There are times when a key is thrown into your content marketing machine and you can’t tell who started it. Nothing looks different, but suddenly you’re rushing to meet deadlines, editors are stressed, and the whole process has become frantic.

It’s time to take a step back and figure out where the workflow is.

Instead of the usual laborious process of troubleshooting your entire content management process, shake things up using a simple tool taken from Agile marketing practices – the limits of Work In Progress.

WIP limits cap the number of projects that can be in a particular phase at a time, ensuring a continuous flow throughout the  project lifecycle. This agile limit works even if you don’t use Agile methodologies globally, so even the most traditional marketing teams can benefit.

Since this is an unorthodox approach to content management, it will almost certainly lead to unidentified inefficiencies in your content workflow.

Open the dam

WIP limits prevent the accumulation of too many tasks at any stage of the publishing process (eg design, coding, testing).

 

Agile Marketing does not offer a hard and fast rule for a WIP limit, as it can vary significantly for each phase from team to team. The first part of this test will help you determine what your WIP limits should be.

Configure your WIP test

Determine the steps in your content creation Finland WhatsApp Number List process. For our content team at MarketerGizmo, it looks like this:

Research → Writing → Revision → Editing → Publication

Of course, “promotion” is the endgame, but it is ongoing and not something we consider our WIP limits.

 

Other potential steps in the content creation process could include:

  • Legal Review
  • C-suite approval
  • Graphic creation

Again, there is no right or wrong configuration. At this point, all we care about is slowing down your process.

Collocated teams may find it more useful to use an old-fashioned whiteboard for this part, as it’s a physical representation of a somewhat intangible process (you can also play with lots of colored sticky notes) .

For those who work with remote colleagues or freelancers, a Trello board can be helpful. This free and intuitive software lets you view the same kind of vertical pathways you would create on the board, with the added joy of dragging each piece of content as it progresses:

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Finland WhatsApp Number List

Write down all your content marketing projects so you can easily group them together. Use sticky notes for a whiteboard or individual cards on a Trello board.

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You can see that we’ve labeled our Trello cards with different colors based on content type. This can help you see not only what part of the process is dragging, but also what types of content tend to get stuck in a particular place.

Once all content is identified, move each piece of content into its correct lane based on where it is in the content publishing process.

 

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Monitor the board

It’s tempting to look at your initial chart and jump to an instant conclusion. This snapshot can indeed help identify your immediate pain point. But to be able to set accurate WIP limits, update your board for at least a week or more depending on your team’s typical release cycle.

As new content is planned, create a new card or sticky note and place it on the left side of your board. Each time it passes from one phase to another, move it to the next lane.

 

If you use the Agile practice of daily stand-up meetings, organize them around the board and make sure everyone updates cards or notes as they work on them. If you don’t have a daily meeting, the content manager should check the board daily to make sure it’s up to date and note any traffic jams.

This example illustrates way too much blocked content in the research phase:

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Without a response, this kind of traffic jam will lead to a significant publication deficit.

Solve content bottlenecks

After monitoring your board for about a week, you should start to see patterns. Wherever you see bottlenecks, rally the troops.

 

Agile software teams use the practice of swarming – multiple team members attack a single programming problem as a unit. Content marketers must also swarm.

Maybe your writing team can crank out white papers, blog posts, and Facebook updates at breakneck speed, but that content sits in the review lane for days because no one has time for it all. examine. Your writers should call a peer review meeting to bring all of these pieces of content together and get them out of the review track.

Or if your graphics department is being criticized by the work of other departments, you’ll find pretty quickly that the cards spend a lot of time hanging around in the Needs Art lane. Hire a team member or two to learn graphics tools like Piktochart and Canva so they can create a basic graphic that will get content out on schedule. Later, if needed, professional graphic designers can replace them with snazzier versions.

Determine the limits

If this process tickles your fancy, it’s easy to permanently integrate this Agile marketing technique into your team’s content management process.

To get , identify what the board looks like when your team feels the velocity is optimal and things are slowing down. Your WIP limit for each lane should be between optimal speed and unbearably slow.

A careful monitoring effort should give an idea of ​​your team’s comfort level with each category, and you can use this to set an initial WIP limit. Be explicit about your WIP limit for each lane and display it with your chart.

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