If you’re managing a content marketing team and looking for a few ways to improve productivity, we got some tips for you. By asking yourself a few questions, you can easily establish a more efficient and streamlined workflow. Check out our tips to boost productivity with our guide to marketing project management.
What is Marketing Project Management?
Marketing project management refers to the systematic planning, organizing, and overseeing of marketing activities and campaigns to achieve specific objectives within a set timeframe and budget. It involves the application of project management principles and methodologies to the unique challenges and dynamics of the marketing environment.
Marketing isn’t for the faint of heart or those who don’t like to be on their toes. In between the different campaigns, research, user analysis, content creation, and the million other things that are going on at any given time – there’s not a whole lot of time left for, well anything.
How to Measure Marketing Project Management Activities?
But while that’s all going on, managers still have to manage. And part of that is making the best use of their limited resources, within the allotted time frames, and with the potential with the highest ROI. In order to accomplish this, you have to optimize your marketing activities, yes, but you also need to optimize your team. “You can’t manage, what you can’t measure” and whatnot.
Depending on what role you play on the marketing team, productivity metrics can be assessed in the following ways:
- Input – The content you produce, traffic to your site, backlinks, the number of pageviews.
- Quality – organic SEO rankings, conversion rate, sign ups and leads, engagement with social media and newsletters.
- Cost – CAC (Customer acquisition cost), resource costs, tool and software license fees.
- Output – revenue, returns on ad spending, leads, social media share
7 Tips for More Effective Marketing Project Management
Once you start asking these questions you can begin putting the answers into action. Here’s a few ways you can be more efficient in your marketing activities.
1. Have More Meaningful Meetings
It isn’t that meetings can’t be a valuable part of the content marketing process. It’s just that they usually aren’t. They run too long, attempt to cover too much ground, and rarely have a clear purpose. The result is that the meeting doesn’t have a clear end. So, it often becomes a prolonged chat session where the topics covered aren’t directly relevant to most of the attendees.
No, this doesn’t mean that all meetings should really be emails, although a lot of them should. It just means that meetings should be leaner, more focused, and more efficient. Rather than looping everyone into meetings, or hold meetings simply to give status updates, consider implementing the following practices:
- Use email, group chats, or management tools to communicate status updates.
- Limit meeting attendance to those who are directly involved in the matter at hand.
- Create a clear agenda and time limit for meetings.
- Appoint a facilitator and a scribe for each meeting.
Real Life Case Study
Resource planning tools can cut the amount of meetings by half. Really! Take it from Ganttic’s long-time clients Innopolis Engineering.
They found out first hand, that when everyone knows what they should be working on, those lengthy meetings become a thing of the past. With resource management tools, it’s clear who is assigned to do what job. And if it ever looks like a project won’t hit its milestone, then it’s easy to assign some extra help to chip in with the work. Something that can be solved in seconds when you add your resource planning software to your daily standup.
Plus, there’s less need to have multiple planning meetings a week. Since instantaneous task updates and visual Gantt charts can do a better job communicating changes that won’t be forgotten once the meeting has finished.
2. Stop Making People Multitask
Multitasking is often seen as the badge of a dedicated worker. In reality, multitasking usually leads to reduced quality and efficiency. Not to mention a real productivity killer. And the worst part is, multitasking isn’t just an issue for individuals. It can also plague your team.
How many projects do you have in progress right now? How many team members are stretched across multiple projects? Do you really expect them to be able to give their full effort to each one?
Of course not! At least you shouldn’t.
In agile project management, many teams work with limits on works in progress (WIP). Essentially, they’ve limited the amount of work that can be included in each stage of the workflow because they’ve realized two things. Too much work in progress can cause inefficiencies. It also makes it difficult to pinpoint other inefficiencies. Even if you don’t fully adopt agile methods in your content marketing strategy, you should certainly consider putting this one into place.
Plus this one is easy to implement using project resource management tools. It’s literally the reason they exist! That’s because with software, you can begin to control how much your team mates are taking on in every phase and step of the way. And it’s also easier to tell who else is available to step in and help. Even if there’s multiple projects going on at the same time, not all tasks command the same effort. So by monitoring your team members’ utilizations, you can ensure that no one is being spread too thin, and that there is always capacity for each project.
3. Give your Marketing Team the Resources It Needs
A content marketing team may consist of writers, editors, keyword and SEO experts, marketing analysts, social media managers, project leaders, and more. In many cases, one person will find themselves taking on more than one role.
Each role on the contenting marketing team is important. It’s also quite challenging. Fortunately, some tools and resources are available to make that work at least somewhat easier. In some cases, the right software can practically automate processes that would otherwise be time-consuming and tedious.
Is your team working with the latest tools that give them the capabilities they need to work efficiently? It may be time to evaluate your current suite of marketing and management tools to determine if you need an upgrade.
And luckily adding some new tools in your workflow doesn’t mean you have to start from scratch. Most software comes with possibilities for integration, such as an API. Meaning you can connect all your favorite apps to make the process easier. Track your resources in one app, CRM in another, and round it all out with daily task tracking. You’ll have one source of truth for all your current happenings, as well as a convenient way to measure productivity metrics.
Real Life Case Study
It’s common for marketing agencies and others in the creative field to bring in freelancers in addition to full time staff. This can help with specific projects and even out the workload.
At Pegasus, a global communication agency, they learned how to streamline this process with Ganttic. Adding freelancers to their plans helped them plan out capacity better in the short and long-term. And they could figure out if more freelancers needed to be brought on for certain projects. Plus, with the ability to share plans with everyone for no extra costs, even if it’s only a limited-time partnership. All of this allowed Pegasus tp make sure that not only were they meeting capacity, but they were scheduling the right people with the right skill sets.
Read more about how resource management tools can help creative and marketing teams get their jobs done, no matter how your team structure.
4. Revisit Workflows and Processes
When was the last time you reconsidered your teams current workflows and processes? If it’s been awhile, you should. After all, your processes and workflows are the maps you follow to achieve your content marketing goals. If they no longer accomplish what you want, are outdated, or inefficient, it’s time to make changes. Unfortunately, it’s easy to stick with workflows that don’t work, simply because it’s the way you’ve always done things.
Are you noticing certain patterns with your productivity issues? Perhaps delays tend to happen at a certain point in every project. You may also notice that productivity is consistently low among people performing specific roles. In that case, you may not have a personnel problem.
Content strategist, David Jones, puts it succinctly: “It may be that the person is working within the confines of workflows that are no longer serving any useful purpose. Identify where productivity is suffering, then take a closer look at the related workflows and documented processes.”
5. Compile a Digital Assets Library and Knowledge Base
Take a moment to imagine a scenario. A new content writer has just finished a bio about your CEO. Now, they need to add a professional-looking photo to their piece that will be published on a local, news magazine website. Unfortunately, they can’t move forward because:
They are waiting to be sent an acceptable picture of the CEO. There’s other questions relating to format and style. They don’t know the process for following up with the social media manager after the piece has been published.
Issues like this are often caused by the information silos that are created when information is not centralized. If the scenario above is familiar to you, consider implementing a centralized knowledge base, and digital assets library for content marketing. This will ensure that your content team has access to everything they need to complete projects independently. While you can use tools to elevate the quality of your photos, impressive images won’t do much if you can’t find what you’re looking for.
Include the following in your digital assets library and knowledge base:
So when a team member goes to check on their next task, they’ll be able to easily find all the material and resources they require. Streamlining work processes and making their work more efficient.
- Editorial Workflows
- Logos and Taglines
- Branding Information
- Style Guide
- Client information
- Customer demographics
- Executive biographies
- Color schemes
- Documented processes
Pro Tip: It can be hard to keep all your tools and libraries connected. However, in Ganttic, you can attach URLs to any of your tasks and projects via custom data fields. That means you can share your department’s Dropbox folder of assets alongside any of your scheduled tasks.
6. Make Well-Being a Priority
When it comes to content marketing, the importance of productivity cannot be overstated. Businesses that wish to remain competitive must maintain a reliable stream of top-quality content relevant to their audience. Further, that content must be published and promoted in order to create the engagement necessary to create conversions. If your team struggles with productivity, ask yourself the questions presented above. This will allow you to pinpoint and repair any issues that are causing productivity to slip.
As you consider the various issues that could impact productivity, don’t neglect your team members’ wellbeing. If that’s lacking, morale can drop, and exhaustion can deter even the most driven workers. It’s important to consider that your team may be unproductive simply because they’ve been worn out. If that is the case, you have to deal with that by making and encouraging positive changes. This could mean pushing back against some long-standing attitudes about work, and treating working to the point of burnout as a virtue.
Try doing the following to encourage your team to be at its best at all times:
- Acknowledge and celebrate team accomplishments
- Insist team members use vacation time and other PTO
- Create an example of prioritizing wellbeing in your own behavior
- Discourage all-nighters unless they are unavoidable.
- Encourage team members to be aware of their physical and mental health.
- Don’t simply permit breaks. Prioritize them, and ensure employees have a space to decompress at work.
- Educate team members about resources available to them if they are stressed and overwhelmed, including your EAP.
- Show employees you value them by working to keep them engaged by using their talents, and allowing them to work towards their career goals.
So you have your productivity metrics, now how do you improve them? First ask yourself, how can you get the team as a whole to get more done at a faster pace?
It’s one thing to improve your own productivity. You can discipline yourself to wake up earlier in the morning, stay off of social media sites during the workday, use productivity apps, or implement any number of other tips to work more efficiently. When it comes to boosting the productivity of the team you lead, things are a bit different.
Because that means not only looking after yourself, but an entire team with multiple people, their accompanying work styles, motivations, habits (good and bad), and skills.
When you’re the manager of a content marketing team, it’s challenging for sure! But it’s also very doable.
Improve Marketing Project Management with Ganttic
Resource management tools can give your content marketing team’s productivity a leg up. Keep track of your daily tasks, while also planning capacity for long-term projects. Monitor your team’s utilization, and make sure that your efficiency is at the right level. All without burning out your team members in the process. Accomplish more with less!
Give it a go with a free 14 day trial of Ganttic and see the benefits of adding a resource planner to your marketing team’s workflow. With it you can:
- Get an overview of all marketing activities, with the ability to strategize the portfolio and see how plans will play out for the next week, quarter, or year.
- Plan ALL you resources in one convenient online planner that everyone can access. This means full time employees, marketing interns, design teams you outsource, and anyone else who’s helping you reach your audience.
- Visual milestones to keep your team aligned with your goals, while ensuring everything stays on track for success.
- Easy drag and drop resource allocation.
- Custom data fields on tasks and projects – use it for linking to shared drives and folders, providing status updates, keeping track of budget and costs, or as a way to match your team members to the right task.
- Unlimited client support and free personal demos.