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Create a workflow for an effective content strategy

6 min read

Workflows indicate in which state different content is at the moment, and therefore helps you keep track of it. The workflow usually starts with the content being drafted and ends with its publishing. But that's not the only way to approach it. For different companies as well as different roles, the preferences for your project's workflow will vary.

Besides tracking, workflows also allow you to set up which roles can work with which workflow steps. Help your content creators by allowing them to work only with what they should be working with. As many people are often scared of breaking something when they don't work with software regularly, this will provide them the comfort, which eventually speeds up content creation.

Table of contents

    Key points

    • Put the workflow together after you set up your roles. Thanks to that, you'll be able to set up which roles can work with which workflow steps.
    • Decide what states the workflow should track. Look at the process from the points of view of all participants, and come up with the most effective division.
    • When coming up with the workflow, draw the options as it's easier for imagination.

    When configuring the workflow, it can be helpful to invite your content creation team to the discussion as well. After all, they're going to be the ones using the workflow.

    1. Choose your steps

    Content items in a Kontent project always follow the workflow. Such workflow contains workflow steps representing the state of the content item. What the step symbolizes is up to you, so you can choose the most important way of dividing the content creation flow.

    In Kontent, there are three steps that are always part of every project:

    • Scheduled – for content already planned for publishing
    • Published – for content that is released
    • Archived – for content that is withdrawn and obsolete

    Create other steps based on your preferences. For example, you can divide the workflow into:

    • Process-based steps – To do, In progress, To review, To translate, Ready for publishing
    • Activity-based steps – Write, Review, Copy edit, Graphics, Approve, Tag
    • Schedule-based steps – On hold, Delayed, Planned

    The options are not limited so you can combine different approaches as well.

    Keep in mind that you can select which steps can transition to which steps. With that, different steps can be skipped if they're not relevant for that content item.

    You can also limit transitioning to different steps to certain roles. That way, content creators can focus on the part of the workflow that's relevant to them, and they don't need to worry about breaking something else. In Kontent, you set that this limitation in the original step. So if you want to allow only a specific role to move an item from the Ready for publishing step to Scheduled or Published, you'll set up the Ready for publishing step to be manageable just by that role.

    Automating workflow step activities

    Developers can automate some of your team's tasks using webhooks that can be triggered when a content item's workflow is changed.

    For example, notifying a specific group of people, extracting keywords automatically, or translating texts to different languages. Anything is possible. Kontent is an API-first product so connecting your content to other apps, platforms like Zapier or Azure functions, is not a problem.

    2. Design your workflow

    Designing your workflow should, ideally, follow up on your permission model and its research on existing and aspirational content flow. Draw how you'd imagine the workflow should work.

    If your workflow is too complicated for a drawing (or you're just bad at drawing), you can use a table instead:

    Workflow stepCan transition toDedicated roles
    To doIn progress, ArchivedProject Managers, Content creators
    In progressTo do, To review, ArchivedProject Managers, Content creators
    To reviewTo do, In progress, To translate, Scheduled/Published, ArchivedProject Managers, Editors
    To translateTo do, Ready for publishing, ArchivedProject Managers, Translators
    Ready for publishingScheduled/Published, ArchivedProject Managers, Editors
    Scheduled/Published(empty as it means creating a new version, which goes automatically to To do)Project Managers, Editors
    Archived(empty as it means creating a new version, which goes automatically to To do)Project Managers, Editors

    Whether do draw the workflow or create a table for it, note down which roles should work with which steps.

    Creating multiple workflows in one project

    Projects always use exactly one workflow. However, since you can configure the transitions of different workflow steps, you can effectively use multiple workflows. You just need to merge them into one.

    For example, imagine a situation where you want to have two workflows with the following steps:

    • Draft, In progress, To review, Ready for publishing, Scheduled/Publish (for local articles)
    • Draft, In progress, To review, Graphics, To translate, Ready for publishing, Scheduled/Publish (for international content)

    That can be designed by creating a workflow that will allow the To review status to transition either to Ready for publishing or Graphics. If you don't want anyone to decide this manually or you want to start already with different statuses, you can automate this decision.

    Thanks to automating step activities mentioned in the green tip box above, create another workflow step (for example, named Auto transition) and connect it to an external app. This app will decide which workflow path the content item will follow based on various parameters (like its content type, time of the creation, etc.).

    3. Configure workflow in Kontent

    When you're finished with the workflow modeling, create the workflow in Kontent.

    Remember that changing the workflow is always possible. Just keep in mind that you shouldn't change the workflow in a way that prevents users from reaching the final step.

    What's next?

    Setting up roles and the workflow divides the main responsibilities of content creation. Before you get into the actual team collaboration, it's suitable to think also about your multilingual or multiregional needs.