We’re a team. We plan, write, and edit as a team. And we pump out a good deal of content.
But it hasn’t always been so easy.
When you’re trying to get the most out individuals and keep them functioning as a group, it can be tough.
We assign processes for every recurring task we do. We then optimise those processes as we move forward and discover problems or areas for improvement.
It’s that process of iterative workflow improvements which fundamentally allows us to write 3 long-form articles every week.
Process Street Starts Everything
All the tasks we undertake as a team are planned in advance.
They’re planned on the basis of what we’ve done in the past, what’s gone wrong in the past, and what changes we’d made which added to our productivity and quality.
All of this culminates in a series of checklists within Process Street which we follow every time we undertake new work. We have checklists for research, for writing, for editing, for publishing, for marketing, etc. You get the picture. And we don’t just have one for each.
Process Street keeps us aware of our next task within any stage of any project. It allows us to track the work of our colleagues and see the progress they’re making too.
Collaborative cloud based workflow software like Process Street will keep your team on track, approaching each task with a clear set of best practices.
As we go through, I’ll link in a series of our internal processes which you can use for your team to keep productivity and quality high.
Individual Productivity Is Important Too
To keep your output high you need to be able to focus at the key times.
Yes, daydreaming is one of life’s little pleasures. No, it won’t help you get this article written in time.
There are a range of different tools you can employ to keep your productivity high and your attention sharp. At the moment, I’m using an app on my mobile called Focus Keeper. This works by the pomodoro technique of 25 minutes on and 5 minutes off. I had been using Pomello which works on the same principles but hooks up to your Trello board, integrating itself within your workflow.
It can be a little difficult to get used to this method, particularly when writing. Sometimes you’re in the zone. When you’re in the zone you never want to leave the zone. You feel unstoppable. Bulletproof. Your hands are hurricanes devastating the keyboard in front of you.
Then the timer goes off. 5 minute break.
The productivity techniques which are right for me might not be right for you, and vice-versa.
One of our team takes a different approach to his productivity. He swears by focus@will which works by playing music optimized to productivity in the background while you work. By reducing your distractions you can get more done. Simple.
Translate This Into Team Success
We all benefit from individual tools which help us focus, organize ourselves, or reduce distractions.
To translate this benefit into team success you need to make sure you have strong communication across the group. You’re probably using a series of different tools at the moment to keep everyone in contact. I’ve used loads over the years.
At Process Street, we use two key communication tools. You’ve probably heard of them. Slack and Trello. Slack is your traditional comms tool as you send messages to individuals or to teams. It’s what everyone thinks of when talking about communications.
But Trello allows us to record our work and our progress, documenting each step along the way. Across shared Trello boards this allows us to silently communicate with each other by seeing updates. The key here is that I don’t have to disturb a colleague to find out what they’re getting on with.
Keeping team communication strong means you can always get help if you need it. You can also get ideas and reviews of your work. Moreover, by having the whole company in Slack across different channels, it means we’re always up to date with how other teams are doing. This helps build a company culture which is open and friendly, and lets you hear all the nice feedback from the other marketing and support teams.
Planning Your Keywords Is Key
In keyword planning, “planning” is your key word.
Anyone can come up with some keywords, the trick is to find the right keywords. Targeting your work correctly makes your writing more successful and more effective.
In order to make our keyword process powerful and efficient, we use Ahrefs. This tool gives you a very powerful way to identify your strongest keywords to know which you should be focusing on. It will show you the volume and difficulty for each keyword, along with providing you with a range of suggested keywords based on your initial search.
We then pour these results into Airtable and filter them to reveal our ranked keywords, and have the database accessible by the whole team. Airtable provides cloud based databases in spreadsheet formats which can be used collaboratively.
If you want a more in-depth look into our keyword research process then you should try out this checklist next time you run your research!
Now You Have To Write It
Writing is the easy part. You’re probably good at this bit if you’re already a writer or an aspiring one.
The goal is to make sure you can write in a way which gets work done quickly, and if possible eliminates other future work.
I’m making it sound more complicated than it is.
Here’s a simplified example:
- Do your writing in markdown with a collaborative writing tool like Beegit. This app helps you write in a simple environment and easily share content with your team. If you’re not used to markdown you can find a range of tutorials online to bring yourself up to speed.
- Edit your writing in the Hemingway Editor by copying and pasting it in. The editor will go through your work and apply a series of suggestions based on how long and complex your sentences are, how much you use passive voice, and how often you use adverbs. This will help you follow a Hemingway-esque style of writing which is easier for your reader to follow and understand.
- Then copy your edited markdown text straight into your Wordpress, and bam!
You pretty much have a finished post – other than uploading your own images, if you need to. The editor cut down your editing time and the markdown tool Beegit ensured you were prepared to publish straight away, resulting in less time fiddly formating everything.
To really polish off your writing process, here’s our Process Street blog pre-publish checklist to guide you through all the steps of making your content reader ready.
Give the checklist a try and boost your output!
About the author: Benjamin Brandall
Benjamin Brandall is on the marketing team at Process Street and writer at Writerzone.net, where he writes on startups, SaaS, and workflows. In his spare time, he runs obscure entertainment blog Secret Cave. Follow Benjamin on Twitter @benjbrandall