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How The Telegraph Runs Their Digital Publishing Process With Trello

How The Telegraph uses Trello

Every day of the week, millions of readers in the United Kingdom hop on their mobile devices or computers to start their days by reading the news, preferably with a cup of tea or coffee in hand. Whether it’s in the comfort of their home or on the Tube, mornings begin with The Telegraph

Serving more than 25 million unique users, The Telegraph is one of the top news brands in the UK and publishes hundreds of articles on a daily basis. The newspaper’s digital platforms have grown exponentially since they launched in 2016. 

So it makes sense that, to keep readers up-to-date while on the move, their publishing team heavily relies on a digital tool to release this large flow of content. They use Trello. 

How The Telegraph Uses Trello To Release Hundreds Of Articles Per Week 

The team at The Telegraph use Trello to manage their digital content process. It’s a workflow that allows them to develop each article through a planning, production, and publishing workflow.

Publishers, digital agencies, and content producers use this board to see the status of all their in-flight digital content at a glance.

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The Publishing Process board provides a single place where content producers, production staff, and editors can view the status of all digital content in the publishing pipeline. It allows staff to clearly see what tasks are assigned to them as well as be notified when new work is assigned to them. 

Thanks to this visual view in Trello, everyone involved in the process stays in the loop and avoids getting lost in translation. The intention of the board is to model a simple-yet-flexible publishing workflow, allowing the cards to be moved from left to right as the articles are written, reviewed, approved, and published. 

This workflow also provides a useful audit trail of each article, giving a complete view of who did what, and when. For example, when a card is moved to the “Content Created” list, the Legal team is alerted that the article is ready for review. 

Let’s explore the full story about how this board and workflow is used by The Telegraph team on the daily. 

About The Telegraph's Template And Workflow 

The Telegraph editorial team uses this board to manage content published to millions of readers on www.telegraph.co.uk. Attention to detail and clarity are crucial in order to publish a high volume of newsworthy content each and every day. 

The workflow progresses from left to right as cards move through various stages of the content creation process.

This is the work that happens at each step, represented by Lists on their Trello Boards: 

  • Ideas & Watching: Story and articles ideas are added by writers or editors to this list as cards. When cards are added to this list, they receive the default pre- and post-publish checklists. Writers are required to add a Label to the card to indicate which web/print section that the article will be added to when published.

  • Commissioned: Cards are moved to this list once the article ideas are approved for writing. They are assigned a fee and word count which are logged as Custom Fields on the card. The publish date for the article is set by the Due Date field. A writer is then assigned to the article. Either a board member is tagged on the card, or if it is an external writer, recorded by using the “Writer” Custom Field on the card. A label called “Embargo” is applied at this stage of the process to indicate if the article should not be published before a certain date/time.

    example of trello due date and custom fields

  • Content Created: Cards are moved here once the content is written in the Content Management System. The link to the content is added to the card. This allows the Legal team to easily review and do a quality check of the content.

  • Scheduled: Once the article is reviewed and approved, the card is moved to this list when the writer or an editor has scheduled the automatic publishing of the article at a specific time. The due date must be set to the scheduled date/time in the “Due Date” field.

  • Published: It’s live! The cards are moved to this list when the article is published on The Telegraph website. The writer or editor adds the live link to the card for future reference. 

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Extra, extra! Read all about how @Telegraph uses Trello to run their digital publishing process.

Trello Features and Power-Ups Used In This Template 

To publish this high volume of content, The Telegraph editorial team can’t spend their precious time moving cards around and double-checking that the right information is added to Trello cards. 

In order to keep up with the hustle and bustle, The Telegraph team leverages Trello features like Butler and Power-Ups to automate and power their workflow. 

Butler Automation 

The Telegraph team uses four Butler rules to manage important aspects of the workflow so content doesn’t clog the pipeline. 

  1. When cards are added to the “Ideas & Watching” list, they receive a default date of 5 pm on the day for which it is added. 
  2. When cards are added to the “Scheduled” list, a Butler rule is set up to automatically move the cards to the "Published" list when their due date arrives. 
  3. Once the card reaches the “Published” list, a Published Date Field is added by Butler and the Due Date on the card is marked as completed. 
  4. At 2 am every day, all cards on the “Published” list are automatically archived. 

Example of butler automation with due dates

Calendar Power-Up 

The Calendar Power-Up is enabled on this board to give the editorial team, writers, and any other staff members involved in the process a visual understanding of when articles are due. 

Custom Fields 

The Custom Fields Power-Up is used on each card to give quick and visual information about the Writer, Fee, and Word Count for every article. 

Extra, Extra! Get The Telegraph’s Publishing Process Template For Free

Want to become a publishing powerhouse like The Telegraph? Get started by copying their board from this free template: 

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