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How an in-house content team uses GatherContent for the ongoing production and management of editorial content.

SurveyGizmo is a software company based in Boulder, Colorado in the United States, founded in 2006. The company provides online survey software.

Their goal of their sister site, MarketerGizmo is to provide marketing tools and information that allow marketers to become more agile, increase their marketing intelligence, and empower them to excel professionally.

Overview

Main areas of success with GatherContent:

  • Content planning and production across two publishing platforms
  • Content production and workflow for blog posts, landing page copy, emails, eBooks, white papers and one sheets
  • Planning and managing their editorial schedule using GatherContent as a calendar and central content repository

Using GatherContent to scale up the content production process

When creating content for different formats, with several people involved in the process, it can be hard to ensure consistency and hit all of the content deadlines.

As the team at SurveyGizmo and MarketerGizmo grew, they realised that their existing process for planning, producing and managing content wasn’t scalable. They needed something that the team could all access. By their own admission it was very obvious, very quickly that managing the work of multiple contributors across two domains demanded a more sophisticated solution.

After originally searching online for editorial calendars, the Content Manager found GatherContent and realised it could also be used to create their content too. This was perfect because it wasn’t just writing that they now had to track, it was also requesting and providing edits.

Multiple people producing different content formats in GatherContent

There are several people across the team that use GatherContent during the content workflow:

  • Content Manager
  • Content Marketer
  • Web Developers
  • Video Marketer
  • Email Campaigns Manager

In order to keep momentum throughout the process, different people need to know as and when they need to get involved. GatherContent’s workflow allows notifications to be sent to users when the status of an Item is updated. For example, when the content has been approved and is ready to be published, the developers are notified so they know they can publish the content. When the content is in a state ready for the video marketer to start their video production, they too are notified at the relevant interval.

“Notifying different people at each stage of the workflow in GatherContent keeps project up the project momentum.”

The main content format that GatherContent is used for is for blog articles for both the SurveyGizmo and MarketerGizmo sites. Other content produced within GatherContent includes:

  • Copy for landing pages
  • eBooks
  • White papers
  • One sheets
  • Emails (written by Emails Campaign Manager when editorial approval is needed)

A typical process for planning and producing their blog content starts with a meeting to discuss the editorial calendar. Content is assigned to various members of the team and then it is passed through a workflow that is outlined in GatherContent.

First drafts are set to be reviewed which alerts the next person in the workflow that they can now go and edit/review/approve the content as needed. The Content Marketer, Liz Millikin, told us that the comments feature of GatherContent allows for an increase in editorial efficiency because it makes editing and reviewing content much easier. They also use the notifications as content passes through their workflow which in turn declutters their inboxes. The team choose when to send notifications, ensuring the most important of notes get immediate attention.

After final review, the content is marked as approved and ready to be published. An additional workflow status has also been included, ‘ready for video.’ This is when the videographer knows he can use the content in GatherContent for his video production.

The last stage of the workflow is ‘published.’ When content is marked as published, the team know it is live and finished with.

“When we started using GatherContent, it worked right out of the box for the process we were looking to adopt. And, we were able to get leadership on board with the new system quickly and easily, too.”

Liz Millikin Content Marketer

Waving goodbye to content pains and welcoming a new stress-free process

The team have been using GatherContent for 6 months. Prior to this the process involved a whiteboard and calendar using Google Docs. They couldn’t share edits easily so there were far too many emails being sent back and forth which made collaboration difficult. They also experienced formatting issues when pasting content from Google Docs to WordPress, so even once content was approved, they were still experiencing difficulties in getting it ready for publishing.

As part of the new process, the team are able to guide their authors more effectively by making use of the guidelines function within GatherContent. Within each field of your GatherContent Templates, you can apply guidelines such so that writers are clear on what is required. Beyond descriptive guidelines, you can also set word counts within your Templates – this has been really helpful to the team for the eBooks and one sheets which are strict limits on content.

“The team are able to guide their authors more effectively by making use of the guidelines function within GatherContent.”

The word limit option is also used for meta data on separate tabs within GatherContent. This means they are able to provide the right content in the correct format. This isn’t the only instance of the forward-thinking approach to content that GatherContent facilitates.

The team can define their content Templates in GatherContent so the content is structured in a way that makes it ready to be mapped to the CMS. Templates are compromised of different content sections. They also add supporting images. This includes a screenshot of the HTML code which is added to the related content Item so the developers know exactly how the content should look when published. Another way GatherContent is used for effective collaboration across the different teams and roles!

“The team can define their content Templates in GatherContent so the content is structured in a way that makes it ready to be mapped to the CMS.”

Using GatherContent to manage an ever-growing content backlog

Content is planned and produced in GatherContent two weeks in advance of when it is published. With a publishing frequency of 4 times a week (two blog posts on both platforms), plus the other content being written in GatherContent, it could quickly become a huge repository of content.

In order to keep on top of this and to make sure GatherContent is as relevant as possible, the team regularly export everything from GatherContent to Word docs or PDFs and store that locally, as well as within the archived Items area in GatherContent. They tend to archive the previous 6 to 8 weeks worth of content.

This means the content in GatherContent is what the team need to be focused on. There is no time wasted looking for the content they need, but it also ensures all of the content is kept in one central place.

“Managing workflow for one blog is one thing, but keeping track of all of the content projects for a robust SaaS company at the same time? It’s a recipe for confusion and missed deadlines. GatherContent has been a godsend for our agile content team.”

Liz Millikin Content Marketer

Governing ongoing content in GatherContent

Any content changes are actioned within GatherContent so it is an accurate reflection of the current state of content at any given time. This is especially true of long form content that the team use GatherContent for such as eBooks.

“Any content changes are actioned within GatherContent so it is an accurate reflection of the current state of content at any given time.”

When it isn’t written in GatherContent it is stressful because it’s not clear where the content is, who is responsible, what stage it is at and what version it is. Writing and governing the content in GatherContent ensures the team know exactly what stage the content is at and what needs to happen next to get it approved for publishing.

As the team produce more eBooks and white papers, they anticipate using GatherContent more and more for their content governance, making it an even more essential and valuable part of their entire content lifecycle.

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