If you’re in the marketing space, you hear it all the time: marketing is about data. And that’s true, but it’s not the whole truth. In reality, marketing is about data plus creativity. And the creative component becomes even more important as content platforms make it more and more difficult to compete on data points alone—for example, Instagram’s elimination of ‘likes’ counts, or Facebook’s insistence on businesses paying to reach their audience. Working around these challenges requires consistent, innovative creativity. But as marketers, how can you tap into a really valuable, data-based creative flow? Especially when faced with the challenges of working on multiple projects with multiple team members that need your attention?
As it turns out, Google Drive can be a key partner in helping you maximize your creative process. Structured correctly, you can use Drive to create content and remain in a flow state, minimizing interruptions to your process. Here are our top tips and tools for making the most of Google Drive for your creativity.
Establishing Your Organization Process
Your ability to stay in a focused, creative state as you craft content determines both the quality and efficiency of what you’re able to create. It starts with the groundwork you lay, long before the creation process actually begins.
If you’re like most marketers, you’re not writing or building content in a silo. You’re working with other people, whether it’s other team members or external stakeholders. Most of them will have some contribution to the project at hand, ranging from design assets to copy feedback to process guides. When all of these individual components are organized or stored in unique ways, streamlining all of them into a single deliverable requires expert-level searching skills and precious minutes you don’t have.
If your company uses GSuite for Business or Enterprise, we recommend using Shared Drives throughout your creative process. With Shared Drive, your team owns the assets stored there, while in ‘My Drive,’ individuals own the files. Keeping all your team’s assets in a shared drive ensures seamless collaboration and handoff. The GSuite Show has a great resource on this—it’s a good way to learn about team Drives if you have the time.
All of these practices combined will enable you to immediately open and work with the correct file at every step of your creative process, without extended interruptions to locate and get access to the resources you need. When interruptions are minimized, you’re better able to stay in your creative flow.
Get ahead of the curve by establishing a file organization process for you and your team. Think about how files should best be organized—for instance by project type, by client, by date, or some combination of the above. Further, establish how files are named within that folder hierarchy. And don’t forget that Google Drive’s color-coding capabilities can add an additional level of organization to your folder environment. Finally, and most importantly, make sure that key team members have the access they need for your company’s files, every time.
Some of your team members might be working in diverse tools and platforms, outside of Google Drive. Other times, it’s not your internal teams that are to blame, it’s clients or partner vendors who may rely on legacy systems. When that happens, even your best efforts to organize Google Drive will fall short because the content simply doesn’t live there. This gets even trickier when feedback or collaboration on content is dispersed across tools.
One option to solve this challenge is by bringing all of your files and assets into Drive. In fact, this is really what Drive was originally built for—as a file storage platform. When you do bring files into one environment, you’re able to create more visibility into what assets are available. Further, you can better determine what the most up-to-date file version is, and for some files, you can also see comments and feedback within the Google Drive preview.
What this means for your creative flow is that you have more tools to work with. Think of having all your assets scattered across platforms. It’s like shopping for groceries by going to five different bodegas. On the flip side, centralizing your assets in Drive is like shopping for ingredients at a supermarket. The increased availability of assets and inspiration will improve your ability to effectively, efficiently create.
We recognize that being a GSuite power user makes sense for collaborative projects. However, there are downstream limitations to consider. Often, final approved pieces are distributed and stored in tools like Salesforce, Hubspot, and Zendesk, so you need a system to keep tabs on where every copy lives. To address this concern, try this: once an asset is in its final form, store it in Google Drive, then link to it from within these solutions as opposed to uploading a copy. Now, your team only has to remember to update the original version stored in GSuite. This isn’t always practical since not every solution in the market accepts links.
Using Digitile to Help
Google Drive is a powerful tool on its own. But it can be even more powerful when you integrate apps specifically designed to improve your creative process. Digitile can automate many of the organization and streamlining tasks we outlined above while integrating with Google Drive to deliver key improvements.
For example, your creative team may be providing services to several other internal teams. While there’s one team at the heart of it all—yours—the other groups may not be aware of preexisting assets created for other teams. And so they come to your team for each new project, creating redundancy and inefficiency. With Digitile, your creative assets are auto-tagged using AI and can be further custom tagged in bulk, so that diverse teams can easily find assets that can be used or repurposed for their own projects. It allows your creativity more room to grow while reducing spin-up times for your other teams.