Does a content editor need to be proficient in technologies such as HTML and CSS? And how do you make sure that when a digital editor joins a new project, they’ll blend in with the workflow and cooperate seamlessly with the developers team?

Being a company that often handles development work for media businesses, we have extensive experience communicating with content managers and helping them automate their work.
We have dealt with a variety of tasks, depending on the specifics of each company we’ve worked with. There are many ways to divide responsibilities between IT and the content team in web-publishing. Whether or not automation is required depends on many factors, which are indirectly related to the work of specific editors.

For some projects, content managers have unlimited possibilities so they are able to use any HTML layout and Inline CSS, while for other projects, there is a set number of templates and additional developers are required to use new content types. Every approach has its own characteristic features, which may be positively or negatively viewed depending on the content type:

 

WYSYVIG (free layout)
Is Needed When
Comment Content-builder (templated layout)
Is Needed When
posting is done by a qualified employee — a layout designer or editor with skills needed; the more publishers there are, the greater the likelihood of errors is, in which case the website will not look good; many content-makers who don’t know the mark-up / UGC;
you have the time and the need for an “individualized approach” to materials layout; manual layout gives the editor more freedom to be creative, but new pages will take longer to create;

content is published often and in large quantities;

each page is formatted differently and contains various content types; want to add new media and interactives to an article? You will not be able to do it yourself in the content-builder; content types are templated and reused;
the content has a short life-cycle;

templated layout fares better during migration and website redesign, which is something you will definitely need to do at some point. With free layout, website maintenance will be very complicated;

users access your articles long after they are published.


Often, people use variations of these approaches: for example, editors may use a HTML layout to work with the text, while using already developed shortners to insert certain components. This makes it less labour-intensive to use “complex” components such as podcasts, headings, sliders, and forms, while making the content more diversified and engaging.


Sometimes, one company can use different approaches depending on the type of materials: some pages with content are created individually to suit certain products or events, while blog or SEO-texts editors use templates. Besides speeding up content production and simplifying data transfer when changes are made to a website, using templated solutions in this case can also improve the search engine on a website and aid in machine text processing, for example, for cataloguing.
 
It is possible to assume how everything is arranged in a certain company judging not only by the type of content or publication frequency, but also by the technologies used to create its website: Drupal and its community prefer builders, whereas Adobe Dreamweaver and WordPress prefer WYSYVIG. AEM is well suited for the option with shortners, but generally speaking, any system can be adjusted to your needs and used to optimize the cost of content production for the specific company.

Therefore, the question of choosing manual or automated layout not only involves the issue of editors’ IT competence, but also determines the workflow of handling content and website maintenance possibilities. Knowing for sure where the responsibilities of the developers versus the editors lie for a specific project is possible only from inside the media. Even if editors’ work is automated to the extreme, to ensure efficient collaboration with colleagues and developers, a content manager should:
 

  • have a general idea of the HTML, CSS and Content Management System they are using;
  • find out which SEO-related tasks in their project are performed by them, and which are performed by layout designers and marketers;
  • get clear on what stages of content production their workflow involves: who can and should edit and publish information on the website, and whether there are revisions;
  • set up a process for implementing technical changes and fixing errors: figure out the task tracker, task setting rules, general terminology and stages of development (Prod, Test, Stage);
  • ask IT specialists about the best way to use HTML and CSS (if needed) in their project so that it will not cause disturbances during content publication and introducing website changes in the future.