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Published on March 29th, 2011 | by Rahel Bailie


Content Workflow Diagram

This week’s example of a content strategy deliverable is a content workflow diagram provided by Ingserv‘s Richard Ingram. This deliverable gets created when you’re determining the workflow for each type of communication piece. This particular example depicts a mid-to-large firm’s content workflow process for the publication of a new press release.

If the format looks familiar, it’s because in the vein of “great minds think alike”, Ann Rockley also uses swimlane diagrams, as shown in her book, Managing Enterprise Content. Richard has added a few extra extra components to provide clients with more context. Richard adds that “there’s nothing about the design process of these types of diagrams that I would consider complicated. Usually, once we’re all happy with what I’ve sketched on paper, I like to use’s Draw to rapidly sketch the final diagrams. With several diagrams of this type for any one project I even insist on using Draw’s gallery of preset shapes and icons. I save so much time doing it this way.”

As an aside, I’ve noticed that many organizations are averse to technology-assisted workflow. In fact, one CMS vendor told me that over 80% of customers never turn on the workflow module. Sometimes it’s because it’s “one-step workflow” – the communications person writes, edits, and uploads the content – and that’s fair enough. Other times, it’s resistance to change that holds an organization back. The manager wants to see a Word document, print it out, mark it up, and give it to the admin person who is tasked up the upload process. It works well – until there’s a problem and no one can establish the audit trail for the content. However, documenting workflow is quite useful for situations where content is componentized, re-used, is destined for multiple outputs, or has multiple touchpoints within an organzation.

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About the Author

Rahel Anne Bailie is a synthesizer of content strategy, requirements analysis, information architecture, and content management to increase the ROI of content. She has consulted for clients in a range of industries, and on several continents, whose aim is to better leverage their content as business assets. Founder of Intentional Design, she is now the Chief Knowledge Officer of London-based Scroll. She is a Fellow of the Society for Technical Communication, she has worked in the content business for over two decades. She is co-author of Content Strategy: Connecting the dots between business, brand, and benefits, and co-editor of The Language of Content Strategy, and is working on her third content strategy book,

4 Responses to Content Workflow Diagram

  1. Pingback: Are You Content Strategy Material? | MindTouch, Inc Blog

  2. cleve says:

    I love this Rahel. I’ve been struggling to express workflows in a meaningful way to our clients. These workflows need to be understood by marketers so need to be both visual and engaging, as well as clear and complete. I think the above does it.

    I think that every CMS project should document workflows to capture both the current and future author business tasks. After all, the CMS is there to make them more productive, and workflow is an excellent tool to demonstrate just that before we write a single line of code :)

    Thanks for surfacing the diagram :)

  3. Pingback: Content Workflow Diagram | Intentional Design Inc. | Workflow management  how to

  4. Leo says:

    Thank you so much for publishing this, it’s been a great help in helping my client with workflow in a new CMS.

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