How to Manage Content Creation

Posted by Rich McElaney

If you manage content creation for your business, it's highly likely that you use a spreadsheet to keep track of what you're doing. As you get more sophisticated with your content - which usually means creating more of it and diversifying the type of content you create - it becomes increasingly difficult to manage the process with a spreadsheet. I've been looking for ways to manage this process better and recently found a cloud-based app that not only lightens the load of content management, but adds some power, flexibility and added control along the way. It's called DivvyHQ. (Note: I am in no way affiliated with the company.)

I am still new to DivvyHQ but after going through their new user training I feel it can help me with my content creation efforts. What follows is a high level review of what I've discovered so far.

The first thing I noticed was the depth of Divvy's functionality. Not only does it provide calendar management, it helps manage content teams, the generation and cultivation of content ideas, provides a clearer view of your production process and helps you keep ahead of deadlines. When you login, you're greeted with a clean layout of the key areas of functionality. (I tend to skip over the traditional navigational tabs at the top of the page and work from the dashboard's visual layout). The four key areas displayed are:

  • My Calendar - the snapshot provides a one week view (for the current week) and can be expanded to the current month view with a push of a button.
  • My Content - this area provides a quick view of the content you're working on now (in sequential order based on the date of the last modification) and like the calendar view, can be switched to show a complete list of the content you're working on. What I like about this view is that it shows who's responsible for each content item, the type of content it is (blog post, article, eBook etc.) and its current status (approved, awaiting edits, parking lot etc.)
Content calendar app resized 600
  • Recent Activity - this area displays notes from team members that have been added to individual content items. 
  • Add New Content - this provides two ways to add new content - you can add ideas and "park" them in the parking lot (essentially a running repository for future content possibilities) or you can add a new content item directly and provide the necessary details right in this window. This feature comes in handy if you're brainstorming ideas for blog posts and a great idea comes up for a new eBook - you can quickly add those eBook thoughts and return to the more pressing task at hand and not lose momentum. 
content parking lot
One of the features I like the most is the Email Assistant which can be configured to provide you alerts and updates on deadlines, content changes, new ideas in a way that suits the way you work. This is critical for me when I have specific deadlines to meet where I want enough lead time to get the content just right.
DivvyHQ provides a list of typical content items for you to work with and also allows you to create custom content items as needed. Similarly, you can add team members and specify the roles they'll play in the content process. You have to be mindful of how many team members you add to the application, as DivvyHQ's pricing is based on the number of team members involved, as well as the number of calendars utilized. 
Another useful feature when using more than one calendar (especially if you're using Divvy to support an agency with multiple clients) is the calendar color-coding feature. You can change the calendar color which helps remind you which client's content you're currently working on.
For those with a lot of content information already loaded into an Excel based calendar, the good news is that you can import your calendar .CSV file directly into DivvyHQ. The only drawback with this is that it has to be formatted in a specific way in order for the data to map correctly to Divvy's pre-configured fields. It may take some work to get it formatted correctly, but you only have to do it once. Divvy provides a template and step-by-step instructions on how to do this.
The Content Editor is the core component to getting things done and has some great features to help insure that the content will be aligned with your overall strategy. The screenshot below shows a close-up of these areas within the Content Editor. Rolled up into this window are four key production deadline possibilities, the ability to designate the content item as recurring (think quarterly newsletter), an area to designate Buyer Personas, a keyword section, the content's destination and social promotion platforms. This is truly a dashboard that distills many of the key considerations in creating content to help guide the effort. Writers, team members and subject matter experts who provide review support can all co-exist here and successfully collaborate on each content asset being produced - something that's difficult to replicate with a spreadsheet!
content editor
To get acclimated with the application, DivvyHQ offers a free version for one user and one calendar. Paid versions start at $29.99 per month for one calendar and three users, up to $149.99 per month for 10 calendars and up to 20 users. The larger versions offer an unlimited number of reviewers which affords greater access for the non-production team members.
Check it out here - you may toss that Excel calendar after all!

Tags: Content, content planning, content creation, content development, content calendar