It’s been an exciting ride since we decided to overhaul our blog, with plenty of ups and downs along the way. We’ve done our best to document this journey in posts about keywords, our brand of storytelling, the need for a hero, and our editorial checklist. All of our decisions and experiences along the way helped us refine this process, especially when it comes to our content calendar. This entire process takes place in ActiveCollab, so everything is communicated and decided there.
It all begins with a time-honored journalistic tradition - the idea pitch. Everyone has stories they yearn to tell, so members of the team present their ideas and write a short description - explaining why the concept is worthy of being expanded into an entire blog post. We discuss the pros and cons, with a particular focus on what our readers can get out of such an article - it needs to be both informative and useful. If the idea satisfies our “Is your story good enough?” criteria, we move it to the Editorial section.
After the pitch is successful, we see what the appropriate time slot to publish it would be. It can’t be the same author two weeks in a row - having them write too often could put a strain on their regular workload. The task is assigned a due date and an assignee - the person who’s in charge of delivering the initial draft.
A week before the article is scheduled to be published, the Editor moves the task to the In Progress section, which notifies the assignee that the deadline is approaching. If, for some reason, the writer can’t meet the deadline, the Editor jumps in to help out - maybe by pushing the date, or by splitting the article into two smaller ones, with the second one slated to be released at a later date.
When the draft is delivered, the Editor gets to proofread the entire thing, break it down into little pieces, and reassemble it into something slightly more pleasant to read - all the while simultaneously praising and cursing the English language for its beautiful, yet often frustrating, rules and structure. This also involves several rounds of back-and-forth between the Editor and the writer, to make sure that the article is as good (and on point) as it can be - particularly when it comes to storytelling.
The next step is to order the illustrations from our designer, and take relevant pictures or screenshots. This is a separate process in itself, and follows similar rules - first, the idea for the illustration is described, and the designer assesses its feasibility and offers a better suggestion if it is not. Naturally, when it comes to art and design, the designer intuitively understands what works and what doesn’t, and will call attention to elements that won’t work. Then, the designer shows the first version of the design, which can often go through several iterations until it’s just right.
The Final Touches
ActiveCollab is a tool for collaboration, and we adore the advantages synergetic teamwork can bring to any activity - including our blog. Everyone on the content team is encouraged to read the article before it gets published and say what they really think about it. If a team functions well together, criticism is seen as a means of bettering your work, and not as a personal attack meant to hurt your feelings. Having a few extra pairs of eyes go through your work is always welcome, and their insights and suggestions can prove invaluable - catching mistakes and oversights you may otherwise miss, or pointing out parts that can be improved.
When the article is complete, we publish it on our blog and send it out to our readers via newsletter. Then we sit back to take a moment and appreciate all the effort and hard work that goes into creating every single piece of content we put out.