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Content Management Lifecycle Audit: 34 Questions You Need to Ask

It’s true that creating content is a great way to attract more web traffic and convert more leads, but is producing content in any manner going to help you achieve these goals?

The internet is cluttered with useless content that is poorly planned and useless to its intended audience. According to Marketing Week, 60 percent of content created by popular brands is inefficient and has little impact on the user’s lives. 

This proves that content needs to have a thorough management process for production and post-production to help your business create content that matters and produces results. The content management lifecycle provides seven useful steps to help you with your content strategy. 

What Is a Content Management Lifecycle?

A content management lifecycle is the complete process used to develop, organize, publish, repurpose, or retire content. Using the content management lifecycle process enables content managers and strategists to track and manage all content and content creators who are a part of the content lifecycle. 

Content management lifecycles can help save time, improve the quality of your content, and boost team member productivity

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Content Management Lifecycle Stages

These content management lifecycle stages can be adapted to fit your needs and help you to develop a logical standard procedure for managing content. 

Here are the seven stages of the content management lifecycle:

1. Planning and Organization

The planning and organization phase of your content management lifecycle should be executed strategically. Plan and ideate your content according to your consumers’ needs and determine what you hope your content releases will achieve. 

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During this stage, your organizational tactics will help you to keep track of your content as you continue through the lifecycle stages. A good practice to adopt for organizing content is to create editorial boards that are separate from the content creation process. The board should provide instructions and calendars that guide content creators.

After planning and organizing content strategically, you should focus your efforts on categorizing and labeling your content. This helps you to create rules or guidelines that assist with content creation in each category. 

2. Workflow

This stage requires you to define what you want your workflow to look like as your content goes through the lifecycle.

Workflows include a systematic tracking and approval system such as the steps in your content management system or editorial calendar. Each content type may have a different workflow that you must map out for your content creators.

It is also essential to map out the approval process to address any issues when they come up. You will have to decide how many people are involved in the workflow approval process to maintain efficiency and productivity.

Keep in mind that too many levels of approval can slow projects down. Audit your workflow approvals every so often to ensure they are running smoothly. 

3. Creation

Creating the content involves providing detailed instructions for your team of content creators to help them create the best content according to your needs. Provide your creative team with the proper tools and deadlines to help them know what to make and how quickly they need to make it.

The goal is to enable content creators to develop publish-ready content as often as possible. Remember that mistakes happen in the content creation stage, and your creative team members may need time to review and edit their work.

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4. Storage

Storing your content must be practical and easily accessible to everyone involved in the content management lifecycle. The storage system should allow team members to find, review, modify, and approve content no matter what stage it’s in. 

For example, you can use some sort of “filing” system that allows users to see content that is pending, being reviewed, or completed. 

5. Editing

High-quality content starts with the content creator and continues with the editor. A second or sometimes third pair of eyes can help ensure your content is consistently high quality. 

Content editors should have an accurate and up-to-date understanding of your voice, grammar, style, formatting, and other content requirements. These requirements should be documented and given to both content editors and creators. 

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6. Publishing

This stage is when your content goes live for all of your viewers to see, read, and enjoy. You should quickly comb over content one more time before you publish your content using a publishing checklist.

A publishing checklist is a list of things you need to do before, during, and possibly after publication. Create a publishing checklist by documenting each step you currently take to publish your content. 

7. Removing, Archiving, or Updating

This stage involves reviewing old content and making decisions about whether the content needs to be removed, archived, or updated. Not all of your old content needs to be removed from your website.

Sometimes content can be updated or refreshed to continue generating traffic and conversions. When you add more value to existing blog posts, for example, you have the opportunity to not only further delight your readers, but you can also target new related keywords to try to get your post ranking high in SERPs.  

Each stage helps you to manage your content in a more structured way so you can achieve the results you want from your content. But there are some obstacles you need to consider that may come up when you're working your way through the content management lifecycle. 

34 Questions to Consider During Your Content Management Process Audit

Carefully analyzing and auditing your content management process helps you identify obstacles and issues that may stall your workflow and reduce team member productivity. Audits may also help you to anticipate problems that may arise if they haven't already. 

When you periodically audit your process, you can make sure you and your teams are producing the most efficient content in the least amount of time possible. 

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Here are some questions you may consider during each lifecycle stage to help you with your content management process audit. 

Questions to Ask About Your Planning and Organization Stage

The planning and organization stage requires an efficient strategy that is in line with your organization's goals. Many businesses often have trouble clearly defining a purpose for each piece of their content. They may also struggle with deciding which audience they are targeting with their content before they begin organizing.

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The goal of your lifecycle is not to create a content mill that pumps out a lot of useless content. The goal is to ideate, plan, and organize content that is helpful, which means not every idea or plan is a good idea.

Some questions you may ask to help you through the planning and organization stage are:

  • What is involved in the planning process?
  • Who will consume my content?
  • How do I brainstorm ideas and who is involved in that process?
  • Do my ideas appeal to my target audience?
  • How do I prioritize content ideas?
  • What actions do I want my audience to take after consuming this content?

Questions to Ask About Your Workflow Stage

The goal of your content workflow is to help everyone on your team work efficiently and productively on their tasks throughout the content lifecycle. This stage often requires careful consideration, and it may be time consuming to develop a workflow that works. 

Common obstacles revolving around content management workflows include:

  • Making sure multiple people have access to approve and edit content if team members change or are out on sick leave or vacation.
  • Structuring workflows that are not too restrictive and don’t allow enough time for editing and iterations. 

Some questions you may ask yourself when you are at this stage in your content lifecycle are:

  • Am I allowing team members enough time to handle tasks in each stage?
  • Who is involved in the approval process?
  • Do I know who handles what tasks if any team members are out?
  • Is my process time sensitive?
  • How many steps do I want in my workflow?

Questions to Ask About Your Creation Stage

Sometimes developing the content creation stage of your lifecycle takes trial and error because it may be difficult to gauge how long tasks actually take, who is responsible, and what resources to provide for your content creators. 

Before you develop this stage in your lifecycle, you can ask yourself these questions to help you come up with a more efficient creation stage:

  • How long does it take to produce each content type in every stage?
  • Who takes responsibility for developing each content type?
  • Are there good resources for each content type and creation stage?
  • Do you have documents that provide content creators with style guidelines and other content expectations?

Questions to Ask About Your Storage Stage

Having improper storage for your content may cause a number of problems that stall your content management lifecycle processes. Common problems associated with the storage stage of the content management lifecycle are content losses, accessibility issues, and lack of recovery and shareability. 

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Here are some questions that may help you decide the best methods for storing content:

  • Who can access content when it’s stored?
  • What happens if the person who has access to stored content isn’t around? 
  • Is my storage system set up to recover or autosave content?
  • Can I share a link to stored content with anyone?

Questions to Ask About Your Editing Stage

The editing stage can cause a number of pain points for content managers and strategists since the quality of content is dependent on the errors that editors find and fix. 

Common problems associated with the editing process include editing that is not consistent with brand voice and style, no defined editing process or checklist, minimal edit tracking, and miscommunication between editors and content creators. 

Here are some questions you should ask yourself to make your editing stage more efficient:

  • What can I do to make sure each piece of content is high quality every time?
  • Who has the final say on the quality of a piece of content?
  • Do my editors have access to updated style guides?
  • Does my content management system track edits and iterations made?
  • Who fixes the errors in content – the editors or content creators?

Questions to Ask About Your Publishing Stage

At this stage your content becomes visible to prospects, leads, and customers. It is essential that the publication process is carried out the same way each time for content appearance consistency. 

Common problems associated with the publishing stage may include formatting errors with images, videos, and text, missing alt text, meta descriptions that aren’t optimized, and lack of keyword tags

Here are questions for you to consider when you audit your content management lifecycle:

  • Do I have a publishing checklist?
  • Does all completed content get published at the same time on publication dates?
  • What time should I publish content?
  • Who is in charge of publishing content?
  • Is my published content shareable?

Questions to Ask About Your Removing, Archiving, and Updating Stage 

When you have the chance to update or refresh old content, you should. During this stage, you may wonder what the point of refreshing content is and if it’s worth it to make old content work for you. 

To help you decide whether to archive or refresh content, consider these questions:

  • Can this content still be useful for conversions?
  • Is the message in my content still valuable to my audience?
  • Can I conduct research to refresh the content?
  • Has this content started underperforming?
  • Is the focus of my old content no longer relevant?

When it comes to creating content, you need a killer content management system (CMS) to help you with your content management lifecycle.

A good CMS, like the HubSpot CMS, handles the creation, storage, editing, and publishing stages of the lifecycle. This helps streamline your processes and workflows and makes it easy to conduct audits of your content lifecycle to help you to continuously produce awesome content. 

After auditing your current content management lifecycle or creating a new content management process, you and your team are well equipped to hit your marketing goals in less time.

The more efficient your team is with managing your content marketing efforts, the closer you are to driving leads and achieving big picture objectives. 

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Erika Giles

Erika Giles

Erika is a Marketing Copywriter at Bluleadz. She is a huge fan of houseplants and podcasts about conspiracy theories. She spends most of her free time reading, writing, and enjoying the outdoors.