This month, we celebrate the unglamorous realities of workflow that works. In our Feature, we share tips for building editorial calendars that connect all the dots. Our latest Question explains how to work the kinks out of reviews, revisions, and approvals. And in the new Case Study, we explain how our development team saved the Harvard Business Review’s editorial team countless hours. Throughout, we’re highlighting some of our favorite workflow tools for publishing teams.
Favorite Tools: Boomerang
When creating your edcal, set it up with fields that relate to each of its purposes:
While some publishing tools have built-in calendar functions, it’s better to keep content planning separate from publishing. This allows you to involve many stakeholders in your planning process while restricting access to publishing, reducing the likelihood of a publishing mishap. It also adds another layer of review, as the person who moves content from the editorial calendar into the publishing tool can give it one last review before scheduling or publishing it.
Ready to take your editorial calendar to the next level? Here are some how-to’s, tailored specifically to Google Drive:
Favorite Tools: Pomodoro Technique
Of course, you can adjust the timing in a way that makes sense to you. The point is to make it less scary to tackle a project you’re dreading or unsure how to start. Rather than saying that you’ll do the whole thing, you’re committing to spending 25 minutes figuring out your first steps and getting started. The built-in breaks ward off fatigue and help you feel like a respite is never too far away. You can set your own timer, or use Moosti, an in-browser Pomodoro timer with adjustable intervals.
It’s a good idea to include a checklist for writers to reference before sharing content for review. Content templates are useful as well. For each content type, create a document template with fields for every element you need (meta information, byline, image details, etc.), to ensure nothing is missing from each draft. The publishing tool GatherContent takes this a step further, making it simple to build templated forms for each content type.
Favorite Tools: GatherContent
We assign each page to the appropriate writer and reviewers, establish an approval workflow, and set due dates. As the content comes in and goes through approvals, we always know the status of each page. We can start getting finalized content up on the site while other pieces are still in progress, without any mixups.
HBR asked Voce Communications, a Porter Novelli company, to give the editorial team a simple way to publish content for digital channels. But they also wanted to keep their existing toolset, which meant connecting these two stand-alone systems.
Pulling from their extensive WordPress expertise, the Voce Platforms team mapped out an approach that would use WordPress as the go-between from one system to the other, converting material from the print production CMS to the web publishing CMS. The team built custom extensions to take the raw output from one system and convert it to a suitable form for WordPress to use and store. Next, the team developed an API allowing WordPress to convert that content into an XML format used by the front-end publishing system.
For more information about our team and approach, or to learn how we can help your organization with digital strategy, development and measurement, please visit the PNConnect site.
Mary Gaulke in Sarasota wrote this month’s Feature about building effective editorial calendars, and Chris Thilk in Chicago wrote our new Case Study on the Harvard Business Review. Tom Harris in Raleigh wrote this month’s Question on reviews and approvals.
Ervins Strauhmanis uploaded the cover photo to Flickr, Dominic Sayers uploaded the Welcome photo, Michael Coghlan uploaded the boomerang artwork photo, Michael Mayer uploaded the pomodoro timer photo, and Johann Dréo uploaded the paper pile photo.
Thanks to Mary Gaulke, Tom Harris, and Chris Thilk for editorial oversight.