Content marketers must work collaboratively and individually to produce content that drives results. The article below shares key tools that can greatly aid a content marketing team in their efforts. CK
Article written by Shane Barker originally appeared in Content Marketing Institute on July 8, 2020.
Whether your team works in (or will return to) the same workspace, the challenge remains – how to work efficiently both in individual roles and as a team to create effective content marketing.
To help your process, I’ve curated a list of go-to tools that help my team’s writers and editors work well across time zones.
1. Have a central go-to resource
Ensure that your team members can easily familiarize themselves with your company’s content marketing strategy and implementation steps so everybody works from the same page.
Among the documented guides and processes you should create:
- Brand voice and messaging
- Overall company style guides and general keyword optimization, formatting, etc.
- Individual style guides for your major content tactics
- Among our style guides:
- Landing pages – documenting how to create a mix of written and visual content that converts
- Blog articles and guest posts – detailing keyword inclusion, heading tags, and basic content structure
- Email copy and newsletters – showcasing a variety of templates based on goals such as pitches, content distribution, and other promotional offers (We use Omnisend to further streamline our email messages and improve open rates.)
We keep these documented guides in shared resource folders on Google Drive to make them accessible for everyone on the content team.
We also take the time to update guidelines when needed. Having dedicated “master docs” for each content format helps ensure that everyone is on the same page.
TIP: We use the Loom app to record short videos addressing common errors and fixes. These videos can reinforce the areas where your team needs to pay more attention to your style guides.
2. Develop detailed task guidelines
In tandem with the overall style guides and details, write a detailed brief for each task. Here’s an example of a brief crafted for a guest post we planned:
Detailed task guidelines can help maintain transparency and minimize the need for revisions.
3. Streamline tasks with Teamline or Trello
To create a successful workflow, we integrate Teamline with Slack for our in-house and remote team. The project management tool lets us streamline all tasks and keep a tab on their progress.
Teamline allows you to create tasks in project channels, assign them to the “concerned person,” add due dates, and add custom labels such as the ones I use below identifying the tasks’ priority – medium, important, urgent, etc.
In working with our freelancers, I use Trello to assign tasks and track progress. We create a separate card for each assignment and then easily move individual tasks’ cards to lists such as “assigned,” “under review,” and “approved.”
This helps us keep track of the progress of each assignment and determine the date by which it will be ready to publish.
Using Trello for freelancers instead of adding them to our Slack channels helps us protect our company’s privacy and other project details. Also, Trello is a free tool so we don’t have to invest in onboarding freelancers.
The “approved” list on Trello also allows us to see which freelancer invoices are to be paid at the end of each month.
We also use Clockify to track the amount of time our writers and editors spend on each post, task, and project. Doing so helps us in creating client invoices and better quotes for prospects.
4. Track employee time with messaging tool integration
This way, we don’t disturb people who are in the middle of something important. It can help you improve employee satisfaction and, in turn, improve your team’s efficiency.
The Mesasix integration lets companies track overall employee time, which also can be helpful in accounting for the payroll of hourly workers or salary hour verification.
5. Use Google Docs for easy collaboration
Google Docs allows you to collaborate and work as a team to create shareable content.
Multiple writers and editors can work in the same document at the same time. You can also keep a tab on who made which edits and when. It also lets you restore older versions of the document at any time.
You can include an automated table of contents, add comments in the docs, and assign action items to specific people to ensure smooth team collaboration. When you assign the action in the document itself, those who work with the file but are not responsible for doing the noted action item can ignore the comment.
6. Ensure smooth communication
If you want to achieve your content marketing goals, it is important to establish transparent and smooth communication among your content team members.
As I mentioned, we use Slack but we created separate channels for major company announcements, specific project guidelines, and writing tips, to help team members clearly understand how to get the information they want or need at any point.
7. Host team meetings
These meetings should not be restricted to work discussions. Create some fun conversations and organize team-building activities. This can help strengthen your relationship with your team members and improve productivity.
For instance, we recently had a team meeting addressing the company’s plan to survive and emerge stronger after the COVID-19 pandemic. The meeting aimed to keep everyone informed about what’s coming up and assure them of job security.
We started the conversation on a light note discussing adventures we’ve had in the past and how life has been going during the lockdown. Fun conversations help people relax and be more open about what they feel.
Get to work
Managing a content team has its challenges. But no matter where they work, you can scale your content marketing success with the right arsenal of tools.