TravelShark Takes Content Management to Cutting Edge with Kapost
By | Thursday December 15, 2011
We’ve made a really tremendous shift here in how we handle operations and work flow associated with our major content-generation activities for our sites. We thought you might like to hear a bit about it.
Two months ago, we were struggling with how to add automation and scale to our content efforts – which today involve a substantial number of local “editors,” who generate current articles and stories of interest to support our hyper-local travel sites, which market major destinations as well as sites covering Las Vegas Hotels, Singapore Hotels, and hundreds of other hotel markets around the world. Our needs grew geometrically after TravelShark acquired 80 premium location-based domains. We had to bolster our content output, while also maintaining quality and operational standards of efficiency.
This was no small task, with a need for thousands of new articles across nearly a hundred freelance writers based in cities and time zones all over the world. The prospect of passing this many assignments out via email, accepting them as attachments, editing them in Word, and then uploading them to our CMS was less than appealing at every level of the company.
We began exploring other options. We dabbled in Google Docs (workable, but not designed for sharing on this magnitude) and we dipped our toe into the Wiki water (workable, but not without substantial coding on our end), but none of the initial options we tried swept us off our feet.
Ultimately, the solution came to us from the unlikeliest of places: a twitter hashtag. A fateful click on #OnlyInBoulder (the hometown of our US office) introduced us to Kapost—a startup, a TechStars grad company, located literally a third of a mile from our doorstep.
Kapost caught our attention because they knew exactly what we wanted—to spend less time managing deadlines, tracking down missing articles, and approving stacks of invoices; and more time working on the content itself. Moreover, we wanted a scalable solution that would allow us to continue growing our operation in the future.
Kapost solves these issues gracefully and efficiently. The service integrates assignments, submissions, deadline tracking, payment, and publication into an online newsroom that is easy to use and accessible from anywhere with an internet connection. Kapost also allows users to “claim” specific articles from a pool of topics. This is invaluable for our purposes because it allows our authors to write about cities they’ve lived in, and on topics in which they have expertise, without requiring a large amount of back and forth between editor and writers.
Writers submit their articles into a WYSIWYG editor, and our content managers make changes in the same area. Gone are the days of Word Doc attachments and track changes. Once an article is published, an invoice is created automatically and payment is made at the push of a button (via PayPal).
The impacts have been felt across the company. Obviously, the content team is happier, but some of the impacts were unexpected. We’ve noticed that our best writers are now taking on MORE work. We can only assume this relates to the autonomy of being able to choose their own articles based on interest without having to bother another human on our team. In addition, it makes it easier for our content team to track the progress or our writers and the articles they are working on. Accounting is over the moon; as anyone making small payments to vendors knows, it takes the same amount of time to generate a small check as a large check, and now we’re nearly check-free on this front.
Kapost has made our content team more efficient and agile, allowed us to expand our production levels without making any sacrifices to quality, and kept us dedicated to our goal of producing useful, relevant, and interesting travel content for cities all over the world.
Plus, we’re getting to know a great Boulder startup along the way.
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