How-to-Meet-Content-Deadlines

How to Meet Deadlines Without Annoying Your Marketing Team

In ye olden days of the Civil War, on the grounds of the prison yard, there were borderlines painted that prisoners could not cross or they’d be shot by snipers from the watchtowers. A deadline is literally a line that cannot be crossed.

Given that literal deadlines used to have life-and-death consequences, it’s understandable why the term still unnerves marketers as it relates to finishing content on time.

But deadlines don’t have to feel like a life-or-death situation. They should evoke a positive connotation — after all, they will help you and your team stay focused, motivated and ultimately more successful.

Here’s how your marketing team can rethink deadlines and initiate a four-step workflow strategy to complete and publish content on time.

How workflows keep marketing teams on track

The problem of meeting deadlines usually isn’t the responsibility of a single person. Often, there are a number of people involved. Each person who touches content has the potential to add delays at each step of the content life cycle, causing projects to back up.

Implementing an organized content routing process, which we call a workflow, will promote accountability without the need to babysit and micromanage your team. A workflow will answer these questions:

  • Who plans?
  • Who creates?
  • Who edits?
  • Who designs graphics?
  • Who publishes?
  • When does all of this work happen?

Workflows present a whole perspective of the content life cycle. Team members can see that if their part is not complete on time, then it will be harder for the next person to complete their part on time, too. Workflows empower team members to hold themselves accountable to eliminate bottlenecks.

If work gets backed up, it can pile up. Before you know it, you’ll face a situation similar to the classic “I Love Lucy” episode with the chocolates.

Apply a workflow strategy to meet deadlines

We’ve been long enamored with the concept of a “content workflow” as a way to stay on top of all that chocolaty content coming down the conveyor belt.

Maintaining a consistent content publishing schedule has valuable benefits: You’ll build trust with your audience by proving you can deliver quality content every week at the same time. And publishing fresh content is also a positive SEO signal to Google, so your website has a better chance of appearing in search results.

Here are our four favorite tactics for determining the ideal workflow process to publish content on a regular schedule:

1. Assign tasks to the right person at the right time

In practice, we’ve found that working on content is ideally done in a linear process. It’s difficult to have multiple people working on content at the same time, which causes confusion and delays.

To keep things organized, for example, person A writes a blog post by Monday. Person B edits it by Tuesday. Person A makes revisions by Wednesday. Person C may be working on the design all week, but it should be complete by Thursday so person D (the designated stakeholder) can review the content by Friday and schedule it to publish the next week.

2. Anticipate the delay by adding a buffer

Delays will happen — it’s part of human nature — so lean into it and build a buffer into each task on the schedule. It helps to set the publish date of a piece of content one week after the final approval. That way there’s a buffer of five business days in case someone in the workflow is not able to meet their mini-deadline.

3. Set priorities and communicate

Depending on your resources, no one on your team may be 100 percent dedicated to content creation.

There will be moments when someone will have to work on a time-sensitive task, such as creating materials for a fast-approaching product launch. A blog post or eBook creation may need to be put to the side. This is when establishing a time buffer will help!

If the assigned person must work on other tasks, communicate with your team to see if someone else can cover that step in the workflow. Otherwise, the assigned person should know that working on the piece of content is the next priority.

Even solo marketers can benefit from setting task deadlines and being conscious of each step in the process so you don’t rush through a project.

4. Use tools to support the workflow process

Applying tools can streamline the process even more. BrandpointHUB, our content marketing platform, includes a built-in workflow system for each piece of content. It’s one of our clients’ most-used features!

The workflow system controls the assignment of individual tasks and automates the delivery of all email and alert notifications that help hold the user accountable. Once you’ve completed a task, just click “complete task” and the next person in the process is notified to begin working. You’ll also receive reminders on the day the task is due, as well as when a task is past due.

More transparency

Workflows ensure that everyone on the team is in-the-know. When using a tool that features a workflow system, you can check in to see the current state of a piece of content, when tasks are due and who is responsible for each step. You’ll eliminate the need to micromanage, and your team will appreciate a greater sense of trust and organization.

To experience the power of workflows, activate your free 14-day trial of BrandpointHUB!

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