What is content orchestration? And how can it help agency business models?
Every day, agencies around the world create and share countless concepts, images, designs, copy, content, video, and other expressions of creativity, each of which passes through some kind of workflow and approval process.
Often, these workflows involve multiple stakeholders and are poorly defined or ad hoc. Frequently, different tools are used. And even for experienced teams working on recurring projects, new stakeholders or unforeseen events can disrupt predictable workflows.
Say hello to the content spaghetti dragon
These unstructured, or under-optimized workflows are a massive productivity sink that we have dubbed “content spaghetti.” We use the term “spaghetti” since it neatly describes the loose ends, lack of structure and visibility, and general mess.
Content spaghetti puts pressure on clients and staff alike. It creates mistakes and delays, leading to stressed staff, unsatisfied clients, and lost opportunities for your agency. A case in point – workers spend up to a third of their day looking for information – and even then they are often not successful at finding it. Fortunately, there is a better way.
How content orchestration can help you maintain growth
Standing in opposition to the content spaghetti dragon is our hero, content orchestration. Against the challenges of the past year, a number of agencies have managed to maintain growth through this new approach. These agencies are looking strategically at their creative workflows and tooling – orchestrating their content processes for increased productivity, happier staff, and more satisfied clients. And rather than only traditional campaign or creative work, they are branching out into new types of regular and long term client collaboration on content, such as magazines, brochures, and reports.
Agencies that take a content orchestration approach make workflow management and technology a priority – ensuring approval processes are robust and clear and tools are integrated seamlessly. However, it is also important to note each one has tailored their processes and technology according to their own specific business needs. So while “content orchestration” is an umbrella term, it is not a one size fits all approach. Rather, it is an ongoing process of optimization around workflow and tooling to boost productivity in your organization.
1. Improved customer (client) experience
Have you ever inadvertently sent the wrong file to a client? Have your feedback rounds ever become bogged down in email ping pong? Agencies that think in terms of content orchestration are using centralized tools for workflow and digital asset management to manage approval processes, ensure the right internal and external stakeholders have access to the right files, and communication always runs smoothly – leading to better customer experience and more durable, longer-lasting relationships.
2. Ability to win new business
Agencies often win and lose pitches based on how creative ideas solve clients’ business problems. Improved efficiency, robust workflows, and integrated tools can be a key differentiator to win and retain business. According to a number of agencies, this can also become a key part of the pitch process. Following creative ideas and talent, agencies are pitching a trusted environment and tooling to work with, reinforced by audit trails so that all stakeholders are always aware of workflow and asset status.
3. Greater productivity – without greater pressure
With content orchestration, individuals and teams can become drastically more productive within the same amount of work hours, through such ways as:
- Always knowing where they stand in the approval process, and where to find feedback.
- Being able to access existing content, images, and other files rather than recreating from scratch.
- Being able to access any file they need in a matter of seconds, rather than search through email, their desktop, or file-sharing service.
With these productivity wins agencies that think in terms of content orchestration are able to protect their margins while remaining competitive on price.
A hypothetical setup to orchestrate content
As mentioned above, content orchestration is more a mindset, or process, not a solution. However, most agencies have certain needs in common. A simple, robust, integrated system for content orchestration can be made up of the following tools:
- Task management: This will help manage your tasks, scheduling, dependencies, resources, and milestones.
- Digital asset management: This enables you to manage all your existing digital files, past and present, give the right people access to the right files, and accelerate creativity and production cycles. You can read more about the advantages of digital asset management for agencies here.
- Content creation and workflow: A solution to enable people to create and approve content in defined steps.
- Adobe Creative Cloud: A no-brainer for any agency, where your creative magic happens.
To ensure a truly orchestrated process, these tools should be integrated with one another, so that stakeholders can work primarily in the tools they feel most comfortable and approval processes can happen in a clearly defined manner.
With this approach, your agency can kiss the content spaghetti dragon goodbye, and orchestrate your way to growth.