Onboarding Content Authors: Top 5 Tips for a New Tool

Top 5 Tips for Onboarding Authors to a New Tool blog image

With our content authoring platform, the first concern of new clients we typically hear is, “How are we going to onboard content authors?” Most authors have years of experience with certain tools and workflows, and introducing a new tool can feel like starting from square one. Even with promises of increased efficiency and ease of use, rollout plans are often met with resistance, frustration, and even fear. While hesitancy to change is natural, it is conquerable. With that, we’ve compiled our top five best practices for onboarding content authors to a new tool.

1. Demonstrate Strong Executive Sponsorship

It’s important to set a positive and pragmatic tone when presenting authors with new tools. While you and your team may have spent months evaluating tools and carefully crafting your new approach to content creation, your authors have likely been left out of the loop. As a result, they may need a crash course on the decision you made and how you got there.

Of course, there are numerous reasons to adopt digital production tools–digital content creation, reduced production time, concurrent print and digital workflows, content update opportunities, cross-device compatibility, and incorporation of interactivity–but, of all these reasons, make sure your authors know why you’re making the change and what problems you’re hoping to solve. Your informed support will increase the author’s willingness to try out a new tool.

2. Build Content Author Excitement

In addition to telling your authors why you’re excited about a new tool, it’s important to remind them why they should be, too. There are two main reasons new tools should appeal to your authors:

  1. To solve existing pain points in the authoring process, or
  2. To provide new opportunities that older tools couldn’t support

Demonstrating the ways that your new tool will alleviate current pain points and offer new opportunities, such as content updates, will inspire author excitement.

3. Be Realistic

No matter how excited you and your authors may be, transitioning to a new content model and toolset can be challenging. Ease the transition by setting realistic timelines and make it clear that you expect new tools to come with an initial learning curve. By allowing your authors time to explore, they’ll discover new approaches to content creation and better adapt to the new tool’s functionality.

While these transitions require patience, the initial investment will pay off as your authors’ comfort levels grow. By remaining transparent and confident, you’ll inspire your authors to approach the transition with realistic optimism.

Content authoring tips

4. Establish a Workflow

Without a compatible workflow, author training can fall flat. Make sure that authors understand how your new tool fits into their day-to-day work, instead of just explaining its features. While shiny new features make for an exciting demo, they can also lead to new user paralysis if not presented in context. Empower your authoring teams with a clearly-defined workflow and then let them loose in a new tool.

5. Provide Support

Transitioning to a new tool, no matter how great can be intimidating. It’s essential that your authors feel supported as they undergo the onboarding process. Establish clear escalation paths for your authors so they know exactly who to contact and how to communicate when unexpected issues arise. With dedicated support from the get-go, your authors will avoid common pitfalls and unnecessary frustration. In addition, you’ll gather valuable feedback on the strengths and weaknesses of your new tool.

The bottom line:

At first, taking on new technology might feel overwhelming. But by addressing the problems that this new tool will solve and supporting your team every step of the way, you’ll keep them focused on the finish line. Then, with a bit of patience and practice, you’ll have a happier, more efficient team.

To learn more about how Inkling empowers authors to collaborate and create content more effectively, view our content authoring solution! Contact or chat with us today to get a deeper dive into our content authoring capabilities.