Failing to create a workflow that maps out the user experience at every touch point in the buyer's journey can sabotage even the best content marketing efforts.
Most marketers understand the importance of documenting their content marketing strategy. The number of marketers who report having a documented strategy has increased 31 percentage points—from 27 percent in 2015 to 58 percent in 2016, according to reports compiled by the Content Marketing Institute and MarketingProfs. Yet, strategy documentation is only one key to success. For the best results, marketers must also have a documented workflow.
“Many teams are often involved and/or required to participate for a fully integrated content strategy to be effective,” says Tyler Hardekopf, vice president of operations at True North Custom. “Workflow documentation is essential for establishing expectations and clarifying roles and paths to success.”
A Roadmap for Lead-Nurturing Success
The most beneficial workflows provide marketers a visual guide for how to execute tasks involved in content creation and dissemination. These visual representations allow you to better coordinate the timing of content appearing on multiple channels, and to identify and fine tune inefficiencies in execution.
The benefits of creating a workflow don’t end with streamlining the print and digital content creation process, however. Well-designed workflows also enhance the user experience and help shepherd prospects through the buyer’s journey.
“You must be mindful of each touch point’s ‘if/then’ scenarios,” Tyler says. “It’s one thing to plan what you want to say and how to distribute it, but it’s also important to consider what to do and say for prospects who engage with your message and prospects who don’t.”
“If nothing else, mapping out your strategy, process, and workflow is a great way to identify gaps or flaws,” adds Eric Clarkson, senior UX user experience designer at True North Custom. “The ability to visualize everything as a whole makes it easier to resolve issues that might result in a poor user experience, which in turn, will increase engagement. Prospects aren’t always on the same stage in terms of decision-making. Wherever possible, include interaction-based steps that allow someone to skip content that isn’t relevant.”
The Components of a Well-Crafted Workflow
The first step to creating a workflow is identifying your goal—for example, encouraging people to schedule a consultation with a bariatric surgeon. Once your goal is established, you can build a solid plan to convert members of your target audience from prospect to patient.
“Using workflows are an important part of that process,” Eric says. “Upfront planning makes it easier to develop the content needed to support your strategy.”
Tyler encourages marketers to consider workflow development as a collaborative process that involves documenting current processes and revisiting, revising, and optimizing workflows regularly as needed. To ensure your workflow covers the basics, make sure it includes these seven pieces of information:
Depending on the complexity of your content marketing strategy, separate workflows for each type of medium and channel can be useful. Both Tyler and Eric agree, however, that the most benefit comes from having one comprehensive workflow that encompasses all mediums and channels.
“For a truly multi-channel approach, workflows should include all elements,” Eric says. “Otherwise, there could be missed opportunities in terms of touch points where print and digital content could benefit from one another.”
Find out how a content strategy featuring well-defined workflows can help you nurture and convert leads for key service lines.