The best way to maintain and standardize your website's content quality is to design and implement a content management workflow.
A publishing workflow will ensure that everyone involved in creating and publishing content can maintain communication while keeping to the editorial standards set by your brand.
For many brands, the team responsible for managing content is small (maybe just one or two people), and they're responsible for reviewing and editing work from a much larger group of contributors. Setting up a workflow to streamline how and when editing and publishing tasks will make everyone's job cleaner and more accessible.
But before any details of a publishing workflow can be planned out, you must have a solid content strategy first.
Your content strategy will directly inform your publishing workflow. It's essential to define what you want in return for producing content, how often content will be posted and what type of content will get you to your goals. Another critical aspect of content strategy is understanding who is responsible for what when it comes to producing and planning content.
Talk to Your Content Team
The best place to start when planning a content management workflow is by learning as much as possible about current processes in place for content creation. Ask your content team questions about how content is conceptualized, created, and pushed to the live site.
This is an excellent opportunity to find out which steps work well for your team and where you have weak spots or pain points that can be optimized using your content management system's workflow functionality.
Outline Content Management Workflow Tasks
From your conversations with your content team, break down their entire content creation and publishing process into individual tasks.
Examples of workflow tasks include adding photos to content, embedding videos, revising existing content, adding notes about edit changes, scheduling content to be published, etc.
With this step, it's good to be as detailed as possible about what happens to get content up on your site.
Define Roles Within Your Content Management Workflow
Next, you'll need to determine which tasks belong to which content team members. A typical workflow includes content authors, editors, approvers, and publishers.
Once you've figured out which roles are part of your workflow, you can assign roles to everyone who is part of your content team.
Visualize & Draw Out Your Content Management Workflow
It's helpful to draw out your workflows for different use cases as flow charts. It's easy to find gaps and missing steps this way.
Let's use creating a blog post as an example. Typically, the position would be made by an author. Once finished with their draft, they hit the "Submit" button that sends the post to an editor for review.
Upon receiving notification that a post is ready to be reviewed, the editor will review, make changes and add comments. Then the editor hits the "Request Approval" button that sends it over to the approval or senior editor.
The approver reviews, make any necessary changes and hits "Approved." This triggers a notification that the post is approved and ready to be published. The publisher receives information and then, finally, publishes the blog post.
You may find, for example, that the approver within the workflow doesn't have permission to view comments from the editor, and you make the appropriate changes accordingly.
Introduce Content Guidelines
Making content guidelines a part of your workflow will streamline the process of producing standardized content. If your content team has file naming conventions they would like everyone to adhere to for the sake of organization or preferred formatting to fulfill SEO requirements, include these guidelines as part of your workflow.
You can store checklists, templates, and other documents in your Content Platform and make them available to your users.
Test, Test, Test... then Launch
This is where you get your Content Platform users to test out your workflow by having them perform their tasks. Get feedback on what they like about the new process and what they don't like. Make changes where you must. Your workflow must provide a user-friendly experience for all of your users.
When everyone's happy and comfortable with the workflow, all that's left to do is launch!