6 Steps to  Creative Efficiency

6 Steps to Creative Efficiency

As marketers, you’re well aware of the value of creating, publishing and sharing content that increases awareness of your brand.

Are your teams struggling to come up with fresh ideas that hit the mark, time after time? Do you pride yourselves on a quick turnaround from concept to campaign delivery or does the creation of new content seem to drag on for ages, through endless meetings and numerous rounds of feedback?
 

Here are 6 simple steps you can take to build a more efficient process for creating content and some tips for using Creative Cloud for teams to help you. 

Evaluate the process you have now.

Whichever way you look at it: if you create content, you do have a content creation process. It’s just a question of whether that process is written down or not and whether it was put together as the result of a conscious decision or a happy accident.

To discover what your process is (or to check whether it’s being followed) take a couple of recent pieces of content and write down the people and steps it passed through on its way to being published. This should give you a decent starting point.

Of course, if the results are wildly different for each piece of content, it’s possible that you may have more than one process.

Identify bottlenecks and unnecessary steps.

There’s no right or wrong content process: it depends on the needs of your organisation. But as you analyse your process, you may discover that some steps are happening at the wrong time, don’t need to happen at all or are slowing up everything else.

Maybe things are taking a long time to get through design or perhaps some steps are being repeated unnecessarily. For example, do you really need to proofread drafts as soon as they are written, if you do it again before publishing? Or you may even discover that you’re a bottleneck yourself and you need to change who’s responsible for giving feedback.

Reduce the number of people giving feedback.

Feedback invariably takes a long time and it can complicate content creation or even derail it completely. Everyone in your organisation is busy doing their own work and if they are asked to give feedback on content creation on top of this, it’s all too easy for the feedback to become the lowest priority or drop off the to-do list altogether.

It’s a good idea to have as few people as possible giving their opinions or being involved in sign off. You could also try to get pre-approval on proposed content. Put together a mood board of similar images or circulate a title and synopsis for your article to give everyone a clear idea of what you’re planning, to get their buy-in before you start creating.

Get structured feedback, not staggered feedback.

A common pitfall is having multiple rounds of feedback and approval, with each stakeholder passing the content on to a different department up the chain to someone more senior. While this is unavoidable in some organisations, it tends to lead to multiple rounds of changes and risks content being taken in different directions by different people.

Where possible, gather all feedback on an early draught draft at the same time. If everyone provides their feedback on a shared PDF, you can collate the comments and spot any conflicts easily.

Are all your reviewers reviewing everything with no focus? Try asking for structured feedback. Be clear about what input you are looking for from each stakeholder. For example, ask the Product Manager to fact check the product details and get the sales team to confirm if the content will resonate with their customers.

Stay in control of feedback with PDFs.

Nobody really enjoys collecting and consolidating feedback. Fortunately, Adobe Acrobat streamlines the entire process with easy-to-use commenting and annotation tools. It also provides you with one place to manage it all – with no need for multiple email attachments or file versions.
Add your comments – mark up your feedback on your PDFs using sticky notes, highlighters, shapes and more.
Send files for review – collect and consolidate comments from multiple reviewers in a single shared online PDF on desktop, online or mobile.
Quick and simple participation – reviewers can easily comment from any device, using the Acrobat Reader mobile app or from their browser.
Keep tabs on your project – get real-time notifications when reviewers open files or add comments. Send reminders, answer questions, update deadlines or close workflows.

Kick-start creation with stock imagery and templates.

So your content creation process is in place, streamlined and honed to perfection. All you need to do now is come up with some ideas for content. Relax – you don’t ever need to worry about starting with a blank page again.

 Stock imagery and stock footage can be a great way to spark creative ideas and getting campaign and video development off to a flying start. And with Adobe Stock you can streamline your creative process thanks to  a huge range of templates for things like brochures, animations and social media assets.

 Start a new project in Photoshop, Illustrator or InDesign with ‘File > New’ and search from a variety of high-quality templates created by professional designers. Previews are shown for each template so you can always pick the right one.

And finally…

By reviewing your current process for content creation and implementing some or all of the steps suggested above, you’ll be setting your team up for success when it comes to delivering impactful social content, quickly, efficiently and consistently. 

Transforming your business with Adobe Sign

Transforming your business with Adobe Sign

Organisations around the world are transforming their businesses thanks to digital technology programs like Adobe Sign. The power of an end-to-end digital experience allows you to replace traditional paper and ink signature procedures and approvals with a fully automated digital document workflow.

Many businesses still struggle with paper-based processes that are slow, error-prone and fragmented. The ability to obtain legal signatures in minutes, not days, prevent workers from spending countless hours hunting down approvals and ink signatures – only to then print, scan fax or mail documents to still be able to get the job done. These delays are frustrating to customers, business partners and employees alike.

Document signature processes represent one of the biggest areas to accelerate your business. Leading companies in every industry have turned to Adobe Sign and have reported accelerated turnaround times and have successfully trimmed days off processes.

The biggest question today isn’t whether to adopt electronic signatures – it’s how to go about it while ensuring compliance. You’ll want to understand the signature laws and regulatory requirements to make the right choice for your organisation but more importantly, you will want to partner with a company you can trust to help you deliver value not only today, but far into the future.

Adobe Sign is a Document Cloud solution that manages signature processes from end to end and integrates easily with existing business processes. As the only Platinum Reseller in Africa and with over 25 years of experience, Learning Curve are uniquely positioned to help you implement a legal and compliant signature process for your organisation.

Exceptional situations like we are currently experience means we have to find better quicker more efficient ways for our company paper trails and turn to digital technologies. Adobe Sign removes the necessity for paper based processes and catapults you into digital transformation.  Adobe Sign can help to remove restrictive bottleneck with seamless e-signatures, real-time PDF creation and collaboration from anywhere, anytime unlocking document intelligence and building-in enterprise integration, helping you innovate and transform all your existing procedures.

Sign goes far beyond e-signatures, enabling organisations to digitise documents and workflows of every kind. Deeply integrated into the applications teams use every day it will expand your investment in Microsoft applications, such as Office 365 and SharePoint.

Using Microsoft 365 with Adobe Sign and Adobe Acrobat together has the potential for combined benefits worth millions. Customers interviewed for the Forrester’s Total Economic Impact Study on Improving Digital Experiences in 2019 saved time and costs in key areas including digital enrolment, printing, delivery and governance.  On average an employee saved 1.5 hours per transaction. Similarly, enrolment transactions reduced by two hours. Printing and hardware costs were reduced, hours were saved and sales cycle times improved. It is evident to see why Adobe Sign is Microsoft’s preferred e-signature solution.

 

As for how well Adobe Sign has been adopted into the commercial sector, CEO of Learning Curve, Tim Smith commented “That thousands of companies have found Adobe Sign to be an imperative part of their business process with over 8 billion transactions recorded demonstrates how it can deliver tangible, measurable business impacting return on investment, cycle times and hours saved”.

Fully customisable Adobe Sign allows for flexible PDF and e-signature services and APIs that adapt any digital document process with automation and intelligence. This helps reduce costs while increasing adoption and use, significantly improving realised return on investment.

Adobe’s partner ecosystem consists of more than 13,000 solution integrators, agencies, technology and marketplace partners and more than 300,000 developers. Adobe is committed to your success and partnering with you to lay a foundation that gets you up and running quickly and defines a path for continued value realisation. Transparent, all-inclusive pricing includes comprehensive services that provide guidance and resources your team needs to deliver success throughout your digital transformation journey.

In response to questions regarding the safety and legality of e-signature capabilities Adobe addressed concerns by providing the measures they take to make sure that all transactions are kept private and secure. Adobe Sign is certified compliant with the world’s most rigorous security standards, such as ISO 27001, SOC 2 Type 2 and PCI DSS, which is used in the card payment industry. The program also employs Adobe Secure Product Lifecycle (SPLC) practises, a demanding set of over 1000 specific security activities spanning software development practices, processes and tools.

Adobe Sign empowers employee and customer experiences for more than 85% of the Fortune 1000 companies. It helps optimise digital document workflows for preparing, protecting, sharing and signing the most critical business documents. The results are exceptional customer experiences and improved business efficiency. But more importantly, Adobe Sign helps you maintain business continuity – even in these challenging times.

 

“One of the biggest advantages of Adobe Sign is that we can obtain a signature in an efficient manner while maintaining a proper audited workflow. Adobe Sign includes a full  audit trail that reassures departments of the quality and accuracy of the signature” – Melissa Domingues, California State University 

 

When you choose Adobe Sign, your organisation gets end to end, exceptional experiences, performance driven through AI innovation, a trusted, secure and compliant platform, a true strategic partner and an exceptional return on investment.

Modernise workforce productivity with completely paperless processes for every business or industry:

 

Adobe Sign is now available through the Adobe Value Incentive Plan (VIP) making it simple to manage all your licenses through one central admin console.

Contact us today to find out more about integration of Adobe Sign.

Maintain Your Physical and Mental Health During The COVID-19 Quarantine

The unprecedented pandemic that the world is going through at the moment has put an unbelievable strain on people’s lives as they know it. This has resulted in a large change of how people go about living. However, despite the concerns, we must find a way to find the good in this situation. Both our minds and bodies can benefit so long as we use them well and don’t succumb to panic. There are ways for both to be cared for at this time, and some of these ways are what we are going to go over here.

One of the most important things that can benefit people at this time is taking care of our bodies. Exercise has always been important, but now more than ever it can provide a relief from the seemingly endless monotony of working and living from home. Looking to regularly get outside and exercise both benefits your mind and body. These can be anything from walks around the corner or regular runs for distance. If the area around isn’t great for either of those or the weather is not cooperating, then there are plenty of exercises that can be done indoors that help keep you just as fit. Even without exercise equipment like dumbbells, rowing machines or treadmills there are plenty of exercises that can be done in order to regularly get those arms and legs moving. Push-ups, planks, crunches and squats are just some of the exercises that can get the blood flowing without even needing to leave the house. If you don’t even know where to begin in terms of setting up a workout, many gyms and other fitness programs have gone online in order to adjust to the closure of their physical spaces.

Another physical element that can help in this time of stress is sleep. Poor sleep is linked to an increased risk of heart disease which is reason enough to aim for 7-8 hours’ sleep a night at the best of times. Going to bed regularly at the same time and waking up at similar times helps get the body into a sort of flow. This can be achieved by going to bed an hour early and disconnecting from phones or electronics. Just a quiet hour that is spent reading a book can really make falling asleep much easier. Avoiding sleep stimulants like coffee, candy or other sugary foods and drinks also really improves both the length and quality of sleep patterns. Again, exercising during the day can also make sleep that much easier. Good sleep can really make a difference during the day.

Another key aspect of keeping a high level of health during the quarantine has less to do with the physical aspect of the body and more to do with the mental side. There are a good few ways to keep the mind healthy and active during this lockdown.

Intellectual stimulation is one way. Using the large amounts of time that many people now have to pick up a new skill or invest it in some interest that they have had for a while can really pay off on the mind. For example, with the internet growing ever more constant in our lives, the demand for those who are well-versed in a variety of programs is ever growing. The Adobe Creative Cloud apps like Photoshop, InDesign and Premiere Pro are just some examples of programs that employers are looking for. These allow for aspiring editors of photos, websites, magazines and videos to really start down that path while they stay home due to the quarantine.

There are other ways to go about taking advantage of many of the free learning opportunities being offered online at this point in time. The Ivy League schools (Harvard, Princeton, Yale and the like) are all offering free, online courses due to the onset of this pandemic. While one would need to pay to get a “certification” from these courses, that is not actually necessary to take them. These topics can cover such things as religion, programming, personal finance, business finance, politics and more. These can really provide a boost for those who are looking to extend their skills during this quarantine. They provide mental stimulation over a period of time depending on how long the course is. Then, once this quarantine is over and the virus is relatively under control, you will have a new set of skills from one of these college courses. Plus, wouldn’t it be fun to say that you took a class at Harvard?

Of course, this does not just extend to increasing technical skills for the online world. Many interests and skills can be developed at this time. Perhaps a certain period of history has always been interesting to you but there has never been the time to actually explore it on a deeper level, never time to really see the strings and bury yourself into the stories of the period that bring out the fascinating quirks of humans and our interactions with one another. Well now there is plenty of time to increase that knowledge with the help of the many documentaries and history-based YouTube channels that offer an abundance of information for free.

This is obviously a stressful time for many people. It is time to take care of oneself at any cost, with both physical and mental aspects of the person being vital. So, take a moment and think about how the aforementioned health considerations (both physical and mental) could help in this strange time that the world is going through.

Distance Learning Hacks for Students and Educators

Distance Learning Hacks for Students and Educators

Overnight, educators and students around the globe have had to quickly transition from in-class learning to remote home learning. While the transition to distance learning brings rewards, it also brings a unique set of challenges.

“While the route to success might be different from that of studying at a contact institution, the rewards and sense of achievement when you reach your goals are just as significant.” says Sonia Magni, Academic Manager at Oxbridge Academy, a private college that serves more than 20 000 South African distance learning students every year.

“These students do however need all the support they can get, as distance learning can be a lonely and frustrating endeavour if you go about it the wrong way”. Magni says there are a number of distance learning study strategies, which, if applied, will help ensure student success.

Adobe reached out to students and educators to find out what they were doing to stay inspired, connected and productive. Here’s what they had to say – 

“Get dressed and ready every morning as if you’re leaving the house.”

I believe that the environment or learning scenarios, such as the classroom or the classmates around you, help students to switch to ‘focus’ mode. E-learning doesn’t provide that kind of stimulus, and that might be one of the reasons why students find it hard to concentrate or be productive during this online course period. I embedded my previous routine into my current ‘learn-from-home’ life, such as making coffee before starting the day or dressing up as what I normally would do when going to class. Tiara Ping Shia

 

“If you find you’re losing focus, find a new spot to study.”

Ambiance and my surroundings are things I find to be very impactful on the way at which I prepare schoolwork. Being in my bedroom inhibits me from this, so I try to complete my work in different rooms to avoid the temptation of being totally idle. Cyann Camaya

 

“Create a schedule and stick with it.”

Creating a consistent routine that most resembles my on-campus life is what I find to be the most helpful. Exercising in the mornings, spending time outside, and participating in virtual study groups and club meetings normalises the situation. Allyson Maroyka

 

“Alternate between doing your homework and doing the things you love.”

The switch from in-person instruction to online classes has been a stressful and daunting task for most students. I find that taking walks outside as the weather gets warmer helps me regain a sense of normalcy during these troubling times.  Vasu Garg

 

“Take regular breaks.”

I find it tough to concentrate for a long period of time, so it’s important to give yourself breaks every hour or so. And I always shut off my phone when I do work. It’s extremely distracting. Brandon Kalika

 

“Get a good workout in every day.”

Too much screen time tends to give me a headache, which lowers my productivity considerably. I try to ensure that I stay active and hydrated by always having water nearby and try to fit in some level of activity each day. Jenna Minks

 

“Find a way to limit phone use.”

Getting distracted on your phone during class is way easier now than when you used to go to an actual school. Find a way to limit your usage because that device can destroy the schedule you’ve crafted so well. Emile Redlinger

 

“Find a hobby that taps into your creative side.”

It’s been a transition for everyone, but we all find our ways of coping. Personally, at the beginning I started to fall into cycles of negative thinking without realising. Thankfully, this changed when I started taking each day as an opportunity to do something positive, and I would always have something to look forward to doing. I found that exercise has helped tremendously, as well as doing something creative. Harry Wiley

 

As the world navigates this unprecedented health crisis, educators and learners are learning to adapt and move forward. In the face of all this change, Learning Curve are fully committed to helping schools, colleges and universities, teachers, faculty, and learners make the shift to online learning one of the easiest and simplest decisions.

We’re inspired by the ideas and resources educational leaders are sharing with each other during this time. To continue the conversation and connect with us drop us an email or connect with us on Facebook

Making the transition to remote learning – resources to help get you started

Making the transition to remote learning – resources to help get you started

As we adjust to a continually changing educational landscape and embrace the idea of distance learning – which has suddenly moved to the forefront of our teaching practice – many educators are worried about how to make adjustments on behalf of all our learners. The good news is that there are some great tools that can help educators transition to distance learning.

 

Whether your school routinely supports distance learning or has faced unexpected closures, we’ve assembled a list of these tools and learning opportunities to help educators engage remote students through online learning.

Scan anything in a snap! 

The free Adobe Scan app makes it easy to turn your work into a PDF. Instead of taking a picture and pasting it into Google doc or Microsoft World file to share, simply scan it. The app can be downloaded on your phone or tablet. Scan on or more sheets of paper and watch Adobe Scan create a PDF of your document with no shadows, blurs or glare. Available on iOS and Android

Convert your classroom content into eLearning.

Simply screen capture existing on-screen content such as PPT, PDF, web pages and convert them into interactive videos. Something new? Choose from hundreds of quick start slide templates. Adobe are offering a free 90-day access pass of Captivate to all educators – register here before 31 May 2020.

Flipped Classroom –  introductory course.

Adobe Education Exchange is hosting a series of upcoming webinars that will share distance learning strategies. In The Flipped Classroom course you’ll explore best strategies, approaches, and tools for creating effective flipped learning opportunities that you can immediately apply to your classroom context.

Google Resources.

Google is waiving the fees on the premium version of Meet to assist businesses and schools operating remotely until 30 September 2020. This enables meetings for up to 250 participants per call, live streaming for up to 100,000 viewers and the ability to record meetings and save them directly into Google Drive. Find out more here. 

We’re inspired by the ideas and resources educational leaders are sharing with each other during this time. To continue the conversation and connect with us drop us an email or connect with us on Facebook

We know how important it is for you to remain operational during this uncertain period. Our physical offices may be closed, but our specialists are online, available, and ready to help.