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project management

#ContentWritingChat Recap: Project Management & Content Marketing with Brittany Berger

In the latest #ContentWritingChat, we talked all about project management and content marketing. If you want to learn some tips that will take your project management workflow to the next level, this chat is sure to help you out. Keep reading for the recap!

#ContentWritingChat Recap: Project Management & Content Marketing: How to Have a Fluid Content Project Management Workflow with Brittany Berger

Our guest host this week was Brittany Berger. Brittany is a PR and Content Marketing Manager for Mention. She shared a ton of great advice with us, so be prepared to take some notes!

Q1: Why is project management important for content marketing?

To kick off the chat, we asked everyone to share their thoughts on why they though project management played an important role in content marketing. Here are some of the answers we received during the chat:

Brittany acknowledges there are many different moving parts when it comes to content marketing. For this reason, there’s always the possibility something could fall through the cracks or your content could become misaligned with the goal. With a project management strategy in place, you can keep everything working as it should be.

As Sarah said, project management helps to keep everyone aligned when it comes to timing. You want to ensure everything gets done on time and that people are meeting deadlines. Having a strategy in place will help you make that happen!

Mallorie agrees that it’s essential for consistently meeting deadlines. It gives you the opportunity to set goals and create plans to help you achieve what needs to be done.

Benefits of project management: it keeps your content aligned, keeps you on or under budget, and keeps overwhelm at bay.

As if you needed more reason to create a strong content project management workflow for your brand… Julia mentioned it’s key to success.

Without project management, Cassandra said content marketing becomes chaos. And you don’t want that, do you?

Q2: What does content project management entail?

Now that you know what project management is important to your content marketing, what exactly does it entail? Check out these responses from the chat:

Brittany said content project management entails planning, organizing, and executing.

Structuring calendars, setting quantity, and deadline structure all are important aspects of project management. Julia also said you need to stay on top of the creation process and everyone involved.

Sarah said you need to have a goal, figure out your timeline, schedule and plan with your calendar, execute, and make sure you keep all team members on track.

You need to organized the who, what, and when of each of the content pieces you create.

Varun said you need to create your content calendar, know who will be contributing, important dates and events, deadlines you need to meet, as well as targeting and monitoring.

Know your budget, plan out your campaign, delegate tasks based on the strengths of your team members, and get started! Great advice!

Brittany brought up a solid point for those of who are working solo. Just because you don’t have a team behind you, it doesn’t mean you can take advantage of project management. You should still have a great editorial calendar and assign deadlines to hold yourself accountable.

Q3: What tools are the best for content teams to stay organized?

The great news is, there are a ton of tools out there that can make project management a lot easier. We received some great suggestions in response to this question, so be sure to check these out if you haven’t already!

Brittany recommends using tools that will help you communicate, store assets, and organize processes. There are many tools you can choose from to make each of these tasks easier!

She also shared that the team at Mention loves using CoSchedule, which is an amazing tool for planning out your content.

Evernote and Asana are two go-to tools for me. I use Evernote to store ideas and draft content, plus Asana keeps me organized when outlining larger projects and editorial calendars.

Bill is also a fan of Evernote and he flies on Google Docs and Sheets to stay organized when it comes to project management.

The HeyOrca! team loves using Trello, which is a handy app for planning projects and creating to-do lists. They also rely on Slack to communicate with one another.

The Digital Natives team recommends Google Drive, Slack, Glip, and Group Me.

The team at Netvantage relies on Google Drive and Basecamp to get things done.

For Shereese, she switches tools based on the work she’s doing. When handling client projects, she uses Wrike. However, Evernote is a go-to for her personal work.

Q4: How can content writers help prevent overwhelm when working on several projects at once?

The reality is, we often find ourselves juggling multiple projects at the same time. It can be a lot to manage, often resulting in feelings of overwhelm. To prevent that from happening, check out this advice:

Brittany’s advice is to look at each step in the process as its own thing. You want to break larger tasks into smaller, more manageable tasks. Not only is this less overwhelming, but it makes it easier for you to tackle the things on your to-do list.

Prioritize each of your projects and list them in order of importance. Start with what needs to be tackled first and focus on getting it done before moving onto the next.

Beki suggests dividing your time into manageable chunks for different projects. You can use a timer to keep you on track.

Breonna also agrees with blocking out time on your calendar. This ensures you dedicate ample time to each task so you can stay on track and make progress. She also recommends focusing on just one project at a time.

When you’re blocking out time for your work tasks, Bill said to make sure you block off some time for yourself as well.

Chris suggests setting realistic targets and goals, defined steps, and micro-achievements.

Sarah said to be up front when it comes to your schedule and let your boss or team know if you get behind on tasks that need to be completed.

Don’t be afraid to ask for help if you need it. Tony also suggests using plenty of Post-It notes!

Don’t take on more than you can handle. If you stretch yourself too thin, you become overwhelmed and the quality of your work will suffer.

Q5: How can teams maximize the amount of content they’re creating without burning out?

We all want to avoid burning out, especially when it come to content creation. So, how can we create plenty of content without crashing and burning? These tips will help you out:

Brittany shared some great advice with us. She said she separates the creative versus logistical parts of content creation. Collecting links, conducting research, getting screenshots and other similar tasks are separate from writing time.

Julia knows it helps to have a supportive team by your side, as well as a strong project management workflow.

Plan out your content in advance and then batch write blog posts, newsletters, etc. Once you get into that writing groove from writing one post, it’s much easier to keep going and write another. It’s a lot more productive to write three posts back to back then it is to write a blog post, complete another task, and then go back to writing blog posts.

Don’t forget to take advantage of the content you’ve already created. Michelle said you can repurpose and scale your current content, which will help you get more eyes on the stuff you’ve published in the past.

Kristen agrees that repurposing is essential. She said to take top-performing content and recycle it for multiple channels.

Cheval recommends writing in a notebook every day to prevent writer’s block. This is a great way to strengthen your writing skills as well.

Never stop creating! Zala said you should always collect ideas and brainstorm. She also knows it helps to create content in advance and repurpose what you already have.

While some audiences love long-form content, others don’t resonate with it as much. If that applies to your audience, you can break up longer content pieces into multiples to create a series. It’s also a great way to keep your audience coming back to your website.

Varun knows collaboration is one key to success when it comes to content creation. He also recommends setting priorities and being open to discussions with your team.

Jeremy’s advice is that you shouldn’t promise more than you can actually deliver. It’s better to under-promise and over-deliver on the content you create.

Q6: What’s the biggest mistake a content team can make when juggling multiple channels and formats?

There are a lot of mistakes a content team can make and we asked people in this week’s chat to share which ones they thought were the worst. Keep these in mind so you can avoid them!

Brittany said it’s a mistake to think of each thing as a separate project. She suggests looking at how everything works and interacts with each other.

If you aren’t communicating with your team, you’re setting yourself up for failure. You need to be open to working together and sharing ideas.

If you don’t stay in contact with your team, it can be chaos.

As Jason said, you shouldn’t assume someone has a task covered. This is where open communication comes into place. Keep in touch with your team to make sure everyone is on track.

Kim said it would be a mistake to not plan or have a strategy in place.

Not communicating with your team, failing to proofread, and not thinking through your content are all big mistakes in Sara’s book.

Jim suggests designating tasks to the specialists and letting them do their thing.

Don’t sign up for a platform and then fail to commit to it. If you join a platform, you need to post consistently and be present.

Don’t underestimate the size of your workload.

Don’t allow yourself to get discouraged because you can’t do it all.

Quit pushing quantity over quality. Quality is always more important in the end.

Q7: As a content writer, how can you keep ideas straight when working on multiple, but similar, projects?

It can be tough to keep ideas straight when you’re working on multiple projects. Here’s some advice to help you out:

Brittany likes to get her ideas out on paper as soon as possible. This is great for ensuring you don’t forget anything and allows you to map everything out later. She also recommends not switching back and forth between projects too much. Chunk your schedule to work on similar tasks back to back.

Jason also agrees that chunking your schedule is helpful. He suggests scheduling blocks when you work on just one project, instead of jumping between different things.

Mallie is a fan of blocking off time on your schedule as well. She even thinks it’s a good idea to give each project its own folder to keep things separate.

Julia relies on multiple to-do lists, content calendars, and Google Sheets to keep things organized. And you can’t forget a cup of coffee (or two)!

Kristen makes a new to-do list every day as well. She also uses project management tools like Trello to help.

Jeremy likes to outline and save drafts in his blog and in Evernote. This makes it easy for him to work on content whenever he wants.

Q8: What other content marketers are great at project management?

Who else is amazing at project management? You can get some inspiration from these content marketers:

Brittany has learned a lot from Nathan Ellering, Benjamin Brandall, and Jess Ostroff.

Julia is impressed with how Content Marketing Institute manages their workflow and editorial structure.

Cheval was too kind and including Julia and I in his list, along with Ann Handley.

Jeremy shared a bunch of great people with us. You’ll want to check them out if you aren’t already!

We look forward to seeing you at the next #ContentWritingChat! Mark your calendars weekly for Tuesday at 10 AM Central Time for great chats centered around content writing and marketing. Follow @ExpWriters to stay updated on our new topics and guests!

express writers

What’s New at Express Writers for February: Storytelling Images & Custom Blog Headers, Social Media, Editing (Copy and Developmental), Project Management & More

This February, we’ve added some seriously powerful content services to our Content Shop repertoire.

All of our continual changes and updates are based on specific needs from our clients, and a strict adherence we personally have to always maintain the edge of the curve in our industry.

Here’s a shortlist / TL;DR of February’s new updates (scroll down to read about each):

  • Storytelling Images & Custom Blog Headers. Our design team has been creating these for our own brand with great results in more brand awareness and content traction, so we decided it was time to launch custom image solutions, including beautiful storytelling variations and custom blog images, for our clients!
  • Social Media Plans Update: Revamped social media plans to new standards, including content curation using BuzzSumo.
  • Editing (Copy and Developmental). At both copy editing levels.
  • Professional Interviewing. In this service, based on one simple interview fee, we now have staff Project Managers who are experts at interviewing subjects and obtaining key information that leads to a wonderful interview.
  • Project Management. This new service takes care of a lot of “monkey work” that goes into organizing and maintaining content marketing.
  • Client 101s. These are completely free for our clients, and are being written and designed as we speak! The first one, a Process/Content Order Lifecycle 101, is live! We’re working on a Meet the Team 101 next, where we explain how everyone’s staff role fits into an order and how clients can contact each of us, a Writing Levels 101, and several others.

new at express writers

What’s New at Express Writers for February: Everything You Needed to Know on 5 New/Revamped Products & a New, Free Client Resource

1. New Custom Images: Storytelling Imagery, Blog Header Sets, & More

Ever thought to yourself…

  • “I wish I had a REALLY cool branded header for my blog and a variation to share on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook…”
  • “I wish I could visualize a step in my customer journey/buying process with a cool, engaging illustration…”
  • “It would be awesome to boost engagement with a cartoon strip for this industry controversial blog…”

We’ve got you covered on all of those visual needs in our re-launched Custom Imagery service, live in the Content Shop.

Clients can choose from a custom, beautiful, blog image set put together by our design team in Adobe InDesign, complete with a full-sized header and an inset to share on social media, or a storytelling graphic that would fit nicely in a process for your customers to visualize their journey/how it works page (example: our process).

Want to see how cool these get (read: how amazing our design team is)?

Here are a few:

Killer, right??

We’ve literally designed thousands of these images for our own brand by now – the samples above are a brief preview of what we can do – and we thought it was high time to allow clients to buy it as a product.

With custom imagery, we’ve seen massive results…

  • We a huge CTR boost with a cartoon strip on our SEO post – a 25% boost in actual reads.
  • Influencers picked up our content and shared it on Twitter WITH the image attached, boosting views to our content by another 25%.

Never leave your images last on your to-do list again.

Let us help you create better-than-average custom imagery to accompany your content!

2. Social Media Plans

During this month, we also did some heavy updates and restructuring, much-needed, to our social media plans.

I sat down and created new guidelines for our Social Media Experts, which condenses down to these three key, important changes:

  • We now create and post 3/images per week at the minimum level (3 IG posts) instead of 1. Images, and Instagram, are hot! You can’t miss out on either, so we’ve increasing the volume at all levels on all plans.
  • Our SMEs are now trained on how to use BuzzSumo to curate industry influencer content, and position your brand as an authority by sharing content that your fans will love and identify with.
  • Choose whichever social media platform you’d like us to manage, now straight from the product itself!

social media plans update

Our Social Media Plans have also been renamed to Level 1, 2, and 3 instead of Basic/Guru/Enterprise.

3. Copy Editing

Our revamped Copy Editing service in the Content Shop now includes two levels to cover every need, developmental and copy editing services, starting at one hour (up to 3,000 words). We have senior, expert editors at both levels ready to take orders!

See a guide to knowing the two differences of copy vs. developmental editing from our Content Development Specialist, Tara, on the Write Blog.

4. Professional Interviewing

For one simple interview fee you can now have an incredible interview organized and done (check that off your list!) by our professional interviewing team. We now have staff Project Managers who have background expertise in interviewing and journalism, and have seen amazing results from the interviews done so far.

See a post co-created by our Project Manager Hannah and Content Development Specialist, Hannah, on why interviews matter to content marketing.

5. Project Management

Just launched last week, our new project management service offers a wonderful solution for a lot of our marketer clients who are continually overwhelmed, swamped, and lost beneath the work they have to do on their content marketing get-done list.

Did you know that only 30% of marketers say their organizations are effective at content marketing? An actual decrease of 8% from the previous year.(source: Content Marketing Institute’s 2016 Benchmarks) Even less have a strong, documented content marketing strategy.

Yet budgets, goals, and creation itself in content marketing actually increased by a large percentage during the same year.

Our solution in offering project management is to help a real need we see that our clients have. Project management is a serious drain on them, yet a vastly crucial part of content marketing not to be overlooked.

Scenarios Where Project Management Fits In

Just a few of the problems our clients have given us that we can now solve with our project management service include:

  • “We’re thinking about hiring a part-time staff member to handle all of these content needs and work with you, but it may not be in the budget, or we don’t know if we have enough to give that person X hours per week.”
  • “I wear a lot of hats. I just don’t have time to manage all of the content, but if I had time, we’d hire you to produce a lot of things.”
  • “I’m completely disorganized and I really need help getting my ideas onto paper, and picking the right product.”
  • “I have people I want to have interviewed on our blog. Employees, industry names, that kind of thing. I just don’t have time to do it myself and it’s a long list.”
  • “I have lots of different personal and professional projects going on. I wish I could stay on task.”
  • “I have no idea about what I need but I do have an established business. I just want to pay a deposit/retainer and have you figure this out for me.”
  • “I need you to be in touch with my entire team on this project. Maybe you should even function as part of the team – as the managing editor.”
  • “I’m an agency and we want to basically up-sell your product to our clients. Each of our clients has a different need.”

What Project Management Includes

Our project management is designed into several categories:

  • A la carte hourly
  • Blocks where we manage 50 – 500 monthly projects in a spreadsheet every month.

Project management includes having us manage and create a spreadsheet, and maintain or organize a vast amount of ongoing content projects, starting at 50 and going to 500+ per month. We can enable a simple file uploader on your account, and will include weekly organization and phone support for you and your team by a dedicated project manager. You can also have a dedicated project editor in our new PM service.

6. New Resource (FREE): Client 101s

Last but not least, we’re writing and designing in-house several client 101s that will channel some of the biggest questions our clients have!

We’ll be doing more of these! Email our team: julia (a) expresswriters.com if you have any 101s you’d like to see.

Conclusion

At Express Writers, we strive hard to be at the forefront of trends, content marketing, and the best writing team out there.

(Just see our Values page if you aren’t sure about that promise.)

Hence comes this lineup of new products and resources at Express Writers, all in one month.

You can trust our commitment to stay ahead of the game when it comes to great content creation. It’s our passion!

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