We’ve previously written about how Notion helps us to run GoSquared and manage our work. It’s such an important tool for our team that we want to keep sharing!
Content marketing has become a hugely important strategy for many businesses, especially in SaaS, but creating and managing content is a big undertaking for any team.
Our content team works almost entirely in Notion – here’s how we do it.
If you use Notion, or fancy giving it a go, you can grab our content management templates for free.
Why we create and manage our content in Notion
It’s a great place to write.
We mentioned this in our post about how we use Notion as a team because it’s not just writers and content creators who like the clean lines and easy UX of Notion.
When you’re writing, distraction is the enemy. For idea generation spending some time on the internet or talking to people over Slack can be great, but when it comes down to getting words on the page, every notification or interesting article pulls you away from your flow and can stilt your writing.
Notion is perfect for this. You can go full-screen with your page, pick between three fonts, and get writing.
Pro tip: set yourself to do not disturb in Slack with a note of ‘deep work’ or ‘writing’ so that others know that you won’t be replying in the next hour.
It’s easy to collaborate.
Every member of the GoSquared team writes content. We think it’s really important that the experts on a subject write about that subject, and our team enjoy challenging themselves to step outside of their usual workflow and get their hands on the Blog.
Our team are used to working in Notion, so why would we complicate matters by taking them elsewhere to create content?
On top of this, it’s really easy for us to collaborate on a page to edit, give ideas, comments, and watch the progress of an article.
It’s important to keep organised and stay visible.
Your content should be a symbiotic part of your marketing. It’s where you get to explain your vision, educate and inspire your customers, and share your point of view. This is why it’s so important to us that everyone on the team can view what’s going on with our content.
Because of the wide-reaching topics content covers it’s critical for the plans and upcoming posts to be accessible to everyone. We’ve found that a simple calendar is the best way to do this, and with the ability in Notion to add pages directly to days of the week, we can keep our full content schedule – with posts and images – in the calendar for easy access.
With the visibility of our calendar in Notion we avoid overlapping posts, slow periods without any new content, and get the benefit of feedback and comments from the wider team.
The elements of a content calendar
We look at our calendar in the ‘Publishing Date’ view as the default, but you can easily switch to ‘Written By’ or ‘Images By’ views to see when the deadlines are to get the post out on time.
What’s brilliant about a Notion Database is how easy it is to rearrange. Things change all the time, and whilst we stick to a regular rhythm of producing content and try to plan weeks if not months ahead, sometimes an idea strikes in the right moment, and it’s important to get out that post at that time. This ability for your content and marketing teams to react to what’s going on is backed up by cultural marketing theories.
Our tips for creating and running a great content calendar
Mix things up.
Try, as much as you can, to get a variety of topics and formats into your content calendar. Don’t go wildly off-topic, but if someone in your team is passionate about writing a particular piece that isn’t quite what you’d usually do – let them. Experiment and test your content in the same way you test the rest of your marketing. If nothing else, you’ll learn a lot from the data.
Stay on top of your admin.
Once a week, go through the calendar and make sure everything is in the right place and has the right tags. It can be useful to schedule a weekly ‘Content Sync’ with your team so that you have a deadline to do this. This keeps you organised and stops you from getting lost in the busyness of the work.
Be really clear on responsibilities.
Know who is responsible for each stage of content production and made sure they have a clear deadline and spec. The best way to miss deadlines is to be unclear about who needs to do what. Luckily, in Notion you can assign responsibility to team members right there on the page.
Know your timings.
Do you know how long it takes you to get a post from idea to publication? Make sure you include the time it takes to get the imagery made, the post uploaded, and don’t forget the distribution timeline. This timeline becomes a guide for your content production to get
Keep a list of ideas.
Every time you, or anyone on your team, comes up with a good idea for a post or a topic you’d like to get into more – write it down. Let’s say that again. Write it down. Ideas can be slippery things, and unless you’ve got a single space to keep track of them, they can get lost. At this stage, remember that no idea is a bad idea; it’s a seed waiting to be explored further during the planning process. So, whatever it is, write it down.
Collaborate on content distribution.
Create a selection of images, short copy, and assets to share on social media platforms and in newsletters. It’s always worth reaching out to your favourite newsletters and asking them if they would consider sharing a (relevant!) post. Building up this network of contacts in your field can really help to get your content in front of new eyes. If your team use their social media platforms professionally, it can be great for the author of the post to share it out to their audience.
Put one person in charge.
Having more than one person managing the content calendar is a recipe for missed posts and doubled up work. This doesn’t mean you have to do everything by yourself, but it does mean that there is one person who oversees, plans and organises the content schedule to make sure it stays in line with the strategy and posting output.
Make your tags work for you.
We use tags that suit our calendar and the way that we work. Maybe your content team is a single person. Maybe you’ve got a split of full-time and freelancers. Maybe it’s all in-house. Whatever your unique situation is make sure you consider how it impacts the workflow and set it up to work for you, never the other way around.
Your content calendar isn’t carved in stone (if it is, we highly recommend moving over to using Notion).
Your content calendar isn’t carved in stone (if it is, we highly recommend moving over to using Notion). Being able to move deadlines and publishing schedules with a simple drag-and-drop is a vital function of our content calendar because things change! Business priorities change, marketing experiments change, offers and products change. Yes, the majority of your content should be evergreen, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t be deliberate about the time you release certain pieces. Don’t force yourself to stick to the calendar if a different timeline makes more sense.
Other tools and resources we use and love
Grammarly acts as a final proofread for our content, before anything goes up onto the site it’s run through the Grammarly editor. It’s hard to catch every typo or misphrase, particularly when you are editing work you’ve written yourself, so Grammarly helps us with that extra check at the end.
Putting everything through the Grammarly check helps us to check for consistencies in spelling (US vs UK), grammar, and it usefully highlights where you’ve used the passive tense or written too wordy a sentence – which makes your writing less engaging to read.
SEO is a big part of content marketing. You want to be sure that you are making high-quality, relevant content that your audience and customers are searching for, and you want your website to climb up the search engine rankings towards that coveted top spot.
Great Blogs about content marketing
Here are a few of our go-to blogs and resources about how to get content marketing right: