Managing Multiple Authors in WordPress
Not every successful blog is written by a lone writer tied to his or her desk, working hard to balance the content, bring in new readers and generate revenue through advertising.
More and more blogs are making use of multiple writers, brought in as volunteers, guest bloggers or even paid contributors. However, with this expansion of content comes an increase in blog management. There are various ways in which you might find new members for your team, either by advertising on your site (after all, who knows your content better than you?) or by alerting readers through Twitter. You might even pay for a listing on a popular website, although you should make clear that you may not be able to pay that well (if at all), whichever choice you make.
With a newly established team of writers, you will need to establish some processes. This is important for managing workflow and to make your team effective and efficient.
There are different ways to manage this, from making use of the native features of the WordPress blog software to taking advantage of third party tools.
Basic Management of Multiple Contributors
There are various considerations that you will need to give to running a blog with multiple contributors.
First of all, what permissions will they have? As a Contributor, a blog post can only be submitted as pending approval of an editor; similarly, no images can be uploaded. Meanwhile, an Author is able to add images to a post.
You might consider grouping your team into a hierarchy based on their ability and reputation, or you could leave them all at the same level and perform all of the necessary editing and admin yourself. The secret, of course, is to have a system that works for all concerned – but remember that the real beneficiary will be your blog and its readers.
How I Manage My Team
Taking advantage of powerful plugin and relying on various native WordPress tools, I effectively manage a team of three regular contributors on my blog, with many other writers making occasional posts.
Daily posts usually number two to eight, depending on various factors. In order to manage this, I collect news items from sources, take advantage of the Press This toolbar widget to save draft posts and then use the Posts view and Quick Edit to assign each post to the most appropriate contributor. When they next login, they will see those drafts and open them up to get the links to the story source (you might also copy the link to the draft post from the Posts view and email it to your contributor).
In addition to this, I also utilize the free Edit Flow plugin, which features several modules that can be enabled and disabled as required.
This tool can be used to manage all manner of team-based editorial functions from overseeing budgets for stories to editorial calendars, email notifications and even threaded conversations to discuss articles. If you run a multi-author blog you should certainly consider using this plugin. I use it mainly to get notifications as to when posts are submitted so that I can schedule them.
Whichever method you use, remember that the aim is productivity for everyone, not just your team. If you have any misgivings about how you are able to influence the direction of your blog if you’re writing less and editing more, then have a good think about your contributors and their abilities.
After all, it might be that you’re using the right approach, but with the wrong personnel. If this is the case, changing your team around might be the best option…