As any blogger or publisher will tell you, managing publishing workflows takes a dedication to organization. There are any number of general productivity tools an editor might use, but if you’re managing a site that publishes multiple authors, a dedicated tool is the best option. A workflow management tool that’s integrated with your content management system is even better.
We’ve covered WordPress editorial calendars like CoSchedule and Editorial Calendar before, but I’ve avoided talking about Edit Flow. It’s an excellent tool, but since it was bought by Automattic, releases have been few and far between. Bug reports went unresolved, and the plugin wasn’t updated regularly.
This month, it seems that Automattic have started to pay attention to Edit Flow again. It received a new bug-fix release to address outstanding problems, and, after an intervention by popular WordPress news site WP Tavern, a project member apologized for poor communication and maintenance.
“Folks, we’re sorry that it looks as though we’ve abandoned Edit Flow. We certainly haven’t, and we should have at least updated the tested tag for the plugin as you rightly point out. We’ve done that today, as well as make sure Github and WordPress.org are in sync.”
Edit Flow implements a number of features that make it easier for editors to manage complex publishing workflows.
First and foremost, Edit Flow integrates an editorial calendar into the WordPress admin dashboard. The calendar allows editors to see upcoming articles at a glance, including their current status. Statuses are customizable, so each publisher can choose to implement statuses relevant to their particular workflow.
One of the most useful features of Edit Flow is editorial comments. Many publishers use Google Docs and similar collaboration tools while articles are actively edited, but it’s more convenient to bring the whole process into WordPress. Editorial comments facilitate communication between editors and writers and help streamline the process of shaping articles for publication.
In addition to a calendar view, Edit Flow also implements a Story Budget view: a list of upcoming stories that can be grouped and filtered according to author, date, category, and other criteria. If you make use of Edit Flow’s custom editorial metadata feature, that information can be integrated into the Story Budget.
Finally, Edit Flow includes a useful notification feature integrated with the plugin’s user groups. Custom notifications can be sent to users and groups both manually and when articles change status.
Edit Flow isn’t the slickest editorial workflow manager I’ve seen, but it’s a solid tool that allows publishers to bring the whole content creation and editorial process into WordPress.
Hopefully, Edit Flow will be more conscientiously updated in the future, and if that proves to be the case, it’s well worth trying if you’re struggling to manage your site’s publishing workflows.