easy-complicated

Do you ever feel like the content production process is more complicated and difficult than it needs to be? You have a team of smart people who all want to get content out the door faster. Why isn’t it happening?

Or perhaps you have no trouble getting content posted, but you’re not sure how well it’s advancing your organization’s strategic goals. At times, it seems like your team members are rushing around like the proverbial headless chicken, producing a steady stream of content for its own sake.

Identify the problem

So, what’s holding your team back from creating batch after batch of tasty content? In both cases, the problem on the surface (Content production is sluggish! Content production is frantic!) is only a symptom. The real problem, and it’s common to both scenarios, is that there is a disconnect between strategy and execution.

The slow-motion content team needs a way to remove the bottlenecks in the content creation process. For example, there are often slowdowns in the review-revise-approve cycle after content is drafted. There could be too many supervisors reviewing content, or one overwhelmed manager sitting on drafts for too long.

The too-fast content team needs a way to ensure that their ideas align with the organization’s messaging priorities. Just because an apparel company can do a post on “571 ways to wear a hoodie” doesn’t mean it should.

RACI to the rescue

The RACI chart (sometimes called a RACI matrix) is a great little tool that has transformative potential for content teams. The RACI chart is a clear way to assign roles and responsibilities in a team. Once everyone on the team is clear about expectations, the content production process will work more smoothly.

Here’s how it works: create a simple table with the content project tasks down one side and the project roles across the top.

Project Roles

Examples of project roles for a small content project might be:

  • content director
  • writer
  • editor
  • designer
  • subject matter expert
  • digital manager
  • social media manager
  • and project manager

(It always surprises me how many people touch even the simplest piece of content.)

Content Tasks

Break the content tasks down into steps. Examples might be:

  • research topic
  • write draft
  • review draft for accuracy
  • review draft for brand consistency
  • revise draft
  • choose images
  • check against digital standards
  • post online
  • and promote online

Next, fill in the RACI chart by assigning each team member one of these four roles for each task in the project:

  1. Responsible – the person or people doing the work. For example, the writer has an R by “write draft.”
  2. Accountable – the person who must approve R’s work at each stage. To keep things simple, try to make sure there is only one A for each task.
  3. Consulted – the person or people who has information or expertise to bring to the project but are not directly involved in the content creation. A subject matter expert interviewed for the content is a good example of a C.
  4. Informed – these are the people who need to be kept “in the loop” during the project. They do not weigh in like Cs do, however.

RACI charts empower content teams to move the content creation process along, because everyone knows what should be happening at each stage and who is responsible for getting it done. RACI charts can also reveal bottlenecks – if one person has too many Rs, for example, the team will only move as fast as that individual can work.

Ready to give it a try? There are tons of great resources available online.

And now, over to you: What do you think of the RACI chart tool? What are your favorite ways to keep track of content production? Let me know in the comments.

loren-blinde

Freelance copywriter and editor Loren M. Blinde, PhD left the ivory tower of academia in 2008 to help people and organizations energize their writing. Combining the writing and research expertise of a college English professor with the marketing savvy of a creative entrepreneur, Loren and the team at Writing Power craft audience-driven copy that gets results. Follow her on Twitter.

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