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) that allows you to edit your profile and account settings in the top right corner of the page. It appears when you click on your avatar (the colored circle that displays your initials).

The exact set of menu items that will appear changes depending on your permissions. Below we'll examine the menus from left to right as a user with the admin role sees them.

Account level menu

  • Project selection dropdown allows you to quickly select a project to work with.
  • Projects is where all your projects can be found. Here, you can create, archive, or delete them. Note that deleting a project also permanently deletes all its data, so be careful.
  • Calendar displays all content items with a due date for at least one of its workflow statuses, along with some other useful information related to them. You can drag and drop content items to adjust their deadlines. If you click on an item, you can manage responsible users and due dates.
  • Team contains submenu items for accessing your team members and configuring their roles and permissions.
    • Users will bring you to the page where you can invite, view and manage users in your account. All users are created at the account level and there is no limitation on the number of users you can invite.
    • Roles is where you can manage and configure user roles. 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.
    • Teams allows you to create and manage teams to organize your team members.
  • Integrations allow you to generate API keys that you can use on our official WordPress plugin that allows you to connect your website to a project. You can also add webhook endpoints here.
  • Reports lets you access Content Report and Communication.
    • Content Report displays a chart of your project's progress over a period of time.
    • Communication allows a user with sufficient permissions to view all messages and comments from all users in the account. This, along with our activity card and comprehensive email notifications, gives project administrators 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 (this page). You can find in-depth guides that will help you master EasyContent and use it to its full potential. 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 bar below the account menu will be populated with project-level menu items. The exact set of menu items will vary depending on your permissions. Again, we'll examine the menus from left to right as a user with the admin role sees them.

  • Dashboard gives you a quick glimpse of a project's activity and your team's performance. We are constantly developing it, so let us know if you need more!
  • Content page contains all the content items in the project and allows you to edit, view, or manage them, depending on your permissions.
  • Briefs is where upcoming tasks or ideas that can be turned into content items can be found. A brief becomes a content item when it's assigned to or claimed by a user. Users can claim a brief themselves when they are responsible for the first stage of the workflow, which, by default, is called "Draft".
  • Mailbox lets you visit your personal mailbox for the current project. Here, you can communicate with other users that are also assigned to the project. All messages received in your mailbox will also be sent to your email.
  • Files lets you manage all of the current project's files. Upload new files or delete unused ones; create folders to organize your files and more.
  • Configuration lets you access various settings related to the current project: Workflow settingsCategoriesTemplates, and Project settings.
    • Workflow settings is where you can set up your project's workflow statuses.
    • Categories is where you can create and manage categories. You can use them to organize your briefs and content items.
    • Templates is where you can create different "blueprints" that you can apply to your content items. It lets you configure your content editor's layout by adding or removing custom fields and tabs, adding descriptions, length recommendations, or making those fields mandatory and more.
    • Project settings allow you to configure the current project's settings such as its name, assigned users, and more.

Defining roles and permissions

To follow along, from the account level menu, head to Team > Roles.

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. If you are a premium user, you can create as many roles as you need and arrange them in any order (except for the first and last roles).

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.

Permissions define what users will see on their screens. For example, the "calendar" item in the account-level menu will only appear if the user has the "view publishing calendar" permission.

Inviting users

After you've defined your roles, invite your team to your account by clicking the "invite" button on the "users" screen (accessed from the account level menu via Team > Users).

When inviting a new user, you must assign them a role. By default, the role is set to admin, so make sure to change this accordingly. You can also assign them to one or several projects if you want.

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

Creating teams

You can further organize your users by creating teams. This won't affect what users will be able to see and do. It's only a way for HR or project managers with access to users organize your team members.

To access teams, go to Team > Teams in the project level menu. You can also click the "Teams" button next to the "Invite" button on the Users page.

Your first project: assigning users

To follow along, click "Projects" on the account level menu.

We're going to start by creating a new project. Click the "create a new project" button on the "projects" page.

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 immediately assign users to the projects they will work on. Otherwise, even though they might be able to view and edit projects if they have the "manage projects" permission, they won't be able to participate in the approval workflow inside this project, which can cause confusion.

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

 

Your first project: setting up workflow

Once users are assigned to your new project, access its dashboard by clicking its name on the projects page, then proceed to the workflow settings page via Configuration > Workflow settings in the project level menu.

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.

After adding workflow stages, you may want to rearrange them in the correct order by dragging and dropping them into place.

Next, assign responsible roles via "require action from" column. When a content item reaches a workflow status, any user with the role responsible for the said status will have the ability to claim the item if no user is currently assigned to it.

After adding or rearranging the stages the way you want and selecting roles responsible for these statuses, you may want to configure ratings for each of the intermediate workflow 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.

To follow along, from the project level menu, go to Configuration > Templates.

The first thing you'll see once you're on the page is the default template. It has three tabs: Main ContentCMS Fields and Example Tab.

Let's take a closer look at each of them.

The Main Content tab, a.k.a. the "main tab" is where the main content is written. It has three default fields: title, main content, and files. You can rearrange them if you want. You can also add custom fields if you need them. Custom fields are covered in more detail under the custom tab section.

You can add default text in the editor by clicking "add/edit default content" in 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 and claimed brief in the project.

You may have noticed the eye icon next to a tab's name. This is the show/hide option. When clicked, the corresponding tab will switch between the "enabled" and "disabled" state.

The visible checkbox allows you to hide a field if you don't need it.

The required checkbox, when activated, makes it so the content item cannot be submitted or approved if the corresponding field is empty.

The CMS Fields tab is disabled by default. To enable it, click the eye icon. It comes with multiple default fields, and most of them are used for SEO and can be synced to WordPress if you have our plugin installed. Like the fields in the main content tab, you can hide them by unchecking the visible option.

If you've noticed, both the Main Content and the CMS Fields' default fields are all marked as system fields.

System fields are an integral part of EasyContent's API and WordPress plugin connectivity. Unlike general custom fields, you can't rename system fields, but you can hide them if you don't need them (hiding disables them). However, keep in mind that if you want to leverage our API and/or WordPress integration, you will have to enable and use them.

Finally, we have the Example Tab. There's no real use for this tab as it's meant to showcase all of the available custom fields that you can use to build your own template. You can safely delete this, but if it's your first time viewing and exploring our templates feature, we recommend that you check it out to familiarize yourself with our custom fields.

You can create custom tabs by clicking the "add a new tab" button next to an existing tab. Give it a name 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 are available for you to use:

  1. Single line text
  2. Paragraph text
  3. File/image upload
  4. Checkboxes
  5. Radio buttons
  6. Date
  7. Dropdown select
  8. Heading
  9. Guidelines

*Note: these fields are also usable in the default tabs.

Template fields can be reordered by dragging and dropping.

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

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

A new template will automatically have all the system fields and tabs from the default template. You can then fill it with 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 page footer found anywhere within EasyContent.

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 "Briefs" on project level menu, then once you're on the 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.

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 exists.
  2. The user's role is responsible for the draft (or the first) workflow status in the workflow settings of that project.

Working with content items

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

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

To view or edit a content item, click its name under the title column (#2). You will see the rich text editor where content can be viewed, edited, or written. Then, depending on the configuration of the template used in that content item, you will see additional fields that may or may not be required to be filled in as well as some widgets designed to provide more information about the 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.

If you're using the default template, there will be two tabs in the content editor page: "Main Content" and "Example Tab". There's also the "CMS Fields" tab, but it's disabled by default. We've covered templates above so if you skipped to this part, check out the your first project: configuring templates section.

The Main Content tab is where most of the work will take place. Here, you will find the content field. This will typically be where your article body will live.

Under that is the Files section. 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 its text. You can click the add files card to access the current project's files library and look for files you want to attach to the content item. Learn more about the files library here and how it can help you organize your files.

Next we take a look at the Example Tab. This is used solely for showcasing custom fields. We assume that this is your first time using EasyContent, so we recommend that you check it out to see our custom fields in action.

Finally, we have the CMS Fields tab. This is disabled by default. You can enable it by clicking the customize template link which will take you to the templates page. There, clicking the eye icon next to the CMS fields tab.

When enabled, it will have the following fields by default:

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

If you set up WordPress integration, most of these fields can be automatically synced along with the content item's main text when you use the "Publish to WP" feature to auto publish the content item directly to your website without logging in.

Back to the Main Content tab, you will see the Actions section in the top right of the title field. This lets you submit or approve the content item, send it back for rework, save draft, or publish it to a WordPress website, if WordPress integration is set up. You can also export it as HTML or DOCX or generate a shareable link that you can share to anyone online.

Next, we focus on the sidebar on the right side of the page. Here you can find several widgets that can help you work with the content item. The widgets that show up 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.

Item 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.

Item 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 that will appear on top of "current version".

Integrating Your Project with WordPress

If you create content for a WordPress website, you can link your project with it. This allows you to publish your content items directly to the website with just one click of a button. You can also pull content from the website into your EasyContent project. This will allow you to update them without having to login to the website.

To set it up, install our WordPress plugin, and generate your API keys on the "Integrations" page. Our WordPress plugin works with both the classic text editor and the new Gutenberg text editor.

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" icon on the account level menu.

Once on the page, click the "Add new category" button. A new block will appear, asking you to give it a name. Enter the category name (e.g., Style guidelines) and save it by clicking the save icon.

Once the category block is created, click its "Edit" icon, and you will see the "Add help article" link. Click it and you will be redirected to a page where you can create your new help article.

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

Further Steps

Congratulations! If you've made it this far, you should now 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!