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Inside Look at SEJ: Tools & Services for the Editorial Process

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Inside Look at SEJ: Tools & Services for the Editorial Process

Over the past decade, SEJ has strived to become one of the top sources of news and information for digital marketers, particularly those in the SEO field. In the past three years, we have really focused on ensuring we are providing our readers with the highest quality content.

Our recipe for success? An awesome team that feels like family, and some equally awesome tools that help us work more efficiently and effectively.

Today, I am going to give you an inside look at the SEJ editorial process and the tools we use to make it all happen.

Editor’s Note: When you choose to purchase these independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn affiliate commissions that support our work. Thank you for supporting SEJ.


Step 1: Writer Submits Article to Editor

SEJ publishes content from a wide range of industry thought leaders, including Neil PatelStoney G deGeyterChristina Baldassarre, and Mindy Weinstein. All of the great articles we publish start out in our “Submit to Editor” box in WordPress.

General Tool to Use

Google Analytics and BuzzSumo: Sometimes before an article even reaches our queue, it’s been worked on before. As we build our editorial calendar and assign certain titles to some of our writers, Kelsey and I sit down, look through the data, and figure out what’s most popular with our audience and how we can develop more content that we are interested in.

WordPress: One of the most popular publishing platforms out there, WordPress allows you to build a highly customized website. Between plugins and direct access to the code, there is literally nothing you can’t do in WordPress.

Step 2: Rina Caballar Checks for Adherence to the Editorial Guidelines

Over the years, we have created more strict editorial guidelines designed to protect the integrity of the content we publish. We do not permit overly promotional content (unless marked as sponsored), plagiarized work, republished work, copywritten images, or low-quality writing. Rina, our editorial assistant, is the first line of defense, and she uses a variety of tools to get the job done.

Tools Rina Uses

Copyscape: This is a program that allows us to see if the articles submitted to SEJ have been published elsewhere or are too similar to other work. This protects us from being hit with lawsuits for plagiarism or Google penalties for duplicate content. (You can also use it to see if anyone has stolen your writing and published it elsewhere.)

Depositphotos: A picture may be worth a thousand words, but it can be worth thousands of dollars if we don’t have permission to publish it. Contrary to what many people believe, you can’t just go grabbing photos off of Google Image Search. In order to publish all those pretty pictures and keep ourselves from being sued, we have a partnership agreement with Depositphotos. They have a huge variety of images to choose from. We also allow images from Unsplash or any in the public domain.

Step 3: Kelsey Jones Edits for Relevancy & General Awesomeness

After Aki does her thing, Kelsey, our executive editor, checks articles to make sure they are relevant, timely, and that they make sense to publish on SEJ. The criteria here is a bit hard to define and there could be a ton of reasons why Kelsey sends an article back—maybe the focus is a little off or maybe we just published a very similar article. In order to stay organized and on top of all the things, Kelsey uses a few different tools.

Tools Kelsey Uses

Google Docs: From our editorial calendar to collecting topic ideas and organizing podcast statistics, all of us here at SEJ use Google Docs. Since our entire team is remote, using this software allows the whole team to collaborate and share files easily.

Podio: Kelsey uses Podio to keep tasks and projects organized. This site allows you to create projects, tasks, send messages, and easily share files. Let’s say Kelsey decides she wants a custom image designed for a new initiative. All she had to do is create a task, outline her needs, and assign a due date. Paulo, our Director of Design can ask questions, upload proofs, and mark when it is completed. For a totally remote team like ours, Podio is vital to keeping us organized.

Hemingway Editor: Our writers know the topics they write out implicitly, but they don’t always know the best way to explain it. Hemingway Editor is designed to make good writers even better by pointing out where your writing could be more clear or bold. Kelsey often suggests this software to help writers create clear, concise articles.

Step 4: Danielle Antosz (Me!) Copyedits

After Kelsey gives the okay, each article we publish winds up in my copyedit queue. My job is to check the grammar, writing style, flow, and links. Since I am the last person to read an article before it goes live, I try to check everything to make sure we are publishing the highest quality content possible. I use a few different tools to make sure that happens.

Tools I Use

Grammarly: This will save you many a grammar headache. Essentially, it is an app you download for your browser which functions as a super spell check, but the paid version also checks for passive voice, dangling modifiers, repetitive words, and a ton of other “advanced issues”. For most users, the free version is sufficient to catch when you use the wrong “their” or repeat words twice in a row. It also tracks all the words you type over a month and sends you a report, which is pretty interesting.

Step 5: The Article Goes Live!

After I have finished brandishing my red pen, the article is ready to go live! Once it goes up on SEJ’s website, our Social Producer, Caitlin Rulien starts promoting it on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. You can read about all the tools she uses to make the social magic happen here.

Editor’s Note: To learn more about managing an online editorial process, check out Kelsey’s #SEJThinkTank webinar recap video and slide below:


Image Credits

Featured Image: Image by by Paulo Bobita
In-Post Image: wavebreakmedia/



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Danielle Antosz

Danielle is the former Features Editor for Search Engine Journal and the producer of SEJ Marketing Nerds podcast. She lives ... [Read full bio]

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