editorial workflow

How to Develop an Editorial Workflow

Your staff is on point. Your technology is on point. So what’s stopping your digital magazine from entering the big leagues? Without the right editorial workflow in place, it’s almost impossible to find success in the highly-competitive online publishing industry.

An editorial workflow is a standardized plan for how a publication will create, review, edit, and publish content. Ideally, every member of the editorial team should be involved in the editorial workflow, from writers and editors, all the way to graphic designers, photographers, copy editors, and publishers.

Most editorial workflows follow this basic pattern:

Collecting information > writing content > editing content > revising content > designing content for the web > checking content for SEO > publishing content > promoting content

Of course, a single article could require multiple revisions. The specifics of a publication’s editorial workflow will also depend on the size of the staff and the size of the publication. For example, some online magazines require that articles are reviewed by multiple editors prior to publication, while writers at other outlets are encouraged to get content online as quickly as possible, even if that means bypassing the copy editing stage altogether.

Why Is an Editorial Workflow Important?

According to research from Publishing Executive, operational inefficiency is one of the biggest barriers to income generation for online publishers. By streamlining the process of creating, editing, and publishing content, publications can reduce operational inefficiencies and put themselves in a better position to realize financial success.

When an editorial workflow is setup correctly, it remains completely unseen in the background. Readers will never know the steps it took to get an article published. At some large national magazines, even publishers themselves don’t know all the steps that articles are required to go through before they’re published online or in print.

However, a publication that’s operating without an editorial workflow is essentially flying blind. Publishers without workflows in place are wasting valuable time. They’re also potentially losing out on advertising opportunities with brands, since the gridlock that comes from not having a workflow can cause time-sensitive campaigns to grind to a halt.

If your publication is frequently missing campaign deadlines, or if it seems like articles are taking too long to appear on your website, then you need to get an editorial workflow in place right away.

WordPress Plugins for Developing an Editorial Workflow

Because editorial workflows are utilized by so many publishers—and in a variety of other industries, as well—there’s no shortage of software for just this purpose. If your website runs on the WordPress platform, then adding a simple plugin might be all you need to start creating more efficiency at your publication.

Below, you’ll find a list of some of our favorite WordPress plugins for developing and managing an editorial workflow.

Edit Flow
The Edit Flow WordPress plugin gives publishers a way to collaborate with their teams from inside WordPress. Edit Flow is modular, which means it can be customized based on the needs of the publication. For example, digital magazines with comments can add comments review to their workflows. Edit Flow also allows for private discussions between writers and editors.

Oasis Workflow
Oasis Workflow was designed to automate editorial workflow processes. Using a drag-and-drop interface, users can assign, review, and publish articles. In addition to a visual workflow designer, Oasis Workflow offers role-based routing definitions that editors can use to assign tasks dynamically and an inbox where writers can view their current assignments and sign off on tasks once they’re complete.

PublishPress helps publishers get a clearer picture of all that they have planned. The WordPress plugin includes an editorial calendar, notifications to keep team members updated on where their articles are at in the editing process, and custom statuses that can be setup to show where content is in the publishing workflow. Editors can also leave feedback for their writers through PublishPress’ editorial comments tool.

Yoast SEO
Yoast SEO is the No. 1 WordPress SEO plugin. For publishers that want their stories to rank on Google, adding the Yoast SEO plugin can streamline the way editors work. Editors can optimize articles for SEO from within the WordPress platform, and they can ensure that articles are ranking for the right keywords.

Although CoSchedule was designed as an organizational tool for marketers, it works just as well for digital news publishers. The WordPress plugin includes a cross-functional calendar, a content organizer, an asset organizer, and a social organizer. It syncs WordPress posts, author, and category information without taking WordPress data out of WordPress.