Editorial Triggers: A GatherContent Advent Calendar Video

This year, I was asked to help participate with GatherContent’s Advent Calendar video series. My topic – editorial triggers – is small, but important, in that it affects both one-off and non-frequent content workflows while saving us the trouble of that “OMG NEED TO GET THIS DONE NOW” stress.

Thanks to GatherContent for including me this year.


Hey this is Corey Vilhauer. I’m User Experience Architect at Blend Interactive in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. I’m also lead curator for Now What Workshops. Tickets are now on sale.

I want to talk real quick today about editorial triggers.

What are editorial triggers, you ask? Well, I will tell you … they are not an editorial calendar.

Editorial calendars are great, but sometimes things get dropped into our laps, and we need to know how to handle that – whether it’s a brand new product for an organization that puts out products a lot (and those aren’t on a specific editorial calendar schedule) or for a government organization that has to make comments on legislation (which is not tied to any sort of actual schedule … ever).

What they are, are kind of like mini schedules. And instead of taking a long deep look, what you end up looking at is … you look at the very details of that one specific piece of a specific content type.

For instance, let’s say you have to put content for a new product out, and what are the things that you need to know to make that happen?

You need to know what the maximum amount of time allowable is.
You need to know how immediate it is.
Is this something that happens now or is this something that can come later?

You need to know all the steps involved in it, who is going to handle all of those steps, and you need to know how long you’re going to allow for those steps to take.

Really, it’s about creating standards for each of these content types. (It’s based mostly on content types.)

Editorial triggers are how we help define the more small scale steps. They’re called triggers because they aren’t based on time – they’re based on need. You’re not always going to need a brand new press release or a brand new case study, but when you do, you want to know what those details are. And then from there you can fit it into your editorial calendar.

I hope this has been helpful. If you want any more information on editorial triggers, I wrote a chapter in a Smashing Magazine book a long time ago. Just go find it, I guess.

Or you can come to our conference, which is always going to be fun. And I’m going to stop promoting it now because it seems out of the spirit of the advent calendar.

But, anyway. Now What Workshops.