Get Started with Templates
Templates allow you to create reusable content structures that you can apply to your content items or briefs. They are blueprints that define how a specific content item should be written.
This article will cover how to utilize EasyContent's templating system to create effective templates that will speed up your content production without sacrificing quality.
Table of Contents
- The Default Template
- Creating Custom Templates
- Applying Templates to Content Items and Briefs
- Notes About Changing and Deleting Templates
- Working with WordPress
The Default Template
All projects have a default template with two default tabs: Text and Meta data & Files. They belong to a special type of tab called system tabs.
The Text tab is where your content item's text and multimedia content will reside.
It has two fields: assignment title and default text editor content, both of which belong to a special type of field called system fields.
Customizing the Text Tab
The following sections will cover customization options for the text tab's available fields.
But before we begin discussing the customization options, let's talk about system fields and system tabs first.
With system fields and system tabs, you only have limited control and customization.
The reason is that they are used by EasyContent's API and webhooks to make a connection to a content management system (CMS) like WordPress, or an external server, allowing for seamless content synchronization between EasyContent and your CMS or server. This allows anyone to easily integrate EasyContent into their content operations chain.
If you're using WordPress, we already have a plugin available for you to download. You can download it here: https://wordpress.org/plugins/easycontent/
Customizing the Assignment Title Field
The assignment title will be your article's <h1> tag. In WordPress, this will be the post's title.
You can toggle the required field option to make it mandatory. With this enabled, the writer or anyone assigned to or responsible for the content item will not be able to submit it unless there's something written in here.
If you have a WordPress site connected to the project, it also prevents anyone from publishing it to WordPress using the Publish to WP button.
Customizing the Default Text Editor Content
The default text editor content allows you to prefill the text editor with some text. It's commonly used to add guidelines, writing tips, or an entire article template or outline.
The text will only fill the text editor if a brief is claimed by or assigned to someone for the first time.
Meta data & Files Tab
The Meta data & Files tab contains fields that are mostly used for SEO. Like in the Text tab, everything in the Metadata tab is system fields. However, unlike the ones in the Text tab, you have the option to disable some or even all fields in the Meta data & Files tab.
Right now, there are seven available fields in this tab. Disabling all of them will also disable the entire Meta data & Files tab itself.
Let's take a look at all of them.
Featured Image Widget
The featured image widget allows assigned users to upload a featured image for the content item. You must upload the featured image in the files widget in the Meta data & Files tab and then select it from here. You can also use an external image URL if you want.
When you connect your project to a WordPress website, the image added here will be used as the post's featured image when synced. It will be uploaded to your site's media library as well. In other words, your images won't be loaded via external URLs (i.e. from our servers), instead, they will be served directly from your site's server.
When the "required field" option is enabled, a featured image must be set before a content item can be approved or submitted to the next workflow status.
You can also add a "field guidelines" text which will show up underneath it to serve as a guideline or instruction.
Excerpt Field Widget
The excerpt field widget allows assigned users to add an excerpt text.
If connected to WordPress, this will be used as the post's excerpt.
Its available configuration options are identical to the featured image widget except for one: "Recommended length". This option allows you to define a recommended maximum number of words or symbols (characters) for the field.
Unlike the "required field" option, however, this option does not prevent users from submitting a content item even if the text exceeds the recommendation.
The tags widget allows users to add tags to a content item.
If connected to WordPress, this will become the post's tags when synced.
It has identical options to the featured image widget.
Reminder: individual tags must be separated by a comma (,).
In case you're wondering why your tags suddenly look somewhat different after syncing, remember that WordPress will automatically re-arrange them alphabetically. The example above will be synced to WordPress in this order: go, here, tags, this is a tag with space, your.
Custom Post Slug Widget
The custom post slug widget lets you define a custom post URL (yourwebsite.com/this-is-the-custom-post-slug).
Making this a required field is great for SEO and UX, especially if you're syncing to WordPress. If you do sync to WP, be sure to enable custom permalinks via Settings > Permalinks on your site for this field to be synced properly.
Meta Title Widget
The meta title widget allows you to set a custom meta title for your posts. It's a good idea to set a 60 symbol recommended length for SEO purposes.
If you're using WordPress, you will need to have either Yoast SEO or All-in-One SEO Pack installed and activated for this to work and sync properly.
Meta Description Widget
The meta description widget allows you to set a custom meta description for your posts. It's a good idea to set a 160 symbol recommended length for SEO purposes.
Like the preceding widget, this also requires either Yoast SEO or All-in-One SEO Pack installed and activated to work and sync properly.
If these tabs and fields are not enough for you, you can create custom tabs that you can populate with custom fields based on your needs.
You can create as many custom tabs and add as many custom fields as you wish.
Currently, there are eight custom fields available for you to choose from. Let's take a look at them.
The heading widget is used for organizing your custom tab. You can use this to mark sections of your tab especially if it contains a lot of other fields. Think of it as a header text, just like the ones you use to separate sections of your articles.
The guidelines widget adds a global-level guideline text for your entire custom tab or parts of it. You can use this to describe what your tab is for or what a certain section is for. This is usually placed right after a heading widget when used as a section guideline.
Text Field Widget
The text field widget adds a single-line text input field to your custom tab. Just like other system fields, you can customize this by setting a recommended length (either by words or symbols) and making it mandatory.
Text Area Widget
The text area widget adds a multiline text input field to your custom tab. Its customization options are identical to the text field widget.
The checkboxes widget adds a checkbox field to your custom tab. To add choices, simply click the add option link. You can add as many options as you want.
Radio Buttons Widget
The radio buttons widget adds a radio button field to your custom tab. You can add choices by clicking the add option link.
The date widget adds a date picker to your custom tab.
Select (Dropdown Select) Widget
The select widget adds a dropdown selection field to your custom tab. Add selectable items by clicking the add option link. You can set a limit to how many items a user can select from the pool of available choices.
Custom Fields Appearance Example
The image below shows you how all available custom fields look like when implemented.
Below is what the date picker looks like when selecting a date.
Below is what the select widget looks like when a user clicks on it to select an item.
Reordering and Deleting Custom Fields
You can reorder and delete custom fields from your custom tabs.
Simply click and drag the hamburger button next to a field to reorder it. You can also use the up and down arrows to move them one step upwards or downwards.
You can delete a custom field by clicking its corresponding trash icon.
Creating Custom Templates
If you're on a Standard Plan or higher, you can create extra custom templates for your project. All custom templates will automatically have the Text and Meta data & Files tabs. You can disable the Meta data & Files tab by disabling all its fields if you need to.
To create a custom template, click the template selection menu and click on create new template link.
You can access the template options by clicking the dotted menu next to the template selection menu.
With this, you can set a certain template as the default one (if it isn't already) as well as rename or delete it.
Keep in mind that when you set a template as the default, you won't be able to delete it. You will need to select a different template and make that the new default and only after that can you delete the template you want to delete.
Applying Templates to Content Items and Briefs
There are several ways to apply your template to a content item or brief (or to a group of them).
- Via actions - you can use this if you want to apply a template to multiple items at once.
- Via the template name link - clicking this brings out the template selection modal.
- Via actions column - brings out a similar type of menu as #1, but for single items
You can also apply a template to a content item or brief as you create them:
Notes About Changing and Deleting Templates
If you have two templates, one template has all the default system fields enabled and the other has some of the system fields disabled, switching between them will destroy the data of disabled system fields. Custom fields, however, will retain their data as long as the custom tab they belong to is not deleted.
If it's quite vague, continue reading for an in-depth explanation.
Let's say you have two templates.
One template is the default template. We'll call this Template A.
The second template has a custom tab, and most fields in the meta data & files tab for this template are disabled. The only ones enabled are the featured image, tags, and files widget. We'll call this Template B.
You used Template A for a content item. You finished working on it and everything in its meta data & files tab is filled with data.
You decided to switch to Template B. The meta data & files tab now only has three fields: the featured image and tags as well as the files widget. There's also a custom tab with two custom fields: a text field and a text area field.
Everything is once again filled with data.
Then you decided to switch back to Template A.
The disabled meta data & files fields are re-enabled, however, keep in mind that they will not restore their previous data.
If a field in the meta data & files tab contains data and then you switch to a different template with said field disabled, the data it contains will be discarded upon switching.
On the other hand, data held by custom fields persist no matter how many times you switch templates. The only time data associated with a custom field is deleted is when you delete the content item or delete the template using the custom field itself.
Working with WordPress
Earlier, you learned that system fields are essential to our API and CMS integrations, especially to WordPress. You're going to learn why in this section.
These system fields contain data that is used to sync an article to your WordPress website with impeccable accuracy so that you can focus on creating content instead of having to log in to your site and then manually copying, pasting, and formatting it.
With a click of a button, your article will be perfectly replicated to your WordPress site in an instant!
We may add explicit support to other CMS in the future, but at the moment, we're focusing on making it easy and seamless to sync your project to a WordPress-based website. If you're not using WordPress, don't worry! You can utilize our API to sync your project to the CMS of your choice.
Gutenberg (Block Editor) vs Classic Editor
EasyContent works seamlessly with both Gutenberg (block editor) and the Classic Editor. However, since our text editor is based on TinyMCE, your content may have some layout incompatibilities and inconsistencies with the block editor, especially if your articles contain some complex formatting.
Therefore, we recommend using the classic editor over the block editor if you don't have any specific preference, or if you intend to frequently use a complex layout for your articles.
Alternately, you can install the Classic Editor plugin and activate it to keep both the block editor and classic editor enabled for your site. This will allow you to freely switch between the two editors on the fly and a per post basis.
If you have the Classic Editor plugin installed, EasyContent will automatically sync your articles using the classic editor by default. You can then "convert" your article to use the block editor and check if there are any layout inconsistencies.
We're constantly working on ensuring that our text editor and WordPress's block editor sync perfectly. If you find something that doesn't look right after importing your article to WordPress (it doesn't matter whether you use the classic or block editor), please let us know by submitting a report here.
System Fields and WordPress
You earlier learned that system fields are important for making sure that the information between EasyContent and your WordPress site syncs perfectly. Here's how each system field syncs to WordPress (and vice versa):
- Assignment Title <=> Post Title
- Text Editor Content <=> Post Body
- Featured Image Widget <=> Featured Image
- Excerpt <=> Post Excerpt
- Tags <=> Post Tags
- Custom Post Slug <=> Custom Permalink
- Meta Title <=> Compatible plugin's meta title field (Discarded if none found)
- Meta Description <=> Compatible plugin's meta description field (Discarded if none found)
What about custom fields?
Custom fields are not synced to WordPress at all, so you will need to manually copy them to your site if you have custom fields.
You can also hire a developer and have them make a companion plugin for WordPress to grab your custom fields and sync them to your website if you want. Please direct your developers to our API.
If you're not using WordPress, you can also use our webhooks to allow you to grab everything about your projects, even custom fields, and sync them to your CMS.
Working with Yoast SEO
You've learned that the meta title and meta description fields only work when you have a compatible SEO plugin installed. Right now, EasyContent supports both Yoast SEO and All-in-One SEO pack out of the box. You'll learn how to work with both plugins, starting with Yoast SEO.
When you have Yoast SEO installed, activated, and configured, anything you put in the meta title and meta description fields will automatically be synced to Yoast SEO's equivalent fields.
You can use snippet variables to produce dynamic meta titles and descriptions. You can find the complete list of all available snippets on Yoast SEO's website.
Below is an example usage of snippet variables:
When you sync this to WordPress, the result will be like this:
Putting something like "%%title%% - Some Text" in the meta title or meta description fields also works since Yoast SEO accepts snippet variables mixed with static text.
Working with All in One SEO Pack
When you have the All in One SEO Pack installed, activated, and configured, anything you put in the meta title and meta description fields will automatically be synced to its equivalent fields.
However, unlike Yoast SEO, you can't directly use snippet variables or their equivalent on the meta title and description fields. The reason behind this is that All in One SEO pack's snippet variables, or in the plugin's language, format fields a.k.a. macros, can only be configured in its settings (All in One SEO > General Settings).
Therefore, you should manually configure these settings or you should always fill the meta title and description fields in EasyContent to make sure you have proper SEO tags for your posts. In this case, we recommend that you enable the Required option for both the meta title and meta description fields to prevent you or your writers from forgetting to add these important snippets.
- Getting Started with EasyContent
- Get Started with Templates
- Creating Custom Template Tabs
- Using the Content Editor
- Inviting Users to Your Account
- Editing, Deleting & Deactivating Users
- Creating a Custom Role
- Recovering Lost or Forgotten Password
- Get Started with Webhooks
- Add Our Email Addresses to Your Safe Sender List