If you work on the content side of marketing, you know it is not an easy task to manage content calendars and schedules across team members. Unless you are privileged with a system of sorts, coordinating content creation efforts can be a quite a pain in the tush.
I have been on the content side of things for many years now — as a freelancer and as a full-time professional working the turf. Across all these years, the most challenging task has been planning, organizing and coordinating schedules with other content producers (apart from the creation bit itself). Now despite the fact that across most editorial teams I have worked with there was a Buffer or Hootsuite to help ease the cause, their scruples (more often than not) hold strong only until your task is limited to auto scheduling and that alone.
Just to put things in context, I have typically worked in teams of 2 or 3 people. And while it may seem like a small lot to be coordinating with, you will be surprised how easy it is to mess things even in this microcosm of content creators.
Nonetheless, I have come across few easy-to-do tricks that just about any content publishing team can adopt in order to ease the cause of publishing a regular stream of content — be it for the blog or social media channels — on time, every time (so to say).
Here’s a cheat’s way of coordinating content schedule with your team:
This literally takes care of 70% of your content management. When you and your team work on a common platform, in real-time, doesn’t it make it so much easier to brainstorm, ideate and plan content? Brightpod folks use our in-house app to coordinate tasks and plan content for the weeks to come. And life is so much better when you do not have to go through endless email trails talking about what one is working on and what’s being pushed out at the end of the day. My personal disdain for endless reminder emails has made me a serious advocate of editorial calendars that help organize and schedule tasks in real time.
Note: Whatsapp does not count as a content coordination platform.
Now this may come across as quite a tangent idea but believe me it is essential to get your visual aesthetics in place, especially if you do not have a dedicated graphic designer on board to create awesome visuals for all your online properties. No two people have the same idea about what’s the best image to go on a blog or a social media post, but common ground rules can be established about it. I have personally found that using some sort of brand guidelines — a contextual standard that outlines parameters for producing visuals — is an elixir for content teams.
Apart from this, establish a source to procure your images from and be sure to share all that your download on Google Drive. This way, everyone has access to image files and repetition is avoided to a large extent. And if you are one of those who love sourcing images for free, explore options within Creative Commons, DeathToStock, Compfight and the likes.
This isn’t essential but highly recommended, especially if the team you are working with is geographically displaced.
I advocate for this activity for a very simple reason. Too often we rely on passive conduit of communications — emails and messenger services especially. The time spent trying to collaborate ‘one text message at a time’ is better utilized in making a quick call.
As a freelancer, I’d often drop by my employer’s place once every month to discuss plans for the coming weeks. When dealing with international clients, I’d regularly indulge in a Skype call every fortnight to check for progress and plan schedule for the weeks to come. Often the spontaneity of ideation in the spur of the moment gives birth to better ideas and improves existing ones. The 15–20 odd minutes that I save thereof are much better spent on the actual work than having fuelled my carpel tunnel syndrome.
One of the challenges for many bloggers and social media community managers is not just creating content but finding the right channels for its distribution. In my experience, manually scheduling and pushing posts is a just a poor use of time and energy these days. Instead, opt for a content distribution platform or app. For starters, you may take your pick from Buffer, Hootsuite or SocialOomph, for they are quite popular and easy to work with.
At the heart of it all, note that technology powered solutions are the best means of ensuring consistency and regularity across a content team — whether it is dispersed or not. There are apps and widgets that make the often onerous task of ideating and collaborating content plans rather hassle-free.
Think about it. If you are impassively collaborating on a task in isolation it’s likely you won’t get the support or solution you are looking for. But if you can find a common platform with your team, achieving collective goals becomes a lot easier and working together (even if those involved are located in two different continents) is breezy and uncomplicated.
Meeta Sharma is an independent writing and editing professional from digital marketing domain. Loves marketing and everything about it.
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