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Content publishing during Covid‑19

In the middle of the Covid-19 crisis, the content publishing industry is having tremendous difficulty. Even though the hunger for news about the pandemic led to a surge in readership and growth in new users, this did not translate into higher ad revenues for web portals. Quite the contrary: lots of advertisers blacklisted coronavirus-related keywords, which left publishers with less money than before the pandemic. At the same time, everyone wants to have immediate access to content without paying for it.

In reality, it is essential to cut costs, save time, and make your business more profitable. There are multiple ways to approach the problem. For example, a lot has been said in the publishing industry about the benefits of a digital-first workflow. The same with choosing the right pricing model to monetize content in the most efficient way. In this post, however, I would like to tackle this problem from a different angle and show areas where the content creation process can be further improved while saving time and money.

# Optimize the publishing process

To start with, we all love applications like Google Docs, Microsoft Word or Dropbox Paper. They help us create the content, and we can hardly imagine life without them. But remember that they cover just a tiny part of the publishing process. If too many tools are used, the content creation process gets more complicated and time-consuming. Why? There is no synergy between them because they usually have different data formats. This leads to the distortion of output content during the process of copy-pasting or importing-exporting and requires further effort to sanitize it.

To illustrate the problem, I will give you two examples of publishing workflows: a common, problematic one, and a more efficient workflow that will save you time and money.

First, take a look at a common content publishing workflow.

  1. Content is drafted in Google Docs, Microsoft Word or another external application.
  2. You invite your colleagues to proofread it.
  3. The content gets copy-pasted or uploaded into a CMS and lots of its formatting gets destroyed due to a conflict in data formats. For example, your text has suddenly no headings, or numbered lists lose their numbers. Additional technologies (or human effort) are needed to fix it.
  4. You still need to edit the content in the CMS using rich text editing features such as media embedding.
  5. Final proofreading.
  6. Your content is published on different channels.

Oof. 6 steps to publish a single article! Does it have to be that long? No, it doesn’t. There is a way to simplify this process. Integrating a rich text editor such as CKEditor 5 into your software will decrease the number of steps by getting rid of third-party tools. The whole content creation process can take place in your own application. Your users will be free of distractions and able to focus on what really matters to them - writing content.

Here is how it works:

  1. Create the content in your CMS.
  2. Proofread and review it in your application, correcting spelling and grammar.
  3. Only minimal sanitization is needed thanks to CKEditor 5 creating stable, clean, and high-quality HTML output (CKEditor 5 can be also configured to work with Markdown or structured content formats such as XML or XBRL).
  4. Publish your content.

The below infographic visualizes the difference between the two workflows.

The difference between the two workflows

Much simpler, isn’t it? By eliminating third-party vendors, you:

  • Save time and costs.
  • Shorten your time to market.
  • Boost the productivity of your users.

What are other benefits of having CKEditor 5 integrated with your newsroom or content publishing platform?

  • You improve your users’ efficiency thanks to auto formatting and automatic text transformations.
  • Users avoid the risk of losing content by applying the autosave functionality.
  • Users quickly correct mistakes thanks to grammar and spell checking.
  • They enjoy other popular writing features, such as links, media embeds, bulleted and numbered lists, tables, word count or block quotes.

It cannot be said enough: the key to saving time and money in content publishing is optimizing the content creation workflow. You can speed up the process by implementing a modern rich text editor in your current application. But there is also another topic to consider when thinking of how to improve content publishing: collaboration.

# Content publishing and collaboration

Especially these days, when remote work is becoming the new normal, content publishers need to rethink their approach to collaboration. According to Heather Bryant, the author of “Collaborative Journalism Workbook”, collaboration helps “create the capacity and the ability to do things that you wouldn’t have been able to do otherwise and to connect you with people you will benefit from working with”. Of course, it’s a multi-dimensional topic covering several areas. I’d like to draw your attention to one of them - collaborative editing.

The first thing that probably comes to your mind when hearing that phrase is Google Docs. Of course, it’s an awesome tool that allows for real-time collaboration of multiple users who can comment and add suggestions to the text which can then be accepted or rejected by others. This way, by instantly sharing feedback, writers and content publishers can significantly improve their productivity. But wait a minute…a few paragraphs earlier I recommended dropping third-party applications in favor of a rich-text editor integrated with your software. Now I’m praising Google Docs? Well, what if there was a way to have the writing experience of Google Docs in your own application? Would that solve the problem?

Yes, it would. So what’s this magical solution, you may be asking? It’s not magic. All you need to do is integrate a collaborative rich-text editor, such as CKEditor 5, into your software and have the whole content creation process in one place. Here are a few collaborative features that come with CKEditor 5 to speed up your work:

  • You can see who is connected to the document thanks to the user presence list.
  • You can see what other users are doing in the document thanks to the real-time caret position and text selection.
  • Users discuss and collaborate by adding comments on selected parts of the content.
  • You can manage user permissions with comments-only or read-only mode and control who is allowed to make changes in the text.
  • Users review content by adding suggestions which can be later accepted or rejected.

Does Google Docs ring a bell? It should. But this time it’s right in your app.

Also, there is another problem with third-party vendors. Even though data security is among top priorities for most of them, some customers prefer to have full control over their data and store it on their own local servers. This is not possible if you use some of the other aforementioned software solutions. CKEditor 5 comes with both cloud and on-premises solutions to support collaboration, so you can choose whatever suits your team best.

# Choose a customizable solution

If all of the above motivates you to start considering a collaborative rich-text editor for your content publishing platform, you should be smart about how it would fit into your workflow. Every use case is different. Some applications may need a large number of features similar to Microsoft Word. For others, it would be more useful to have a limited set of features for writing short comments, emails or chat messages. CKEditor 5 can fit all of these purposes. What’s more, it can be enhanced with your own plugins and adjusted to your application design and workflow. For example, if you use the popular Markdown format for publishing content on your website, you might be interested in changing the default editor output from HTML to Markdown, which is also supported by CKEditor 5.

If you already know what features you need for your content publishing application, try using an online builder. In a few simple steps, it will allow you to choose a custom UI, plugins, toolbars and languages so you can test it yourself.

In these uncertain times, one of the ways to look for savings is to simplify your content publishing workflow. This can be done by integrating a collaborative rich text editor with your application which will result in a more efficient process and more productive users. Sounds interesting, right? Learn more about how to benefit from collaborative editing and see it in action here.

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