Article Writing Process Overview
This article assumes your topic has already been properly researched and selected, and any input required from the client and/or research has been done and included on the Trello card.
If you need additional information on how to utilize our app stack, consult relevant documentation or contact your admin.
Before you start writing
Ensure you solely are assigned to the Trello card and that the card is in the correct column on the board: “Immediate queue” (or further forward).
If the client has retained us for ongoing work, the card should also indicate the client’s assigned label color for easy scanning on the board.
Ensure you have all necessary information in task assignment
A prepped Trello writing task should ideally include all of the following:
- Client code with a TBD title that includes the primary keyword
- ex. “OLI: Why Permanent Retainers Are a Good Idea After Braces”
- TBD SEO page description of appropriate character length (155 max, 120-140 ideal)
- ex. “Permanent retainers are usually necessary to keep both top and bottom teeth from shifting and moving after braces are completed”
- 5-10 prioritized keyword variations for consideration with volume findings
- not required for SCPs (Static Content Pages)
- Additional information regarding the topic, such as:
- article purpose/goals
- topics to avoid if appropriate
- ideal target audiences
- desired tone/prose
- article purpose/goals
- Links to external sources and potential citations for credibility
- Related text or audio files attached from either an upload or Google Drive
- This often may come in the form of an incomplete outline or even outline expansion from client collaboration
Outline your article
Move your article to the “being outlined” Trello list. If you need additional client input at this stage, defer to your PM (project manager) for any needs or scheduling of interviews if necessary. An article’s card should not be in the “immediate queue” unless it’s ready to be confidently outlined.
Create an initial outline of your article in Textmetrics, using primarily H2s, H3s, H4s, etc. If it becomes necessary/appropriate to include a summary sentence here and there, or a list at times, that’s fine as well. Minimal effort/time for now is the goal here.
This is also where some of your preliminary research will occur. If you find good resources, you should include them both in Trello and in the article itself. This is in case you leave the project for any reason, and for the client to vet when the review as credible/accurate or not.
When the outline is as complete as you can get it, move to the “awaiting client outline approval” board, removing yourself and adding your PM. Notify PM of status change via Slack DM. The PM will show the outline to the client and get any appropriate feedback to pass back to you, and will kick the outline back to “being outlined” if necessary. Occasionally some clients may fill out sections to jump-start your writing phase as well.
Interview (if necessary)
Often after we have proposed an outline is the best time to interview clients (again) regarding topics, when they have structure to view and speak towards. Clients will also sometimes provide written feedback or request a call to expand upon the outline verbally.
Once approved by the client, your PM will move the article to “being written (main writer)” and assign back to you.
Write your article
Utilizing the tools in TextMetrics, get your article to above a 90% SEO score, with the guides in the app. Try to get your content score above 75% – this will be harder than the SEO score, but paying attention to it as well will help improve your writing over time.
Always aim for a draft complete enough that you consider it capable of being published.
We aim to provide a featured image for the article, as well as one additional image, video or graphic per H2 section. You may begin to gather links to tentative options on places like pexels.com (free) and depositphotos.com (we have credits) and note them in the article and on the Trello card.
Solicit peer review
When you have completed your article, remove yourself and move to the “awaiting peer-writer editing” list. In general, we want our writers to claim articles organically and you obtain feedback from the entire pool of expertise evenly.
However, you may request a specific writer occasionally for a certain purpose. Just avoid making it the convention.
If the article is to be available to everyone, once moved and de-assigned, Notify of peer-editing availability in Slack channel via @channel command and provide the link to the Trello card. First writer to claim your article in Slack must immediately assign it to themselves in Trello, and he/she gets to edit it at 1hr per 1000 words, max. They will then assign it back to you and move it back to the “being written (main writer)” list in Trello, and notify you via Slack DM.
Your peer-review should contain (at minimum) direct edits in Textmetrics to your article, and potentially some feedback left in Trello on the card. Review feedback and re-read your article, making any final changes. Image recommendations from your peer editor should be considered and final choices made at this time. Assign your article back to you PM and move to the “ready for client approval (PM) list in Trello. Notify PM of status change via Slack DM.
If your PM has any issues, they will kick the card back to you and notify you of desired changes. Otherwise, your role will be fulfilled and they will move the article towards being taken live.