Break Through Content Barriers in Government

By Jerry Silverman

Creative teams in government agencies are under the same pressure as those in the private space to produce quality content efficiently. And that pressure is significant; creative professionals’ greatest concern is the need to produce more content faster.

Timeliness and accuracy are even more important for government teams; a production delay or content error in the private sector can cost money, but a delay or error in the government sector can impact the lives of the public at large.

Agencies face the need to accommodate modern work practices, such as Telework, while increasing efficiency to meet the massive demand for content, all while maintaining the quality of the work. That’s a big order, but any agency can meet these requirements if they take the right approach.

Content velocity is more than speed

Content velocity is the ability to produce accurate content with efficiency in the right timeframe. That’s simpler to describe than it is to achieve; there are a lot of people, processes, and technologies at play in producing every creative deliverable.

People can be trained. Processes can be developed. But the technology that makes content velocity a reality needs to support three best practices:

Enable collaboration with a shared pool of assets

When we think of collaboration, we usually think of people working together. But for creative professionals to work together, they need an enabling technology that does more than handle workflow or versioning; they need a tool that lets every designer leverage and build upon the work of the others. They need a shared pool of resources.

Think of the design elements that go into a simple infographic. A designer has taken time to select a font, assemble a color palette, set up a page, organize layers, and, of course, design the unique graphic images. Once created, all of these assets need to be incorporated into a campaign, style guide, or mood board, so designers use email and FTP to share them with their team.

That’s where things get messy. Files aren’t subjected to a consistent file name format so they’re hard to find and their versioning gets confused, or they may not open in older versions of the native software.

A better way is to store all assets in a shared pool. When a designer is assigned a project, that designer should be able to access existing assets created by co-workers and re-use them. The need to rename and the challenges of opening files in different versions of a software program are eliminated.

A shared pool of assets obviously delivers efficiency and speed, and it also helps creative directors and brand managers control the quality of the brand by only allowing approved elements into the pool.

Improve productivity with instant publication

Organizations produce so much content these days that the speed of publishing can have a meaningful impact on productivity. Every content creator knows the feeling of looking at a freshly published piece of content and realizing that a header needs to be moved up five pixels or a compound word is missing its hyphen. And the more people involved with the creative process, the greater the number of changes made after a deliverable goes live. Make five small changes and there goes a half a day or more.

But when a creative team works on a platform that lets its members revise and immediately republish, changes are as simple as opening a file, making the change, and clicking Publish.

The ability to publish changes of any size on the fly translates into content that is not only more accurate, but also more timely. When something happens in the organization or the world at large, content can be updated immediately in response.

A mobile workforce requires a mobile development platform

Mobile devices are no longer just for consuming content; they are increasingly used for creating content as well. In a recent study, 42 percent of creatives said they create content on mobile devices. Of course they do—there are nearly 100 million mobile workers today, and IDC says that number is growing.

Content velocity means doing creative work in the same way any work is done. That means the ability to create, revise, and access shared content on mobile devices, whether those devices are being used in the breakroom or in an airport lounge, is essential to producing creative content in a timely, accurate, and efficient manner.

Today’s best practice is tomorrow’s only practice

The ideas are there. The motivation is there. The last piece that a content team needs to excel is the right platform, one that enables collaboration, productivity, and mobility. These qualities give content developers creative freedom, and give agencies more value from their existing assets. Even the audience benefits, as their needs are met with greater speed and accuracy.

Content velocity is a best practice today, but rising demand for content and increasing audience sophistication mean organizations will soon have no choice but to implement this practice. What is desirable now will be mandatory tomorrow.