*Partner content: The news industry is more competitive than ever before, with a growing number of people – particularly among younger generations – now turning to social media for the latest updates rather than traditional sources. This means it’s crucial that online publications push out stories as quickly as possible to secure clicks, increase views, and gain more subscribers.
One of the most successful approaches to reduce the average ‘time to publish’ metric for digital titles is to carefully review the entire production process, including software systems, and eliminate steps and tools that are creating friction. Dated and cumbersome content management systems are often the main culprit, holding back newsrooms in a multitude of small but significant ways that delay stories by hours (sometimes even days), however by focusing on three key areas, organisations can publish at record speeds.
How easily editorial teams can create digital content is usually the biggest factor to consider, and although the news sector has evolved considerably over the past decade, many bespoke publishing systems are still playing catch up. As a result, more publishers are now choosing to leverage the power and flexibility of WordPress, making it the number one CMS for news sites.
As well as offering ongoing innovation and best-in-class security, the open-source platform features an in-built block editor that dramatically simplifies the self-publishing process for non-technical users. Leading WordPress agency Big Bite has long championed the benefits of the time-saving tool, and specialises in enabling global brands and enterprise organisations to use it to their advantage. “The block editor has revolutionised how teams put together pages and posts,” says Iain McPherson, CEO of Big Bite. “By using it to build suites of reusable, brand-compliant components for each of the organisations that we work with, we empower journalists, copywriters and editors to publish on-brand content in rapid timeframes, saving a huge amount of time and resources for our clients.”
This includes The Sun, which has reported a 60% improvement in time to publish since moving across to the block-building approach. “We’re now able to publish a breaking news story in two minutes versus five minutes in classic WordPress” confirms Joel Davies, Head of Editorial Operations at News UK.
Reducing reliance on other departments and external resources can also tighten up the content creation process, particularly if well-designed functionality can bridge the gap, such as the Collage Creator and LiveBlog plugins developed by Big Bite for the New York Post. The Collage Creator functionality empowers editorial teams to easily create custom imagery for articles from directly within the organisation’s WordPress CMS, removing the need to engage photo desks and thereby saving a considerable amount of time. Similarly, the LiveBlog plugin enables editorial teams to quickly and easily publish news snippets in a real-time feed format without the involvement of technical teams, and is the first of its kind on the WordPress platform.
“While WordPress provides the ideal foundation for publishing, to really fine-tune the process we design and develop custom plugins that make life easier for journalists and editors. Even minor additions can have a positive impact, and in some instances – where teams have previously relied on outside tech resources – we’ve improved the average time to publish by as much as 400%” says Iain.
Careful sub-editing and fact-checking sets newspapers apart from many other information sources, and although these steps are fundamental to retain quality and accuracy, they can also slow down publishers if a workflow is disjointed. User-focused functionality can remove this issue while also facilitating stronger collaboration, with a prime example being the Editorial Notes feature developed by Big Bite on behalf of The Wall Street Journal. The functionality enables writers and editors to directly add, edit, reply to or delete comments against articles within the publication’s WordPress CMS, and eliminates the need for teams to highlight and discuss changes outside of the system. The feature continues to save a remarkable amount of time for teams across The Wall Street Journal, and has since been adopted by other titles within its publishing house.
“The greater amount of tasks that editorial teams can achieve directly within a CMS, the more time they can save on the whole, so we work in close partnership with our clients to iteratively improve publishing ecosystems, freeing up writers to focus on copy rather than content management” says Iain.
“Of course, it’s possible for organisations to extend or improve a bespoke CMS with the same objective, however, the key difference is that by leveraging the functionality of an open-source platform such as WordPress – which is continuously updated by a worldwide community of contributors – changes and improvements can be achieved within much shorter timeframes, enabling publishers to more efficiently respond to rapidly evolving needs and expectations in a fast-paced sector.”
*This article is published in association with Press Gazette commercial partner Big Bite. To find out more, contact Big Bite at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit their website today.
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