Reading

How an agency uses GatherContent to create a unified authoring experience for their projects

by , Marketing Manager, GatherContent

PaperStreet is an award winning Florida-based internet marketing company for lawyers. For more than 15 years the team of designers, developers and writers at PaperStreet have helped more than 1,000 clients worldwide improve their online web presence. We spoke to their content manager, Allison Gagliardi, to discover the main areas of success they’ve had with GatherContent:

Shifting from Word to GatherContent to improve the content production process

Collaborating on content is challenging, especially if that content is provided in multiple documents with out-of-control versioning and incorrect formatting. Unfortunately, the pains of using Word for content production were all too real for the team at PaperStreet.

Before GatherContent, they asked clients to complete a “Master Content File,” which was a gigantic Microsoft Word document with page breaks. By their own admission it was a mess and usually the reason for multiple headaches and a lot of complaining.

“Before GatherContent the process was a mess and the reason for multiple headaches and lots of complaining.”

They were spending far too much time reviewing a 300 page Microsoft Word document with content copied in from various sources on the web. The formatting was all over the place, nothing was consistent and it took a great deal of time to determine what was missing.

When PaperStreet turned to GatherContent, their main goal was to improve the method of gathering and organising the content. They now have 35 active projects assigned to more than 55 clients and the biggest project in GatherContent launched in April 2016. It was a custom web design project for a personal injury lawyer in New York. The project had 269 pages in GatherContent. The site architecture was complex, with layers going 4 tiers deep. Imagine managing that using Word documents and email.

Using GatherContent for effective content collaboration

PaperStreet recently used GatherContent for their own website redesign project, and regularly uses the platform as part of their process with clients. It’s a staple of their workflow and essential for getting people to work together on content across different teams.

The creative and content teams use GatherContent most frequently, but the developers and quality assurance specialist also oversee the migration of content from GatherContent to the Content Management System (CMS). Here’s a rundown of how GatherContent is used by different project stakeholders:

The Content Manager uses GatherContent every day to monitor deadlines, adjust the templates, introduce clients to the system, and troubleshoot as needed.

The templates allow the leads from each team to share comments about the visual layout.

The creative team references GatherContent before, after and during the creative planning process. They analyse the type, style and length of content the client has provided so they can incorporate everything into the new design/brand.

When the content and design are complete the developers migrate the content to the CMS in conjunction with coding the new website.

The Quality Assurance Specialist then reviews the final website against the original content in GatherContent to ensure there are no errors. Things like broken links, headers that are not properly labeled etc are all corrected at this stage.

“There is never a doubt regarding what content is final or still in progress. The design team uses the finalized content to create the new brand or website.”

Allison Gagliardi Content Manager

Getting clients onboard and managing expectations

As an agency, PaperStreet needs to ensure that their clients are onboard with using GatherContent, as well as their internal team.

When they started using GatherContent the biggest concern was that they would get a lot of push back from clients. Understandably, they weren’t sure how they would react to having to learn a new platform. Yet, it turned out to be a non-issue. They haven’t had a single client complain about using the platform.

“There has been no push back for using GatherContent. We haven’t had a single client complain about using the platform.”

This is due to the PaperStreet team successfully managing expectations and embedding GatherContent into their process and workflow. There is information about GatherContent in their proposals, contracts and it is discussed in every Kick-Off Meeting. They have also set up a demo project so clients can use the interface during the sales process, if requested.

Thanks to PaperStreet taking the time to educate their clients about GatherContent, they understand from the get-go that GatherContent will make their lives easier and will help keep the project on track. The result of everyone working in the same place on content, from the client side and within PaperStreet, is a unified authoring experience. This puts content at the heart of every stage of the project process.

Defining a workflow to manage responsibilities and keep projects moving

Defining a workflow is essential for managing responsibilities, surfacing bottlenecks and ensuring content (and the entire project) keeps moving in the right direction.

PaperStreet use the same workflow for every project. This makes it even easier to setup projects as they have a template project that can be duplicated, which has the same colours for each workflow status.

Their 6 stage typical project process makes use of many of GatherContent’s core functions, and once again outlines how successful collaboration has allowed them to become a content-first agency:

  1. When the site architecture is approved the project is created, which includes making the pages, applying the base templates and labelling pages with appropriate status colours
  2. A welcome email is sent to the client with basic uploading instructions and a link to the project
  3. A telephone conference with the client takes place to review their task list and deadline. They also use this time to explain how to operate the basic functions of GatherContent like adding a link, changing the status of a page, leaving a note, applying headers, and changing the name of a page
  4. The client populates GatherContent (hopefully by their deadline)
  5. The Content Manager reviews the content the client submitted in GatherContent and completes an audit against the new design concepts, adjusting the templates as needed
  6. The client approves the content

At this stage the development team and Quality Assurance Specialist get involved to migrate the content to the chosen CMS.

As well as defining the workflow in GatherContent to stay on top of what stage each piece of content was at, GatherContent also provides a project-wide overview of all of the content, visualised in a way that made it easy for the team to understand how the project was progressing.

The workflow that PaperStreet uses for all of their projects allows the team to quickly identify outstanding tasks

“Onboarding clients to GatherContent has been a breeze. We set expectations from the beginning and mention GatherContent throughout the entire project proposal and kick-off process.We have not had a single client complain about using the platform.”

Allison Gagliardi Content Manager

A more efficient (and time saving) migration process

PaperStreet migrates the final content directly from GatherContent to the CMS, using the GatherContent API.

The ability to migrate the content automatically means they no longer need to manually copy and paste content and the result of this has been saving more than 8 hours of development time. Saving time means saving money because their projects move faster.

“The ability to migrate the content automatically means they no longer need to manually copy and paste content and the result of this has been saving more than 8 hours of development time.”

Another benefit experienced from this process is that the initial testing link is cleaner. Their old method of gathering content left a lot to the developers to figure out. By amending templates to match the new design concepts there is no more questioning what goes where and as a result, the initial testing link has less issues.

By ensuring GatherContent is a staple part of their website project process and communicating this to clients from the beginning, the team at PaperStreet has created and continues to manage an effective collaborative environment for both their clients and their own team to work. GatherContent is driving efficiency and this has resulted in clear savings, both in terms of time and money.

About the Author

Marketing Manager, GatherContent

Becky is a Marketing Manager at GatherContent. She is a business studies graduate and has previously worked in digital marketing roles in both London and Aberdeen based agencies.

We've just launched our new book, Collaborate: Bring people together around digital projects 🎉 Download free

FREE 5 DAY EMAIL COURSE

Learn how to design a content production planning workshop

Pop in your details and we'll email you a class each day for the next 5 days.

Weekly newsletter

If you would like some content strategy goodness once or twice per week join up!

Great, welcome aboard!

That’s it! You’re signed up to our mailing list and can expect content strategy goodness in your inbox soon.