If you are one of the many bloggers and business owners who constantly looking for more ways to be efficient, then you are in for a treat.
I own and manage numerous multi-author blogs including WPBeginner, the largest free WordPress resource site. Through the years of experience, I have signifincalty streamlined my editorial workflow which allows me to focus my time on growing my business.
The key to streamlining any process starts with organization. You cannot be efficient until you are organized. Often when I ask bloggers about their workflow, I’m surprised to hear that most don’t have one.
Let’s start by creating an editorial workflow.
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Creating an Editorial Workflow
On my blogs, I use a plugin called Edit Flow to create a 5-step workflow process. My workflow stages look like this:
- Idea – All post ideas start in this stage, so I don’t forget anything.
- Assigned – Posts ideas that are assigned to specific authors go in this stage.
- In Progress – When author is ready to work on an assigned post, then they put it in this category, so I know what is being worked on.
- Pending Review – Once the author completes the assignment, then they submit it for review.
- Ready to Publish – Once I or another editor reviews the post, then it goes in this stage.
You can add your own stages in the Edit Flow plugin by using the Custom Statuses feature. Often people mistake this plugin as something for multi-author blogs. It is not. I use it on my personal blog as well. I just modify the stages by getting rid of assigned, and pending review.
By defining these stages, you know exactly where you stand in terms of progress. It also adds structure for your team to follow thus making the whole process more organized.
Over the years, I have noticed that poor communciation can be a major productivity drain. In the beginning, like most folks I used email to communicate with my authors. That was a mistake because email threads have a tendency to get long and off-topic very quickly.
To keep things organized, I established two sets of communication methods.
This was to improve the communication between editors and authors by centralizing everything. Edit flow plugin came to rescue again because it allows for editorial comments and notification right within the WordPress dashboard.
The comment style design keeps me from going through the long email threads. This allowed authors and editors to communicate right from the WordPress dashboard to get the article done as fast as possible. It also allowed me to go back and visit the conversation around each post if I wanted to see why a specific decision was made.
This is where we create a centralized group where we can communicate about tasks other than blog posts. I used the P2 theme from WordPress and simply created a password protected section. I did this because it’s easy and free.
There are tons of other project management solutions out there, so you can theoretically use any of them for this.
Adding a Visual Overview
You simply cannot continue to improve your process if there is no visual overview of schedule and deadlines.
This is when an Editorial Calendar can be handy. Edit Flow has a calendar option, or you can also use the Editorial Calendar plugin. This allowed me to see where we stand in terms of our progress. Which author is working on what post, which post are scheduled to be published etc.
If you use the Editorial Metadata feature of the Edit flow plugin, then you can add deadlines, first draft dates etc. This can be really helpful for each author to see on the calendar, so they can prioritize each item.
Fine-Tuning and Management
Now that we have covered the important parts of editorial workflow, there are various other tools that I use to help me fine-tune the process.
Let’s start with the publishing schedule.
- Schedule Posts – WordPress comes with a very neat schedule post feature that allows you to schedule your articles to be published at a later date. This allows me to be consistent with my publishing schedule even when I’m traveling to differnet timezones. Consistency is important because your audience expects you to publish at a certain time.
- Link Management – One of the ways we monetize our sites is through affiliate marketing. I use a plugin called Thirsty Affiliates to manage all of our sponsor/external links. While the base plugin is free, there is a paid add-on that allows you to auto-link certain keywords which can help save time.
- Content Audit – One of my goals for WPBeginner is to keep it as accurate and as relevant as possible. This is why we go back and edit old articles. To have a proper content auditing process, I use a plugin called Content Audit. To make the revision process easier, I use a plugin called Revisionary which allows for moderated editing of published post content.
Time is clearly our biggest asset, and using it efficiently can significantly catalyze the growth of your business. The above process has helped me streamline my WordPress editorial workflow and has allowed me to stay ahead of schedule.
On one of my multi-author blogs, List25, we have 180 posts ready to publish. That is 2 months of content granted that we publish 3 posts every day.
Guest author: Syed Balkhi is an entrepreneur and a public speaker. He is the founder of WPBeginner and List25 sites that have been featured on NYTimes, Mashable, Huffington Post, Business Insider and TechCrunch. You can contact him on Twitter, Facebook or Google Plus
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