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Live from ConfabEDU: Getting real about content workflow for your CMS

Getting real about content workflow for your CMS, by Rick Allen

Workflows can be highly personal. So can lunch… and you don’t need it to be fancy, necessarily. You just need it to work for you.

  • Exciting? No.
  • Predictable? Yes.
  • Simple? Yes.
  • Convenient? Yes.
  • Get the job done? Yes.

Getting a content workflow together means understanding the work we do.

Workflow helps us wrangle roles, responsibilities, tasks, guides, tools, schedules, and deadlines.

So why aren’t people more excited about workflow? We all need it to be good, we want it focused in our CMS and want it to be smooth and ideal.

Content workflow is a people problem, not a technology problem. Our CMS can’t fix it.

Reality is the worst

Why do standardized workflows fail?

  • People work differently – your company has a lot of different kinds of people with different goals, responsibilities, and resources
  • Things are too complex – our workflows have unnecessary tasks or scheduling
  • Responsibilities are unclear
  • SO MANY TOOLS!!!
  • People don’t collaborate enough

How can we make workflow great?

  • Be realistic
    • Learn about your organization and make rules that mirror the culture
    • Know your resources
  • Be simple
    • Focus on things everyone can use
    • Ask people; what do you really need?
    • Focus on simple tools: a 1-page publishing guide or content template
  • Be flexible
    • Support the reality of how people work
    • Use what works (pick the tool(s) based on the needs, not vice versa)

The goal of workflow is to help people do great work (and that’s the only benchmark that matters).

It will require change, and adaptation.

Remember: plan for people, and for getting things done.

Marli Mesibov

Marli is a content strategist with a passion for the user experience. Her work spans websites, web applications, and mobile. Marli is the VP of Content Strategy at the UX design agency Mad*Pow, and she serves as managing editor at UX Booth, a publication about all areas of user experience. Marli is a frequent conference speaker, and has spoken at conferences including Content Strategy Forum and LavaCon. She can also be found on Twitter, where she shares thoughts on content strategy, literature, and Muppets.

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