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How I Use Online Collaboration Tools to Run a Marketing Team

Published by Tom Treanor  |  Thursday, 19 June, 2014


Marketing teams are under a lot of pressure to deliver. They are often under-staffed, expected to have delivered everything “yesterday," and need to be up on the latest tools and technologies. They may be virtual teams (sometimes in multiple geographies) and will usually work with outside consultants, designers or agencies. They need to keep pump a steady stream of qualified leads into the sales funnel while innovating in both earned and paid media.

At Wrike, I’ve settled into the following approach to lead the team that runs content, social and SEO for the company. Previously, I came from a world of emails, overly long meetings and "tool proliferation." I'm happy to say you CAN centralize your communications with the right processes and tools.
 
Here’s how I’ve structured the collaboration and workflow approach for my marketing team:

1) Start with Personal Productivity and Task Management

 
I have a GTD (Getting Things Done) system that I set up in my Wrike account that is seen only by me. I add tasks from wherever I am — in the office, at home or on the run — by adding them directly or by emailing them to the folder. Everything starts out in my GTD "inbox." From there, I move them to other folders (action, tickler, someday/maybe, references, etc.) as needed. 
 
If one of these actions requires help, I simply assign it (it stays in my folder) and I tag it “dependency” so I can group all of the dependent tasks in one folder. In addition to these point actions or ideas that are at the top of my action item funnel, you'll see how we set up the structure for the whole team below.

2) Organize Your Communications Around Team Structure & Goals

 
The team’s structure and goals are aligned. In other words, the content team's goals are based on the results of our content marketing. The social media manager's goals revolve around leads and traffic from social media. SEO goals tie to traffic, keywords and leads.
 
We structure our Wrike folders around these same areas. In addition to a Strategy folder, there is a Content folder, Social Media folder, SEO folder, Guest Post folder and Blog folder. This way the leads for these areas have control over their area and we can quickly see what's being worked on there.
 
In addition, I have other folders that allow tracking of certain tasks using different views. For example, we have a Design Submissions folder. Any time we submit a project to the design team, we tag it and it shows up in its original folder in addition to the Design Submissions folder. That allows us to track content that's waiting for designers to do their thing.
 
Within each folder are sub-folders focused on a specific area or workflow. For example, Blogger Outreach is a set of activities and resources in the Social Media folder. We set up these folders, input tasks and assign or notify any collaborators about the project or the specific tasks they're responsible for.

3) Manage Your Content and Files

 
We attach our files and documents either to Wrike directly or through one of our partners - Google Drive, DropBox, and Box. Since they’re all integrated, our experience in managing the task, collaborators and content is seamless.
 
We also manage our blog calendar and content directly in Wrike. For all written text, our writers type the content directly into a Wrike task, including text, links, images, related resources and other notes. Peer review simply means @mentioning fellow writers and requesting a review. 
 
Because Wrike saves all work automatically and timestamps every action, content changes can be seen using the Time Slider or via the "updated description" link in the comment stream. If needed, we can revert to a previous version of the text by simply dragging the slider backward.

4) Set Collaboration Workflows and Policies

 
Since Wrike is highly customizable, we set our workflows and policies to match what we actually do now (or would want to do in an ideal world). In other words, setting up our meetings and how we  communicate before and after can easily be structured and replicated in the tool. The process by which ideas are collected, approved, turned into content, reviewed and sent to design can be easily decided and implemented. 

5) Integrate External Parties Into Your Workflow

 
We marketers often need to work with agencies, contractors or consultants. You want them involved but you don’t want to give them the keys to the kingdom! I use Wrike to give limited access to outside parties for specific projects or tasks. 
 
Any user can invite a collaborator and set flexible access limits. This means we don’t have to work with third parties in a separate fashion (e.g. email) while we work with the team in another (e.g. Wrike). Another helpful feature is the ability to have contractors track their time in Wrike so you can see what they worked on and for how long. It allows them to track their total hours for billing purposes.

6) Run Weekly Meetings To Drive Progress

 
Weekly, daily or monthly meetings can be a pain when you depend on email and calendaring for managing things like: agenda, attendees, pre-work, past meeting history, post-meeting actions and more. Instead, we use a simple calendar invite, a meeting structure in Wrike (agenda, actions, etc.) a meeting tool (GoToMeeting, Join.Me, Skype), and a connected document repository (see above).
 
Don’t forget to create your agenda (people will be notified automatically) and to keep the meeting on point!

How Does Your Marketing Team Collaborate and Drive Progress?

 
That’s how I use collaboration tools to run the content marketing team at Wrike,  which includes people in three cities around the globe, plus multiple third parties. Centralizing means you always know where to go and you can spend less time looking for things and more time making progress. 
 
How do you manage your marketing team? What workflows or activities do you find the most challenging to control? Let us know in the comments!


Author Bio:
Tom Treanor is the Director of Content Marketing & Social Media at Wrike. He plays guitar out of the earshot of others - 70s classics and 80s alternative hits at the moment.



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