Keeping pace with today’s demand for marketing content is no small task. This collaborative process involves multiple phases, stakeholders, and approvals, making it continually vulnerable to delays and inconsistency.
As brands try to increase productivity, many turn to technology to bring order to creative chaos and help prevent projects from going off the rails. Workflow automation software can streamline content creation to keep projects on-target, on-schedule, and on-budget.
What is workflow automation?
Workflow automation is the practice of simplifying complicated or cumbersome business processes via technology. It entails automating manual or repetitive tasks, with the goal of eliminating bottlenecks and inefficiencies. In the domain of content creation, it supports collaboration between creatives, and facilitates review and approval processes.
What are the benefits of an automated workflow?
Workflow automation replaces time-consuming manual tasks with dependable digital processes. For example, why task someone with physically walking a project to each team member for approval, when routing can be managed by software? Or, why risk using outdated content, when connecting key software would allow everyone to access the most up-to-date resources from within the tools they’re already using?
Essentially, automating manual elements of a workflow helps teams do their best work. The potential benefits span across three key areas:
Collaboration: Creative teams use a range of digital tools to create and manage their projects. When these tools are connected through integrations, content can be automatically shared across platforms — allowing multiple workflows to be aggregated into a single and repeatable process.
For example, if marketing content is stored in a digital asset management (DAM) system that is integrated with other platforms in a company’s marketing technology (martech) stack, any content updates made in the DAM system automatically flow across the connected platforms. So teams can access the same, current content via design tools like Adobe Creative Cloud, sales enablement tools like Modus, or distribution tools like Hootsuite.
These integrations reduce guesswork and miscommunications, support successful hand-offs between stakeholders, and can enhance the overall quality of the team’s shared work.
Visibility: Project visibility across stakeholders throughout the content creation process helps avoid assumptions and bottlenecks. Many project management tools provide a central source for project-related communication, which can be much more effective than long email strings. These tools also have customizable notification and alert settings to keep all stakeholders current on project deadlines, and control who is able to provide feedback, when. Further, project management tools confirm the project status every step of the way.
A DAM system also supports project visibility. Metadata makes files easy to find and retrieve. An aggregated file version history can capture both a holistic and detail-level view of each project. And analytic tools provide insights into how specific assets are performing.
All of these tools contribute to streamlined, repeatable processes in which stakeholders are aware of deadlines, follow timelines, and are properly engaged.
Consistency: Getting teams on the same page through repeatable processes reduces opportunities for human error, which ultimately improves brand cohesion across customer touchpoints.
DAM systems support efforts to tell a coordinated brand story. For example, embed codes allow teams to create once and publish everywhere, or COPE. Updates made to files in the DAM system are automatically pushed across web applications and CMS tools where the embed codes live, reducing the time needed to make updates and likelihood for mistakes. And because content in the DAM system can be accessed anywhere in the world, global teams can pull consistent, on-brand assets to customize for their local marketing materials. This helps reduce mis-communications and increase overall productivity.
Because workflow automation tools remove friction inherent in the creative process, they help your teams work the way they want to. And as a result, your brand is better able to scale with evolving market demands.
When looking to automate workflows for your team, start by understanding the opportunities within the tools you already use. Integrating your tools or incorporating new functionality within your current software helps with adoption and can get you on a new workflow path faster. To find out more about integration opportunities within the Widen Collective® or to explore our Workflow tool, contact us today.