One way to optimize content creation workflows is for writers to create in the CMS

Estimated read time: 4 minutes

Subscribe to Blog via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 71,361 other subscribers

Content creation workflows – sigh, there’s never enough time do to everything. The truth! But that’s partially the case because of outdated workflows.

  • Use a spreadsheet to track stories

  • Write in Word and email that back and forth / Or have a shared version, which is slightly better.
  • Then somebody copies and pastes from Word into the CMS

Any workflow that has manual copy and paste seems outdated to me.

This is not a new problem and in fact I worked in content marketing SaaS trying to solve this problem when I was VP of Content Marketing at Toronto-based ScribbleLive.

A version of the product we tried to bring to the Americas market is still being sold in Germany under the SCOMPLER brand.

Anyway, I moved from SaaS back into publishing and have plans to stay in that industry for a bit here.

Of course, publishers can only win by publishing content on a schedule and with content that is relevant to their audiences.

With an ever-growing demand of channels, volume and business needs workflows are always being – or should be – being tweaked to make things more efficient.

My educated fear is that this is not possible with a Word doc workflow as outlined above.

Yes, people will say copying and pasting doesn’t take long. But whether it takes long or not is irrelevant. It takes time that could be used elsewhere.

So here’s my solution: Content creators should just create (aka write) in the content management system (CMS).

So for example, on this blog I use WordPress. I write directly in it – close to 100 percent of the time.

The only times I don’t, that come to mind:

When I’m writing on a plane with no WiFi. Then I do write in Notepad and copy over. But I only do that because writing in the WordPress app without internet caused me to lose stories before.

The other scenario was when I have used a ghostwriter for a few articles. They interviewed me and then emailed me the article. Even in this scenario I could give them access to the WordPress backend as a contributor and they could submit it there.

When I write in WordPress, I write, add relevant links that I worked in within context.

There’s no reason writers can’t add their own links and I actually think they must for them to be contextual.

Add pictures.

Add headlines where I think they fit.

Anything else that is needed to get an optimized article out the door.

Now, should somebody edit? Yes, I’m a big proponent of two (2) edits of anything that goes out in a professional publishing environment.

You can setup workflows in WordPress and I led teams as far as a decade ago who did that.

Despite 1.3 million readers on here, I still see this just as my little blog where I share content things I find interesting and hardly ever get anything edited.

And sometimes mistakes make it out – like “writer’s ass” when I meant “writers as…” I don’t remember if the autocorrect actually had the apostrophe in there correctly.

no matter what platform you use make sure others can edit work in there.

There are things to consider and some CMS’ are better than others for this. I am a big WordPress fan and it’s probably one of the best ones to create content in.

Even when they launched the Gutenberg editor, which I find hard to use, I was easily able to use a plugin to stay with the classic editor.

Other CMS’ may not be that good and I know of some that make updates super hard.

I remember a decade ago when I had to ask a developer to make a small text change. Those were the old days but that’s not how we can run content machines and publishing today.

Content creators should spend most of their time thinking about what content to create next, talking to people in the industry and being out there.

The more time they have to worry about hard to use websites the more brain power is wasted.

Of course the copy and paste model is how it’s been done and I remember from over 10 years ago how that was accepted. (Today, some try to defend it.) The writers would then check the published version against what they wrote.

Who has the time? That may have made sense when systems were not yet optimized for content creators.

And keep in mind that time spend on any task has a cost associated with it. So when workflows can be optimized and cut down in a way that makes sense why not.

This seems like it could cut cost and also save writers some work.

And digital specialists can then take the content and distribute and promote it!

Don’t miss my new book

Move your content from happening to performing. The 2020 textbook: