Getting Started with EasyContent

Thank you for joining EasyContent! We hope that it's the beginning of our long journey together and that this article will help you to learn how to use our system to its full potential. If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to contact us via support@easycontent.io

Your account structure

There are two main navigational menus in your account. The first one, the top white menu (#1) is the account level menu, this is visible anywhere within EasyContent when you're logged in.

The bottom blue menu (#2) is the project level menu. It appears only when you are inside of a project.

In addition, there is also a dropdown menu (#3) in the top right corner of the screen. It appears when you click on your avatar (displays your initials) and allows you to edit your profile or visit your account settings.

The exact set of menu items will vary depending on your permissions. Below we'll examine the menus as the account administrator sees them.

Account level menu

  • Project selection dropdown allows you to quickly select a project to work with.
  • Projects will get you to the page with all your projects. You can create, archive, or delete your projects on this page. There is no limit on the number of projects in EasyContent. Deleting a project permanently deletes all its data, so be careful.
  • Users menu item will open a page where you can view and manage your users, or invite new users to your account. All users are created at the account level. There is no limitation on the number of users as well.
  • Roles page is where you can manage and configure your account roles. Again, you can create as many roles as you need and configure them to meet the needs of your team. Roles in the account apply to all projects.
  • Integrations page allows you to generate API keys and install a plugin to connect your WordPress website to an EasyContent project.
  • Reports is a dropdown menu containing submenu items for Calendar, Content Report, and Communication.
    • Calendar. Whenever a content item has a due date for one or several approval statuses, it's displayed in our editorial calendar along with some other useful information. You can manage responsible people and due dates directly from it.
    • Content Report is a page that displays a chart of your project's progress over a period of time.
    • Communication allows a user with sufficient permissions to view all messages of all users in the account. This, along with our activity card and comprehensive email notifications, gives a project administrator a good overview of what is going on in a project.
  • Help (the ? icon next to your avatar) lets you access EasyContent's documentation page. Here, you can find in-depth guides that will help you master EasyContent. Additionally, we allow you to create your own documentation for your projects. If you click "Help" while you are in a project, you will see the option to create your own categories and articles. Good documentation allows for better scalability and increased productivity, and that is exactly what we want for your team!

Project level menu

When you are inside a project, the blue menu bar below the account menu will become populated with project menu items. Remember that the exact set of menu items will vary depending on your permissions. 

  • Dashboard gives you a quick glimpse of your project's activity and your team's performance inside a project. We are constantly developing it, so let us know if you need more!
  • Content page contains the list of content items in the project and allows you to view or manage them.
  • Briefs page displays the list of tasks or ideas for the content items. A brief becomes a content item when it's assigned to a user or when it's claimed by a user. Users can claim a brief themselves when they are responsible for the "Writing" stage of the workflow.
  • Mailbox shows you your last messages and allows you to visit your project mailbox. In the project mailbox, you can communicate with all other users assigned to the project. All messages received in your mailbox will also be sent to your email.
  • Files page displays all files used in the project. To add a file, you must attach it to a content item.
  • Configuration is a dropdown menu containing submenu items for Workflow settingsCategoriesTemplates, and Project settings.
    • Workflow settings is the page where you can set up your project's workflow statuses. It's highly customizable. Just list all stages the content item will go through, and then select checkboxes next to the roles that will be responsible for those stages.
    • Categories page is where you can create categories to better organize your briefs and content items.
    • Templates page allows you to configure your content item's layout by adding or removing custom fields and tabs, adding descriptions, length recommendations, or making those fields mandatory.
    • Project settings allow you to access the current project's settings page.

Defining roles and permissions

Each new account has several default Roles:

  • Writer (writes the content)
  • Editor (reviews and approves content)
  • Admin (has full access to the account)

There are also the roles of Content manager (oversees content creation and can publish content items to the external websites) and Subject Matter Expert (mainly responsible for fact-checking, a must-have role in legal, medical, or other highly complex niches). Those are for larger teams and are disabled by default, but you can activate them at any moment. You can create as many roles as you need and arrange them in the correct order. Scrolling down the page will lead you to the permissions section.

Permissions are grouped by the application area they apply to. For example, you might want to grant all account-related permissions to the Admin role, allow your Content managers to manage everything on the project level, and provide your Editors with access to briefs and content items inside the project.

Your permissions define what users will see on their screens. For example, the "Calendar" item under the "Reports" menu in the account level menu will appear only if the user has the "View publishing calendar" permission in the "Reports" group of the "Permissions" section in the "Roles" page.

Inviting users

After you've defined your roles, invite your team to your account by clicking the "Invite new people" button on the "Users" screen.

When inviting a new user, you must assign a role and, optionally, assign this user to one or several projects.

After the invitations are sent, your team members will receive emails with links to join your account.

Your first project: assigning users

To create a new project, click the "Create a new project" button on the "Projects" screen.

When creating a new project, you will be asked to assign users to it. Although you can always do it later, it's a good idea to assign people to the projects they will work on right away. Otherwise, even though they might be able to view and edit projects with the "Manage projects" permission, they won't be able to participate in the approval workflow inside this project, which can cause confusion.

To assign people to a project while creating it, select appropriate checkboxes and press the "Create project" button.

 

Your first project: setting up workflow

Once users are assigned to your new project, proceed to the workflow settings page by going to ConfigurationWorkflow settings from inside the new project.

Our default workflow consists of the following stages: Draft > Editorial review > Approved for publishing > Completed.

You may also want to add stages like "Customer Review" or "Expert Review", depending on the purpose and type of content you put out, or just add any stage you want and need.

Next, after adding workflow stages, you may want to rearrange them by dragging and dropping them into place. Then, assign responsible roles. When a content item reaches a workflow status, any user with the role responsible for the workflow will have the ability to claim the item if no one is currently assigned to the active status.

After adding or rearranging the stages the way you want and selecting roles responsible for these statuses, you may configure ratings for each of the intermediate content item's statuses. By default, we have the following ratings enabled for the "Editorial Review" stage:

You can delete them if you don't need them. However, we've discovered that receiving actual grades provides great feedback to the writer, ensures better quality control, and adds more transparency to project administrators.

Your first project: configuring templates

The final step of setting up your project is configuring content item templates.

Templates are "blueprints" for your content items. They allow you to define the structure of an item.

Click on the "Configuration" dropdown menu in your project menu then click "Templates". This will bring you to the "Templates" page.

The first thing you'll see is the default template. It has two tabs: Text and Meta data & Files tabs.

The Text tab, aka the "main tab" will be where the main article content is written. It has two default fields: title and main content. You can drag and drop them if you want to rearrange them. You can also add custom fields if you need more. Custom fields are covered more in the custom tab section.

You can add default text in the editor by clicking the "add/edit default content" link inside the "main content" field. You can use it to add written outlines or instructions for your writers. Keep in mind that this setting will apply to all new content items in the project.

You may have noticed the visible option. When unchecked, the corresponding field will be hidden and disabled. Next to it is the required option. When this is checked, the item cannot be submitted or approved unless the said field is filled.

Next, we have the Meta data & files tab. It comes with multiple default fields. Most of them are used for SEO. Like the fields in the text tab, you can disable them (except for the files field) by unchecking visible and you can also make them required.

If you've noticed, both the Text and the Meta data & Files tab's default fields are all marked as system fields.

System fields are an integral part of our API and WordPress plugin. You can't rename or reorder system fields, but you can disable them if you don't need them. However, if you want to leverage our API and/or WordPress integration, we recommend that you enable and use them.

You can create custom tabs by clicking the Add a new tab button. Name your tab then click the green check button and it will be created. There's no limit to the number of tabs you can create.

Your new tab will be empty, so you'll have to fill it with custom fields. Currently, the following fields are available for you to use on your tabs (including the text and meta data & files):

  1. Heading
  2. Guidelines
  3. Text field
  4. Text area
  5. Asset field
  6. Checkboxes
  7. Radio buttons
  8. Date
  9. Dropdown select

Fields added to your custom tab can be reordered by clicking on their hamburger icon and then dragging and dropping them wherever you like.

You can create your own templates by clicking the template selection menu, and then clicking Create a new template.

Give your new template a name, click the green check button, and your new template will be created.

A newly created template will automatically contain all system fields and tabs present in the default template. You can then fill it with your own custom tabs and fields.

If you want more custom fields or perhaps additional features or flexibility in the template editor, please let us know at support@easycontent.io or click "Suggest a feature" in the application footer.

Adding briefs to your project

Congratulations! The basic configuration is over and you can now start working with EasyContent.

First, start with creating a brief for your writers. Click on the "Briefs" item in the project level menu, then once you're on the Briefs page, click the "Add your first brief" button.

When adding a brief, fill in its title. It's a mandatory field and you are limited to 200 characters. This name will be used everywhere in the project, so make it descriptive. It can be the proposed title of a content item, its purpose, or simply a task name.

Some good examples of a brief name would be:

  • "About Us" page
  • Best content marketing tools
  • Why does my cat hate me?

More detailed instructions for the brief can be provided in the "Description" field. If you need your writer to use specific keywords, include them in the "Keywords" field separated by commas.

When the brief is created, it can be assigned to a writer or a writer can claim it by clicking the "Claim" button on the brief page. We've removed some of the project administration workloads by allowing writers to claim available briefs without waiting for them to be assigned.

If you cannot assign a user to a brief or a content item, make sure that:

  1. The user is assigned to the project where the brief or content item resides.
  2. The user's role is responsible for the draft workflow status in the workflow settings of that project.

Working with content items

After it's done and the brief is assigned or claimed, it becomes a content item and is transferred to the "Content" page. To open this page, click on the "Content" menu item in the project level menu.

The number in the badge next to the content menu item (#1) shows the number of content items where your input is expected.

To view the content item's content and edit it, click on its name under the title column (#2). You will see our rich text editor where you can write or edit the content. You will also see some additional fields that a writer will be required to fill in (those are configured in the Template settings), as well as some widgets designed to provide more information about the content item. We'll have a look at them in the next section.

Editing a Content Item

Some of the elements described below may not be visible when a user views a content item. Usually, that means that there is no information to display or that the user doesn't have the necessary permissions to view them.

By default, there are two tabs on the content item editor page: "Text" and "Meta data & Files" tabs.

The Text tab is where most of the work will take place. This is where the rich text editor is.

The Meta data & Files tab contains additional fields such as:

  • Featured image
  • Excerpt
  • Tags
  • Custom post slug
  • Meta title
  • Meta description
  • Files

Most of these fields can be used by WordPress if you set up our WordPress integration. The set of fields can be configured in the "Template settings".

The "Files" section is also found in this tab. This allows you to attach, delete, or download any files that you may want to submit together with the content item or insert into the content item's text.

Back to the Text tab, we have the Actions section on the top. This allows you to Submit or Approve a content item, Send it back for rework, Save draft, or Publish the content item to a WordPress website if WordPress integration is set up. You can also export your article as HTML or DOCX or generate a shareable link.

The sidebar contains several widgets that help you work with the content item. Their combination depends on user permissions and current activity in the content item, but at most you will see the following:

Messages. Displays all correspondence related to the content item you are viewing. If your role doesn't have the "View communication report" permission, you will see only the messages you've sent or received.

Assignment details. Displays the content item's description, keywords, notes, and categories. You can highlight keywords in the text if you click the "Highlight in text" link.

Workflow widget. This displays all workflow-related information. It allows you to approve or reject the content item, change its status, or assign it to other people, (if you have the "Manage content items" and "Manage people and deadlines" permissions).

Assignment feedback. This widget displays feedback received by the writer from other approvers. To use grades, configure grading criteria on the "Workflow" page.

Revision history. This displays revisions and allows you to view, restore, or delete them. If you select two revisions, you will be able to compare them by clicking the "Compare selected" button.

Integrating Your Project with WordPress

If you create content for a WordPress website, you can link your project with the website. This allows you to publish your content items directly to your WordPress website with just one click of a button. Also, you can pull content from your WordPress website into your EasyContent project. That is handy when you need to update or improve some of your existing content items. Our WordPress plugin works with both the classic text editor and the new Gutenberg text editor.

To set it up, install our WordPress plugin, and generate your API keys on the "Integrations" page.

Creating Documentation for Your Project

If your project requires additional documentation, such as style guidelines for your writers and editors, directions for other approvers, or any other helpful information, you can create it with EasyContent.

When you are inside a project, click the "Help" item in the top menu. 

Then press "Add new category," enter the category name (e.g., Style guidelines) and save it. After you have created a category, click on the "Edit" icon, and choose "Add help article."

When you have more than one category, use the drag & drop feature to reorder them on the page.

Further Steps

Congratulations! If you've made it this far, you should be familiar with EasyContent and ready to get started. Feel free to reach us at support@easycontent.io with any questions or feedback.

Happy collaboration!