At Lighthouse, we have a very small team so creating a content plan and assigning tasks is not a challenge. A job that is pretty well managed in Google Docs. But if it is a large publication house like The Next Web or FirstPost then there arises the requirement for a platform that can manage the entire content management. Betaout, a brainchild of Ankit Maheshwari, provides a similar platform by becoming your editorial project management.
After getting a helpful demo from Ankit, I have played with the product for some time and I must say that Betaout has taken into account each and every aspect of a publishing house. The entire product can be divided into – Betaout Home, Newsroom app and Workbench app. I have reviewed the Betaout Home and Newsroom app in this post and the Workbench app review would be followed in another post.
The Betaout home page is sub-divided into – Dashboard, Config, Custom Domain, Billing Information and Content Cloud.
The Dashboard gives you a summary of your ContentCloud Team, ContentCloud Sites and Project. The Config feature allows you to configure your data with Amazon S3 and Copyscape so that you can keep a check on plagiarism for each of your sites. With Custom Domain you can secure a customized URL and Billing Information provides all the details of the plan that the user is enrolled for the usage of the product. And Content Cloud has the details of the sites that a user has added, the projects running and the team a user has built.
Newsroom App and Workbench App both are accessible from Content Cloud and they have been explored in more detail further in the article.
The Newsroom app or you can call it the central system of the admin. It is sub-divided into three sections – 1) Newsroom 2) Settings and 3) Accounts.
1. Newsroom: The Newsroom section is again sub-divided into – Dashboard, Repository, Content Templates, Team, Analytics, Idearoom and Calendar.
Dashboard section allows an admin to assign tasks to writers or guest authors. Dashboard allows you to have an entire visual look of the tasks assigned, the attached details and what state are they in. The below snapshot gives a quick look of the dashboard.
The Preview Story section not only tells you the state of the assigned task but also has an option to write the story. Betaout has its own inbuilt editor that allows you to write the story and publish right from here on the desired portal. The editor has the facility of comments so the feedback is provided right into the article. Tabs like History, Guidelines and Feedback provide more details on the task. Assets tab allows you to add reference material for the task.
Repository gives a snap shot of published and killed assignments. The results could be sorted on the basis of the various templates you have created in the system.
Content Templates are the different templates or workflows that you have created in the system. For example there could be a workflow for guest authors and regular writers. So the section displays all the templates that a user is using on the platform. Furthermore you can edit the details of the template and make a template active or inactive.
Team section provides you three features – Activity Feed, All User details and Feedback. Activity Feed shows all the activity from last 30 days that has happened on the platform in a visual form. The below screen gives you a quick look.
Apart from listing all the users, the section also provides complete work related details about a particular user. Along with the user details you are also given a complete snapshot of the feedback details, performance report, activity details and the list of assignments. In simple words, the admin can get a complete overview of each and every user from the Team section.
Analytics feature gives you the complete picture of the assignments, completed assignments and the performance under last 7 days, 30 days, particular month and all time. The performance reports could be filtered according to user roles in the system. So writers would have a different performance report compared to guest writers. The section also provides details about different user roles and their assignment state.
Idearoom is a feature that allows users to suggest ideas to the admin. So if a writer comes up with a new story then she can suggest to the admin. The admin has the rights to approve or reject it. If approved then the story gets converted into a task right away.
Calendar, as the name goes, gives a visual layout of the task assigned, due and yet to be published. So the weekly and monthly calendar gives a quick snapshot of the entire work process and what state each work is.
2. Settings: If the Newsroom was the front end feature then the settings section holds all the back end features such as creation of Workflows, Desks, User Roles, Categories, Assignment Costs and User Points.
Workflows are the process flows which are attached to particular content templates. The Desks are sections which have users assigned to them. So one can create a writer desk and assign all the regular writers of the system to the desk. These desks are linked to Workflows.
The platform allows you to set the currency and the rates for contributors which can be done from the Assignment Cost section. Finally the platform gamifies the system by assigning User Points to users on their performance in a particular task. The points are set by the system based on Contributor Levels and on different events. For example, an assignment published with 5 star rating gets the user 5 points and achieving such points will unlock different levels like Novice, Pro, Expert, etc.
3. Accounts: The Accounts section is further sub-divided into Contributors Earnings, Invoices, User Details, Reports, Customize and Documents.
Invoices feature pulls up all the paid, unpaid, cancelled invoices depending on user roles and also filtered by time. The Reports section is a similar feature but shows the summary of earnings of users based on their assignment. The feature also shows if there are any deductions that may have happened.
Customize allows you to select the features that you want to show related to User Info, Payment Info and Documents that need to be uploaded for verification purposes.
The Newsroom app should be a delight for the admin who would be managing the publishing agency. The Workbench app which is a feature provided to the users of the system would be reviewed in a subsequent post.