A process starts life as an ad-hoc collection of tasks and lists of things to do that a business has not yet worked out the most efficient way to deliver.
I start by looking at what I am doing to achieve something meaningful and valuable. For example, the process of delivering content. When we think about our marketing, we also need to think about developing content that is aligned to and supportive of the marketing we are doing to put out in blogs, or in podcasts. We need to be clear on what are we trying to communicate, to whom, and what do we want them to do as a result of it. In that description is the basis of designing an enjoyable process.
Every process has inputs. The inputs are used in the process to create one or many outputs. Of course, the output might be an input to another system. In this example, that output is a schedule for a set of agreed content. Those outputs then feed into the plan for writing, posting, monitoring and sharing the content.
In terms of content, the inputs are the knowledge, the skill, the material itself that you will write or talk about or deliver in some way. Your overall marketing strategy will help to make sure that that content is relevant to the audience you want to talk to, the products and services you want to sell and the capacity of the business.
Depending on your markets (and your approach to working in them) you will need to identify several key elements. For example, you’ll suggest the titles, and clarify the audience, the calls to action, the publication dates, the type of content and so on. The output is the content itself. The document with your blog, the audio file for your podcast, and so on.
The process is the part that defines how you take the inputs and turns them into outputs. In this example, I have found it easier to have a schedule that plans the delivery of each piece of content. This blog, for example, was identified around November 2019 and scheduled for publication in early June 2020. Those are the ends of the process, but they are not the process.
For each of us, how we create content is personal – I block out some slots in my diary for writing, and some time for editing and uploading the content to the relevant platforms. I keep a spreadsheet of content, so I also update that, and the team then use that to populate newsletters (so my spreadsheet is an output of my process and an input to others).
The key to consistency is writing the process down, identifying all the steps, and consistently performing them. Some procedures are best-used to ensure every step is carried out (like the pre-flight checks in an aircraft) others as a post-work check, and that’s what this content process is for me. When I’m ready to publish, I do a quick check to make sure I’ve followed all the steps.
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