After having exited his venture InstaMedia, bootstrapper and serial entrepreneur Ankit Maheshwari decided to take take on the problems that faced Digital publishing by creating a tool which makes the whole process simple and much more efficient. He and co-founder Arjun Maheshwari have been developing this solution in stealth and have finally announced his venture. The company is called BetaOut and it is dedicated to solving issues within the digital publishing ecosystem. Betaout’s first product which went live yesterday and is called Content Cloud.
Content Cloud is cloud based solution which can be plugged into existing CMSs based on WordPress. They plan to add Drupal support soon. The service is being targeted at both digital publishers and digital agencies so that they both can have better control over their content and workflows instead of being dependent on tired old email exchanges over revisions and rewrites.
Content cloud is actually a combination of two cloud apps.
1. Newsroom App:
This app within Content Cloud is targeted towards the senior people in a publication, like editors, senior editors and managing editors. This is a place where all these people can manage the output of content from writer (permanent, guest bloggers or freelance writers).
Editors can assign work to writers directly from this app. The app is connected to the Workbench app which we will look at next. The newsroom app has many features like Dashboard, Repository, Content templates, Team activity feed, analytics and an Idearoom, which is a place for the newsroom people to brainstorm about things. Notifications are built into the app, so that editors don’t miss any important developments in relation to the content assignments.
While in the newsroom, user have full control over the editorial process depending on the user roles and permissions that have been set-up. You can edit content, see versions of a content piece which has been edited, set up article guidelines, give feedback and attach assets like sources, images etc. The best part is that senior writers and editors can set up their own workflows which helps to make the whole process super efficient.
The analytics feature in the newsroom app is quite a decent product and gives analytics for a single user or for team thus making it easy to figure out metrics and performance of an individual or a team.
Editorial planning has also be included in the app. The planner is a calendar which many people involved in the process can handle, thus making collaborative planning easy.
Users can also switch between publications, if there are more than two publications which some senior people handle. This is also perfect for digital agencies who manage multiple clients.
2. Workbench App:
This is a simpler app compared to the newsroom one and focuses solely on writers. When writers log in, they can see the articles that have been assigned to them by their editors in the newsroom app. They can then start working on it from there onwards. If there are any open articles which show up on the workbench app, writers can also assign them to themselves.
Both the workbench and newsroom apps have rich media utilizing text editors, which they can use to draft a post or an article. Besides the text editor, freelance writers can also see the amount of money that is assigned to each article, thus making things simpler for both parties. With this feature baked in, Content Cloud provides an automated way to generate payment receipts which are visible to both parties, thus making things transparent and more efficient.
You can view the complete functionality in the video that is embedded below.
The product is available on a freemium pricing plan. Users can use basic functionality for 2 publications for free. The pro version costs $24/user/month and the enterprise version costs are only released on request. A 14 day free trial is available.
I have to admit that I am completely floored by this product. I played around with the demo and I think this has the potential to boost the content creation process in publications and agencies like never before. Many people talk about feature creep or the over-abundance of features but Content Cloud stacks them up rather nicely and every possible contingency in the newsroom is taken care of. Digital publications will love this!
I got in touch with Arjun Maheshwari, one of the co-founders behind BetaOut to ask him some questions.
How did the idea of this product come about?
Before Betaout, we ran a content network, Instamedia, which had more than 20 different sites, and different editors for sites, and further team members with every publication. This all lead to a lot of energy and time going in managing the team. Our editors became more like managers giving most of their time in talking with team. CMS is different while what we needed was workflow. With Betaout we are trying to solve this pain. As most of the publishers worry in moving their CMS, have made Betaout CMS agnostic.
How do you think news organisations, blogs and other media outlets can benefit from your product?
News Organization or any organization which uses different team members in producing their content immensely benefit from Betaout. Currently everybody has to use different tools, lie Google Doc, Basecamp, email, etc to get all team members on one page. We help editors in having one place from where they control newsroom as if all their team members are in one place.
Can you tell us about the kind of technology that went into developing the project?
We have worked on open source tools to develop Betaout.
Can you give some details on how your venture is funded?
We are bootstrapping it, and it hasn’t been funded by any investor.
What features and advancements will we get to see in the future from Betaout?
We will be working on Structured content, publishing and managing social networks’ content from one place. And of course with more users we hear more of their problem and try to find solutions for them.
If you work in publishing or in a content focused agency, you should check this product out for yourself. Let us know what you think about it.
Website | Betaout