By Caroline Maurer published August 25, 2017

7 Best Practices (and Tools) for Managing Your Remote Content Team

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If your brand embraces the work-from-home culture, as 47% of working Americans say they do, a relatively modern challenge arises – how to manage your content team efficiently and effectively from wherever they are.

Even if your in-house content marketing team is office based, you likely are working with freelancers, agencies, or other teams within your company to execute the strategy.

Why not use the same networks that afford the virtual office to reap the benefits of remote teams, while still hitting deadlines, maintaining rapport, and feeling in control?

These seven tips and tools will help you create an effective remote team connection.

1. Establish a routine while staying flexible

One of the biggest opportunities remote work provides is improved efficiency. On average, employees working in the office lose six hours per day due to interruptions, unnecessary meetings, and other distractions.

While a remote team doesn’t mean the end to meetings and interruptions, it’s an opportunity to create a structure that forgoes overbooking and micromanaging.

A remote content team is a way to create structure that forgoes overbooking & micromanaging. @cmicontent Click To Tweet

Tool: Tools like Wizergos provide a digital workspace for your team to meet regularly and deliberately. You can send meeting invites, share tactics, collaborate on content, etc. Because the meeting process – agenda, follow-up, etc. – are tracked digitally, you can gain insights into which meetings might be eating up precious hours. It also allows employees to see when they don’t need to attend meetings that don’t concern them. That’s a huge win for everyone.

Tools like @wizergos provide a digital workspace for teams to meet regularly via @cmicontent. Click To Tweet

2. Set accountability standards

Most people view remote work as a privilege and do everything they can not to abuse it; then, there are those who don’t. To keep your team’s performance up to snuff, set deadlines, benchmarks, and other milestones.

Tool: Jell and related platforms allow you to set custom goals and metrics that correlate specific tasks to quantifiable results. You can also use Jell for daily stand-ups and content progress updates. The platform also makes it painfully clear which employees are going above and beyond or falling behind. You’ll be able to nip any potential problem before it spirals out of control. Or you’ll see how smoothly everything is going and be able to sit back and revel in your remote team’s ability to get it done.

3. Be transparent in management

As the manager of a remote content team, you need to know what your team is doing. But what about you? Your team benefits from knowing what you’re up to each day too.

Tool: Send daily status updates, email recaps, or create a Trello board to tell your team about your schedule. Include meetings, business development, analytics, and whatever else you have on the docket. When a team knows transparency is a two-way street, morale improves. A happy remote team that respects you as a leader is much easier to manage from afar.

4. Share a server

If everyone is using their own personal computers, logging in from Starbucks, and using who knows what internet connection, use a common server that’s protected and secure to store your content work.

Tool: Workfront and Google Drive are two helpful homes for secured shared content. Require all on your content team to create and use shared folders to store files in one safe place. If someone is offline, you won’t have an issue tracking down a piece of work.

Remote content teams should use a secured server to store work. @cmicontent @workfront @googledrive Click To Tweet

5. Stay in touch

When you’re not in an office, you lose the ability to swing by someone’s desk for a quick chat. That can be a time-saver. But sometimes you really need to know the answer to a question that second – not hours later when an email gets returned.

Tool: Slack is one communication tool that can help. This platform allows you to have private and public conversations with your team in real time through the chat feature – and your team can talk among themselves. Slack also offers video chat if you prefer to see your team face to face, which brings me to my next point …

6. Make time for face time

It’s easy to lose touch or fail to connect with your remote team if you never look them in the eye. To combat this, schedule one-on-one conversations through video conferencing tools. Just make sure to schedule these video meetings at least one day ahead so your team isn’t caught in pajamas!

If you’re feeling like your team feels distant or isolated, bring everyone together regularly for a virtual lunch. Make this a social hour where you catch up on things other than projects and to-do lists. That way, you’ll keep a friendly and personal dynamic on your team.

Bring your remote #content team together for a virtual lunch to help alleviate isolation via @cmicontent. Click To Tweet

Tool: Opt for a casual conversation by using your personal lines to Apple’s FaceTime. Use Google Hangouts or Skype for a more professional setting.

7. Get together

If your team is scattered all over the world, you probably can’t travel to a single site for a content marketing team meeting. However, if you’re in the same state or region, schedule time once per quarter for everyone to drive or fly to the office to spend time together. Better yet, get the most bang for your buck from your get-together by scheduling it around a conference. That way, you’ll have a few days to learn together as well as socialize in a fun location.

Managing a remote team is almost a mandate in today’s business world. By focusing deliberately on the unique opportunities and challenges of your content team, you can stay ahead of the curve and of your team’s needs and daily challenges to deliver an even more effective content marketing program.

How do you lead your remote content team? If you’re a remote content team member, what do you find are the best parts and the most challenging? Share in the comments.

Get your content team on the same page for learning. Ensure that all are signed up for CMI’s free daily newsletter with tips, trends, and insights for better content marketing. Subscribe today.

Cover image by Wilfred Iven, StockSnap

Please note:  All tools included in our blog posts are suggested by authors, not the CMI editorial team.  No one post can provide all relevant tools in the space. Feel free to include additional tools in the comments (from your company or ones that you have used).

Author: Caroline Maurer

Caroline Maurer is the co-founder and chief creative officer of Witty Kitty, a digital marketing and public relations agency based in Salt Lake City, Utah. She brings her creative lens and extensive copywriting background to her 100% women-owned business. 

Other posts by Caroline Maurer

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  • http://www.erikaheald.com/ Erika Heald

    There’s a lot of value in having a team Slack channel to both get work done and get to know your virtual colleagues. I also second the importance of virtual face-to-face time. Having video conference meetings not only helps you build team relationships, it helps you get over hating to watch yourself on video.

    • Caroline Maurer

      Face-to-face is definitely key and so easy to pull off thanks to new technology. Thanks for the comment and input, Erika.

  • Desktop Prose

    I find the best part of working remotely is the lack of distractions. As a writer, I look for inspiration to get started writing. Once I get “on a roll,” a nearby coworker with a loud voice making a phone call or an impromptu meeting within earshot of my desk is all it takes to derail my brain and stop my writing dead in its tracks. Getting back in the zone doesn’t always happen immediately after the distraction. It could easily take 15 to 20 minutes to get back on track. A few of those distractions a day and you can easily see a big drop in performance.

    • Caroline Maurer

      I couldn’t agree more. You’re right on the money about the time it takes to get back on track. There have been studies to confirm this! Thanks for the comment and read, Desktop Prose.