Your team is stuck in a cycle of reacting instead of proactively planning for the next content marketing project or campaign. You’re frustrated but don’t know how to instill change. That’s because change is hard! At Muse, we’ve found that the optimal time for improvements may be when you hire a new team member, adapt your brand or launch a new product or service.

The systemization of a content marketing project or plan isn’t the sexiest topic. But the value of well-defined processes shines through when you achieve greater efficiency and consistency – two ingredients needed for content marketing success.

Content marketing operational systems and strategic processes make greater efficiency and consistency, shown in a Venn diagram

In the remainder of this article, we’re unlocking our treasure chest of operational systems and processes used to support the Muse team – as well as our clients. *Cue the choir of angels for the operational people on your team!*

Identify the problem to spark change

The old saying, “The squeaky wheel gets the grease,” is absolutely true. You can’t fix problems if you’re not aware of them.

In our agency, we find that most issues result from a weak (or non-existent) process or failure in the system. To remedy, compile a list of recent issues, team complaints or shortcomings that may be solved with a better system. They may not be obvious at first. As a team, identify the root problem, discuss each issue to understand different perspectives and agree on a solution. If you utilize Entrepreneurs Operating System (EOS), you’ll recognize this as IDS – Identify, Discuss, Solve.

Earlier this year, we struggled with visibility of project costs in our software, which spurred many questions from the billing department each month. Through IDS, we defined a standardized checklist to record and relay costs for accurate invoices.

Building a content marketing process

For our retainer clients, we follow a uniform process for content marketing development that begins with planned monthly themes that are broken down into content plans.

Take Infinity Wellness Center for example. We create content for this Austin-based functional medicine practice with this process:

  1. Annual Planning: Determine monthly themes for the upcoming year based on content mission, search performance and any major events (holidays, company milestones, peak sales periods, etc.) on the calendar.
  2. Quarterly Programs: Identify which sales or funnel programs will be created each quarter. For this client, we’ve helped to ideate and promote service packages, cleanses and more.
  3. Monthly Content Plans: Propose specific topics that coincide with themes and the channels they’ll be shared on in one action-packed document.
  4. Multimedia Choices: Decide which topics are best for video or written communication such as blogs, newsletters, social media, etc.

Process that makes content marketing more efficient

We prepare monthly themes in advance so there’s plenty of time to organize and create content without scrambling last minute! Once we finalize the content plan, we meet with the client at the beginning of each month to review their plan, gain approval and edit as necessary.

Next in the process, we incorporate our systems. Based on the month’s theme, our content manager creates social posts, blogs and other content which is housed in Airtable and Box – two critical systems that we’ll cover at the end of this piece. All content is then reviewed by our in-house team before publishing. Our favorite project software, Teamwork, helps us keep all these tasks, deadlines and meetings on-track.

Finally, we have a mid-month progress meeting with the client to evaluate content performance. This process keeps us (and clients!) accountable and on track to create stand-out content.

Better results & long-term success

Although they take time to develop and implement, systems and processes are your friends. Most importantly, they empower you to achieve these business benefits:

  • Accept or delegate responsibility for better accountability.
  • Share information easily across a team to increase visibility. (This is even more important for collaborative remote work!)
  • Look back on campaign efforts & metrics to inform future plans.

It’s amazing what you can achieve when you start to work smarter, not harder. Trust us when we say that many of these tried and true systems will become the backbone of your business. Oh, and don’t forget to thank your amazing project managers!

If you’re ready for a content marketing program complete with accountable systems and processes, contact us for a 15-minute consultation.

Appendix: Highlighting our trusted systems

Our favorite systems listed below help us run our agency efficiently. If you’re considering any of these tools for your business, feel free to reach out to us with questions.

Teamwork: We build glorious, organized task lists per project, so every team member knows what and when they are accountable. This is essential for remote teams with multiple projects underway at one time.

Box: We house all our project files in folders cataloged by client and the project. While many clients and colleagues us Dropbox and Google Drive, we prefer Box because it integrates into our other systems, we can control over file versions and it’s a good value for our firm’s size.

Function Fox: We track our project time, costs and reporting for accurate forecasting with this timesheet software.

Canva: We create thumb-stopping graphics at lightning speed for ourselves and our clients. You can achieve this level of social media nirvana with our Canva templates package. Your social media feed will never be the same.

Airtable: We use this for content calendars – especially social media planning. If you need a solution that’s a step above Excel or Google Sheets, this is your best bet for functional execution with a polished look that allows for multiple ways to view and group data.

Google Workspace: Last, but certainly not least, we use Google Sheets or Docs for our weekly status reports to guide efficient team meetings, metrics scorecards for reporting and more collaborative projects internally and with clients. We typically choose Google documentation for living, breathing, collaborative docs.

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About the Author

Lauren Konst is an Account Manager at Muse. With a strong background in integrated marketing and communications, advertising and events, Lauren pitches grassroots marketing ideas and creative solutions to support clients’ business objectives. Throughout her career, she has worked with notable clients including Cleveland Clinic, The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, Destination Cleveland and Greater Cleveland Food Bank.

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