What If Your Writers Won’t Work In WordPress?
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Your blogging team has writers who don’t want to work in WordPress. And this is not good. It really shouldn’t matter where people get their writing done, so long as they write. Except that it does matter, at least for the person who has to finalize the posts.
When writing in something outside of WordPress, content gets wrapped in rather messy formatting. Writers send you posts in the body of an email, or in Microsoft Word, for example. Getting rid of the extra formatting so it doesn’t blow up your WordPress blog involves manual copy-paste solutions with an extra step to strip out formatting.
Even worse? You can’t really create a complete blog post outside of WordPress; someone is going to have to upload the images, make sure the headline tags are correct, and add code for things like Click To Tweet.
Writing Outside Of WordPress
Here, each of our writers has their own preference. Some of us work in WordPress because of the preference of frequent previews. At other times, we prefer Google Drive, Evernote, Editorially, or Draft. That’s our preferences. One of the most common place where blog posts get written is in Microsoft Word.
Why would anyone write outside of the blogging platform that is ultimately going to do the actual publishing of their work?
1. WordPress can be confusing.
Some writers are used to, and most comfortable, writing in the software they’ve always used. Dragging them into WordPress and asking them to write as good as ever while learning an entirely new system is counterproductive. Even us longtime users of WordPress have rather negative feelings about the entire writing experience in the system.
2. People don’t trust WordPress.
The new updates included an autosave that works well, but many bloggers still have that old ingrained fear of writing the Greatest Blog Post Ever only to lose it by accidentally swiping the wrong way on their Apple Magic Mouse or closing the browser tab. They’ve known that possibility, and experienced it, in the past.
3. Getting them to write is the main battle.
Sometimes your writers are writing because they have to, not that they want to. Getting them to write is the main battle; why fight another about where they write? If they are more likely to write in Word or Evernote, great. Be happy that they will write.
Try to Change Their Mind
It’s worth the attempt to try to get your writers on board with WordPress, and here’s how you can do it.
1. Get them training.
Whether it’s in-house or through an online course, you can insist that your writers get training. There are many place online that offer training and tutorials in using WordPress. There’s the popular Lynda.com training site, as well as WordPress.org’s very own tutorials.
2. Give them a contributor account.
A contributor account in WordPress allows your writers to write and manage their own posts, but they cannot publish them. You can keep them from having access to anything that might seriously do damage to your blog. Even if they don’t know anything about formatting, the writing is happening inside of WordPress and will save you from importing it in.
3. Use a third-party app.
Apps like MarsEdit, Live Writer, and Editorially allow your writers to work outside of WordPress, and import what they’ve written beautifully into the system. The can choose an interface that is less intimidating to do their work.
Remember, you are changing a habit for your writer. They may have been writing in Word their entire life, and this is going to be nothing short of a rebellion for them. Be sure the battle to change the habit is worth it in the long run.
Managing A Team Outside Of WordPress
It may be that your team just won’t go along with this newfangled WordPress stuff. Now what?
1. Have a controlled import procedure in place.
Let your writers write where they want to but…they have the responsibility to prepare it for the import into WordPress. For example, have them write to a rich text file.
2. Have clear style guidelines.
Set up template files where they are writing to reduce the import headache later. This is especially important for teams that are geographically spread out. Be specific on how writers should set up their documents in Word, Google Drive, etc. so that the formatting that ultimately arrives on your desk will be predictably the same.
3. Establish a way to collaborate.
Shared Google Drive folders and documents are a great way to collaborate on writing if your writers don’t want to work in WordPress. If they insist on working in Microsoft Word, using CoSchedule, which allows you to upload the latest file associated with the WordPress post itself, will help you keep the current draft easily within reach. Versioning issues are always going to be a problem if writers are submitting and communicating with email and attachments. Avoiding the email attachment trap is a must.
WordPress has the system in place, with user permissions, to allow for a wide range of team and writing scenarios, but if your writers won’t work in WordPress, you’ll need to find another way to keep drafts, versions, collaboration, and peer review manageable.
Do you have writers that won’t work in WordPress? What do you do?
November 18, 2013