In a recent webinar by Content Marketing Institute, Matt Heinz, CEO of Heinz Marketing, and Heather Hurst, director of corporate marketing at Workfront, gave expert advice on documenting content marketing workflows.
Matt Heinz: Related to communication, I think smart communication is feedback. It’s improvement of the processes and systems that we’re using. I guarantee you that once you create and launch a feedback process, or just a request process, there will be adjustments of that over time.
I think it was General Patton who said, “best laid plans never survive first contact with the battlefield,” and it was the great poet of our time, Mike Tyson, who said “everyone's got a plan until they get punched in the face.”
Download our free ebook "Organize The Feedback: A Marketer’s Guide to Project Collaboration" for suggestions on how to garner and use feedback on your team.
So as you go and execute on your programs, there will be improvements you want to make, there will be feedback you get from those you are creating content for. Make sure you are regularly reviewing those and incorporating those updates, those improvements, into your process.
It will reduce friction that may exist in the execution process. It will help you get more done faster, knowing that you’re never done improving the process. Even if it’s not just a daily or weekly thing, but at least on a monthly basis incorporating that feedback is important.
Heather Hurst: Part of that feedback is deciding when something is done.
You probably have kind of a puzzled look on your face as you hear me say that. But think back to how many times you’ve had something marked “final version 32,” or “final version 68.” It’s a really sad scenario to be in, but unfortunately it happens all the time.
So deciding when something is actually done, when it’s off the table for further review, when you are going to move forward with publication, is definitely key to having that content process move forward smoothly.
So from content creation, that brings us to content organization and storage. Once something is done, how are you going to remember where you put it and keep it available for other people?
Matt Heinz: Heather, this image which many of you, if you don’t remember, this is the end of the movie Raiders of the Lost Ark.
This poor guy in the middle is storing the Ark of the Covenant in a government storage facility that just goes on forever. This reflects the way most content storage programs look like for most organizations.
For example, we did a study among sales reps and we asked them: "what are the top time wasters for you outside of active selling?" Number-one time waster was time in CRM; not surprising. Number-two time waster was recruiting their own content; not surprising.
Number-three time waster, of all the things sales reps could have said, the number-three top waster of time for sales reps is looking for the right content.
I’ve seen so many examples that reinforce how important it is to make sure you have a coordinated, clean, simple, efficient content storage process.
So when someone’s looking for the Ark of the Covenant again in a couple months, in a couple days, they know precisely where to find it and how to find it.
Heather Hurst: Matt, you’re absolutely right. And I don't think the ark came back in another movie, which means they definitely never found it again.
Matt Heinz: That is true.
Heather Hurst: A big thing is having organization protocol for all of your assets.
Think about how many times someone has come to you asking for your corporate logo, which is something that should be easily available for everyone within the organization.
That gives you an idea, back to what Matt was saying, about sales teams and others not being able to find content; how big of an issue this is.
Work with your teams, and then work with all of your content consumers to set up a way that you store content, and a way that you identify for them whether or not something is still able to be used or whether it’s expired and it would need to be updated if you were going to try to use it again.
Matt Heinz: Naming convention is part of this as well, and I could argue this is one of the most important things to do to make it easy. And not just how you name things, but how that naming helps people sort for things.
There are a bunch of practices; lots of people have different ways they might do this.
One of my favorites is to use dates at the beginning, and include either a dedicated project name, or use client names in the title. So for instance, one thing we do internally is we have a process where every file starts with the year, dot, the month, dot, the date.
So you can literally see everything. Then you’ve got words after it that are sortable. But if you’re like, "well, that happened last June," you can immediately flip to that section and look for that piece of content. It works for us; it may not work for everybody.
But I would encourage you to create a naming convention that everyone understands, that everyone starts to use. This is something you could improve on over time, as well. But having something consistent will really save you a lot of time and effort long term.
Heather Hurst: One big thing you can do is have a process where you hand off content to whatever teams are going to promote it.
So, whether that’s handing off to your sales enablement team that’s going to go train your sales team, or whether that’s handing off to demand gen that’s going to create emails and ads and other assets around it, or whether that’s handing to your blog department; having that process where you have that clear handoff to tell them this is finished, it’s ready for promotion.
And going back to some of our earlier slides, understanding ahead of time with that group the purpose it was created for, and how you intend for them to use it.
Having that set up ahead of time is really great so that when you hand it off, they know it was coming, they have resources in place, they have plans in place to promote it and it can all move forward really seamlessly.
Then of course, the most fun part of any content creation: publication and promotion of the content.
Matt Heinz: This first one we’re going to have to give Robert Rose from the CMI team all the credit for this. Heather, I think you pointed to he said a number of times just because something is done doesn’t mean it’s time to publish it.
The timeline to get things created does not necessarily follow the strategic plan that you’ve created for your content, the plan that you have for getting the maximum impact for that message, for that content, in your sales process, in your marketing plan, in your business objectives.
Make sure that you are strategic and smart about how and when you publish and promote that content; not just because it was finally finished in that version 32 last night.
Heather Hurst: It can get a little exhausting if you’ve been working on a piece of really big content for months and months.
You finally get it done; you just want to throw it up on the website and forget that it ever existed. But you’re not going to get the ideal number of eyeballs on it. That’s where having some distribution best practices comes into play.
There are technologies that you can use to help you improve this.
Or going down to things like maximizing on a hashtag, or going back into old posts in your blog that have been really, really popular and adding links to that new content. Or leveraging influencers to help get out there and promote your content.
Really using the best practices around distribution is going to help you get content out the best way.
Matt Heinz: Heather, we are powering through this list. We are almost done. I feel like this one in particular we could spend another 30 minutes on.
Getting sales to use your content is not always easy. I’ve seen stats saying as high as 90 percent of content created for sales doesn’t get used. I’m not convinced that means it’s not good content.
I think it could be that it’s stored with the Ark of the Covenant and people don’t know where to find it. It could also be because people don’t know what content is going to help them make money.
I think a lot of sales teams want demo content, they want product content. They don’t understand that the contextual content that helps establish the need, that helps establish the commitment to change, could help them move forward as well.
So, understanding how each of those pieces of content helps them make money is important.
Making sure your reps know how and where to find the content, reinforcing that it works, finding the early adopters and promoting their success; lots of things to help the sales team be more efficient and more successful with your great content.
Heather Hurst: We’ve come to finally number 30: measuring results.
Go back frequently and take a look at what content is driving the most results for you, whether or not the content that you’ve built has actually achieved the goals that you set out for it.
And let that inform your plans for moving forward with other content. Because you’ll always get really interesting takeaways from the content you’ve created.
It will help you drive forward with interesting topics that people liked, interesting content that the sales team really gravitated toward and used a lot; things that drove a lot of demand that really you weren’t expecting.
Absolutely make sure that you keep that circle going 360 back to measuring results as often as you possibly can.
To watch "30 Essential Tips to Document your Content Marketing Workflow" on demand, click here.
About the Author
Marcus is a content strategist and producer who loves helping brands craft content that improves customers' lives, builds brand credibility, and demands to be shared. For the last 10 years, Marcus has worked in every type of content—from writing to video production to design—and is currently a senior content marketing manager at Workfront, where he oversees all corporate- and awareness-level level content. When he's not producing content, he's consuming it, in the form of books, movies, and podcasts.Follow on Twitter More Content by Marcus Varner