Content marketing teams have the challenging task of combining creativity with marketing strategy, while incorporating brand identity. When your goal is to generate qualified leads and drive qualified traffic to your brand website, it takes a lot of campaigns to bring in the volume of new contacts needed to hit those goals.
Managing creative campaigns requires extremely detailed project management, an understanding of the big picture and current content marketing trends, the right tools, and a flexible attitude. When you perfect creative project workflows, though, it’s a game-changer, and lets your team put out more campaigns that engage new audiences without the stress and headaches.
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“When project management is seamless, creatives have the headspace to be more creative.”
Let’s break it down, starting with one of the most important elements of project management for creative marketing teams — the workback schedule.
Workback schedules keep creative teams moving forward
Creative campaigns have a goal — whether that’s to engage new or existing audiences, to generate sales, or to drive organic traffic. Whether you’re launching a content marketing campaign as an in-house team, or as part of an agency, there will always be a launch date.
In-house, a launch date might be more flexible, but no matter what, a campaign has tons of moving pieces and everything needs to be aligned between content strategists, copywriters, and designers to make it all happen as efficiently as possible, and get the project out on time.
To develop a workback schedule, work backwards from the projected launch date. For example, let’s say you want to launch a campaign in May. The campaign will require copywriting, design, and promotional assets. Consider rounds of revisions, feedback, and approval, along with any holidays, vacations, or other projects going on at the same time. Then, add in buffer time for unexpected delays.
Here’s a sample creative campaign workback schedule.
|Outline to client
|Outline feedback to CXD
|Copy V1 to client
|Copy feedback to CXD
|Copy V2 to client
|Final copy feedback to CXD
|Final copy delivered to design
|Design V1 delivered to client
|Client design feedback to CXD V1
|Design V2 delivered to client
|Client design feedback to CXD V2
|Final design delivered
An understanding of content marketing details like file types and marketing attribution speeds up content creation
During the campaign creation process, there are tons of files going around, versions of the content evolving, and approvals that need to happen (on time!) To keep things going smoothly and meet deadlines, project managers need to have an understanding of file types needed and the larger campaign. Why? Then they can critically think through creative needs, delays, and client requests without having to consult with the creative team for every question.
Here’s an example. If the designer needs logo files and the client sends .jpg files, the creative project manager can quickly follow up and ask for vectors. Otherwise, the PM will end up sending the wrong file, then the designer needs to request the correct version, slowing everything down.
Or, here’s another example. If the client sends over URLs for the main CTA for a marketing research report campaign, but there’s no tracking UTMs, the PM can ask them to share the tracking URL instead.
Effective creative project management leads to more campaigns, and better content marketing ROI
When your content team has the right tools and creative task management workflows, and some fresh ideas, you can launch more campaigns that exceed goals. With every new piece of content that you share with your audience, learn and analyze what worked and what didn’t. Then, take these findings and optimize the next campaign. You’ll boost content marketing ROI and generate higher-quality leads.
Project management tools for creative teams need these key features
- The ability to set multiple deadlines for different deliverables and project phases.
For example — V1 of copy, V2 of copy, V1 of design, V2 of design, rounds of feedback, and final project deadlines or launch dates.
- Multiple project owners — like the project manager, in-house primary contact, agency lead, creatives, and any team members who need to approve creative projects.
- A combination of visual and text modules.
- Different views for different team members, like a calendar view, Kanban board, list view, and other variations.
- Customizable sharing — keep some projects internal, and share others with partners and external stakeholders.
A love letter to creative team project managers from creatives
|Dear creative team project managers,
Thanks for reading all the emails and managing the deadlines. And for finding the files we need so quickly. Thanks for keeping things moving, and being understanding when we need to ask for another day or two. If you didn’t follow up on emails and help us set up calls, people would be waiting a hell of a lot longer for responses.
Sorry for complaining about the project management software we use. And considering EOD to be midnight every time.
We couldn’t be creative without you.
Want to boost content marketing results? Invest in creative project management.
We’d love to talk. We’re a boutique creative content marketing agency with our own (incredible, if we do say so ourselves) project manager. Creating and launching strategic marketing campaigns is our jam — so, let’s chat about your content goals and see how we can help.