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Is your team working without a clear marketing work management process? If so, you’re probably tired of having more projects than you know how to handle. Your writers and designers are likely tired of being pulled in too many different directions at once. And the stakeholders that depend on you are definitely tired of long project timelines and missed deadlines.
Sound familiar? You’re in the right place. In this post, you’ll learn how to:
It’s time to put an end to marketing chaos. There’s a better way to work.
Throughout this post, you’ll learn how to use CoSchedule to manage marketing work. However, if you don’t have CoSchedule, you can still apply this advice using these three templates:
In a marketing context, work management is distinct from workflow management, project management, and other similar-sounding terms. So, what exactly are we talking about here? Let’s work with the following definition:
Marketing work management describes the processes teams use to triage projects, allocate resources, and ensure that work is completed accurately and on-time.
Here’s a visual breakdown of how it operates:
If you’re going to propose putting new processes into place, then you’ll need a strong justification for putting in the time and effort that’ll require. Fortunately, the benefits sell themselves when teams are faced with the kinds of problems this is intended to solve:
In short, there’s no real downside and plenty of benefits to be gained.
That all sounds like a dream. So why aren’t marketers achieving it? Several statistics help paint the picture of what’s going wrong:
These numbers outline a two-part problem:
This post will help solve both of these issues.
The way companies handle the flow of marketing projects often isn’t great. Sometimes there’s no actual process in place at all, or if there is one, it isn’t always well defined. That leads to all kinds of confusion, and it’s no way to live or work.
There has to be a better way to work than this, right?
If looking at that image hurts, that’s because it’s true (and you might be feeling that pain right now). But as cliche as it might sound, there are better ways to work, and putting better processes into place is within your reach.
Okay, so you know you need to do something, and you’re committed to getting done. But … how will you actually make marketing work management a reality?
It’s easier said than done, sure, but it’s also not as difficult as you might think. Here’s a complete process, adapted from what’s worked well for CoSchedule.
You ever have someone drop by your desk for a quick conversation that’s actually a project request that throws your entire afternoon out of whack?
If you’ve been in this industry for long, then odds are you’re shaking your head in agreement.
This isn’t necessarily your coworkers fault though. They just don’t have a clear and easy way to submit requests for the things they need. So, give them one!
This can be as easy as setting up a Google Form with the following fields:
The most important projects are the ones with the most potential to impact your business. While there will be times when other time-sensitive projects need to be tackled first, but generally speaking, the more potential to impact revenue, the more important the project.
You can prioritize projects with a simple three-point scale:
Priority needs to be balanced with level of effort. The fact that someone wants something right now doesn’t mean there are resources available to make it happen. Use a separate four-point scale for determining level of effort:
Once you know what needs to get done, and can estimate roughly how much effort it’s going to take, it’s time to start assigning work. That starts with determining how much time team members have available, before you start allocating resources and determining who’s doing what and when.
Using the Team Management Dashboard (available on Professional and Enterprise Work Organizer and Marketing Suite plans—see details) in CoSchedule, review everything team members currently have assigned:
Without getting too deep into how it functions (this post will dig deeper into this in a little bit), you can use this to:
Using that information, do the following:
When you follow this process, nothing is real until it’s in writing. And in this case, that means writing a creative brief that outlines the requirements and goals for your project. No project should start without completing this step.
Here’s a quick look at the creative brief template included in this post and notes on what each section should include:
You’ll note that this template can be completed largely by elaborating on the information you gathered through your intake form. Your job will be to take that project brief and build out a summary and determine the resources you’ll need.
Once you have your project planned, it’s time to map it out in your work management software. You can use spreadsheets for this, but dedicated tools built for the job are much easier and more efficient to use.
Using CoSchedule, find the Marketing Calendar:
Next, add a Marketing Campaign to the calendar (this is a folder visualized as a color bar across the calendar that makes it easy to see only the projects contained within the campaign):
Then, you’ll see a screen prompting you to name the campaign:
Next, click on days on the calendar to add each individual project to the campaign:
Clicking Project will bring up a prompt that allows you to add more types of content and projects onto the calendar:
Once you add a Project, you’ll see the following workspace:
Your next step will be to assign tasks. For each task, you’ll need to figure out:
Each of these items can be easily be added using the controls pictured below:
Each task you assign here will appear on the Team Management Dashboard (this post will revisit this again in a little bit). Continue with this process until you’ve added everything that you need.
Once you’re done, click Close Marketing Campaign. Then, you’ll see something that looks like this. The marketing campaign will appear as a color bar across the marketing calendar:
Then, clicking into that color bar will let you see only the pieces that are a part of that campaign:
The previous section touched on adding tasks to projects, but let’s take some time to cover how to actually plan effective task-based workflows. This is a snap with a little bit of effort.
For every project you plan, start by generating a list of all the tasks that need to be completed. Don’t be afraid to get granular. Here’s an example of what this might look like for a blog post at CoSchedule:
That’s a lot of steps, but it helps make sure that everything gets done correctly without missing a step. But some of these steps can probably be consolidated. Here’s another look at the same list with some steps combined:
That looks more manageable. Next, it’s time to add in some notes for what’s expected out of each step:
Then, add in names for who will complete each step:
Finally, add in the amount of time it’ll take to complete each step too:
Once you have all this mapped out, you can build your workflow into a Task Template in CoSchedule. Task Templates are checklists you can apply and reapply automatically on projects (so you don’t have to rebuild them every time you set up a project).
Applying task templates to projects is easy. Click into a project and find the Task Templates icon. Clicking this will bring up all the task templates you have created:
Once you have multiple projects in progress with your marketing team, you’ll need to make sure you’re managing their workload effectively. If someone is consistently looking for more things to do, they might need more work put on their plate. Conversely, someone who is falling behind might be overloaded, or could use some extra help.
How can you actually quantify whether the team’s workloads are properly balanced? Measure their output and gauge whether or not they’re hitting their deadlines.
If you have some sort of task management software with task completion reporting built in, this will be easy enough to do. CoSchedule customers can use the Team Performance Report, which automatically tracks team member output based on how often they complete tasks on time.
You can see overall task completion rate:
Plus each individual team member’s completion rate:
Sometimes marketers get overloaded with more work than they can handle. Other times they might simply struggle to get everything done that they’ve been assigned.
And in some cases people just slack off.
Whatever the case may be, you’ll need to do something about it. That’s work management 101.
So, here are some simple action plans to fix the issue:
There’s more to work management than what can fit into a single blog post. But you now have an actionable process in hand that you can start applying right now. And as you get better at planning work and managing workflows, it’ll only get easier and more effective over time.
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