I am always experimenting looking for ways to improve content management workflows so when I came across StoryChief over a month ago and reading about the features it offers, I had to experiment.
Especially if you are working with a content creation team, it can be challenging to manage the process, so StoryChief was created to help us by enabling stories to be crafted with a really easy to use editor, collaborate with colleagues or even clients (for example writing and preparing a press release) when developing the story, allowing for publishing to multiple online channels with one click and even measure the impact of stories through their analytics tool.
For example, if you are looking to integrate employees as brand ambassadors sharing stories for talent attraction, employee engagement or employer branding, StoryChief is a platform that makes it easy for your team to develop the content – for example your employees can craft the articles and your communications team can add relevant images and do a final proofread before the content is published on your intranet, careers site or to your social networks.
It is also a great tool if you are just getting started; for example if you are about to head to university and want to start a personal blog to enhance your online reputation and build visibility for your personal brand as you start your professional career (I’ve recommended it to my eldest daughter for that exact reason).
The platform has so many terrific features – here are some of my favourites that will help you as a content marketer.
Note: Some of the features I cover may not be available in the free plan – I have purchased a premium account and you can discover how to do the same at the bottom of this article.
Publish Your Content With An Easy To Use Online Editor
If you are familiar with platforms such as Medium or even LinkedIn Publisher, you will have no problem navigating the interface of StoryChief as it is easy to edit text – I particularly like the fact that when you add a hyperlink you can make it a “no-follow” link and you can enable it to open in a new window (something I do all the time when writing articles on my own site.
Add Multimedia To Your Story
You can easily make your content more visually engaging by adding multi media to your stories including images or a gallery of images, include content from your social media channels or even add video (it needs to be hosted on a third party site such as YouTube).
There are lots of different types of media you can embed in your StoryChief article for example content from Instagram, Twitter, Vimeo, SlideShare or Soundcloud.
For example, if you are writing a round-up of influencer and media coverage about a product launch, you could embed their content from their social channels where they have posted their reviews and articles.
In-built Assistance To Help You Optimise Your Content For The Search Engines
If you are taking time to write content, to reap the benefits, you must invest time in optimising it for the search engines.
While StoryChief does not integrate keyword search tools, they do give you prompts about the actions you need to take to optimise your content.
You can enter a focus keyword and you will then get tips on how to improve your story for search engines.
And you can even optimise your images too – not only can you choose the size of the image in your article but you can add alt tags and a description.
You can add a summary of your article, categories and tags to help readers and the search engine robots find your content, and you can set the publication date, therefore scheduling content – the ability to pre-date articles is currently in the product development pipeline.
When writing your story in StoryChief you can add a title optimised for search, a description and define the slug alongside a Meta description.
For every article you craft you will be able to see a visual prompt of actions you can take to ensure that it is fully optimised for search results.
And you do not need to publish your content until you are read to so so. The pricing model of StoryChief is dependent on the number of articles you publish a month. But you can be working on lots of content in draft behind the scenes even if you are on the free plan and have used all your publishing credits.
One Click Publishing To Multiple Platforms
One of the features that may attract you to use StoryChief is the ability to publish your content to multiple locations at once, for example replicating your article on your blog and Medium.
If you do cross-post content this can result in an issue of duplicate content which is not helpful for search engine optimisation and will be detrimental to the content that is published on your main platform.
StoryChief however allows you to identify which is the primary platform for your content which means that wherever your content is published, the search engines will know where it originated from.
I do hope that LinkedIn release an API for their Publisher platform as it would be a great destination for articles created using StoryChief.
But what if you make an error on StoryChief article? Just edit your story in Story Chief, and re-publish, and the same story will be updated across all the locations you publish to.
What I also like is the fact that if you add an additional channel in the future, such as adding a blog on Medium, I understand from the StoryChief team that you can edit the story, add the Medium account, and click on the Publish button again to push the content to that platform.
Invite Guest Contributors And Members Of Your Team To Collaborate Crafting Your Content
If you are working with a team to develop your content, or perhaps with online influencers, StoryChief enables you to invite them to collaborate and help you co-create content. You can assign contributors different roles such as being a guest writer or even a publisher for the content.
Publish A Blog On StoryChief
Personally I recommend WordPress.org as a blog platform, however I know not everyone wants to have to take responsibility to host their own site as well as manage updates and backups of content.
You can customise your blog including adding a Favicon, a cover image, your social media links and add your privacy details.
Review The Performance Of Your Content
When you start to publish content from StoryChief you will see details in your dashboard of the number of views of your content.
You will also see analytics for how each of your articles perform.
Optimise Your Articles For Facebook Instant Articles And Google AMP
If you have tried to optimise your content for mobile sharing with fast loading pages in Facebook Instant Articles and Google Accenerated Mobile Pages, you will be aware that this is not always easy to do.
StoryChief has you covered. You can easily configure your content for both platforms.
Publish Your Content In Multiple Languages
A feature you rarely see within content marketing tools is the ability to add translations for your content.
Using StoryChief, you can easily translate your article by duplicating a story and it will link to the original version. You can then invite a member of your team to join you to translate the article.
What If StoryChief Does Not Have The Features I Need?
In my personal experience, the team at StoryChief have been really efficient in answering my queries as I have been learning about the platform. And I have had a lot of questions!
They have a Trello board where you can see an update of all the feature requests – plus you can make feature requests yourself.
Some of the features I have already requested include integrations for MailerLite, Beacon, adding rich snippets features, optimisation for voice search, additional social media links for the blog profile including YouTube, Vimeo and Pinterest, Snapchat and SlideShare and integrated features for GDPR including a Cookie Banner.
What Is The One Missing Feature That Story Chief Needs To Implement Now?
In my personal opinion, StoryChief need to implement as a matter of urgency GDPR compliance tools such as Cookie Consent banner for users in the EU.
I am surprised they do not have this already since they are based in Belgium.
They do have a suggested work-around using Google Tag Manager, but this is far too complex for most people to implement.
What Is The One Feature I Wish They Would Make Available To All Users?
I am always concerned about hosting content on a platform where I have no control. We have seen many social media platforms and even blogging tools cease to exist – perhaps because they are bought by other companies or can not financially sustain their future. Therefore I always hold a backup of my own content.
I do wish that StoryChief made it possible to download content as a Word document and PDF for free so that we can have a backup of content.
I raised this with the team, but unfortunately this is only available on their top level paid plan.
That for me is a mistake and I hope they might reconsider their position.I don’t think they will have everyone use the feature, but as a matter of good faith I think it would be welcomed by their users who have had the unfortunate experience of platforms (both free and paid) come to an end of life and understand the need for independent back-ups!
(There are ways around this, but it does take a little work which I know some novice bloggers will probably not even have considered.)
How Much Does StoryChief Cost?
You might be wondering what the investment is for StoryChief.
There is a free plan which limits access to some features, however, if you are not planning to craft more than 5 articles a month, it is definitely worth checking out.
The Starter plan at €25 allows you to publish 10 stories per month and you can use a custom domain.
The Marketer plan is €99 a month allows you to publish 20 stories a month and has a lot of premium features.
If you are non profit, charity or startup there are some discounted options available to you.
How To Purchase LifeTime Access To The StoryChief Marketer Plan For A Single Fee Of $49
This was a time limited deal and may no longer be available. If you act now at the time of writing this article in September 2018, you may still be in time to get lifetime access for the StoryChief Marketer plan for just a single fee of $49 – I could not believe how great an offer this was so I immediately purchased it. Note: If you do make a purchase through this link then I will get referral points for sharing the resource with you.
Is StoryChief For Content Marketing Is A WorthWhile Investment?
I do think that StoryChief is one of the most powerful content marketing tools I have seen this year, and if you are looking for a platform to manage collaborations or even just want a platform for your personal blog without having to manage hosting, updates and have guidance built in to help you conquer the search engines, StoryChief definitely gets my vote.
There are lots more features within the platform, but I hope this review gives you enough of an insight to make you curious about what StoryChief can do for your content marketing.
Note: screen shots and animations were created by me for this review and a couple of graphics in the article were sourced from StoryChief help pages.