9 Common Content Marketing Workflow Problems and How to Fix Them
There are two types of marketers: the “big picture” people and the “details” people. The former loves thinking about overall strategy, while the latter gets a thrill from the nitty-gritty tactical side of things.
You can identify these types based on their choice of writing medium. The strategy people love a freshly cleaned whiteboard that’s just waiting to be scribbled upon. The tactical people delight in breaking the spine of a new notebook and scrawling the perfect to do list.
Every marketing organization needs both notebookers and whiteboarders. Without the whiteboarders, you wouldn’t have a vision, and without the notebookers, nothing would get done because you wouldn’t have a workflow – a repeatable pattern of tasks – that support your overall content marketing vision.
In this post, we’ll address those repeatable tasks that support the whiteboarders’ visions. Specifically, we’ll look at nine ways your workflow can go awry.
Whiteboarders, use this post to understand why your team isn’t realizing your vision. And notebookers, use this post to troubleshoot your team’s workflow, looking for areas of weakness.
Problem 1: You haven’t defined your ideal audience.
Imagine this: A new marketing team member writes a thoughtful, witty post for your blog. After he sends it to the blog’s editor, she writes back, “I enjoyed reading your post, but it’s not a good fit for our site.”
Not only does the blogger feel slighted, but he just wasted 6 hours of his workday writing a piece that can’t be used without major changes.
In editorial processes, the idea of “fit” often overlaps with the idea of audience. Quite simply, a post that is a good “fit” for a blog means that it will resonate with the blog’s audience, and a post that is not a good fit will not resonate with your audience.
Take some time to define the ideal audience for your content. You can save your marketing team time and effort in doing so. Use this worksheet to help:
Problem 2: Your content distribution strategy doesn’t exist.
Your team just created a blog post that will solve a huge problem for your potential buyers. Kudos! But no one will appreciate the post if no one sees it.
You need a content distribution strategy. That is, you need a documented plan that indicates where you will share content and how often.
Not all marketing channels are created equal. Marketing teams should consider speaking with potential customers to see which channels they are using. Alternatively, they can make some educated guesses about where their potential customers will be. For instance, in the B2B space, chances are good that LinkedIn is a good fit.
Once marketers select their channels, they need to be patient and wait to see if their plan is working. It’s easy to say, “Well, we spent a month on Twitter, but nothing came of it. Clearly, Twitter doesn’t work.”
To help you choose your channels, you should download our content curation workbook.
Problem 3: You haven’t created an internal flowchart for your content.
Your content marketing machine can break down at several points.
Let’s say that you discover a great article that mentions your company, and you want your social media team to share it. Do you have a way to pass that article onto your social media team?
Or imagine that your content team has created a great e-book. Does your sales team know about the e-book? Can they easily share it with prospects?
To resolve these internal problems, you need to understand how your content flows from one marketer to the next and from one team to the next. Here’s an example of one paradigm:
You can read more about three ways to structure your internal content workflows here.
Problem 4: You haven’t assigned roles and tasks.
Who is supposed to respond to tweets? Facebook messages? LinkedIn comments?
Which team member is tasked with thinking of ideas for your blog? Writing your blog posts? Editing them?
Tasks can easily slip through the cracks if your team does not have clearly defined roles. In turn, your marketing workflow can easily break down. To remedy this problem, assign tasks and task owners for each marketing campaign.
Here’s a sample template that you can use for your company’s blog:
Problem 5: Deadlines, schmedlines.
You’ve created a brilliant marketing campaign that centers on an e-book. This e-book promises to be so helpful and so creative that it is guaranteed to bring in twice as many leads as your other lead generation techniques.
But there it sits – a forgotten idea on your white board.
Your head writer promises to get around to it “soon,” while the rest of your marketing and sales team was counting on that asset. And you’re concerned, as well. You need the e-book to generate enough leads for your content.
So, what do you do? Before you fire your head writer, you have to ask yourself if you set clear expectations. Did you set a definitive deadline in your meeting and remind your content producer of it? If you didn’t, maybe it is time to set clear deadlines for your team.
For every marketing initiative, write out the steps that need to be completed and the order in which they should be completed. Then, go about assigning tasks to team members. Finally, come to an agreement about when each tasks hould be due.
Under problem number four, you can find an example.
Problem 6: Where art thou, content?
Did you know that only 30% of B2B content actually gets used?
Let that sink in.
70% of B2B content on the internet is wasted.
Part of them problem is that your customer-facing employees cannot find the content. To increase the findability of your content, you need to create a content marketing library, where you can:
- Share your company’s content
- Find and curate great third-party content
- Attach pre-approved marketing messages to the blog posts, e-books, templates, slide decks, etc.
- Assign roles and permissions that determine:Who can write messagesWho can add to the libraryWho can share content from the library
Problem 7: You can’t create enough content.
So, you’ve determined who your buyers are. You know where they are hanging out online. You’ve devised a content distribution strategy. And all your team members on the same page regarding their roles, tasks, and deadlines.
But what if you can’t create enough content? To keep your workflow going and to keep your audience happy, you need a steady stream of content.
For many marketers, that’s a problem. The Aberdeen Group has found that 68% of marketers are unable to create enough content to satiate their audience.
If you’re part of the 68%, you need a platform that enables you to discover and curate third-party content – not just distribute content. A good content marketing platform will help you find content that will position your company and its employees as trustworthy sources of information.
Problem 8: Your team doesn’t have a feedback loop.
For some content marketers, the workflow ends when they publish a landing page, a Facebook post, or a blog post. They hit “publish,” cross their fingers, and hope that people look at their stuff.
They forget to dive into their analytics and use those numbers to improve their content marketing. Picture the lifecycle of your content as a circle. Something like this:
Once your brand has published its content and once your employee advocates have amplified your content, then, you need to analyze its performance.
Is your content resonating with your audience? Are they clicking on it? Are they sharing it? Are they reading it? Are they leaving comments?
Take those numbers and draw actionable insights for your marketing team members. Maybe you find that no one looks at your infographics. So, maybe you shouldn’t spend 15 hours creating one.
Or maybe you find that your potential customers can’t get enough of your quizzes. Maybe you should make more of those.
Or maybe your blog posts that curate industry news are your most popular posts. But your new Director of Content Marketing wants to cut those posts from the editorial calendar. Is that a really good idea?
Without continuous analysis and feedback for your creators and curators, the performance of your content marketing will not improve. At best, there will be a few lucky “hits” among many “misses.” But more likely than not, your content marketing program will never take off.
Problem 9: Your team uses too many applications.
In January of 2014, there were 947 companies in the marketing technology space. By January of 2015, that number almost doubled to 1,876 companies.
Every marketing task has its own application. When you think about it, it’s kind of impressive.
But it’s spectacularly inefficient, too. If your employees have to toggle between too many applications, your workflow will slow down, and your productivity will come to a crawl. Research shows that 57% of workplace interruptions come from electonic distractions, including flipping between applications.
This poses a unique problem for marketers. Not only must they streamline their org charts. They must also streamline their technology. They need a small number of tools that enable their team to do more.
If you’re looking to streamline your content marketing workflow…
You should check out Trapit. Our product makes content marketing easy and can help solve your content marketing workflow problems.