The speedy growth of digital channels increased the demand for high-quality creative content.
At the same time, turnover has shortened in time, and the pressure on creative teams to produce more—and more quickly—is growing.
Since creative content needs to be reviewed before approval and release, often more than once and by several decision-makers, the days of the convoluted traditional proofing methods—such as endless email chains and untrackable threads of instant messaging—are numbered.
In this article, we explore the benefits of online proofing.
This method gets the efforts of multiple team members or even cross-team collaborations under one roof.
That way, your teams can finally work together like the well-oiled machines they were always supposed to be.
What Is Online Proofing?
Online proofing is the process of reviewing and approving creative content, which has the purpose of helping marketing teams collaborate more effectively.
Teamwork is, by definition, a joint effort, but we all know that wouldn’t be possible without loads and loads of individual work hours.
And marrying the solo work of each contributor with the team’s ultimate goals is the Achilles heel of any collaboration.
One missed feedback can give birth to miscommunication, days’ worth of wasted time, and even build unnecessary costs.
Also, you know the kind of meeting that should have been an email?
With the use of online proofing software, you can reduce the unnecessary white noise to even less than that.
It only takes a quick comment or helpful suggestion in the right place and at the right time, and your entire team can move on to the issues that truly benefit from your invested time and energy.
Who Should Use Online Proofing?
Marketing teams working within brands or agencies can benefit from using online proofing software.
This is simply the nature of any creative work—it’s hard to lay out clear expectations of the end result because the best ideas can often surface as you go.
Therefore, any job that requires the input of several people will benefit significantly from using an online proofing platform.
However, the applications in marketing campaigns are perhaps the most accentuated.
These are the key benefits of using online proofing:
- Clarity. Improved status tracking and stronger version control
- Ergonomy. More fluid review and approval
- Control. Trackable edit history, clear audit trail
- Time. Faster turnover
- Money. Fewer revisions—fewer expenses
- Motivation. Instant results, no repetitive administrative tasks
As a general rule, the higher the volume of creative work and the more team members are involved in the design process (including agencies as well as clients), the more tangible are the benefits of online proofing.
Online Proofing in Marketing and Design
In marketing and design, it’s the ideas that really make or break a project, so allowing space for creativity is paramount to long-term success.
That’s not to say execution is secondary, but that’s something you can guarantee for the long term by having a talented team.
Keeping your team inspired, on the other hand, is an ongoing effort that requires some thinking outside the box.
A growing number of companies and agencies are finally beginning to take this thinking outside the box quite seriously, and have started trading the old cubicle for a more relaxed remote work policy.
Cloud-based online proofing solutions allow team members to collaborate from wherever they feel most inspired as long as they have internet access.
The work process itself is not much different from working side by side.
Still, it’s all the more important that all the essential steps are implemented seamlessly, flawlessly, and intuitively on an online platform:
Jumping on a conference call every now and then is fine, but online proofing is all about efficiency.
An online team collaboration platform such as Creatopy, allows adding punctual comments directly on designs.
Moreover, you can tag other people so they can add their input as well if it’s needed.
Especially if it’s a relatively simple task, these precious resources are much better used for the actual solutions than setting up a meeting.
2. File sharing
Keeping everything in sync and everyone focused is one of the biggest perks of using cloud-based online proofing software.
With Creatopy’s Automate plan, you can upload and share as many designs as you want with your team.
By doing this, you can keep everyone on the same page and avoid misplacing valuable creative materials.
Careful planning is the backbone of any project.
For a strong backbone that you can build on, it’s essential to keep everyone in the loop at every stage of planning, without the need for constant reminders.
In Creatopy, your entire marketing team is always aware of the progress of each task, thanks to the activity log.
Centralizing all these efforts also makes project updates redundant.
Whenever one of your graphic designers finishes a design, they can let the copywriter or your social media manager know that the visuals are ready to go live.
Creative collaboration platforms like Creatopy allow this while making your creation process even more streamlined.
How Does Online Proofing Work?
Online proofing solutions provide a structured, secure portal for different versions of work to be shared, reviewed, and compared in real-time.
Being web-based, collaborators have quick and easy access to their shared work through a link.
They can add comments, request a modification, or give the green light to move the project into its next phase, and everyone involved is continuously in the loop.
The creative approval process step by step:
1. The proof
Since it all revolves around creative visual content creation, online proofing always starts with none other than the content itself, or at the very least, the first draft.
We call this the proof.
2. The team
Online proofing only makes sense if all the creators and decision-makers involved in the project can access the content.
The project owner can share the work with collaborators, either from the very beginning or at any given phase, depending on the nature and the development of the project.
Collaborators can have different roles and different rights.
Some might only have viewing access, others can be allowed to add feedback in the form of comments, while the creators themselves usually have the full bandwidth to edit the content down to the smallest detail.
Alternatively, collaborators from outside your organization can view the creatives thanks to the branded share link option available in Creatopy.
3. The workflow
Once the proof is ready and the owner shares it with the team, collaborators receive notifications, all securely linked to the proof.
Notifications are also sent whenever someone adds a comment or approves a suggestion.
Similar to social media platforms, creative approval software allow collaborators to tag each other and assign subtasks to specific individuals or teams.
Tracking the status of each phase, and what actions remain to be taken, adds a further element of transparency.
4. Edit history and version control
Your first proof may be a diamond in the rough, but it still needs a fair amount of polishing until it becomes a brilliant gem.
The more ideas are being thrown around, the easier it is to lose track of the different versions.
With traditional proofing methods, that is.
One of the most substantial assets of online proofing software is that you can use it to keep a detailed edit history.
This way, comparing versions and spotting even the smallest oversights in the creative approval process becomes a breeze.
5. Deployment and approval
After successful and satisfying teamwork, all conducted online and in real-time, all that’s left is to flag each milestone and, ultimately, the entire project as being finished or signed off.
The final notifications sent to each collaborator are like a sigh of relief and a well-deserved pat on the back for everyone involved.
The power of online proofing is in its simplicity.
Rather than adding something new into your workflow, it takes away what’s unnecessary.
It removes the technical and practical barriers that stunt progress and gives way to a more engaged and modern approval journey that is accessible from anywhere, at any time.
In other words, online proofing is the smart, cloud-era replacement and aggregator of traditional ad-hoc feedback channels such as email, instant messaging, and even lengthy team meetings where it’s all too easy to lose focus.
Use it to make your collaborations more streamlined, efficient, intuitive, and satisfying—no doubt, a quick win for your team and a decision, after which you’ll never look back again.