10 ways to improve your content operations workflow

By Arso Stojović
Read time 6 min
Posted on April 10, 2024
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10 ways to improve your content operations workflow

For smooth content operations workflow, teams must establish the right process to make content operations manageable. That includes every step from content idea and brainstorming, to content creation and publishing as the final statiton.

Improving content operation workflows involves implementing strategies and adopting tools that enhance efficiency, collaboration, and effectiveness throughout the content creation and management. To do so successfully, the first step is to understand workflows and choose the best type for your company, team, project, etc.

Understanding what is content operations workflow

Content workflows are the systematic process of creation, from conception to publication. These workflows vary depending on the organization's structure, content types, and goals. However, they typically include stages such as ideation, creation, editing, review, approval, and publication.

Types of content operations workflows

Linear workflow:

Linear workflow:

In a linear workflow, content moves through each stage sequentially, with one task leading to the next. While straightforward, this model can sometimes cause bottlenecks if one stage takes longer than anticipated.

Parallel workflow:

Parallel workflow:

Parallel workflows involve simultaneous work at different stages of content creation. This approach can speed up the process but requires effective coordination to avoid confusion.

Iterative workflow:

Iterative workflow

Iterative workflows allow continuous improvement through creation, review, and refinement cycles. This model is particularly suited for agile content teams focused on constant optimization.

Task-based content workflow:

Task-based content workflow

Task-based content workflow defines each workflow stage as a task for your team. There are deadlines for every task, a responsible team member, and a detailed description of each step to ensure everyone knows what to expect.

Status-based workflow

Status-based workflow

Status-based workflow concentrates on statuses rather than tasks. It is suited to specialists with more experience and gives more freedom to content managers: they can balance their tasks across various stages. Although roles and responsibilities might not be as clear as in task-based workflows, you should still document the process and lay it out.

How to decide which content operations workflow is best for you?

A solid content operations workflow begins with understanding where your team stands. To create an effective content development workflow, consider the following:

  1. Your team's expertise levels. Provide detailed stage descriptions for newcomers while allowing more seasoned content specialists to navigate with less guidance.

  2. Type of content your team produces. Task-oriented workflows are ideal for articles and substantial content pieces, while status-based workflows are better suited to video content.

The most interesting fact is that you don't have to choose just one type and stick to it. You can customize any of these types to suit your team's needs and create a hybrid content operations process.

How to develop a successful content workflow

To develop a successful content workflow, it is important to think about two things. Content operations strategy and technology. Only through the synergy of the two can a successful workflow be achieved. Below are steps and tips that will help you improve your strategy with the support of tools and platforms.

5 Tech-free steps for better content operations

Tools and platforms play a crucial role in resolving operational concerns and obstacles. Technology is there as a support, to do operations efficiently, you will need to have structured content concepts. Here’s how you can do it: 

Step 1: Build a content framework

A content framework serves as a quick reference guide for determining which projects are worth approving.

A well-structured content template is the initial phase that speeds up the entire process. In this phase, you should define content formats, where to publish content (major and secondary platforms), and notes (if necessary). For any content operation workflow types mentioned earlier, this approach is applicable and easy to implement. So with a filled content framework template, you'll get a fully ready-for-action content plan.

Content framework template example

Content framework template example

Start the list of necessary actions using this framework, mapping them as workflows and combining them into a single, cohesive process. For this phase, you don't have to use any specialized tools. Google Sheets will be just fine for making a customized content framework

Step 2: Make a tasks list for each format

Based on your content operations type, the next step is to make a task list. Every task would consist of:

  • Clear and specific tasks: Each task should be well-defined and actionable.

  • Prioritization: Tasks should be organized in order of importance or urgency.

  • Deadlines: Include due dates or deadlines for each task to keep the project on track.

  • Assignments: Specify who is responsible for completing each task.

  • Dependencies: Identify any tasks that rely on the completion of others.

  • Progress tracking: Implement a system to monitor the progress of each task.

  • Communication: Encourage open communication channels for updates, questions, and collaboration.

  • Flexibility: Allow for adjustments and updates to the task list as needed throughout the project.

Content task example

Content task example

The picture represents the task of writing this article. As you can see, all the data is grouped in one place, and just by clicking on the task anyone in the content team can see what it is about. In this step, slowly but surely, technology is coming to support and perfect content operations.

There are many project management tools (to be listed later) that are useful. For example, the content team in BCMS uses Active Collab.

Step 3: Create a content calendar

It may sound banal and obvious, but a content calendar helps you stay organized, consistent, and strategic in your content creation and distribution efforts.

content calendar

A content calendar should consist of the following:

  1. Content framework

  2. Publishing dates and times: Scheduled dates and times for publishing content across various channels such as social media, blogs, newsletters, etc.

  3. Content formats: Specification of the type of content to be created, whether it's articles, videos, infographics, podcasts, etc.

  4. Target audience: Identification of the specific audience segments each piece of content is intended for.

  5. Keywords and SEO: Integration of relevant keywords and SEO strategies to optimize content for search engines.

  6. Content status: Tracking the progress of each piece of content from ideation to creation, review, and publication.

  7. Author/Creator: Assignment of responsibility to individuals or teams responsible for creating and delivering each piece of content.

  8. Distribution channels: Listing of the channels where content will be published or promoted, such as social media platforms, email newsletters, websites, etc.

  9. Visual assets: Inclusion of any accompanying visual assets like images, graphics, or videos to be used alongside the content.

  10. Content calendar updates: Regular updates and revisions to accommodate changes in strategy, content priorities, or scheduling conflicts.

Step 4: Content production

If the order of tasks in your content production process is incorrect or broken, you will soon risk some people failing to complete their jobs promptly or in the right order.

Rather, you must run an understandable content process with steps that make sense. This guarantees that everyone involved in content development can make the most of their time and work effectively, which helps to reduce the lead times for content production as a whole.

Content production template example

The most common way to organize content lifecycle is into the:

  • Pre-production

  • Production

  • Post-production

Content production template example

Step 5: Content automation

In this step, technology plays a crucial role in content ops optimization. Content automation has an enormously positive impact on content governance. You should take advantage of the opportunity to stop doing the same monotonous, pointless duties.

Content automation

Content automation aims to reduce manual effort, increase efficiency, and improve consistency in content creation workflows. It involves leveraging tools such as:

  • Content management system

  • Social media management platforms

  • AI algorithms for repetitive tasks

5 ways to use technology to improve content operations workflow

Using technology to transform content production, administration, and communication is essential for success. Here are ways to leverage technology to enhance content operations:

Step 1: Using headless CMS- a content hub for content operations

For all of the above to be carried out effectively, a headless approach.

A headless CMS serves as a content hub due to its ability to efficiently manage and distribute content across various channels and platforms. Using a headless CMS serves as a centralized content hub for content operations due to several key advantages it offers over traditional CMS platforms.

content hub for content operations

Unlike traditional CMS platforms, a headless CMS decouples the content management backend from the frontend presentation layer. This separation allows content to be stored, organized and edited independently of how it's displayed to users.

Thanks to the API-first approach, flexibility and easy integration with other tools are important not only for content operations but also for the entire content marketing.

As a result, a headless CMS acts as a centralized repository or hub for all content-related assets, including text, images, videos, and other media types. Content creators can easily create, edit, and manage content within the CMS, while developers can leverage APIs to pull this content into different frontend applications or interfaces.

Learn more: Content Operations and Headless CMS - hack you can't miss

Step 2: Using tools with native AI capabilities

As technology transforms content operations by automating routine tasks, offering data-driven insights, and fostering collaboration within content teams, it also introduces the capabilities of AI to content marketing. AI-driven tools offer various ways to aid content creation, including:

  • Generating topic ideas

  • Provide suggestions for enhancements

  • Automating the writing process

  • Summarizing content

  • Conducting research

  • Automated tagging and metadata management

  • NLP

  • Chatbots and virtual assistants

Step 3: Audit keyword research

SEO and keyword research tools empower organizations to enhance their content for search engines, boosting online visibility. These tools offer valuable insights into:

  • Keyword trends

  • Search volume

  • Competition
    All these research results, enable content creators to create quality content that connects with their desired audience. Among the most popular tools in this domain are SEMrush, Moz, and Ahrefs.

Step 4: Fill content gaps with exciting new ideas

Most keyword tools have the option to compare your content with the competition or with those who rank at the very top of Google Search results and deal with the same topic as your team. Besides the old-fashioned way to do keyword research, don't forget to use this content gap feature. Here are some of the content gap strategies to generate exciting new ideas for content:

  • Audience research: Conduct surveys, interviews, or polls to understand your audience's interests, preferences, and pain points. Use this insight to tailor content ideas to their needs and preferences.

  • Competitor analysis: Analyze your competitors' content to identify topics they've covered well and areas where they may be lacking. Look for gaps or underserved niches that you can capitalize on with your own unique perspective.

  • Trending topics: Stay informed about current trends, news, and events relevant to your industry or niche. Explore how these topics intersect with your brand's expertise and audience interests to generate timely and engaging content ideas.

  • Keyword research: Use SEO tools to identify high-volume keywords and search queries related to your niche. Look for keywords with low competition or untapped potential to create content that ranks well in search engine results pages (SERPs).

  • Content pillars: Develop content pillars or themes that align with your brand's values, mission, and expertise. Create a series of interconnected content pieces that delve deep into each pillar, offering valuable insights and perspectives.

  • User-generated content: Encourage user-generated content by soliciting contributions from your audience through contests, challenges, or social media campaigns. Showcase user-generated content on your platforms to foster community engagement and amplify your brand's reach.

Step 5: Use a combination of tools and templates to set up the Content Workflow

For the best results in your content approach do the following:

  • Choose a CMS for a content hub

  • Integrate task management tools for assigning tasks and deadlines

  • Collaborate in real-time using collaborative editing platforms 

  • Utilize content planning templates, editorial calendars, and style guides for consistency

  • Consider automation tools for tasks like social media scheduling

20 best tools for effective Content Operations

If you are looking for the perfect technology stack for content operations, here's what that could look like: 

Setting Content operation up for success

Setting up a good content marketing strategy is essential to streamlining your content efforts, but even more important is setting up a content workflow that serves as a checklist for all you need to do to create high-quality content that drives results.

BCMS is one of the best content management systems which unites all aspects of content operations, by putting all of them in one place.

With BCMS headless CMS you have solid ground foundations that allow you to consolidate your content production and plan and optimize content for performance.

So, sign up for BCMS and start implementing all 10 steps into your content operations for the best results.

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