Editorial Efficiencies: Add Value, Not Work

December 20, 2013

By its very nature, editing requires a lot of back and forth. It’s a process and it involves multiple people, as well as multiple production steps. We’re all transitioning to digital workflows, to varying degrees, for the gift of greater efficiency: no editor will argue that electronic documents are not easier to share and edit than typing and editing on paper.   But how far along are we really in adopting a digital workflow to maximize efficiencies AND, most importantly, deliver compelling, useful, relevant and engaging content?

Consider the “Classic” Digital Editorial Workflow:

1)    Articles are written in Word documents

2)    They are then saved in folders on a desktop, or elsewhere on a hard drive

3)    They are transmitted via email attachments to and from various editors, contributors etc.

4)    Previous versions are named and saved, then managed with a series of folders

5)    The cycle of editing creates those versions (with all the changes tracked) as they go back and forth, back and forth, back and forth . . .through

  • Submission
  • Editing
  • Rewrites
  • Fact Checks
  • Copyedits
  • Proofreads
  • Design/addition of graphics and images

This process requires a lot of time and due diligence, to make sure everything is tracked and finalized. For newsletters, it can take 2-4 hours, sometimes as long as an entire workday, just to assemble articles, summaries, links, ads -- excluding the original drafting.

You’ve probably done this, numerous times. You know what it takes and you’ve probably tailored your workflow to make it as efficient as possible, but that doesn’t mean it’s not tedious at times.

Now, though, expectations are higher.  Readers demand not only quality content, but also contextually related resources, video, images, graphics, comments… all to enrich the experience of consuming content.  The quality of your content is rapidly becoming an essential part of defending your brand, making it imperative to overcome obstacles to innovation. We’re at a point where we’ve got to make the best use of available technology to stay relevant to our readers and ahead of our competition.

When you think about it in these terms, editorial efficiencies ARE a big deal, and are directly tied to your ability to increase readership and revenue.

There are a lot of advantages to working with an Enterprise Publishing System (EPS), to manage your workflow and bring together all of your editorial assets:

  • Digital workflow can match your “paper” workflow, all in one place.
  • Version control: writers, editors, fact-checkers – everyone in your editorial process – are viewing the same article, and you can see who made changes, and when.  If necessary, you can revert to previous versions of the same article without retrieving old word files.
  • No more management by email. You are all accessing content in a central place and interact in that place.
  • Enter content once to deliver it through multiple channels – web, mobile, tablet, RSS, Twitter.
  • And in whatever form: content easily integrates with newsletters and blogs, and you can manage user-generated content in the same system: comments, polls, galleries, listings.
  • Create relationships across all content and resources.  Related articles are a given; with an EPS, you can create semantic relationships between articles, blogs, products, events, ads – all to draw your reader deeper into your site and stay longer.
  • Publish WHEN you want: set post dates and eNews delivery dates to avoid being tied to your desk to meet editorial deadlines.
  • Publish from anywhere with Internet access – from the office, a conference, home, the beach….
  • You can work from anywhere with Internet access – from the office, a conference, home, the beach…. and publish in real-time with video, images and all required materials at your fingertips.

All of this boils down to saving time: Can you save a few minutes editing an article?  How about eliminating as many as 50 hours spent producing weekly newsletters? The hours it takes to organize, save, send, open, store and back up are reduced from dozens to just a few.  Think about how saving a few hours every day can open new opportunities.

And then, there are integrations . . .

The value of audience data is ever increasing. Stay tuned for more about how you can add value and monetize your content with “actionable” audience behavioral data.

One final word (until next time): Context

With more time and the added automation, an Enterprise Publishing System enables you to support contextual selling, which is known to increase traffic, pages-per-visit and ad values. Contextual relevance also reduces bounce rates and increases your lead conversions. You can use your publishing system to more easily differentiate your visitors from each other (first-time and returning) and employ the most appropriate content tactics for those individuals by sending them through the appropriate content funnel.

Even if an EPS wasn’t saving you time on your content management (and it will!), increasing this type of editorial efficiency is priceless.