How to Streamline and Automate Creative Workflows

Has your enterprise content team created content workflows for producing different types of content assets? Are they following those workflows consistently? If not, there’s a good chance there is room to improve your content production processes. By standardizing the tasks needed to complete a project, your team would enjoy greater efficiency and productivity. So, how do you streamline and automate these? The answer is to use creative workflow software.

In this post, we’ll review what makes a workflow successful and how to use technology to perfect the process.

What Are Creative Workflows?

First, let’s talk about creative workflows and how they impact content planning and execution. Creative workflows bring structure to your content production process. It defines what specific tasks are to be completed, who is responsible for completing them, the progress of the work, and timelines.

These creative or content workflows allow you to dissect a project type. In developing these, you’ll need to consider your content strategy and operational framework. The latter involves the platform you use to manage all of this.

Effective creative workflows have multiple characteristics that can help you succeed.

How to Develop Creative Workflows

Workflows look different for every company. You’ll also have multiple workflows depending on the format. For example, an infographic requires more design tasks than a blog post.

Whether you currently use workflows or not, you’ll want to either update or build ones with these pieces.

  • Defining projects: The first step is deciding on the scope of each project type, which should be a collaborative exercise. You’ll list out all the components that you must complete to get from ideation to publication to distribution and promotion. Diagraming this is critical to automating and streamlining.
  • Assigning roles and responsibilities: For each sub-task in the project, someone has to own it. The type of content will dictate the roles, but in general, you may need writers, designers, video illustrators, copy editors, legal, compliance, SMEs (subject matter experts), etc.
  • Creating timelines: Now, it’s time to break down each task and put a time limit on it. Again, this will vary. Some will need more days like designing an ebook; others will only need a day like copyediting.
  • Developing ways to measure: Like anything in content marketing, you want to measure it. Instead of content analytics, you’re looking at internal production to decipher if your workflows are seamless or off the course.

divvy analytics production task breakdown

DivvyHQ Analytics example (screenshot)

Once you have these things in place, do a final review and consider any roadblocks that may arise. Inevitably, they will because that’s the nature of creative work! What will keep you on schedule and aware of where you hit these is the right creative workflow software.

How Creative Workflow Software Empowers Your Content Team

Technology is a necessity in content marketing. According to the latest content marketing survey from the CMI (Content Marketing Institute), organizations have adopted technology expediently. Of those surveyed, 73 percent said they use content creation/workflow platforms.

However, many enterprise teams are forced to use applications that are not designed for content marketing. While generic project management tools can be useful, you’ll have to customize them and initiate workarounds to get the features you need for your creative workflows.

Instead, you need creative workflow software with the most relevant tools for content marketing efforts. It’s project management functionality plus a purpose-built solution for content creation, distribution, promotion, and more.

You can review the differences between project management and creative workflow software — check out this comparison to see the feature gaps of the former.

Here’s what to seek out to achieve streamlined and automated workflows:

  • A dynamic content calendar to organize projects and provide visibility to all parties. This is where all the elements live that make up your projects. Dynamic means they are “living” things that update and change as people complete items in the workflow.
  • The ability to develop custom workflows will be essential to ensuring you cover all the parts of content development. You’ll also be able to save those workflows as templates, so you can easily reuse them.
  • Automated workflow scheduling saves you time by generating the tasks, assigning them, and estimating the production schedule.
  • Automatic notifications to inform collaborators when creating, completing, or changing tasks. This keeps contributors notified of status without constantly checking their inbox.
  • Embedded content production features that drive efficiency because the activities occur within the platform. Examples include an HTML content editor, social post editor, and version history tracking.
  • Project management functionality that allows for managing an entire project centrally. No other apps or integrations are necessary when selecting a platform that consolidates.
  • Team performance analytics that measure if you’re meeting your content production goals.
  • Time tracking for tasks to calculate how long tasks take on average. This will be helpful as you continue to hone your workflows.

With software that has all these features, content production becomes more efficient and consistent. It can boost your throughput, and your staff will appreciate how this technology reduces admin work.

So, how easy is it to implement creative workflow software?

Implementing Creative Workflow Software

If you’re going to launch new technology in the enterprise, you want it to be a smooth journey. You’ll need to get buy-in from those that it impacts. The odds are that what you’re doing now is causing frustration, so team members will welcome the change.

The key to a successful implementation is training and onboarding support. You don’t want to sign up and be on your own. Opt for a product that makes this part easy. And as far as usability goes, you want that to be easy, too, versus needing someone just to manage the platform.

To provide you with a glimpse of what “easy” looks like in terms of workflow creation, here’s a quick screenshot of Divvy’s workflow builder. All you have to do is name your workflow, specify a few simple rules, and build out the individual steps.

Your users don’t need to be tech experts. This is software designed specifically for content marketers, not project managers or tech leads. As such, it’s naturally intuitive to your workflows.

Now that you’ve had a sneak peek of our workflow tool, why not try out the entire platform of content-friendly tools? Start your free trial today!