Kapost promises to be a “Salesforce.com for the newsroom,” according to Toby Murdock, CEO of the company, whose customers include Discovery Channel and Time Inc. Kapost offers a software-as-a-service that is intended to help editors, who are under increasing pressure to produce more stories, to streamline the content-creation process from assignments to publishing to payment of freelancers. Digital Directions spoke with Murdock about how the software is helping newsrooms become more efficient.
Digital Directions: What problems are you trying to solve with Kapost?
Murdock: These days, there's kind of a smaller internal editorial staff, but then an overall larger group of contributors, often external to the organization and located in remote locations. The whole operation has to put out a lot more content than before. A weekly magazine that did 10 articles a week is now doing 10 posts a day potentially. And this model is right for the audience and for the economics of the business, but it puts a lot of stress on the editorial team to implement this model. Editors find themselves drowning in emails and spreadsheets, and behaving more as logistical traffic cops than doing what they're really supposed to do, which is think strategically about their audience and about their content.
DD: How does Kapost address this situation?
Murdock: What we do is sort of a Salesforce.com but for editorial teams. Pitches can come in from contributors through the system. Editors can create story ideas, put them out into the newsroom and members can claim them. They can also go ahead and create straight assignments. All of the items are sent via email to the appropriate recipients to let them know they've been assigned such and such a pitch. People can even respond to items right in the email, and it all gets captured and tracked.
As an editor, as items are being created, I can put a due date on them, a publish date on them. I can mark how much I'm to pay this person. They could have a default rate. I can have a custom rate for a specific post. All this information as it gets entered you have kind of a dashboard to see your content pipeline to see where everything stands and how it's progressing. All of this process, which typically is spread out across a bunch of spreadsheets, and emails is now consolidated and organized.
When you're ready to publish, you can click “publish.” We're preintegrated with different content management systems out there, like Drupal, Movable Type, Joomla. After things are published, it can handle the invoicing process, so at the end of the month, it automatically creates invoicing based on what you owe. We also track performance. When you're managing a large group of contributors, you need to see how are individual contributors doing, how are different topics doing, how are contributors doing within specific topics; so we track all of that by page views, by unique visitors, by retweets, by Facebook “likes.” Soon we'll be releasing performance-based payment where you can say, “I'll pay you a base of $100, and you'll get bonuses based on the number of page views or retweets your pages generate.”