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5 Best Practices For Sharing Proofs with Internal & External Reviewers

by Anthony Welgemoed

1 March 2019

Ease of use is the single most important "feature" within (and throughout) Ziflow. Nowhere is this more important than when it comes to soliciting and collecting feedback. When you consider that all Ziflow accounts come with unlimited reviewers (both internal and external to your organization), it's easy to see how the feedback process could get out of hand.  

In fact, you probably see that process get out of hand pretty regularly if you rely on email, IM or hallway chats to receive feedback. This all starts with how you share creative assets at the outset of your review and approval process.   

When it comes to the review and approval workflow, today's modern marketing teams require much more granularity, security, and accountability than what email or IM can provide.

In this article, we’ll look at five innovative ways that Ziflow makes it easy (and secure) to share proofs with internal and external reviewers.

Minor Versions for Internal Review Cycles

Don't let the name fool you, there's nothing "minor" about this capability.  

In many cases, creative assets need to be reviewed internally before being shared with external team members or clients. Most online proofing applications will label versions using the standard pattern v1, v2, v3 and so on. Depending on your workflow, this is not ideal because, by the time a proof is shared externally, you could be sharing what is now known as v3, which causes some confusion and raises questions about what happened to v1 & v2.

Just start a new proof, right? The drawback with this approach is the separation between the original proof and the newly shared client proof. This adds to the team’s workload as they try to keep track of the two separate proofs.

We've developed the “Minor Version” feature which allows proofs for internal review to be labeled as vX.1, vX.2, where "X" is the major version you are currently on. This allows you to share only major versions with your clients and avoid any confusion.

Minor proof versions


Secure Guest Reviewing

As we’ve mentioned, all Ziflow accounts allow for an unlimited number of guest reviewers on your proofs (guests are reviewers who do not have a Ziflow user account).

Depending on your workflow or security requirements, it may not always be feasible to allow for guest access to your proofs, especially if there is a concern with inadvertent sharing of the content with unapproved people.  

To provide a solution for our customers that didn't end with them purchasing user licenses for the occasional reviewer, we developed Secure Guest Reviewers.

With Secure Guest Reviewing, a guest receives a security token, which they use to access the proof. The token can be set to allow access for 1 to 7 days (based on your chosen account settings).

Secure guest review and approval

This token-based authentication method has a number of benefits:

  • Proof managers can enable secure review and approval at any time on all their proofs
  • No manual steps are required to share a password
  • Management of reviewer user accounts are not needed
  • A reduction in emails as guests are ‘remembered’ for a period of 1 to 7 days.

Private Comments

There are times when you are ready to share content with clients, but you're not always willing to share how the sausage was made.

Let’s imagine you’ve completed a couple of internal review cycles of a proof and now shared it with your client. Your external client reviewers start adding comments to the proof, which include a few tough questions which need to be addressed before progress can be made.  

If you'd prefer not to have your external reviewers see the conversations taking place in response to their comments, typically you'd be forced to take it offline either via email, chat or phone. The problem this creates is that you lose the audit trail of the internal discussion and other internal reviewers need to be notified outside of the proof what has been decided.

Ziflow solves this by allowing proof managers to enable “Private comments” for specific reviewers grouped in a stage on the proof. Private discussions can then take place on the proof and only be visible to reviewers in that particular stage, while at the same time ensuring that all decisions and comments remain part of the proof.

Private comments

Dashboard Access for Reviewers

An important aspect of sharing content with external reviewers is also providing them with ongoing visibility into the overall review and approval process.  

An often overlooked benefit of Ziflow is the fact that any person with a user account can log in and see all the proofs shared with them from any other Ziflow accounts they are connected to.

We recommend that your clients or reviewers that belong to different organizations are added as users to their own Ziflow accounts and not to your account in case someone inadvertently gives them permissions to access more than they should see.

By adding external reviewers to a separate Ziflow account, they will only ever see proofs that have explicitly been shared with them regardless of their permission.

This means you can safely give your reviewers access to a dashboard where they can easily see proofs to review and importantly, see all their late proofs. You also have the option to manage external reviewer accounts on their behalf or pass this onto another power user.

And lastly, because having both internal and external reviewers usually means a large group in total, which can become unmanageable when it comes to keeping everyone on a timeline...

Automated Reminders

One of the most tedious tasks for any proof manager is to find which assets have outstanding reviews and who to nudge to get that feedback done.

Any proofing application worth its salt will send a single reminder when a deadline is near or reached, and then the responsibility falls back to the proof manager to keep chasing late reviewers.

Online proofing automated reminders

With Ziflow’s “Automated Reminders”, proof managers can rely on Ziflow to do the chasing for them. You can configure Ziflow accordingly;

  • To send a reminder before the deadline is reached.
  • To send a reminder when the deadline is reached.
  • To send multiple reminders after the deadline has passed.

Having these automated reminders configured saves proof managers considerable amounts of time during their busy days.

As you can see, there are several modern alternatives to email, IM and hallway conversations when it comes to sharing creative content for review and approval. Enterprise-ready online proofing solutions like Ziflow make it easy and secure to share proofs, while at the same time, providing the necessary features to keep projects on schedule. What truly matters is that each of these capabilities is easy to use and administer on a daily basis.    

If you'd like to see these capabilities for yourself, you can sign up for your own free 14 day trial, no credit card required. 

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Product Release: February 2019

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