Many publishers are moving to leaner editorial staffs while relying on more contributors (some paid, many not) to generate digital content. It may save the publisher a few bucks, but it also puts strain on the editorial team, from editing and fact-checking to simply keeping so many assignments in play at once.

Now a service called Kapost is looking to become “the of the editorial side” by automating the production process from pitches to assignments, editorial calendars and revisions as well as performance management and payment.  “The greater number of contributors, of posts, etc. make editors overwhelmed by process logistics and takes away from their focus on their audience and content,” says co-founder Toby Murdock. “What Kapost does is to allow publishers to implement this new model effectively by automating the administrative tasks in the process.”

Breakdowns include:

• Pitches & Story Ideas – Editors and contributors can enter their pitches into the system, collaborate on their development, and approve and reject.

• Assignments & Editorial Calendars – Approved pitches are assigned to the appropriate contributor and scheduled in a drag-and-drop editorial calendar
• Content Pipeline – As posts migrate through the stages of development, editors can collaborate on drafts and revisions.

• Performance Management – Kapost tracks the page views, uniques, retweets & Facebook shares of each contributor and each category.

• Payment – Kapost tracks the payment owed contributors for their posts and can automate the fulfillment of those payments (via PayPal).

In the future, Kapost plans on adding performance-based payment (which would offer the ability to track and pay contributors on performance, such as page views); automated invoicing; graphical metrics on how the newsroom is performing (state of pipeline; production by category, by contributor; revisions required per contributor, etc.); and promotion (tools to help contributors promote their posts to gain links, retweets).

Kapost was originally developed as a dedicated content management system but quickly found publishers to be reluctant to switch. “Our focus has evolved from a CMS, which you may see as your ‘printing press’ where you lay out and distribute content, to your ‘newsroom’ where you manage the content production process,” says Murdock.

Clients include Discovery News (which uses Kapost to manage three dozen contributors); Fortune (which uses Kapost to manage contributors to its From the Crowd section); and The Fashion Spot. “The DNews team is spread all around the world, and currently our coverage is planned via e-mail and IM, primarily, phone secondarily,” says editor-in-chief Lori Cuthbert.  “Kapost lets us all see what each other are doing in one place. That transparency makes it easier to manage story pitch and publication flow, and the calendar function allows a high-level view of the publishing highway that we just don’t have now.”

Kapost charges per user per month (with a starting price of $8 per user).

“Recognizing that lots of contributors might participate in the newsroom in July and August but might not be back in September, October and November, we only charge per active user, i.e. the number of users who actually logged in a given month,” says Murdock.