A Thoughtful Workflow Can Improve Your Content Strategy

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By Hannah Nelson


Impactful, meaningful, and valuable content starts with a workflow that’s intentional and well-thought-out. Defining a workflow that’s effective for your team allows you to create space for inspired content initiatives and lead your organization to meet and surpass goal key performance indicators (KPIs).


Many considerations go into structuring a workflow — understanding and leveraging the power of print and digital mediums, deciding whether to integrate them or shift from a print-first to a digital-first model, and measuring impact are just a few of the common challenges organizations face.


Tackling these challenges at the 2019 Association Media & Publishing annual meeting in Washington, DC, were Ricky Ribeiro, vice president of creative at content marketing agency Manifest, and Blake Althen, co-owner and producer at association podcast group Human Factor Media. They explained how different workflow models can contribute to the success of your organization’s content strategy and how to adapt your workflow for specific mediums.


Workflow Models

A structured workflow allows you to navigate what Ribeiro calls the content ecosystem, providing a process all content moves through and allowing your organization to get content out the door.


In an ecosystem that invites careful questions — What’s your content strategy? How will this affect the types of content you’ll produce? What will be the most effective way to distribute those types of content? — anyone involved in content production should be focused on simplicity. Determine your goal for your content and structure your workflow to achieve it.


As an example, Manifest strives to produce award-winning journalistic, long- and short-form content within predetermined publishing timelines. Inspired by the collaboration and creativity often dominant within the newsroom, it structured its team model to be integrated and interdisciplinary, organized around editorial, visual design, performance marketing, social engagement, and data intelligence.


This model not only leverages the diversity of thought and creative tension among team members, it also empowers people with different skills to lead individual parts of the same project and provides a base for the program to move toward consistent optimization.


Collaborative Editorial Calendars

Key to standing out in a crowded market — essentially, finding your organization’s product-market fit — is designing a content strategy your team understands, regardless of how it’s structured. An editorial calendar can be a go-to tool for achieving this, as long as it’s centralized and provides both transparency and clarity.


When building out your editorial calendar:

  • Consider the time it will take to produce.

  • Find people with stories. Share those stories.

  • Think of live conference coverage as an opportunity to create multimedia experiences. Inspire people to learn and take action.

  • Repurpose content across platforms when it makes sense to do so.


A Word About Podcasts

If podcasts factor into your content ecosystem, think about what it takes to not only start a successful podcast but also to maintain one.


Podcast production can be broken down into three parts: scheduling, recording, and publishing. When scheduling a podcast, keep in mind that consistency is everything, whether you publish weekly, biweekly, or at another interval. Early on, determine how you’ll define success by working backward from the release date and setting expectations accordingly.


Measuring Success

When you’re ready to measure the success of your content, give context to the metrics you use to assess your content’s impact. Translate numbers (e.g., pageviews) into KPIs (sign-ups, retention) and what they mean for your organization. Combine quantitative metrics with qualitative ones, such as audience loyalty. Then use that information to determine what’s working in your content strategy and what’s not, and how you might change your workflow to improve it.


Hannah Nelson is a digital content strategist for Neuronline, a training and professional development website of the Society for Neuroscience. Association Media & Publishing thanks Hannah for her stellar job covering this AM&P Annual Meeting session for our members who were unable to attend.