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Collaborative Content Creation

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The traditional concept of a creative “writer’s room” has everyone around a conference table. But today’s work environment often means you can’t all be in the same room, drinking from the same pot of coffee.

And sometimes that can stifle creativity. One reason the “writer’s room” method of content creation works is that it becomes a place to toss out one idea after another. Call it creativity by trial-and-error: you’re just throwing out a lot of ideas to see what sticks.

Stanford Professor Robert McKim has a reputation for coaching “countless innovations and innovators into the world,” says Harvard Business Review. His secret? Whenever someone asked for feedback on a new idea, he’d reply: “Show me three.” He found creativity to be a numbers game. Eventually, if you make enough suggestions, some will be good. “Content creation” is all about arriving at the best asset—the best blog post, ebook, image macro, etc. And that requires a lot of work.

Your goal, then, should be to introduce software that can bring a remotely dispersed workforce into a digital version of this “writer’s room.” And that’s where Confluence can help.

Editing pages with multiple users

Call it collaborative editing. When your team is developing a Confluence page (or a blog post), you can designate one user to structure the page’s content. Then, the entire team can weigh in, much like a writer’s room pitching tweaks to a new script.

Here’s how Confluence makes document editing work:

  • Simultaneous editing. Multiple users can edit a page simultaneously. Changes made in editing will appear in real-time. This helps you produce one round of revisions for a writer, lessening the confusion while ensuring everyone gets their say.
  • Shared drafts. The shared draft model ensures everyone sees the same page, which filters every edit and note to the same file.
  • Draft versions. Even through real-time editing, you can always revert to a previous document version if you want to hit the “rewind” button. Not every edit is going to produce an improved draft, after all. Selecting the appropriate draft version helps you settle on the best version your collaboration produced.

True creative collaboration also has a benefit to your team. According to the Harvard Business Review, creative collaboration even boosts workplace relationships. Getting your team to edit collaboratively—within the same space—gives them a platform to improve their collective creativity.

Leave comments for feedback and suggestions

The best part about a live creative environment like a “writer’s room” is that everyone has a voice. Everyone can pitch in their two cents as long as they have the floor. The digital version of that experience: comments and suggestions.

Inline comments: With inline comments, you can select text and hit “comment” to point out a specific suggestion that might not be relevant to the whole piece.

Page-level comments: Page comments take place at the bottom of the page, which means you can make high-level suggestions and critiques without taking up additional space within the copy.

And since these comments can host their own replies, you’re creating unique conversation threads about both broad and detailed topics. You can trace the breadcrumbs of big-picture discussions to the original comment without losing track of individual suggestions.

Notifications for new changes or comments

So far, so good. Confluence can bring users together from multiple areas as though they’re in the same room and working from the same sheet of paper. That’s great for real-time collaboration. But according to Buffer, 62% of businesses have employees working across multiple time zones. It’s going to be hard to get a content creation team in alignment if they can’t all work at the same time.

Unless you have tools for keeping every team member plugged in.

That’s where notifications come in handy. In Confluence, new page changes or new “@” mentions that call out specific users will trigger notifications to the appropriate team member.

The worry with notifications is that they can quickly become a labyrinth of too many emails in your inbox. Luckily, you can configure email notifications to specific settings within each project. Users who don’t need to hear so much about a certain project can disable notifications. Or they can turn on all notifications with another project to ensure they’re laser-focused on any change in the documents.

Properly configured, your email configurations can be the key to keeping an entire team in your content creation loop. But even better, you can help each team member use Confluence without getting their inboxes clogged with distractions.

AI to spark creativity: how to promote consistently creative content

Creativity. It’s a word many people bandy about, but few businesses know how to systemize. We tend to think creativity is a muse that visits us every so often when we’re lucky.

The truth about creativity is that you can make it a habit. According to McKinsey, there’s even a correlation between creativity and financial performance. In McKinsey’s creativity score, the most creative quartile of businesses had a 70% likelihood of above-average financial performance.

The question is how you turn creativity into consistency. Atlassian Intelligence (AI) can completely change how you do your work. Consider:

Use AI to change the tone of your descriptions, comments, and responses to improve your communication

Brainstorm updates to the content using custom prompts including user stories, edge cases, content, or even “TLDRs” (Too Long; Didn’t Read summaries)

Let AI make your writing more concise and readable. It can summarize your most long-winded content and fix your grammar to suit your audience

Generate responses to frequently asked questions based on information already present in your knowledge base

Atlassian Intelligence can work within your organization’s unique “language” and context, which accelerates how quickly you can get this work done. It’s not a replacement for your content—instead, it’s a way to turn rough notes and brain dumps into useful strategy pages for building more effective content. And with AI in your corner, you can build it more quickly.

Collaborative features to enhance your revision process

The best way to ensure creativity for each post is to ensure the right eyes are on every draft. Use simple tags to circle in your best editors so they can review content. Have another writer give their perspective. Honestly, it’s up to you—it’s just that Confluence offers the tools to make team collaboration a cinch.

Here are a few ways Confluence can expand your revision process:

  • Use Confluence to work either in real-time (for the writer’s-room experience) or async to accommodate people in different locations
  • Easily collect teamwide feedback on specific assets with in-line comments and user tags
  • Track all the decisions made by your team with a “decision report” in Confluence
  • Activate alerts so new changes and revisions automatically update your team for reviews

Finally, Confluence will help you streamline your revisioning. Creativity sometimes sparks during a thorough revision process. But maybe your new piece of content peaked before the fourth round of edits—and that’s the version you like best. You can streamline the page history with a click, and Confluence will include a color key to show which lines were added, which formatting was changed, and which lines were removed. As a result, you can view the edits to every version at a glance.

Foster a connected content team

Collaboration is the key to unleashing true creativity. This creates a self-sustaining feedback mechanism. Using Confluence features—like real-time document collaboration and separating inline and big-picture thoughts—improves the collaboration of each user. That, in turn, helps each user feel closer to the final output of the work.

Every piece of content you publish is a reflection of your company. Your brand. And while it’s true that no piece of content will come out perfect, good creative collaboration habits can help ensure a reputation of quality with anyone who reads your work. If you can build a great “writer’s room” with Confluence, the rest will take care of itself.

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