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 and the tasks app to use them, 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:
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
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 right-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
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
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.
If you have been typically using Slack or email to collaborate, it might take some time to get into a new workflow.