I thought I'd change it up a bit by sharing with you my favourite tools from the Internet that help me create workflows for Narrativity & Co.
Why do you need SOPs?
It's important for businesses to have Standard Operating Procedures. These SOPs are workflows that are proven, repeatable and efficient. They ensure you get consistent results for the least amount of effort. The alternative is being frazzled, overwhelmed and all over the place when you carry out a task.
When you don't have a solid plan for key aspects of your biz, you run the risk of making mistakes and turning customers away. It's very bad branding.
To scale up your business (more products, bigger premises, more employees), all the neat tricks that you've learned all this while should be written down. I'll show you an example of the workflow I use for article writing for NC.
- Decide on a category: branding, design, content marketing and productivity.
- Brainstorm on a topic or choose one topic from my collection of article ideas.
- Choose one component of the article that I want to focus on: who, what, when, why, where and how.
- Brainstorm at least 3 headline ideas, with help from the Headline Analyzer (which will be explained below)
- Duplicate a blog outline that I have on my Evernote and save it with the chosen headline.
- Write down points into the blog outline in Evernote.
- Ask and answer the 5W1H questions for every point to make it clearer to the reader.
- Create a header on Adobe Illustrator using a header template that I've prepared from the beginning.
- Explain the big idea by elaborating further on each point.
- Plan and design article graphics with reference to the article on Adobe Illustrator.
- Upload the header, article and graphics on to the website.
- Make the necessary formatting to the article.
- Publish the article.
- Create a square version of the header for Instagram and the archives using a previously prepared template.
- Update the archives and Instagram page.
- Update NC Instagram with the square photo with a Call to Action (CTA) of telling people to read the article on the website.
- Monitor site traffic using Google Analytics.
(Note: It's possible to have more SOPs for steps inside your SOP! I have more detailed workflows for brainstorming topics, writing down points and formatting the article. The SOP you see here can be described as a 'general' SOP)
This is the my SOP for blog-writing so far and it works! I never rule out the possibility of making more changes to this SOP because I would love to improve the quality while reducing the time it takes to prepare each blog post.
SOPs are no fun!
Does it stifle my creativity when I adhere to this SOP? NOPE. On the contrary, I find that when I am being consistent, it's easy for my brand voice and personality to shine through. The consistency creates a sense of familiarity for NC readers.
This SOP and others are born out of trial and error. Don't aim to create a perfect SOP right off the bat. You have to be flexible and adjust your process whenever something doesn't work. That way, your output will just keep getting better and better.
That said, a quicker route to a good SOP is by studying existing tools on the market and adapting their features to your own circumstances. These tools are usually developed to streamline or handle certain steps of SOPs (and cost money).
Most times, I opt for the free versions and play around with them to get a sense of how they can save time or make the work easier. I then recreate the flow using other free apps or softwares.
my 3 tools for creating sops
Here's the three tools that I've found to be exceptionally helpful so far:
CoSchedule is a WordPress plugin that handles the editorial calendar for blogging, social media scheduling, and workflow management. Everything you need to run a successful blog in one place. Usually utilized by marketing and editorial teams of big blogs and companies.
What I learned: How to break down writing a great article into small and manageable tasks.
Besides the plugin, they came up with a (free) nifty little tool that assesses your headline ideas and gives you a score out of 100. It'll also give you suggestions to make your headlines better, like reducing the word count or adding a positive-emotion word. (Choosing headlines is a very, very serious business for bloggers and content marketers)
What I learned: The components that make a headline (or title) truly clickworthy.
Calendly is a tool that helps you schedule events with other people. Face-to-face meetings, phone calls and more event types can be 'booked' by viewing your calendar and selecting a time and date. This means you don't have to communicate back and forth to see when both parties are free. The calendar will only show the other party your free times and dates, so they will just need to choose one and that'll be in both your calendars!
What I learned: An uncomplicated and streamlined way of liaising with clients.
There are other tools that I use to make the work easier, but these are the ones that have made the most impact. I hope they'll help you out as much as they do for me!
In the next email, we'll be picking up where we left off: More Trust, More Sales. (Part 3)