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Content Process

How to design a content production process with your team

Robert Mills • 3 minutes

Every website project is different.

You need a process that’s up to the job or your team will struggle to produce good quality content on time. This is true whether you’re an agency working with clients or an in-house team working on your organisation’s website.

So take the time, as early as possible, to design a process around your website project.

Producing the content will still be a big challenge, but you’ll be better prepared with your plan.

Workshops are a great way to kick-off this planning process.

Running a content production process workshop

Facilitating a workshop with your team can engage them (including key stakeholders) and get them focused on giving content the attention it deserves.

The workshop is a chance to define a process that ensures content is delivered on time. And that it is purposeful and written in the style it needs to be.

Here are six steps to successfully run the workshop.

1. Prepare the workshop

Being prepared is essential to get the most from the workshop.

  • Book a meeting room for a few hours
  • Invite the Project Manager, Project Owner and the Senior Editor
  • Invite one or two representatives from each of these groups: Writers and Producers, Subject Experts, and the Digital Producers
  • Bring plenty of post-its, pens, and some big sheets of paper

💡Tip: Give attendees plenty of notice and communicate to them before the workshop who will be attending, the goals of the workshop and if they need to prepare or bring anything.

2. Map your own process

This task is reliant on having the right group of people in attendance, those that are already heavily involved in delivering content, or will be going-forward.

  • Pick a key content type you expect to have on the new site, such as events, product pages, how-to guides
  • In groups, map out a suitable production process to get one piece of content published on the new site

💡Tip: Perhaps the content type could have been decided before the workshop so attendees have chance to think about this in advance. Either way, it should be one that they are all familiar with in some capacity.

3. Assign responsibility

Giving ownership of content is essential to ensure the process you define is put into practice after the workshop.

  • Annotate each stage on your sheet with the person or role responsible for it, such as Copywriter or Senior Editor
  • Mark any stages that don’t have a clear owner
  • Ask: Do the labelled people know they are responsible?

💡Tip: Disseminate the ownership after the workshop so everyone is clear on who is responsible for each task and stage of the workflow.

4. Identify risks in the process

Review and mark each stage with potential risks.

Ask these questions:

  • Are there lots of people with a say in the content?
  • Is an unfair workload falling on one person?
  • Do we have the required skills?
  • Where might things get political and contentious?

💡Tip: Be as honest and detailed as possible in this stage. There may be awkward conversations to be had but everyone is working toward the same shared goal – purposeful, accurate and useful content.

5. Estimate hours of effort

Attempt to estimate how much effort (as fractions of hours) each stage could realistically take to perform – write the agreed number against each stage.

Total up all the stages at the end of the process.

Multiply the total with the anticipated pages on the new site to get an estimate of total effort for all your content.

💡Tip: There may be very different opinions at this stage. Don’t hold back with estimates as honesty will breed a more realistic idea of the content challenge faced and the resource needed to overcome it.

6. Present the process

Each group walks the whole team through their process (on a sheet of paper) and opens up for discussion.

Video the presentations so that any absent stakeholders can keep up with the discussion.

💡Tip: Once the workshop is over it’s easy for people to go back to their day jobs and things get forgotten or de-prioritised. Someone needs to ensure the process is put into practice and all actions and outcomes and communicated and shared to the necessary people.

Getting ready for successful content delivery

Defining a content production process is one part of successfully delivering content. You also need to assemble a content delivery team, prioritise content and optimise your workflow. Our free book, Content Delivery: Deliver high quality website content, on time and in budget, has advice and examples for teams to deliver website content.

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Mark McClendon
Our content processes used to involve an ineffective mix of spreadsheets, documents, and a slew of file storage solutions. With GatherContent we've solved all of those problems and more. Mark McClendon — Partner & Executive Director, VML

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About the Author

Robert Mills

Content Strategist, GatherContent

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