Managing Multiple Authors Or Blogs With Tools That Don’t Integrate

Being an editor or managing a team blog means you have to come up with some kind of system to make it work. It doesn't matter how many blogs and authors and social media accounts there are. The problem of getting it to all work together has to be solved. So, you solve it as best you can. How do you solve the problem of managing multiple blogs or authors? Most of the solutions we've been hearing about are a bit ad hoc, and use different flavors of the following:
  1. Project management systems (e.g. Basecamp)
  2. Spreadsheets
  3. Cloud notes (e.g. Evernote)
  4. Email
  5. Calendars (e.g. Google)
We're no stranger to this kind of setup ourselves. Our system of managing multiple blogs and authors has a level of complexity that can be frustrating. The main issue is that while each of those listed components, on their own, are great tools, they don't work together. Used together, they are a solution that creates its own problem. They were meant to be for project management or for note-taking or sending messages or for some other specific purpose, but they were never meant to help you completely manage your team blog. Individual components don't make a whole, unfortunately.

Project management systems seem very close to a solution, and that's why so many of you have told us how you try to make them work. They don't, however, have a necessary integration with your WordPress blog and social media accounts, so any data will have to be manually entered before it can be managed. That's yet another time-consuming step, and another system to manage.

Cloud note-taking services seem like a good place to brainstorm and jot down ideas, but if they aren't shared with the whole team, it's easy to forget what's in there. If you're not a careful organizer, it's easy to end up with giant notes that serve as idea dumping grounds that are difficult to sift through. Your notes aren't specifically connected with a WordPress blog post. Yep. Yet another system to manage.

Spreadsheets are also a common tool used to keep data organized, but that data, once organized, doesn't do anything unless you actively revisit and push it around. And yes, again, no direct connection to the actual content in WordPress, so you now have spreadsheets to manage on top of everything else.

Email allows you to communicate and share versions of drafts and documents, but the threads can get extremely confusing, especially if you have a large team. It's easy to miss a message in an active thread with people replying to everyone simultaneously. And unfortunately, you'll need to manually pull tasks or data out of these email messages.

Calendars are often read-only, unless in project management apps. A read-only calendar is great for getting an understanding of what's happening, but making quick changes based on that understanding won't be available. Team members are more likely to make necessary adjustments if it isn't a hassle, and a read-only calendar won't fit that bill.

Through sheer force of will, you make these tools work. You become fairly quick and adept at using them, and think that they work. You get used to them, and actually prefer them even if a better option were available.

The tools you use might work, but that doesn't mean they're the tools you need.

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We'd like you to consider that being used to a cumbersome system doesn't mean the system works, and to think about what you would really need to manage the content your team is creating and publishing with as little redundancy and time as possible. As I said, when I wrote about how we manage content here, a good tool works while a great tool works where you work. You have a WordPress blog, and that means where you're working is in WordPress. Is your spreadsheet talking to WordPress? Is your Email connecting to what's happening in WordPress? Is your calendar reflecting what's going on in WordPress? A great tool will do that.
About the Author

Julie R. Neidlinger is a writer, artist, and pilot from North Dakota. She has been blogging since 2002 at her Lone Prairie blog, and works as a freelance writer and visual artist.