Tasks and comments supercharge your content approval workflow

Picture this: your company has been working on a big launch for weeks, or possibly months. You publish the big release blog post and see it pop up on Facebook, LinkedIn and elsewhere. An hour goes past, and you get the dreaded notification from a reader: there’s a glaring typo in your first sentence.

While one horrible typo won’t cause your company’s downfall, it’s certainly enough to annoy any conscientious writer. There is also something to be said for consistent, good-quality content. It strengthens your brand and makes you appear credible and trustworthy. 

Humans are fallible and getting a piece of work from a draft to published can be a bumpy road. When content passes through so many hands, it leaves room for mistakes. Edits and reviews can slip through the cracks. It’s easy to make assumptions about who has done what. 

It’s these kinds of annoying mistakes that we want to avoid with implementing easy and intuitive checks. By using Contentful's features like tasks, comments and scheduled publishing, you can set up an editorial workflow that makes certain only approved content is published. You'll need an enterprise account to use tasks, but everyone has access to comments and scheduled publishing!   

By reading this guide, you will learn how to:

  • Set up a simple workflow with tasks 

  • Collaborate on content with comments 

  • Schedule content for a specific date 

Setting up your editorial workflow with tasks and comments 

For a small team of three, your workflow might look like this: 

Image depicting a workflow with only an Author, Editor and Legal representative present in the team

A creator drafts a piece of content and gives it to the editor. The editor gets back to the author with some changes, which the author makes. Once it’s ready, the editor sends the content to legal for a tick of approval, and then to a designer to create supporting images or diagrams. The editor will do one final check and hit publish.   

Things get a lot more complicated when you’re working with hundreds of pieces of content and a bigger team. Tasks and comments help solve this problem. These two editorial workflow tools enable you to keep track of your tasks and communicate efficiently with your team.  

Tasks: Your Contentful to-do list 

Gif of how to pubish content on Contentful

Tasks are your team’s to-do list. You can create tasks for each entry in Contentful, and the entry can’t be published until you’ve completed all of the tasks. You can assign tasks to different people, and they will receive a notification in their email. When they have done the task, the person who assigned it gets a notification.  For the above editorial workflow, you might create the following tasks: 

  • Review content - assigned to the editor 

  • Make changes - assigned to author 

  • Legal to review - assigned to legal  

  • Create images - assigned to designer 

  • Final copy check - assigned to editor 

Tasks are an excellent fail-safe against content being published when it is incomplete or hasn’t gone through the necessary checks. For a team with remote members, this is an excellent way to assign smaller jobs  –– no need to jump on a call or send an email. 

How to create a new task: 

  • Tasks are found in your left-hand sidebar. 

  • Click Create new task  

  • Enter your task 

  • Select a user to assign the task to from the drop-down menu 

  • Click the blue Create task button to finish 

The task is listed in the Tasks section of the sidebar. You won’t be able to publish the entry with tasks pending. 

Comments: Collaboration where you need it 

Picture depicting How to look at comments in Contentful

You can collaborate with others on your Contentful entry by using the comments feature. Comments allow you to elaborate on assigned tasks, keep conversations right where you need them, and update an entry’s status. Instead of having your conversations scattered through email, Slack and in-person, they’re attached to the entry. 

Some uses for comments include: 

  • The status of the entry such as Needs Review or Ready to Publish 

  • The date it is due to be reviewed or published 

  • Overall feedback on the entry (This is great!

  • Elaborating on assigned tasks 

  • To communicate with your collaborators 

  • Notes for remote team workers 

  • Ideas for a designer or illustrator, such as what might make a good supporting image   

Putting tasks and comments together for your editorial workflow  

Here’s an example of how you can amend the workflow above with tasks and comments. This workflow means taking the piece from draft stage to completion without a single email or message.  

A creator drafts a piece of content and assigns a task to the editor for a review. The editor reviews the piece, completes the assigned task, and leaves a comment with a few edits. The creator makes the changes and assigns tasks to legal, the editor, and a designer to finish off the piece. The editor publishes or schedules the piece once all tasks are resolved. 

Extra step: Use Jira to step it up 

Add another layer of collaboration with the Jira app. The Jira app in Contentful gives you an overview of the tickets attached to content entries, reporters or assignees. You can see both open and resolved tickets in the sidebar. Jira can be a great way to keep track of the bigger picture, while comments can steer you to smaller issues within the content. 

Pros and cons of this content approval workflow 

Pros: 

  • You and your team can keep track of a piece of content through all of its stages. 

  • Content can’t fall through the cracks. All of your tasks need to be finished, or else publishing is blocked. 

  • The workflow suits editorial teams of all sizes. There is no limit to the number of tasks and comments on an entry. 

  • It’s perfect for working with freelancers, remote workers, and agile teams. There is no need to send an email or a message explaining the task. 

  • You will receive a notification via email if you have a task assigned. This is perfect for team members who  don’t log into Contentful every day. 

  • There are so many ways you can use comments to collaborate with your team. 

Cons: 

  • If you have been typically using Slack or email to collaborate, it might take some time to get into a new workflow. 

For more information on content operations for editorial teams, you can download our whitepaper here. Are you interested in learning more about tasks, comments, and scheduled publishing? Click here. 

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