Maybe blogging workflow isn’t the phrase you use.

When we’d talked to some of our early beta testers about how CoSchedule fit their workflow, we realized that many bloggers, particularly solo bloggers, didn’t necessarily use that phrase. They hadn’t put a word to the basic concept of how they worked, how they got things done.

When you don’t give a name to something, it makes it more difficult to identify if it needs fixing or improvement. Choosing the best way to work is easier if you know that you are dealing with one thing (workflow) instead of many things (apps, team members, time, challenges). It is an easier fix if you say “my workflow is off” rather than “I can’t get anything done on time.” One identifies the problem, and the other a symptom.

The Best Workflow For Any Team (And Solo Blogger)

Internal and external teams have different needs, as do solo bloggers. The best workflow for one won’t fit another.

Internal teams are working within a company, writing for the same blog. Our own CoSchedule blog is an example of an internal team. An external team would be a blog that has guest writers or a writing team spread out geographically. An agency  is working with a client’s blog and has an additional layer of approval and editing from the client. And a solo blogger, of course, is a person writing a blog alone.

Each of these blogs requires a different workflow.
blogging workflow

What do you need to have happen?

Using us an example again, we needed regular blog posts of a high quality for two blogs. We developed the following internal workflow (by trial and error) to arrive at that goal:

  1. Content planning meeting to brainstorm ideas.
  2. Content is assigned and put on CoSchedule, our editorial calendar.
  3. Tasks are assigned so team members know to write blog posts at least a week ahead of the due date.
  4. Writers research and write their posts.
  5. Posts are completed and submitted for peer review.
  6. Posts are reworked if necessary.
  7. The editor does final proofreading, and handles SEO considerations and images before publishing and sharing on social media.

Our workflow didn’t always look this way. Peer review wasn’t always a part, nor was the working-ahead timeline. This was instituted because we realized we had a problem with last-minute rush posts which dampened the quality.

A workflow for an agency, where an outside client is involved, will be different. It might look something like this:

  1. Content planning meeting to brainstorm ideas.
  2. Pitch ideas to client for approval.
  3. Assign content to team members to research and write.
  4. Writers research and write their posts.
  5. Posts submitted internally for peer review and team leader approval.
  6. Approved posts are then submitted to the client for approval.
  7. Posts are reworked if client requests.
  8. Approved posts are published and shared on social media.

A solo blogger has a seemingly simplified workflow, but also lacks the extra input and help a team provides:

  1. Brainstorm ideas.
  2. Plan and schedule content on the blog.
  3. Research and write posts.
  4. Self-edit posts.
  5. Publish posts on the blog and on social media.

These are basic workflow outlines. Seems easy enough. But what do you do if there’s a problem with your workflow, when the publishing process isn’t going smoothly?

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Dissecting A Workflow

Dissecting your current workflow is the best way to understand the how and why behind the way you work.

1. Determine what your workflow is made of.

Your workflow includes the tools, timelines, habits, and even distractions that occur in order to get something done.

Figure out what makes up your workflow, and don’t skip the smaller details. A workflow might involve multiple browser tabs, a peer review process, meetings, email, client communication, social media, deadlines, drafts, and several apps.

2. Locate the roadblocks and problem areas.

Where, in the process of starting something and finishing something, does work or communication grind to a halt? Talk to your team about the things they dislike the most about blogging, or what they wish could be done differently. Common traffic jams include:

  • Noise and distractions in work area (kids, coworkers, ambient noise, music)
  • Interruptions (phone, door, coworkers, breaks)
  • Clunky tools (slow internet, apps, spreadsheets)
  • Low-budget tendencies (unwilling to pay for full-featured versions of apps)
  • Lack of focus
  • Conflict between team members

For example, I can’t listen to any music with singing and words while I write. I also have a problem when there is chatter and other conversation going on around me. Find what keeps you and your team from working.

3. Make changes that get rid of roadblocks.

Make changes to alleviate the identified problems.

Do you need to take more breaks from writing for a refresh? Do you need to use different tools? Each of those items listed above have practical solutions. You could work in a different place, or a different time of the day, when it is more quiet. You could find better tools to use. You could work offline and turn your phone off to restrict access to distracting websites.

Individual problems can be solved. A massive unidentifiable collection of problems cannot be solved.

Workflows are tricky. We tend to fall into a default mode to get things done, even when it doesn’t work well. Consciously developing a process and system, and sticking to it, are the only way to avoid falling back into habits that create roadblocks in you and your team’s ability to get things done.