As a CMO of a startup, I have a lot on my plate. One of my most time-consuming tasks involves managing the content creation process on our WordPress website.
Managing content is a lot more than just writing content, and it includes a lot of small and repeating tasks like posting to Facebook or re-organizing the page order in menus.
Luckily, throughout the years, I have accumulated a winning list of indispensable WordPress plugins that help me automate the content creation process on WordPress. In this article, I want to share some of these time-saving plugins so that you too can manage your WordPress content faster and more efficiently.
What is WordPress content automation?
Content automation can be a confusing term. First, I'll tell you what it doesn't mean: Content automation is not pressing a button and having your site automatically and magically filled with new and interesting content. (Wouldn't that be nice, though? This will probably be available when robots get smarter...)
Instead, I am referring to plugins that automate the processes around creating your content. WordPress itself, or any CMS for that matter, is a content automation tool on its own. In fact, that's why it's called a content management system. It manages, organizes, and orders your site content, so you don't have to manage everything manually. You create the content, and the CMS automatically arranges it in ways that make it easier for the visitor to find and discover content.
Content automation plugins take it a step further and continue to automatically complete your tasks for you. While you are still going to have to create quality content, the processes around arranging and presenting that content will be streamlined and supercharged thanks to a few ingenious automation plugins.
Boosting WordPress content automation with plugins
WordPress plugins can help automate tasks like sharing the post to Facebook, recommending related posts, optimizing your images, and other tasks that can be done automatically or semi-automatically. This cuts hours off of your daily workload and helps you manage complex and content rich sites more easily.
So let's get to it and find out how WordPress content automation plugins save you valuable time.
Step 1: Automating the writing process
The first stage in content automation starts with automating and streamlining the writing process itself. These next plugins deal with helping you streamline the content creation process in WordPress. In the list, I also mention our own plugin, Elementor Page Builder. While I may be biased, I still think it is a vital content automation tool.
If you are a prolific blogger like myself, you must have developed a close connection with your text editor TinyMCE (The menu bar in the WordPress visual editor). The TinyMCE Advanced plugin customizes the basic WordPress text editor bar, so you can change the buttons that appear in the bar. For example, you can include a horizontal line button, an anchor button, left to right, and other handy shortcuts.
In the past, page builders were mostly used to create static pages. With Elementor, we wanted to take the next step in content management and allows site owners to automate more and more tasks. What used to be developer and designer tasks can now be done semi-automatically and without coding with Elementor.
Here are some of the tasks it automates:
- Make pages mobile responsive, with a set of visual mobile editing controls
- Using pre-designed templates to create landing pages with one click
- Saving your own templates, for reuse and export on the website or on other websites
- Controlling multiple pages from one place, so you can embed a template in various pages and update them from one place
This is perhaps the simplest and most straightforward content automation tool for WordPress: You upload an image, and it gets shrunk automatically. I used to hate having to go to TinyPNG and reduce the image size. This is really automation at its finest since the plugin does everything for me. I just upload the image and don't give it a second thought.
While on the subject of image management plugins, I have to mention Optimize Images Resizing, a useful plugin that reduces the amount of image resizes so that the resize is done only when the image size is needed.
Good Writer Checkify lets you create a to-do checklist to be checked while creating your post. This is a sort of self-automation because it forces you to go through the steps that you think are vital when creating posts. These to do points could be: add images, set h1-4 headers, make sure headlines are self-explanatory...
Step 2: Automating the content management process
The second step for WordPress content automating has to do with improving the management of content in your website. Managing content can get very complex, especially if your site has multi-authors and contributors.
This plugin allows you to clone a post or a page in its entirety, all with one click. Instead of having to cut and paste the title, post content, description, etc., you simply click on the duplicate button and save yourself the tedious task of cutting and pasting every field of the post. This comes in useful, especially if your post has custom fields, featured images, and other fields that need to be copied beside the content.
In WordPress, you can assign a number to a page so as to set its order. If another page has a higher number, your page will be displayed on top on menus. The problem is that it is hard to manage the menu order of a page this way. Simple page order solves this because it gives you a drag and drop interface to set the right order of the pages. Drag and drop the various pages, and the order is set automatically in the same order as you have organized the pages.
Managing an editorial calendar is no longer the domain of weekly magazines. Even if you are the sole writer, it is hard to continue and create consistent content every week without a way to get an overview of the month content schedule. Editorial Calendar manages your already published posts as well as the posts you have still not written, so you don't forget where you left off. This plugin has a lot of cool features, like the ability to drag and drop posts across the calendar to change their publish dates.
Yet Another Related Posts scans your posts and pages and automatically adds relevant and related posts at the end of every post. This is really a must-have plugin for every content rich website because it automatically increases the chances your visitors will continue read more articles after they finish reading the article they first landed into.
With this plugin, you increase the average visitor duration as well as the number of pages visited, two very important user engagement metrics. You also increase the chances your first-time visitors will get better acquainted with your content and subscribe to your site.
Step 3: Automating the outreach process
Finally, after you finish writing the content and manage the process of content creation, you will now need to share your content with your social media followers and newsletter subscribers. The next two plugins automate this entire sharing process, and if configured correctly can become almost self-managed.
Social Media Auto Publish automatically publishes every new post on Facebook, Twitter, and Linkedin. You can format the message that gets published along with the post for each platform, and also attach an image for the published post.
Affiliate programs are a great way to monetize your traffic. The Linker plugin makes it easy to create affiliate links from your site, so the visitor first enters a link like: yourdomain.com/go/affiliate-product and is then redirected to the affiliate website.
If you follow this article and automate the processes mentioned above, it will improve your content creation process and make sure it is done correctly. Your site content will surely follow a high standard of quality that includes the following guidelines:
- The TinyMCE WP text editor will be personalized to your needs, allowing you to create content faster
- Your page design will be mobile optimized and quick to create with the help of the frontend page builder
- Images will be optimized automatically
- Every post will be written according to a consistent and customized to do list
- Posts will be easily duplicated and customized so their structure will remain consistent
- Page order in menus will be easily set with a visual drag and drop interface
- All your content will be managed in an editorial calendar, so you know which posts are going to get published, and when
- Visitors will see related posts, so they are encouraged to read more articles on your site
- Posts will automatically get shared to Facebook and Twitter
- Create affiliate links so you can track how much traffic comes from each affiliate
Once all these tasks are done, your job of getting more traffic to your site will become much easier. This way, you can focus on creating quality content and not get interrupted by the repeating tasks that you have automated.
I am sure there is a long list of other useful content automation plugins I have not mentioned in this article. We have barely scraped the surface of content management and automation, and have not delved into more advanced automation processes, such as conversion automation and optimization. If you have found a plugin in this post that performs a task you have done manually up to this point, I invite you to try it and see if it does improve your content creation process.
Ben Pines is the CMO of Elementor Page Builder, the live front end visual editor for WordPress. Ben has been in the online marketing industry for over 10 years and loves to read, write and produce thought provoking content.