Kapost integrates, automates editorial workflow
A Colorado-based startup called Kapost has an intriguing proposition for media sites, in the form of a new platform that integrates key editorial workflows into existing content management systems.
The Kapost platform helps online teams manage the full editorial production process, from story concepts and assignments to post-production performance tracking and payments to freelancers. The service, according to co-founder and CEO Toby Murdock, reflects the realities of the new model for digital publishing, in which smaller editorial staffs must manage a broader group of internal and external contributors across multiple locations, while collectively producing much higher volumes of content to feed the Web’s 24/7 news cycle.
“Edit teams are getting crushed, sinking under spreadsheets and emails,” Murdock said in a phone interview. “They spend more time managing logistics than thinking strategically about their content.”
Amen to that, brother. At eMediaVitals, we’ve cobbled together a variety of tools, including Basecamp, email and IM, to manage what passes for an editorial workflow but in reality is wildly inefficient. At first glance, Kapost looks like a much more effective way to manage the process.
“Our focus is on automating administrative tasks to help editors be more productive,” said Murdock.
How Kapost works
Using Kapost, an editor or writer can create a story idea, called a “concept.” A writer adding a concept can volunteer for the assignment or leave it open-ended. An editor can view a list of concepts (or “proposals”) through a dashboard and assign, approve or close the concept. Writers have their own dashboard for viewing story proposals as well as the specific stories that have been assigned to them. Editors can include deadline information and even assign a fee to the assignment for freelancers.
Kapost includes its own text editor for creating and submitting posts. When the writer is done and submits the article, the editor is notified automatically. There’s an option for kicking the post back to the writer if it needs additional work. If a new author does not have a profile (as required by some CMSs in order to generate a byline), Kapost will automatically create one when the story is published through the publisher’s CMS.
After the story is published, Kapost offers analytics for tracking performance. Editors and writers can view page views and unique visitors by contributor, post or category. (You can do similar performance tracking in Google Analytics, but it takes a bit of work to set up.)
The payments feature is interesting. Editors can assign payments per post or assign default payments for each contributor per assignment. The platform currently supports only flat fees, but Murdock said his team is looking to add a word count feature to the service, based on feedback from users.
Within the next two weeks, Kapost also plans to add new features for managing the actual payment process, which include debiting the publisher’s account, sending payment to a writer’s PayPal account, and even generating 1099 forms for freelancers. Kapost is also working on a feature that combines a base rate plus a bonus based on the post’s performance, Murdock said.
Kapost offers three tiers of pricing: free (for up to three users), $8 per user/per month (up to 15 users), and an unlimited-user option that requires a custom quote.
The Kapost platform, officially launched earlier this year, is currently being used by a few dozen publishers, including well-known brands such as Fortune, Discovery Channel and Consumer Reports, Murdock said. The startup – originally conceived as Grogger, a CMS for bloggers – pivoted last fall, rebranded as Kapost, and received $1.1 million in Series A funding led by High Country Venture and Highway 12 Ventures.
Here’s a quick video from Kapost that walks through the platform:
I’m planning to pilot Kapost with our team and will provide a hands-on review in a subsequent post.