As a digital publisher, you might be thinking, “Well of course I need to improve editorial processes, I always need to improve efficiencies.” But, knowing that you need to improve efficiencies and knowing what you need to do to accomplish that are two different things. You can’t make comprehensive improvements without knowing where improvements can be made. Hence, it’s important to regularly assess your workflow. When you do, involve everyone involved in your workflow process, because they will likely reveal the signs of what needs improvement and perhaps even shed light on how to make those improvements:
- There is still a lot of paper on the move. Are staff members still shuttling paper back and forth? By now, your staff should be functioning on a content management system that includes internal email communication and record keeping. If your paper shredders and file cabinets aren’t getting dusty, that’s a sign that there is still too much paper on the move.
- Your staff is short on patience. Are you seeing frustrated faces or finger tapping while writers and editors stare at their computer screens? Are people waiting for documents to upload or suffering from frequent screen freezes in the midst of document editing? Online publishing requires a wealth of patience in a fast-paced world. Make sure your staff doesn’t squander that patience on inefficiencies.
- Your visual content is an afterthought. Multimedia aspects of publishing used to be left to the layout person. But, no more. All of your staff should be skilled enough to insert images and video into content. Of course, it is up to your designer and developer to make sure that content presents effectively—but your staff should be thinking about how the visual content complements text.
- The editorial staff is not talking to other departments. A successful digital-first strategy requires that your staff be collaborative in nature. Editors, writers, IT, sales and marketing staff must all work together to execute a content strategy that results in increased readership and greater engagement. You must make this as easy as possible—which means they must be able to access shared documents and actively comment or engage in discussion, regardless of whether they are in the same room or in another state.
- The latest version is MIA. You are likely producing more content than ever, and there are probably more hands on it than there once were. Your handle on version control is a great indication of workflow efficiencies. Are people accessing and editing content in the right order at the right time? Can they automatically access the most recent version, while still being able to find previous versions for reference?
- You can’t tell when a task is complete. Workflow is about getting things done. You may have dialed in who needs to do what, when, but how do you know when tasks are actually complete? Does your review process include milestones that foster accountability and quality? If so, how easy is it for staff to mark a task complete? Is it as simple as checking a box, so you don’t have to chase down the result?
These are just a few signs that you need to update your efficiencies—start here and you’ll likely find a few more.