideas, prioritize projects, track their execution, determine what happens to the content after its published, and record how and where all the information gets stored.

Workflow Management Tools

In the Content Workflow lesson, you were asked to identify what each role in the content production process does for any given workflow, break these down into tasks, assign each task to a role, and order these tasks in a logical and sequential order of completion.

After you have done this, where do you then record all this information so everyone in your team can access it to begin and track content production?

You can do this manually (e.g. using a spreadsheet or drawing it on a whiteboard), use workflow management software, or a combination of both. It all depends on how your business works and what works best.

As long as workflow processes are defined and written down somewhere (and don’t exist only in someone’s head), you have documentation that others can access and refer to. Later in this lesson, we’ll look at how to organize this documentation more efficiently for easy access and retrieval.

For now, let’s look at using various tools to document your workflow processes.


If you have been tasked with designing, building, and documenting a content workflow for your organization, spreadsheets are a great way to develop a prototype for your content production workflows.

Using spreadsheets can help you focus on streamlining the production stages and tasks in your workflow, identify dependencies and issues, and track your content production team’s progress.

Case Study

When I began working as a blog writer for a web development services provider, my team consisted of myself, two other blog writers, and our CEO who was also filling in for the role of Editor.

Each week, we would discuss ideas for new articles during our weekly team meeting. Each writer would then go and write the articles, and get them reviewed until these were approved and published, and we would then repeat the process the following week.

After a short while, our small team began to grow. Additional writers and illustrators were brought in, and I soon found myself having to schedule the production of new content for the blog in addition to reviewing and updating existing content.

We had guidelines for getting the work done but no clearly defined workflows for managing and tracking the people and processes involved, so I created a spreadsheet with various color-coded sections and workflow columns to schedule new projects and keep track of our content production.

Workflow Documentation - Blog Team Content Production Spreadsheet
Our team initially used a spreadsheet-based content production board to schedule and track the production of new articles for our blog.

As we began to rely more on this spreadsheet to plan and manage our team’s workload, I then fine-tuned, inserted, and rearranged some columns within the spreadsheet to improve workflow efficiency.

Workflow Documentation - Blog Team - Content Workflow Spreadsheet
Starting with a spreadsheet is a useful way to test, improve, and document your content workflow.


When working with spreadsheets, we also recommend adding comments to all the column headings so your content team knows exactly what they are required to do every step of the way.

Adding comments to Excel spreadsheet
Adding comments to spreadsheet column headers is a great way to document your workflow processes.

In addition to content writing, our blog articles also require custom artwork such as featured images (hero banners). This is done by our illustrators.

Creating articles for this blog involves using illustrators to create featured images and documenting this in the workflow as a sub-process. Source: WPMU DEV.

Our illustrators and designers, however, create artwork for the entire company, not just the blog team. Also, each writer in the blog team is responsible for sourcing images, creating screenshots, and requesting artwork for their articles, so the blog team mostly uses the company’s illustrators to request featured images for articles.

Given this structure, we decided to incorporate the task of requesting and tracking the delivery of featured images into the workflow as a sub-process, using a separate spreadsheet.

Workflow Documentation - Post banner requests - workflow tracking spreadsheet.
Featured images for blog articles are requested separately using a banner request spreadsheet.

All our illustrators have to do is:

  1. Check the spreadsheet for new banner requests (when a writer requests a new banner we notify our artwork team via our team messaging software)
  2. Assign the creation of the banner to one of their team members (they decide who to assign the work to internally, we just place the request)
  3. Provide a link to download the artwork when the banner is done.

Whichever writer requested the banner then uploads the featured image to their article and marks the task as completed (“done”) in the artwork team’s spreadsheet.

Workflow Documentation - Post banner requests - workflow tracking spreadsheet.
Once images are created and delivered, the task is marked off on the spreadsheet.

The writer then marks this task as done in the blog team’s main content tracking spreadsheet.

Workflow Documentation - Blog Team - Main content workflow spreadsheet.
Featured images for blog articles are also marked off in the team’s main content spreadsheet.

In addition to featured images, some of our blog articles include cartoons created by one of our team members who is a professional cartoonist.

Screenshot of an article from WPMU DEV blog with an embedded cartoon image.
Requesting cartoons for blog articles is a separate process. Source: WPMU DEV

As our illustrators are not involved in creating cartoons, this is another sub-process of the blog’s content workflow, so the team uses a different spreadsheet to submit cartoon requests and to track the completion and delivery of the artwork.

Workflow Documentation - Screenshot of a spreadsheet used to request and track delivery of cartoon artwork
Requests for cartoon artwork for blog articles are tracked on a separate spreadsheet.

The blog team also makes all published blog articles available to the SEO team to review, analyze, and look for ways to improve their performance.

As we don’t want to overload the SEO team with unnecessary and unrelated “content production” information, we treat this as another sub-process of our content workflow and track it on a separate spreadsheet after articles are published on the blog.

Workflow Documentation - Screenshot of WPMU DEV's Blog SEO Review spreadsheet.
Another spreadsheet is used to keep a log of all published blog articles for review by the company’s SEO team.

In addition to using spreadsheets, our team uses tools like Slack (our team messaging software) to add content writing task reminders for deadlines and schedules during times when team members and other company staff are away on leave, holidays, etc. (you can also use an editorial calendar.)

Screenshot of Slack thread with content writing schedules and reminders.
Use tools like Slack to communicate with team members and add content writing schedules and reminders.

A production and performance summary report is also compiled from the spreadsheets at the end of the year and posted to the team on Slack.

Screenshot: Blog team production summary report - Slack
We publish a simple blog team summary production summary report at the end of the year.

As you can see from the above, documenting the content workflow of something as simple as the production of a single content type (e.g. blog articles) can involve various processes.

If your workflow management needs outgrow spreadsheets, then consider using other software tools.

Workflow Management Software

While spreadsheets are a great way to document some workflow processes, you may want to use a workflow management software.

For instance, with the example we’re using in this lesson, spreadsheets are sufficient to document certain sub-processes like requesting images/artwork and for tracking SEO progress. Documenting the entire content production workflow, however, required using a more flexible tool.

Getting approval for blog articles, for example, often involves members from other teams (e.g. software development, hosting, support, and business development teams), and work priorities often change to align with other events taking place in the company, such as releasing new product features and new service launches (or launch delays).

So, we turned to workflow management software when spreadsheets were no longer adequate to help us manage content production.

There are many great workflow management tools available and the right tool for your organization depends on its needs and preferences. In this case, we decided to use Jira to document and manage our workflow processes, as most of our teams were already using it to manage their workflows.

A workflow management software is not just a great content production tool, it is also a powerful workflow documentation tool.

As mentioned earlier, starting with a spreadsheet is useful for developing prototype workflows. After learning the basics of how to use the software, all we had to do was to map out the content workflow processes in the tool.

Jira screen: Assignment workflow
A tool like Jira automatically documents the workflow as you configure processes on your kanban board.

Once this step was done, managing content workflow became much easier. The tool itself became one of the main components of our workflow documentation process.

Jira board screen.
The columns display the content production workflow.

Some of the benefits of using a workflow management tool to document processes include the following:

Any team member can contribute to improving workflow documentation by modifying the workflow management tool itself.

Jira board screen.
Rearrange columns on the kanban board to update workflow processes.

For example, team feedback and discussions contributed to improving the order of processes to improve production flow and efficiency. Adding, removing, or rearranging the columns on the tool’s kanban board automatically updates the workflow documentation.

Jira - Task transition menu
A workflow management tool like Jira lets you easily assign tasks to different stages of the production process.

Using agreed standards and conventions for creating projects in the tool also benefits the workflow documentation.

Screenshot of a section of a Jira board showing a task added to a workflow column.
Using agreed standards when adding tasks to the workflow tool helps the content team and is also part of the workflow documentation.

Additionally, you can improve the workflow documentation by building “templates” for new jobs into the workflow processes.

These templates can include essential elements of the project brief, such as:

  • Project description – This section provides notes and background to help whoever is assigned the job understand what is required.
  • Reference – Here, we add any links to internal conversations and discussions about the project. Writers can then get a better idea of things like context, suggestions made by other team members, things to highlight or avoid in the content, etc.
  • Keywords – Keyword research information goes here. The writer knows then which keywords to focus on when creating or updating the article.
  • Internal Links – Here we list the URLs of other blog posts related to the topic so the writer can link to these in the article where and when appropriate.
  • Competition – Here, we provide a list of competing articles on the topic or keywords that we are targeting. This helps the writer research the topic and gives them a better idea of what the article needs to cover to rank competitively with other existing articles.
Screenshot of a job in Jira with built-in workflow templates.
Add templates to your workflow management tool to improve workflow documentation.

Templates can improve workflow (and workflow documentation) significantly. When a writer is assigned a new blog article project, for example, they already have all the information they need to get started…

Screenshot of Jira job with sections of a job template filled in.
Templates can improve workflow documentation significantly.

This can also help the writer save time with other tasks, such as doing research or linking to existing topic-related articles on the blog…

Screenshot of Jira job with sections of a job template filled in.
A workflow management tool not only documents the workflow, it also saves the content used to create your projects.

Collaboration features such as team commenting are also part of the workflow documentation.

Screenshot of Jira comments section.
A workflow management tool allows team members to add comments to communicate and collaborate with other team members on projects.

A workflow management tool, in fact, documents everything associated with a project’s workflow. This includes brief notes, comments, attachments, production time, etc.

Screenshot of Jira job board.
Everything associated with the project’s workflow is recorded, documented, and archived.

Workflow documentation isn’t confined to using a great content production and workflow management tool, however.

Additional Workflow Documentation

In the content workflow lesson, we explain the importance of breaking down and defining each task in as much detail as is necessary to minimize confusion, avoid unnecessary steps, save time, and improve workflow efficiency.

This all requires additional documentation.

For example, let’s say that a new writer has to create an article about one of the company’s main products or services.

Where does the writer go to get information about the company and the products, request or download artwork, obtain access logins for certain tools or services required to complete the article, standards and guidelines for spelling and grammar, accuracy, voice and tone, or compliance with certain policies or legal requirements?

These aren’t documented in the workflow management tool. They require additional workflow documentation.

Below are some of the essential types of documentation your organization should have and be able to provide to its content team. It will help them save time planning, researching, and accessing commonly-used information (and minimize disrupting other team members from doing their work):

Company Information

  • Vision, Mission, Value statements
  • HR documents (e.g. compliance, security, codes of conduct, requesting time off, etc.)
  • Company training manuals
  • Team member details (names, description of role, contact info)
  • Logins and passwords to services pertaining to their roles

Marketing Information

Product Information

  • Landing Pages (Sales/Pricing)
  • User Manuals
  • FAQs
  • Roadmap

Style Guidelines

  • Standards and guidelines for spelling and grammar, accuracy, voice, and tone, etc.

See this excellent article if you need help putting together a Content Style Guide: Content Style Guide – A Step-By-Step Guide To Creating Your Own


  • Content Brief
  • Call-T0-Action (CTA)


WordPress Plugin - Pre-Publish Checklist
Pre-publishing checklists can be built into your Content Management System (CMS). Image: Pre-Publish Checklist Plugin.

For a complete list of useful documentation for your content writing team, refer to the Content Documentation lesson.

For tasks that require more details than the workflow tool can provide, we recommend building an online guide for your content team with regularly updated links to internal documentation, style guidelines, useful information, tips, tutorials, login details for online services, code snippets, shortcuts, time-saving hacks, etc.

The purpose of this guide is to point your team to all the information and resources they will need to complete their projects (e.g. where to find company information, audience profiles, word-count goals, style guidelines for voice, tone, and format, etc.).

This is a great way to help your team save time with content production and onboard new team members.

Screenshot - WPMU DEV Blog Team Guide
Build an online guide for your content team with links to all the documentation they need to produce content.

You can build this helpful guide starting with just the basic information like useful links to company documentation, get your team to contribute to it (e.g. whenever someone experiences an issue and finds a way to solve it), and appoint someone to manage the guide and be responsible for keeping the content in it up-to-date and accurate.

Screenshot - WPMU DEV Blog Team Guide
Make all workflow documentation accessible to your content team from a central location.

You can build this guide online in a subfolder of your main domain (e.g. yourdomain.com/content-guide) and make it private using a content management system like WordPress or build it on a platform like Google Sites.

Storing and Accessing Workflow Documentation

Your Workflow Management software can document some of your workflow processes, but where do you store additional documentation used in your content workflow, such as style guides, content brief templates, etc.?

We address this topic in the Content Documentation lesson.

Content Workflow Documentation Checklist

  • Define the purpose of your content workflow documentation: This step involves identifying the goals and objectives of creating the documentation, such as improving team collaboration, streamlining the content creation process, and ensuring consistency in the content produced.
  • Gather information: This step involves collecting information about the current content creation process, including the roles and responsibilities of team members, the tools and software used, and any existing documentation or guidelines.
  • Identify key stakeholders: This step involves identifying the individuals or teams who will be impacted by the content workflow documentation, such as content creators, editors, and marketers.
  • Create a template: This step involves creating a template for the content workflow documentation, including sections for an introduction, roles and responsibilities, the content creation process, tools and software, and any relevant guidelines or best practices.
  • Outline the content creation process: This step involves outlining your step-by-step process for creating content, from idea generation to publication.
  • Assign roles and responsibilities: This step involves assigning roles and responsibilities to team members, including who is responsible for creating, editing, and publishing content.
  • Identify tools and software: This step involves identifying the tools and software used in the content creation process, such as content management systems, project management tools, and design software.
  • Develop guidelines and best practices: This step involves developing guidelines and best practices for the content creation process, such as style and tone guidelines, and accessibility standards.
  • Document procedures: After defining all of the above steps, it’s important to document your procedures.
  • Review and test: This step involves reviewing and testing the content workflow documentation, seeking feedback from key stakeholders, and making any necessary revisions.
  • Finalize and distribute: This step involves finalizing the content workflow documentation and distributing it to the appropriate team members, ensuring that everyone has access to the latest version.


Documenting workflow processes helps your content production team know what they are doing (or what they are supposed to do) and shows them how to do it in the most efficient and effective way possible.

This frees everyone in your team to focus more of their time and energy on creating better content.

Action Steps

If you haven’t begun to document your content workflow processes yet, then it’s important to make a beginning.

You can start simply by writing down or typing out processes and procedures in bullet point form so they are recorded and stored somewhere, and bookmarking links to frequently accessed pages of your website or other sites, shared drive folders, useful tools, resources, etc.

Documentation is an ongoing process, so get started and continually add to it. Get everyone in your team or company to contribute to growing and improving this documentation and remember to schedule periodic reviews to make sure everything is kept up-to-date.



Next Step


Image: Writing Pad

Screenshots published with permission from WPMU DEV and members of the WPMU DEV blog team.

Content Production

Learn how to develop an effective content production process that delivers consistently high-quality content on a regular basis. 

Content Production

Learn how to develop an effective content production process that delivers consistently high-quality content on a regular basis. 

ContentManagementCourse.com - Content Production Module

Content…a website’s gotta have it!

Your business needs to produce high-quality content to attract leads and engage with your audience, delivered regularly, and often adapted to multiple channels.

This requires developing and maintaining an effective content production process.

In this lesson, we’ll cover:

  • What Is Content Production?
  • The Key Components Of A Content Production Process
  • Troubleshooting Common Content Production Problems


Before You Begin

Make sure to review and complete the lessons in the Content Strategy and Content Planning modules before you begin.

Additionally, we recommend subscribing to our free content management course email lessons if you haven’t already, as these provide a practical step-by-step way to implement the lessons in this course.

As a subscriber, you will also get notified when new posts containing practical information and valuable content management tips are added to our blog.

What Is Content Production?

Let’s look at some definitions from the web…

“Content production is the process of creating written and visual products for distribution as part of an overall content marketing strategy.”

Source: SEOptimer


“Content production is the process of developing and creating visual or written assets, such as videos, eBooks, blog posts, whitepapers, or infographics.”

Source: Upland Software

As the above suggests, content production is a process.

Content production, however, is more than just a process. It’s also a system. And like every system, it requires inputs and outputs.

Your Content System: Content Strategy And Content Production

Having a content strategy is not the same as having a content production system:

Content strategy = the plan that informs what you publish, how you publish and why you publish (ie business value)”


Content production = the series of defined, documented, steps that take each piece of content from idea to publication and analyze its effectiveness in advancing your content strategy.”

Source: SEOptimer

Both your content strategy and content production process, however, are essential parts of a “self-looping” feedback system that can create and deliver content of great value to help your organization achieve its objectives.

Content Strategy and Content Production
Having a content strategy and a content production process is essential to creating content that delivers results to your business.

In fact, a content strategy (and the content plan derived from its strategic objectives) are the inputs the content production process needs to output the various types of content your business needs to meet its strategic goals and objectives.

Content Production process.
A content production system should deliver content that helps your business meet the goals outlined in your content strategy.

A good content production system, then, allows your business to:

  • Produce quality content for one or more content types that serve a definite purpose for your organization.
  • Maintain a steady flow of newly published content of a consistent standard.
  • Communicate roles and responsibilities clearly within the content production team and across other teams.
  • Identify, prevent, reduce, solve, and/or eliminate problems that arise in the content production process.
  • Adjust the types of content it produces if there are any changes made to the content strategy or content plan.
  • Scale its efforts.

It can’t be emphasized enough that content needs to be created (and distributed, and managed) as part of a well-thought-out system.

Your business may create an occasional brilliant piece of content ad-hoc, but without a strategy, planning, and systems, it will have no way to understand what makes the content resonate with your audience, what your true cost of production is, and how to duplicate this success across other topics or different content types.

The Key Components Of A Content Production Process

Now that we have established the importance of thinking of content production as being part of a system, let’s look at the main components of the content production process.

Content Production components.
Key components of the content production process.

Content Ideas

Coming up with ideas for your content can be a challenging part of the content creation process.

With the right sources and methods, however, you can generate a steady stream of ideas to keep your content fresh and engaging.

Some sources and methods you can use to generate ideas for your content include:

  • Your audience: Your audience is a great source of ideas for content. Consider what questions, problems, or interests your audience has, and create content that addresses those topics.
  • Industry experts and thought leaders: Follow industry experts and thought leaders in your field and look for ideas for content that align with their work and insights.
  • Trends and news: Stay up-to-date on current trends and news in your industry, and use them as inspiration for your content.
  • Social media: Social media is a great source of inspiration for content ideas. Look for conversations, hashtags, and trends on platforms like Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn.
  • Brainstorming: Get your team together and have a brainstorming session to generate ideas for content. This can be a fun and creative way to come up with new and innovative ideas.
  • Competitor analysis: Take a look at what your competitors are doing and see if there are any gaps in their content. This can help you identify opportunities for your own content.

By using these sources and methods, you can generate a wide range of ideas for your content and keep your audience engaged with fresh and relevant material.


We’ve created a comprehensive email course on how to keep coming up with endless new content ideas for website articles, blog posts, and newsletters…100% free!

Learn more here: Free Content Ideas Course

Your Content Workflow

If your business intends to create and publish content repeatedly, then it needs an effective content production process to keep moving concepts from ideas to published content.

For example, writing an article for your company’s blog may involve the following steps:

  • Create an outline.
  • Write a draft.
  • Review the draft.
  • Edit the draft.
  • Get changes approved.
  • Publish the article.

These steps form a simple content workflow.

Simple content production workflow.
A simple content workflow.

Creating a content workflow involves defining:

  • The steps involved.
  • Who is responsible for doing each step.
  • What each step involves doing.
  • How and when should a process move to the next step.
  • What formats, guidelines, and procedures need to be followed to ensure that consistent standards are maintained.
  • How and when to deliver each step.
  • etc.

It also involves documenting:

  • How each step should be documented (and who will do this).
  • How and where the documentation should be stored.
  • Who can access and modify the documentation, processes, etc. (and how this should be done.)

While a workflow may define the process for creating one type of content (e.g. blog articles), it may not suit the production of other content types, such as videos, podcasts, slide presentations, ebooks, etc.

Some workflows may be simple, while others can be quite complex. Some projects may also require several different workflows to be assigned to different teams.

It’s important, therefore, to define workflows for all the different content processes that your business will engage in and all the different types of content it will create.

See the lessons below for details on how to create and document a content workflow for your business:

Content Team Roles

Let’s come back to this simple workflow…

Simple content production workflow.
Tasks of a typical content workflow.

The above process may be fine if you are the only person creating and publishing the content. In many businesses and organizations, however, a digital team comprised of multiple roles is often required to oversee and perform various content production tasks.

For example:

When multiple people are involved, the content workflow can look more like the swimlane diagram shown below.

Content workflow example - swimlane diagram
A content workflow with multiple roles involved in content production. Source: Content Marketing Institute.

A key component of the content production process, then, is being able to identify the specific roles required to perform and complete any given workflow, work out all the tasks involved, and assign each task to the respective role in its correct sequence.

Workflow Documentation

Documenting workflows not only helps to define the roles, tasks, processes, and steps involved in the production of content, but it also helps to organize content ideas, prioritize projects, track their execution, determine what happens to the content after its published, and record how and where all the information gets stored.

For more details on all of the above, see this lesson: Workflow Documentation

Content Production Tools

Many excellent tools can assist with content production, from managing the process itself to actually helping you to create the content.

For more details on various tools you can use, see this lesson: Content Production Tools

Content Production Review, Evaluation, And Measurement

To determine if your content production process is efficient and find ways to improve it, you must be able to measure, review, and evaluate it.

There are several ways to do this. For example, you can measure its qualitative and quantitative outputs:

  • Qualitative Outputs – Has the content met its brief? Were content guidelines for structure, style, formatting, etc. followed correctly?
  • Quantitative Outputs – Are content production targets being met? How much new content is being added and coming through the pipeline?
Content Production Efficiency = Qualitative Outputs and Quantitative Outputs
Having measurable outputs can help you evaluate content production efficiency.

You can also measure content production efficiency using time/cost-based metrics, such as:

1. Time to publish – how long it takes to move a piece from ideation to publication.
2. Time to distribute – how long it takes to get published content in the hands of the intended audience(s).
3. Withdrawal time – how quickly can published content with errors be withdrawn from public access or outdated content be reviewed.
4. Production cost – how much a piece costs to create.
5. Distribution cost – how much publishing a piece to each targeted channel costs.

Source: Vodori

A time/cost model for measuring content production efficiency.
A time/cost model for measuring content production efficiency. Source: Vodori

You can also use a combination of metrics to measure B2B content production efficiency, such as those used by Upland:

Measuring content production efficiency
B2B Content Metrics. Source: Upland

For more details on the above metrics, see this article: How To Measure Content Production Efficiency

Once you have a way to measure your content production efficiency, you can review and evaluate it by surveying key project stakeholders and getting their feedback regarding the processes involved.

Your Content Production Plan

Now that you understand the content production process better, it’s time to create your content production plan.

Your content production plan is a document that outlines the strategy and schedule for creating, publishing, and promoting content for your business.

It typically includes the goals and objectives for your content, your target audience, the types of content you will produce, the distribution channels you will use, and the key performance indicators (KPIs) you will use to measure the success of your content production efforts.

Your business needs a content production plan because it helps you to align your content efforts with your overall marketing and business goals and to ensure that you are creating content that is relevant, valuable, and engaging for your target audience.

It also allows your business to allocate its resources and budget more efficiently toward content creation and track your content’s performance over time.

Additionally, a content production plan can help your business to identify and fill gaps in your content offerings, and stay consistent and on-brand with your messaging.

In short, a content production plan is a detailed plan that outlines the specific actions and resources that your business will use to create and publish its content.

It is a more detailed version of your content plan and will help your business stay organized and on schedule when creating content.

Content Production Plan Goals And Objectives

Common content production plan 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 a target audience, and defining KPIs.
  • Content creation: The goal is to create high-quality, engaging, and relevant content that meets the needs of your target audience. This can be achieved by writing blog posts, creating videos, and designing graphics and infographics
  • Content optimization: The goal is to improve the quality and performance of your 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.
  • Content distribution: The goal is to distribute and promote content through various channels, such as social media, email, and other digital platforms. This can be achieved by publishing content on your website, sharing it on social media, and sending newsletters.
  • Content measurement and analytics: The goal is to track and measure your content’s performance in terms of engagement, conversion, and other key performance indicators (KPIs). This can be achieved by using analytics tools to track website traffic, social media engagement, and conversion rates
  • Content repurposing: The goal is to repurpose your existing content in new and different formats for different channels and audiences. This can be achieved by republishing a blog post as a video, creating an e-book from a series of blog posts, and turning a podcast episode into a transcript
  • Content updating: The goal is to keep your content up-to-date and relevant by updating or removing outdated information. This can be achieved by updating a blog post with new information, removing a broken link, or revising an old video.

How To Create A Content Production Plan

Here are the steps you can follow to create a content production plan for your business:

  • Review your content plan: Review your content plan and make sure that you have a clear understanding of your audience, goals, topics, and distribution channels.
  • Assign roles and responsibilities: Determine who will be responsible for each aspect of the content creation process. This might include research, writing, editing, design, and distribution.
  • Create a content calendar: Use a calendar or scheduling tool to plan out when each piece of content will be created, reviewed, and published. This will help you stay on track and ensure that you have a steady stream of content to share with your audience.
  • Define your workflow: Create a detailed workflow outlining the specific steps that will be taken for each piece of content. This should include research, writing, editing, design, and distribution.
  • Outline your process for creating each type of content: Identify the tools, resources, and steps required to create different types of content, such as blogs, videos, podcasts, infographics, etc.
  • Review and optimize: Regularly review your content production plan and make adjustments as needed. Use metrics to measure the success of your content and make changes that will help improve results over time.

Example Of A Content Production Plan

Here is an example of what a simple content production plan for a fashion e-commerce store might look like:

  • Audience: Women between the ages of 20-35
  • Goals: Increase brand awareness, generate leads, boost sales
  • Competitors: Asos, Zara, H&M
  • Topics:
    • Latest fashion trends
    • Outfit inspiration
    • How to style different clothing items
  • Plan:
    • Blog post: once a week
    • Instagram video: 3 times a week
    • Instagram Reel: Once a week
    • Pinterest Board: Once a month
  • Distribution:
    • Social media: Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest
    • Email marketing: Weekly newsletter
    • Paid Advertising: Instagram Ads, Facebook Ads
  • Roles and responsibilities:
    • Research: Marketing team
    • Writing: Marketing team
    • Editing: Marketing team
    • Design: Graphic designer
    • Distribution: Social media manager
  • Workflow:
    • Research: 2 days
    • Writing: 3 days
    • Editing: 2 days
    • Design: 2 days
    • Distribution: 1 day

With a content production plan in place, the e-commerce store will be able to create and distribute a steady stream of high-quality content that resonates with its target audience, aligning with the overall business goals.

Content Creation – Best Practices

Creating high-quality and engaging content is crucial for your content marketing strategy.

Not only will it help you attract and retain an audience, but it will also help build trust and credibility for your brand.

Here are some best practices to follow when creating high-quality and engaging content:

  • Plan your content: Creating a content calendar or editorial plan can help you stay organized and ensure that you have a steady stream of ideas for your content.
  • Use relevant and reliable sources: Make sure to use credible sources when researching and creating your content. This will help you produce content that is accurate and trustworthy.
  • Start with a strong headline: Your headline is the first thing your audience will see, so make sure it’s attention-grabbing and clearly conveys the main message of your content.
  • Use formatting and design elements to enhance readability: Use formatting techniques like headings, bullet points, and bold text to make your content easier to read and scan.
  • Use visuals: Adding visual elements to your content like images, videos, and infographics can help break up text and make your content more engaging and easier for your audience to understand. Just make sure to use high-quality images and optimize your videos for mobile.
  • Know your audience: Understanding who your target audience is and what they are interested in will help you create content that resonates with them.
  • Write for your audience: Your content should be tailored to your target audience. Consider their interests, problems, and needs, and create content that addresses those topics.
  • Keep it simple: Use clear, concise language and avoid unnecessary jargon or complex concepts. This will help your content be more accessible and easier for your audience to read and understand.
  • Optimize for SEO: Use keywords and other SEO best practices to ensure that your content is discoverable by search engines and your target audience.
  • Use data and research to support your points: Including data and research in your content adds credibility and can help you make a stronger case for your points.
  • Edit and proofread: Make sure to edit and proofread your content to ensure it’s error-free and easy to understand.

By following these best practices, you can create high-quality and engaging content that resonates with your audience and helps you achieve your content goals.

Content Production Challenges

While content production is a crucial and necessary part of your content strategy, it can also present some challenges, especially as you try to create unique and original content for your business and website.

Here are some of the main challenges you may experience with content production:

  • Defining your target audience: One of the main hurdles of creating content for a website is defining your target audience and understanding their needs, interests, and pain points. This is crucial for creating relevant and valuable content that will engage them.
  • Content strategy: Another hurdle is to develop a content strategy that defines the type of content you will create, the topics you will cover, and the goals you will achieve.
  • Research and information gathering: One of the main challenges of creating unique and original content is researching and gathering the necessary information. This can take a significant amount of time and effort, and it can be difficult to find reliable and accurate sources of information.
  • Originality: Another challenge is to come up with original ideas and perspectives, as it’s easy to fall into the trap of creating content that is similar to what’s already out there.
  • Writing quality and style: Maintaining a consistent writing style and quality throughout the content is crucial for engaging the audience and building trust, but it can be challenging to achieve without the necessary skills and tools. It requires a good understanding of grammar, punctuation, and the target audience.
  • Formatting and design: Creating unique and original content requires the use of effective formatting and design, which can be challenging to achieve without the necessary skills and tools.
  • SEO and keyword research: Creating unique and original content that is optimized for search engines can be challenging, as it requires a good understanding of SEO and keyword research.
  • Time management: Creating unique and original content can be time-consuming, and it’s important to manage time effectively to ensure that the content is delivered on schedule.
  • Keeping up with trends: Another challenge is to keep up with trends and changes in the industry, which requires staying up to date with the latest developments and news.
  • Meeting the needs of the audience: Creating unique and original content that meets the needs of the target audience can be challenging, as it requires a good understanding of their preferences, interests, and pain points.
  • Measuring success: Measuring the success of your content can be a hurdle, as it requires tracking metrics such as engagement, traffic, and conversion rates.

Content Production Checklist

  • Define the purpose and target audience for the content: Before starting to create any content, it’s essential to understand why it’s being created and who it’s being created for. This will help guide the overall tone and style of the content.
  • Research and gather information: Gather all the information and resources you need to create the content, this includes researching industry trends, competitor content, and audience behavior.
  • Create an outline: Organize the information you’ve gathered into a logical structure, this will be your guide when creating the final piece of content.
  • Write the content: Using the outline as a guide, begin writing the content. Be sure to keep the tone and style consistent with the purpose and target audience defined in step one.
  • Edit and proofread: Once the content is written, read it over several times to catch any errors or inconsistencies. Make sure the content is clear, concise, and easy to understand.
  • Add media: Add any relevant images, videos, or other media to enhance the content and make it more engaging for the audience.
  • Optimize for SEO: Optimize the content for search engines by including relevant keywords, meta descriptions, and alt tags.
  • Publish and distribute: Once the content is final, publish it on your website or other platforms and promote it through social media and other channels to reach your target audience.
  • Track and analyze performance: Use analytics tools to track the performance of the content and gather insights on how to improve future content.

Troubleshooting Common Content Production Problems

Sometimes, problems affecting content creation may not surface until you reach the content production phase.

For example, once your team actually starts to create the content, they may discover an issue with their website that may prevent or limit the content from fulfilling its intended purpose. This can happen if an organization needs to implement a particular content model to achieve its goals and objectives that they did not incorporate during the web design process, leaving the business to try and force “round pegs into square holes”.

Knowing how to quickly identify and troubleshoot any problems or issues in content production ensures the best return on investment for businesses using content as a strategy for growth.

Content production problems may be related to inefficiencies that lead to content marketing waste or to the process itself.

Use the chart below to identify and troubleshoot any problems or issues that need fixing in your content production process.

Content Production - Troubleshooting Process
Troubleshooting Content Production

No Content Pipeline

Creating a content pipeline for content production can be challenging, but there are several strategies that can help you overcome this difficulty, including:

  • Define clear content goals: Having clear goals for the content that is being produced can help to ensure that your content is aligned with the overall objectives of your business. Develop a content strategy that outlines your business’s goals, target audience, and the type of content that will be created. Use this strategy as a guide for all your content creation efforts.
  • Create an editorial calendar: An editorial calendar can help to ensure that content is being produced on a consistent basis and that it aligns with the overall content strategy of your business. Create an editorial calendar that outlines the topics and types of content that will be created, and assign specific individuals or teams to create and publish content on a regular basis.
  • Establish a content creation process: Having a clear process in place for creating and approving content can help to streamline your content creation process. Establish a content creation process that includes stages such as researching, creating, editing, and publishing. Assign specific roles and responsibilities to team members at each stage of the process.
  • Automate tasks: Automating repetitive tasks can help to free up time and resources for more important tasks, such as creating new content. Use tools such as marketing automation software, scheduling tools, and social media management tools to automate tasks such as scheduling posts, creating content, and publishing content.
  • Repurpose and recycle content: Repurposing and recycling existing content can help to reduce the time and resources needed to create new content. Identify existing content that can be repurposed or recycled, such as blog posts or videos, and use them in different formats, such as an infographic or a podcast.
  • Outsource content creation: Outsourcing content creation can help to fill any gaps in the content pipeline and ensure that there is a consistent flow of high-quality content. Hire freelance writers, designers, or other content creators to help with content production. Make sure to set clear guidelines and instructions for the content being outsourced.

By implementing these strategies, your business can create a content pipeline that is efficient, effective, and aligned with your overall content strategy. This also helps to ensure that your business is able to produce high-quality content on a consistent basis and meet your content marketing goals.

Content Output Is Low

Suppose your content plan requires publishing 8 new articles on the company blog each month, but your content team is only delivering 3 or 4.

Check if this low output in content production is caused by one of the following reasons:


Low content output can be caused by having insufficient resources.

Does your business:


If your business has sufficient resources but content production output is low, the cause of the problem may be unrealistic workload expectations on individual team members.

For example, let’s say that your business expects a content writer to create well-researched long articles or tutorials (e.g. 1,500 – 2,000+ words) with links to authoritative references, detailed screenshots, charts/tables, and an accompanying video.

While the writer may have the tools and skills to perform all the tasks, the requirements may simply be too complex for one role to take everything on and complete it all within the expected time frame.

Additionally, the writer may be expected to perform other writing tasks for the company or be a shared resource for different departments, so their time and focus are being split into other areas.

In this case, a review of individual workloads may be necessary where an adjustment is either made to the expectations of the role or additional resources are brought in.


If you need new content ideas for your website, blog, or newsletter, subscribe to our FREE Infinite Content Ideas course.

Content Is Late

If your content production metrics show that the content output is on target but the content is frequently being delivered late, then look for issues in areas like delivery rates and workflow bottlenecks.

For example:

  • Has someone been made accountable for meeting project deadlines? If so, start by asking them what they see as causing the issue.
  • If the issue is caused by multiple stakeholders having a say in the content approval phase and not being able to agree on the final version, assign the final call to one person.
  • Are there too many dependencies or too many reviewers in the content workflow? If so, these can significantly extend production times and create delays and holdups in your content pipeline. Look for ways to improve process efficiency and eliminate non-essential decision-makers from your workflow.

Content Is Below Standard

If the content output is fine and the content is being delivered on time but the quality of the finished content is substandard, then look for issues in the following areas:

Content Brief & Guidelines

  • Review your content brief to make sure that it has clearly and concisely set out your expectations and the areas of importance that should have been covered in the content (if you need help creating a brief, read this article).
  • Does your organization have clear and documented guidelines for content creation? If you need help in this area, see the lesson on Workflow Documentation.

Meet With The Content Creator

If the brief and/or content guidelines are not the issue, then schedule a meeting with the content creator to find out why the content was below standard.

Check if:

  • They have read and understood the brief.
  • They have read and are familiar with the content creation guidelines.
  • There were any personal issues involved that affected their work.


Creating consistently high-quality content requires an effective content production system with defined and documented workflows and periodic reviews of the content strategy and content plan.

Creating unique and original content also requires a good understanding of your target audience, your topics, and your industry. It also requires having the necessary skills and tools to format and design the content effectively, maintaining a consistent effort to stay up-to-date with the latest developments and trends, and measuring and analyzing the performance of your content.

Action Steps

Review your content plan and create a content workflow with documented workflow processes for each content type that your business needs to create to meet its strategic goals.


See the following sections for useful tools and resources for content production:


Next Steps

The list below contains all the lessons included in this module:

Content Production

Content Production

Learn how to develop an effective content production process that delivers consistently high-quality content on a regular basis. 
Content Workflow

Content Workflow

Learn how to define a content workflow for your organization, from content ideation and creation to scheduling and publishing. 
Workflow Documentation

Workflow Documentation

Learn how to document your content workflow for ease of use and quick access to everything your content team needs for content production. 
Content Production Schedule

Content Production Schedule

This section looks at structuring your team's content production schedule to meet content production targets.
Content Types

Content Types

Learn about the different types of content you can create to help meet your organization's strategic goals.
Content Repurposing

Content Repurposing

Learn how to maximize your content production efforts and resources with content repurposing strategies. 
Content Production Tools

Content Production Tools

Useful tools and resources to help you speed up your content planning and content production.
Content Production Automation

Content Production Automation

Streamline your content production process and optimize your workflow with content production automation.


Image: Typewriter