Each week, our Vice President of Product shares an email with the company that’s filled with the background story on why Brightspot’s features are the way they are. It’s not just how Brightspot works but why its features were engineered the way they were. Not one to keep secrets, we’re sharing her insights with you here, in a weekly column called “The Whys.” From creating vanity URLs to knowing the difference between a document and an attachment, these posts answer the questions anyone who publishes digital content has likely pondered.
Let’s talk about how "Schedule" works in Brightspot. First of all, when I say "Schedule," it's important to understand that I am using that word as shorthand for "Scheduled Publish," that something is "scheduled to publish at some point in time in the future."
I think of Scheduling as a series of building blocks, of which there are three:
- Asset-Level Schedule
- The Schedule Widget
- Bulk Schedule
1) Asset-Level Schedule
Asset-Level Schedule is exactly what it sounds like: the ability to schedule a single asset to be published at some point in the future. The assets can be any type—an article, a gallery, a video, a homepage, a module, a section, etc. (You cannot, however, schedule admin content types, like Roles or Users or Audiences, to change on a Schedule.)
The way you invoke a Schedule on a given asset is via the publishing action bar. If the asset type has a Workflow, the Schedule option will be inside it. If no Workflow is associated with the content type, then the Schedule option will be exposed. (Also remember that Schedule is tied up with Permissions, so if a User doesn't have access to a "Publish" action, that person won’t see the Schedule widget.)
Here's how the UI would look on an asset with a Workflow:
Here's how the UI would look on an asset without a Workflow:
Within that Schedule widget, you can move forward by Month/Year, and you can pick a specific date and time down to the Hour/Minute.
So, why did we do this, and what's so great about being able to Schedule content to publish?
The main use case is this: Let’s say you have an article that needs to go live on Saturday at 6 a.m. Do you want to get up on Saturday at 5:55 a.m., sit at your computer, press the Publish button at 6 a.m., and then go back to bed? Obviously, you don't. But in certain content management systems, there's simply no option to "Schedule."
What’s more, many other systems don't offer the same granularity as Brightspot—in particular the ability to schedule things down to the minute. I've heard from customers who work in systems that can only schedule content to go live every five minutes.
For Brightspot users, all of this adds up to freedom for editors. They don't lose time waiting to click Publish, they don't have to be online off-hours (though I bet many of them still check their site front ends to verify that the content went live appropriately), and they can make it look like fresh, new content is constantly populating their sites.
2) The Schedule Widget
Now, as an editor or site manager, the next thing you’re probably wondering is this: "How do I know which assets are going to publish on my site over the next day/week/ month?" That's where the Schedule Widget comes in.
You’ll find the Schedule Widget on the dashboard, and as a user, you can switch between views that show Today, This Week, This Month, then move forward/backward through them.
Assets Scheduled Today:
Assets Scheduled This Week:
Assets Scheduled This Month:
Why did we make a Schedule Widget? We included it to give users a quick window into which assets are scheduled to go live on their site. (It's worth noting that the Schedule Widget refines itself by site, so if you’re looking at Site A, you'll see only assets scheduled to go live on Site A; same for Site B; and if you go to Global, you'll see everything across all sites.) For an admin, this quick view is a time-saver because you don't need to click on 10 assets to verify that they are scheduled for the right time. You can instead simply check the widget.
3) Bulk Scheduling
Last but not least, let's talk about Bulk Schedule mode, which you can access from the Schedule widget. There are two buttons, one called New and one called View All.
If you click on New, you can create a brand-new Bulk Schedule, which is comprised of a title, description and trigger date (i.e. the "some point" at which time all the scheduled assets will publish). If you click on View All, you can see all the other active Bulk Schedule events.
So, what in the world does Bulk Schedule mean, and what does it do?
My favorite example of editorial work that lent itself nicely to Bulk Schedule was HGTV's Doory Awards, a national contest in which people voted for their favorite real estate listings in different price points. When the contest wrapped, the winners list needed to go live at midnight on a certain day (let’s say 12:01 a.m. on May 5). The editorial team also wanted the Doory Awards landing page, 10 category pages and more than 100 photo galleries to go live … all at the exact same time. Thank goodness for Bulk Schedule!
What happens to the CMS admin when you enter a Bulk Schedule is twofold. First, you'll see a "Bulk Schedule" notice at the top of the CMS:
Second, when looking at a distinct asset, you won't be able to Publish or change the Schedule widget to a specific date because your changes are all getting rolled up under one the Bulk Schedule:
Another plus: Let's say you did all your editorial prep work, but your launch event has to be delayed 24 hours. It happens! Thanks to Bulk Schedule, you don't need to change the Schedule widget on 150 assets; instead, you just need to change the Bulk Schedule trigger date/time, and all assets are updated. Isn’t that a thoughtful time-saver?