A couple of weeks ago, I was on the phone with a prospect who was in the early stages of a website overhaul.
They had hired a content strategist and were planning on also engaging designers, developers, writers, and maybe a few other experts. But the project manager had never launched a website before. And so she was feeling a little panicked.
In our conversation about content, a theme quickly emerged: how should she manage workflow? She wanted to know when she should engage certain professionals and how she could engage them. She wanted to know who was responsible for what and in what order. And she felt overwhelmed by the bigness of coming up with workflow for the first time.
Pieces of a puzzle
So, here’s the thing: workflow is complicated and it differs from project to project. Sometimes because companies have different access to talent. Sometimes because of timeframes. Sometimes because of budget constraints.
That all makes it pretty hard to pin down “the right way” to do things, which is why workflow might create a little panic.
So what’s a girl (or guy) to do when it’s time to lay out a process, set out a workflow, especially on a new, first-time project?
The first step is understanding what elements you’re working with: the steps you need to take to complete the project, the people who need to be involved in the project, the project’s timeline, and the project’s budget.
So if you are working on workflow, start by making a few lists:
The steps of your project
First, make a list of the steps you think or know your project will require. Some common (high level) steps might include:
- Content strategy
- User research or testing
- Keyword research
- SEO strategy
- Social strategy
- Content development/writing
- Photo editing
- Video editing
- Reviews and revisions
- Content upload
- Quality control and testing
- Author training
- Website/product/project launch
The people involved in your project
Next, identify the people (both internal and external) who need to be involved in the project. These may include:
- A content strategist
- A UX designer/designer/developer (in combination or in tandem)
- SEO experts
- Social media strategists or managers
- Content uploaders/publishers
- A creative director or UX lead
- Project managers or account executives
- Clients, stakeholders, and users
The project’s timeline & budget
Finally, make note of the project’s timeline and budget, because this will impact your workflow from start to finish—forcing you to choose priorities and decide which steps can be skipped, worked in later, or completed simultaneously.
The familiar tale of chicken and egg
Now that you’ve got your steps down (and you’re probably already feeling better, right? Things tend to be more manageable once you have them on paper), it’s time to line them up in order, assigning the appropriate people to each step of your new process. This lineup will depend on not only your budget and timeline, but also your project goals, access to talent, etc.
But that’s an even bigger discussion. So stop by tomorrow for a few examples of working workflows and a few tips for creating your own.
This is a guest post by Gigi Griffis. Gigi is a content strategist and web writer specializing in travel, technology, education, non-profit, and wellness content. In 2010, she quit her agency job and started Content for Do-Gooders, where she helps clients solve messy content problems around the world. You should follow her on Twitter.
Photo credits: Margaret Stranks