An organization’s content workflow can make or break its marketing success.
Without clearly defined processes in place, your brand will miss opportunities, fail to meet consumer expectations, and fall behind the competition. Conversely, establishing well-oiled SEO and content marketing workflows can take your brand to the stratosphere. You’ll create more brand awareness, drive more site traffic, rank higher in the SERPs, and ultimately generate more conversions.
Whether you’re a complete beginner that’s starting a new business or a marketing expert that needs to refine an existing strategy, this guide has you covered.
You’ll learn everything you need to know about SEO workflows and content marketing workflows, including the benefits and how to implement these processes with ease.
What is an SEO Workflow?
SEO workflows define the processes for completing SEO-related tasks. From keyword research through content creation and beyond, an SEO workflow establishes a scalable pipeline to deliver results for holistic content marketing goals.
Examples of SEO projects and content marketing workflows include:
- New content creation
- Existing content updates
- Building backlinks
- SEO website audits
- Landing page optimization
Each of these workflows has its own unique steps for completion. They involve different tools, resources, people, and processes that must all be clearly defined from the beginning.
Content Marketing Workflow Example
New blog production is a simple way to illustrate how these flows work. For any website, a typical content workflow will include tasks like:
- Come up with a title and target keyword
- Create an outline
- Write the blog
- Edit the blog
- Final QA and approval
The steps in the workflow will be completely different from other initiatives, like building backlinks or getting a monthly newsletter sent to your subscribers.
Benefits of Using Workflows For SEO and Content Marketing
Technically, you don’t need to have a workflow to do SEO and content marketing. But when you look at the advantages of establishing a workflow compared to doing SEO tasks haphazardly, the benefits are clear. Let’s take a closer look at some of the top benefits of content marketing workflows below:
SEO and content marketing workflows are built to scale.
Even if you’re a sole proprietor running a solo marketing operation on your own, you should still create a workflow. As your brand grows and you start hiring employees or outsourcing tasks to contractors, you can bring those people into your flow without skipping a beat. Those people will continue following the blueprint that’s already in place. Now your output will increase significantly.
This same concept can be applied to small teams. Workflows can help increase outputs and productivity as your team grows from five or ten people to 20 or 50+ people. Everyone will just follow the same steps in the flow.
All upcoming tasks, in-progress tasks, and completed tasks are very obvious. Nobody on your team will open up their computer and think, “what should I be working on today?” or “what should I be doing next?”
The answers to these questions are very obvious.
Content marketing SEO workflows not only define what needs to be done, but they also define how things are done.
For example, let’s continue with the idea of new content production. After your writers complete a blog draft, the copy must be sent to an editor for review. But if one writer sends a copy via email, another sends it through Slack, and a third shares it via Google Docs, it’s just going to make things complicated for the editor.
Defining your workflow ensures that everyone involved can follow the same instructions. It’s a repeatable process that keeps everyone organized and on the same page.
Marketing automation has been a hot buzzword in the industry for several years now. But automation is more than just sending targeted drip campaigns to your email subscribers or having chatbots message people who land on your website.
In fact, recent studies show that task management is the number one use case for automation in marketing.
Once you create content marketing workflows, you can automate certain tasks to eliminate mundane and manual efforts from your team.
For example, let’s say you’re using project management software to facilitate your flows. Once a task has been moved to the next stage of the flow, you can set it up so that the task is automatically assigned to the appropriate team member.
As soon as an editor finishes the QA and approval process, the publisher will be notified, and the task will move through the flow accordingly.
Fewer Missed Opportunities
Without workflows for SEO and content marketing, you’re relying on memory alone to complete tasks.
Maybe some of you are using a checklist or keeping notes on your computer. But these are not a replacement for real workflows. At scale, it’s impossible to take advantage of every new opportunity that you’re presented with.
For example, let’s say you published a piece of content last year along the lines of “The Top 15 Trends in [Your Instury] for 2021.”
The article was a hit and was in the top five sources of organic traffic to your website for the year.
But now it’s 2022, and the content needs to be updated to align with the current year’s trends. Without an SEO workflow, you’d have to remember to do this on your own. If you forget to update this page, you’re missing out on tons of traffic, as the old post becomes obsolete when the calendar turns to a new page.
Stay Ahead of Schedule
Lots of marketers have ambitious goals.
- Publish 3-5 new blogs per week
- Post on social media 5-8 times per week
- Send emails 3-7 times per month
- Get 5-10 new backlinks per month
The list goes on and on. But without a workflow, it’s nearly impossible to meet these goals. There’s no accountability, and certain tasks can easily get lost in the shuffle.
How to Create a Workflow for Your SEO and Content Marketing Tasks
Now that you understand the importance of workflows for content marketing and SEO, it’s time to create one for your business. This process is fairly easy if you just follow the steps I’ve outlined below:
Step 1 — Identify SEO and Content Marketing Tasks
The first thing you need to do is create a list of every task related to content marketing and SEO. Don’t worry about segmenting them into different categories or putting them in order just yet.
- Creating custom images for social media posts
- Writing new blogs
- Publishing social media content
- Publishing blog content
- Writing monthly newsletters
- Drip campaigns for new subscribers
- Keyword research
- Identifying top-performing content
- Updating and optimizing old content
Depending on your company size and marketing channels, there could be dozens of different tasks on this list. Don’t worry if you skip some right now. This is just a starting point to help you get the ball rolling, and you can always revisit this list.
Step 2 — Clearly Define Team Roles and Responsibilities
Next, you need to assess your team. Look at everyone’s unique skill sets, access levels, and areas of expertise.
Everyone should have specific roles, so it’s obvious who is responsible for which tasks.
For example, your editor, developer, and the designer may all have publishing rights on your WordPress site. But when a task gets moved through the flow to publishing, who will ultimately be responsible for getting that content live?
This must be clearly established so there’s no confusion among the team.
Depending on your team size, you may ultimately decide to appoint a dedicated project manager for all of your SEO and content marketing tasks. Marketing directors and VPs of Marketing will likely have these tasks fall on their shoulders.
Step 3 — Match Tasks With the Appropriate Team Roles
This step combines your lists in the first two stages. Using a pen, pencil, or workflow mapping tool, you can start to sketch out how your flows will look.
Each task must be broken down into smaller, granular processes.
For example, you might have listed “perform SEO audit” on your first list back in step #1. But now you’re going to break that down even more into tasks like:
- Identify broken links
- Analyze site speed
- Review page experience metrics
- Find and fix duplicate content issues
- Identify orphan pages
Then match each of these subtasks to a specific team member or role.
Step 4 — Use the Right Software to Create a Workflow
Now you’re ready to take the rough sketch version of your workflow and make it official. The easiest way to do this is by using project management software.
There are dozens of tools and project management methodologies to consider here. But if you’re looking for something simple, I recommend Kanban-style project boards with tools like Trello.
This approach makes the steps in your workflow very obvious. Moving tasks from one step of the flow to another is simple—you just drag and drop the card in the appropriate column.
Trello makes it easy for you to assign tasks to team members, attach files to cards, and collaborate at scale.
You’ll even be able to view the complete history of a card or task. So you’ll know exactly who did what and when they did it.
Step 5 — Review and Refine
Your workflow will likely need some revisions over time. That’s normal.
After some trial and error, you might ultimately decide to add new steps to your workflow or consolidate certain steps into one.
For example, you might decide to combine blog title brainstorming and content outlining into a single step—since both tasks are completed by the same person and need to be approved before the draft is written.
The idea here is simplicity. You don’t want to have lengthy workflows that create friction or cause bottlenecks. So you should always be looking for ways to improve, automate, and scale each step.
You need to formalize all SEO and content workflows to truly get the most out of your campaigns.
Workflows help you stay organized, get ahead of schedule, and scale your processes with ease.
Implementing workflows for SEO and content marketing can be summarized with three things—people, tasks, and tools. Once you can define what needs to be done, who it’s done by, and how they’re doing it, you’ll be on the right track for success.