7 Things You Need to Have a Productive (and Happy) Content Marketing Team

7 Things You Need to Have a Productive (and Happy) Content Marketing Team

7 Things You Need to Have a Productive (and Happy) Content Marketing Team. But I realized recently that I think a lot about my individual productivity instead of the productivity of the team. BONUS TIP: If you need a bit more inspiration or help finding your why, check out this video clip from Michael Jr., one of our keynote speakers at last year’s Content Marketing World. If you aren’t familiar with workflows, they are the process your content follows and the people who are needed in its creation and production. BONUS TIP: Once your workflow is known, you can evaluate the process to see where you are wasting time. A shared understanding of the stories you want to tell Have you had those conversations with your teammates where you brainstorm on a piece of content? Yes, user stories are something Agile teams rely on heavily, but they are useful for any type of team creating content. BONUS TIP: Eva also suggests focusing on problems instead of deliverables. BONUS TIP: Your three words are just one element you need, but most teams should have a style guide. She is one of those people who truly loves what she does and who she works with.

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I love talking and waxing philosophically about productivity. Knowing how we work is so essential if we want to create that resonant content we crave – and feel like we are all making a positive difference.

But I realized recently that I think a lot about my individual productivity instead of the productivity of the team. Of course, working together as a team is ridiculously important – and it’s one of the reasons I’m interested in Agile marketing.

While individual “tricks” continue to be useful, what does your team need to make sure they are working in the best possible way?

This list below is a mix of specific tools as well as more intangible things you need to have so your team can focus on the creation of the work instead of the process behind the work. I realize technologies are missing from this list, but those collaboration and workflow tools will be exceedingly helpful once you have your team and processes.

Your why

Notice how everything starts with why? It does. And, in this case, your why is your basic strategy for why you are doing the work you are doing and how you are going to measure whether it’s working – or not.

While a strategy can be detailed, your team needs consensus on at least these three things:

  • Who are we educating/helping? (Note: I did not say “targeting,” as your goal should be helping. Creating a persona is one way to do this.)
  • How can we help them in a way in which no one else can? (This is your content tilt.)
  • How will we know we are successful? (These are the business goals for your strategy.) Note: You also need to understand how you’ll measure success and report back to your team.

BONUS TIP: If you need a bit more inspiration or help finding your why, check out this video clip from Michael Jr., one of our keynote speakers at last year’s Content Marketing World. I still think about his act – and our follow-up conversation – months later. (Seriously, this clip is worth five minutes.)

Documented workflows

Not only do successful teams document their content marketing strategy, but they also document their workflows. If you aren’t familiar with workflows, they are the process your content follows and the people who are needed in its creation and production.

If you’re constantly asking, “who is doing what,” “what do I do next,” or “why is this taking so long,” chances are you need to dig in to your workflow.

Raechel Duplain has a fabulous article on how to do just that. This may sound arduous, but Raechel’s five-step plan walks you through the process.

BONUS TIP: Once your workflow is known, you can evaluate the process to see where you are wasting time. Brian Watson has a great guide on how to review your editorial process so you can figure out where the bottlenecks are — then you can spend time where it really matters. As Brian explains:

Focusing on the bottleneck allows you to work on improving production processes where improvement is most needed. Any focus on a non-bottleneck task will only bring marginal improvement or no results to the overall system. In fact, it’s likely to create greater waste. Taking the time to identify and break your bottleneck is the key to increasing and attaining your content production goals.

And, if you find out that you’re the bottleneck, check out this follow-up post in which Brain shares a case study of how he worked with a CMI reader who was having that very issue.

A shared understanding of the stories you want to tell

Have you had those conversations with your teammates where you brainstorm on a piece of content? You think you’re all on the same page, but really, you all are thinking something a bit different? If so, I’m sure you can relate to this image:

Image source: Jeff Patton’s User Story Mapping
Image source: Jeff Patton’s User Story Mapping

How do you get to a place where everyone is on the same page?

Image source: Jeff Patton’s User Story Mapping
Image source: Jeff Patton’s User Story Mapping

My favorite tool to do this is the user story, which I finally understood after attending Andrea Fryrear’s ICC workshop on Agile marketing. Yes, user stories are something Agile teams rely on heavily, but they are useful for any type of team creating content.

Below is an example of a user story – and I highly recommend you read the entire post from Andrea to learn about this handy tool. But, in short, user stories are a way for you to document your content ideas so everyone…

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