Verint Community 11.1 - Blog Workflows

Verint Community (aka Telligent Community) 11.1 was released last week and had a couple of new features that caught my eye, so I decided to take a look and write about it here!

The first feature I thought could be very useful is the new Blog Workflows, over the years I have seen many communities struggle with a manual or custom approach to this problem and I think this could be a great time-saving feature for many community managers!

The Problem

A lot of communities have (or want to have) a blog which is managed by the community management team, but want to include guest posts from other members inside the organisation, external members, or both, whilst keeping an editorial control (such as checking for language or content which isn't appropriate for an "official" blog post, spelling, formatting and scheduling the post as part of the wider content calendar).

In previous version of Verint Community this was difficult to do, you could make the guest blogger an author on the blog but at that point they could post the content whenever they wanted with or without review, in some circumstances this could be managed with manual processes such as asking the blog author to create the post as a draft until it had been reviewed but this may not always be appropriate.

The other approach I saw more often involved word documents and emails! The author would be asked to create their blog post in word, send it to the community management team who would do any editorial checks, discuss those revisions with the author (and potentially go back and forth with the author several times), the community team would then copy the post into the community and format it as necessary and publish it on the users behalf with a message about the author. This approach can be good for members who haven't blogged much before and being guided through the process like this can help them massively, but it also takes up time from the community team and can lead to the user feeling less ownership of the final post as it's not fully in their name.

The Solution

The solution Verint has included in 11.1 is to allow community managers to define a workflow process all blog posts must go through before appearing to the public. This allows you to give as many users as you want permissions to create posts, but they won't be displayed without the review process being completed.

The Demo

For this demo, I am assuming a simple "Community News" blog that is visible to everyone viewing the community and is something promoted by the community team. The review process will have two stages, the first by a "Content Editor" this is someone who will check the content is correct, formatted correctly and has no typos, the final stage will be a review by the community management team to ensure it is scheduled correctly and meets their standards.

I'm going to use three members for this:

  • "Admin" who is one of the community management team
  • "Content Editor" who is one of the content editors, this could also be one of the community management team, a community superuser, another blogger, etc.
  • "Guest Blogger" the actual author of the blog post

I've set up my blog in a Joinless (Public) group with default settings.

To configure my workflow whilst viewing the blog I need to go to:

  • The pencil icon to open the admin panel
  • "Manage Blog"
  • "Post Options"
  • "Review Workflow"
  • Select which type of workflow you want, a simple single phased workflow, or a custom process that can have one or more phases. As we want multiple phases I selected "Phase-based Review"
  • Enter the name and reviewers for the first phase, in my case I used "Content Review" and created a sitewide role named "Blog Post - Content Editors" for this.

    I would recommend using a role rather than an individual user or set of users for easier management. Ideally, you'd want more than one person able to approve each phase, this means that if the normal reviewer is away or leaves the organisation content can still be added easily. It also appears roles can't be selected when using the "Simple Review" option, in that case, I'd either recommend creating a "Phase-based Review" with just one phase or ensuring you have multiple reviewers set.

  • Click "Apply"
  • Click "Add review phase"
  • Enter the name and reviewers for the second phase, in my case I used "Community Team Review" and the built-in sitewide role "Administrators"
  • Click "Apply"
  • Click "Save"

Once this workflow is in place all posts will have to be approved, even if they are made by a member of the reviewers, users can review and approve there own posts though (so admins could still create a post without review but would have to approve it through the phases themselves first).

As I only want my author to create posts, and not be able to manage any other aspect of the blog I can't add them as a "Blog Author" in the "Blog Options" screen as this would give them too much control. Instead, I have created a sitewide role called "News Blog - Authors" which I'll permit to create blog posts.

To do this whilst viewing the blog go to:

  • The pencil icon to open the admin panel
  • "Manage Blog"
  • "Permissions"
  • "Site Roles"
  • Select "News Blog - Authors"
  • Tick the "Create Posts" permission. If you want the user to be able to attach files too you should also select the "Attach Uploaded Files" and/or "Attach URLs" permissions.
  • Click "Save"

Now when the guest blogger logs in and goes to the News blog they will see the pencil icon (they won't see this elsewhere unless they also have permissions there), but will only be able to see the "Posts" and "Tags" section, note they will be able to rename or delete tags, but they won't be able to edit or delete any post unless it was created by them.

The guest blogger can then click through to "Posts" and "New Posts" where they will be taken to the standard blog post creation form, but they will see a message at the top telling them the post will need to be reviewed before it can be published:

The blogger can then create the post as normal, but when they click "Post" instead of being visible on the site it will be sent to the Content Editor for review.

The content editor will receive a notification (either in the community, via email or both depending on their settings):

Clicking the notification will take them to the moderation queue where they can see the details of the post:

If they are happy with the post, they can simply click "Approve", if there is a problem (in this case the post contains a typo where "son" should be "soon") they have two options:

  1. Click "Deny", here they can enter some comments about the changes required and tick the checkbox to "Allow the author to revise their content" if they don't choose this the post will be deleted and removed from the moderation process.

    If they do this the author will receive an email with the details provided and can go and edit the post when they are ready



  2. Click "Edit", the reviewer can then make changes themselves. If the changes are minor like the typo mentioned above this can save time and reduce the need for back and forth between the reviewer and author, for bigger changes you'd probably want to include the author.

When the reviewer is happy, they can press the "Approve" button which will move the post to the admin.

The admin user then gets the same process, with a notification and the same options as above. If they Deny the phase and send it back to the author any edits will have to go through the content editor phase again.

Once the admin is happy and presses "Approve" the post is available on the site, the blog author will get an email telling them the post has been published.

Summary

The new blog workflow feature could be very helpful for community managers who want to accept blog content from members whilst maintaining editorial control of the blog and help automate the process of working with guest bloggers to ensure high-quality content.

Ardour Digital can help you get the most out of Verint Community (aka Telligent Community). Providing development, training, and advice.

To find out more email hello@ardourdigital.co.uk or call +44 (0)177 3254 150.

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