Updated from an article originally published July 8, 2020
A few years ago, people talked about making the workplace more suitable for everyone. Today, given the changing role of the physical office, the conversation has turned to the workspace.
A successful workspace operates like a community, with consistent communication, responsiveness, and flexibility. The challenges of working efficiently in individual roles and as a group remain whether or not your content team works in the same place.
This list of go-to tools helps my team’s writers and editors work well across locations and time zones.
1. Central, go-to guides and resources
Ensure that your team members can quickly familiarize themselves with your company’s content marketing strategy and implementation steps so everybody works from the same page.
The documented guides and processes we share include:
- Brand voice and messaging
- Company style guides and general keyword optimization, formatting, and other details
- Individual style guides for content tactics
Dedicated guides for each content format ensure everyone is on the same page. We have specific style guides for:
- 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 content structure.
- Email copy and newsletters – showcasing templates based on goals such as pitches, content distribution, and other promotional offers. (We use Omnisend to streamline our email messages and improve open rates.)
These documented guides live in shared resource folders on Google Drive to make them accessible to everyone on the content team.
Dedicated process and style guides for each format keep #Content team members on the same page, says @Shane_Barker via @CMIContent. Click To Tweet
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. Detailed task briefs
We write a detailed brief for each task to maintain transparency and minimize the need for revisions.
This example of a brief crafted for a planned guest post includes three columns – details, description, and remarks by writer (if needed). The left column lists post type, title, whether the title has been reviewed by the chief editor, description suggested to the client, word count, target site, target site guidelines, and target audience.
3. Project management via Teamline or ClickUp
To create a content workflow, we integrate Teamline with Slack. The project management tool lets us streamline all tasks and keep tabs on progress.
Teamline allows users to create tasks in project channels, assign them to the “concerned person,” add due dates, and add custom labels. We use custom labels to identify the tasks’ priority – medium, important, urgent, etc.
When working with freelancers, we use ClickUp to assign tasks and track progress. ClickUp includes hundreds of customizable features that help me simplify my workflow and save time. And it keeps freelance tracking out of our internal Slack channels.
We create a separate card for each assignment. Then we can quickly move individual task cards to lists such as “assigned,” “for review,” “approved,” or “published.” That lets us keep track of each assignment’s progress and better determine its publication date.
It also lets us see which freelance assignments are on the approved list so we know which invoices need to be paid.
ClickUp also helps us plan, track, and create a workflow for our content marketing campaigns. This screenshot of the ClickUp interface shows a list of tasks separated by type (issues found, review, and ready). Assignee, due date (if assigned), stage (initiation, planning, execution), and priority details also appear for each task.
4. An availability tracker integrated with a messaging tool
Slack is an excellent platform for team communication. We added the Mesasix Time Tracker tool to it, letting us see who has logged in, is on break, and is available for discussions.
With this information, we interrupt people in the middle of something important. It can help you improve employee satisfaction and, in turn, your team’s efficiency.
The Mesasix integration also can help track overall employee time to inform payroll processing by accounting.
Add the @Mesasix Time Tracker tool to @SlackHQ to track #ContentMarketing team availability, says @Shane_Barker via @CMIContent. Click To Tweet
5. Google Docs for easy collaboration
We use Google Docs to collaborate and work as a team to create content. Multiple writers and editors can work on the same document simultaneously. We can also keep tabs on who made which edits and when. If necessary, we can restore older versions of the document at any time.
Google Docs tool lets you automate a table of contents, add comments, and assign action items to the responsible party to ensure smooth team collaboration.
6. Communication tools for messaging and meeting
Transparent and smooth communication among your content team members helps you maintain strong, lasting relationships in your organization and with freelancers.
As I mentioned, we use Slack to communicate. We created separate channels for major company announcements, specific project guidelines, and writing tips. This helps team members quickly get the information they want, raise questions, and get fast feedback.
When we get the team together on Zoom (you might use one of these alternate video-conferencing tools), we record work-related meetings for future reference and for anyone who can’t make the meeting.
Establish transparent and smooth communication among your #content team members, says @Shane_Barker via @CMIContent. Click To Tweet
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.
What tools does your content team find helpful? What questions do you have about choosing the right tool? Please share in the comments.
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Please note: All tools included in our blog posts are suggested by authors or sources. No one post can provide all relevant tools in the space. Feel free to include additional tools in the comments (from your company or ones that you have used).
Cover image by Joseph Kalinowski/Content Marketing Institute