How do I Choose the Best Publishing Workflow?

Nicholas K.

Publishing workflow describes the path a document takes from the writing phase to publication. The best publishing workflow for your company is dependent on the size and composition of your staff. Your system is confined by the limitations of your printing process and publishing software. It is also important to choose a publishing workflow process that can proceed through various forms of communication. Your choice of a business workflow should balance budgetary concerns, efficiency, and accuracy.

The best publishing workflow for your company is dependent on the size and composition of your staff.
The best publishing workflow for your company is dependent on the size and composition of your staff.

The size of your workplace will dictate your ideal publishing workflow process. Your entire staff might be involved in editing written material in a small office. This workflow would involve a "round robin" of edits followed by delivery to the printer. Larger offices often feature more hierarchy in dealing with creative workflow. Your publishing workflow in a large office might involve delivery of a draft to a copy editor, section editor, and publisher prior to printing.

The best workflow for your business should anticipate personnel changes. Your workflow should be easily explained to new employees involved in publications. Temporary editors, writers, and graphic artists should be able to fit easily into the process. A good rule of thumb when choosing the best publishing workflow is to design a process that could be explained to the average reader of your publication.

You must consider the software used by your publications team as you develop a workflow diagram. Your workflow system may slow down significantly if your writers, editors, and print team use different versions of the same software. This problem is compounded when a writer uses publishing software that is incompatible with your office software. Your publishing workflow should anticipate these problems by requiring compatibility from everyone in the process.

Your ideal workflow model could be used with your current approach to printing. You will likely need to build additional revision and editing sessions in your workflow diagram if you use offset printing. Your publishing workflow might be more compact with print-on-demand services, but the cost of each unit is higher than with offset printing. The size and frequency of publications should also inform your workflow analysis. You can make corrections with daily newspapers and memos more easily than with annual reports.

Your workflow system should also be built to withstand disruptions in communications and document delivery. Your diagram should instruct editors to keep digital and print copies of publications in case of power outages. The publishing workflow process must also anticipate network outages that disconnect writing teams from their printers. Your writing and editing teams should use portable drives, laptops, and frequent printouts to deliver publications on time.

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