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Say I have a pipeline of articles I'm writing that I want to post at my blog. There is no set date to release any of them, though some might be more time-sensitive than others.

Each article undergoes several phases as in a conveyor belt. As a tentative list, not necessarily but generally in this order:

  1. researching and reading up on the subject
  2. brainstorming of main points and concepts
  3. final outline of main points
  4. first draft
  5. basic editing
  6. maturing the text wording, style and humor
  7. adding images and links
  8. making seo tweaks
  9. schedule for posting

This pipeline thinking can be applied for any type of content creation and possibly beyond it.

Are there methods to it? The editing industry might have such workflows in place, but how to implement it and what software to use for establishing it on a personal context?

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5 Answers 5

up vote 2 down vote accepted

I believe this was the most useful book I ever read about writing. I liked his approach because although the process description is very specific about mechanics, it is also clearly based upon fulfilling the expectations of the audience and completing the project on schedule.

Writing Under Pressure: The Quick Writing Process (Oxford paperbacks) by Sanford Kaye

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Wow, from looking at the table of contents this looks precisely the kind of methodological expertise I was looking for. Though targeted at writing I like how the author has an underlying philosophy that could be exported to other content production. Many thanks! –  Vic Goldfeld Oct 13 '12 at 4:43

Have you looked into trello? You could create a board with 9 lists and then let your articles advance through those lists.

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This is what we do over on the Security Stack Exchange Blog. We hold trello cards for all articles and contributors and manage the various stages by moving the cards. –  Rory Alsop Oct 9 '12 at 12:20

A couple of ideas:

  • Use a personal wiki (like Wikidpad if you're on Windows) to write your articles and organize them hierarchically. Add a dynamic tag to each one to indicate which edit step it's on, and then use the sorting features of the personal wiki to get the forest-level view of where you stand. (Wikidpad supports this.)
  • Use a combination of a personal wiki and a personal kanban to manage the workflow. A customization of the kanban cards might be to have a tally on the card itself so that you can see at a glance what step you're in (and also update which step it's in really easily as well).
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We're writing and preparing posts for a blog and social media almost in the same way as you do.

To prepare the post we've tried several co-editing services and now using Trello.com to manage projects and Rizzoma.com to manage and create content with designers, illustrators and writers.

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The way I used to do these things was to have a handy spreadsheet - here's one from when I went jobhunting in 2007

Role  Company Agency              Location    Next Step
XXX   XXX Connections recuritment Chiswick    An OFFER
XXX   XXX Monarch                 London  An OFFER
XXX   XXX Red Top recruitment     Southhamton An OFFER
XXX   XXX Monarch                 London  Given Up waiting
XXX   XXX REMjobs                 Bristol Given up waiting
XXX   XXX Vecter recuritment      London  Online Application
XXX   XXX Monarch                             Suspended on own
XXX   XXX Enerprise                       Suspended on own
XXX   XXX GRB                     Guildford   Waiting for interview feedback
XXX   XXX Monarch                 Oxford  Waiting for interview feedback
XXX   XXX Monarch                 London  Waiting for interview feedback
XXX   XXX Monarch                 ?   zFAILED
XXX   XXX Connections recuritment Woking  zFAILED
XXX   XXX REMjobs                         zFAILED
XXX   XXX REMjobs                         zFAILED
XXX   XXX Monarch Oxford                      zFAILED
XXX   XXX Monarch Oxford                      zFAILED

I think it's vital to record a label of the thing that it pushing though the pipeline (the title of your posts for example), the stage it's at and the deadline for that stage. I think it's also important for you to be able to sort on stages. As you are looking at something were there isn't a set flow but there are distint stages I think you'll want to be able to look over the list and review.

That's the general answer - in the specific case of blog posts - I use wordpress and label things with the right stages. - wordpress is pretty much set up to allow this workflow anyway and so that raises the obvious question of where are you finding gaps between the software you are using and how you want it to work. I think a worthwhile exercise is always to see how you would do something if you only had paper and then see how the machinary we all use in day-to-day life changes the work flow - some ways are better, some are worse...

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1  
I'm hanging around for the technical way –  Vic Goldfeld Oct 9 '12 at 1:32
    
Whoops - I actually thought I'd removed that paragraph - I decided the other thing wasn't that relevant to the question - fixed now :) –  Joe Oct 9 '12 at 8:10

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