Managing Your Materials and Submissions For Success

The Challenges of Efficient Materials Management

Tools and Technology Chaos

Materials can quickly become outdated or irrelevant, even within the same company. People often find themselves overwhelmed with materials flying at them from all directions - emails, calls, texts, PDFs, and physical mailings. With technology constantly shifting in creative circles, it is hard to keep up and learn new tools while keeping organized.

Tracking What Has Been Sent

One of the biggest challenges is simply keeping track of which materials have been submitted and what kind of response has been received. Sending out materials requires a lot of coordination and effort, but response tracking can be an additional challenge. What happens when materials are sent to the same entity more than once? It can be difficult to tell if something has been sent before, especially with so many avenues of communication.

Version Control of Materials

Collaboration is a critical component of any creative endeavor. This means sharing materials with others, like producers and executives. But when it comes to version control, too many cooks in the kitchen can spell disaster. How do you ensure that multiple versions of the same material don’t get sent out, mixed up, or even lost? Without a proper system in place, it is also hard to know who has made edits when there is no way to document the process. It can also be difficult to distinguish between versions of the same file. Keeping up with materials isn’t just a matter of convenience - it is essential for any creative business or endeavor.

Archive of Past Materials

Not maintaining an archive of outdated materials is a major problem that can have serious consequences. An archive enables creatives to reference past projects easily, find materials quickly, and continue to build on their ideas. An archive also ensures that outdated materials aren’t mixed up with current material, which can lead to confusion and mistakes. It provides a record of materials for future reference so that you can track progress over time. Without an archive, you are simply throwing away your hard work.

Access to Materials

Internal team members need access to materials at all times, which means the ability to search and find them quickly. If materials are stored in various locations, staying organized and ensuring everyone has access to them is critical so they can do their job more easily. Not everyone needs access to everything, though. Creatives need to be able to control who sees what, when, and how. This requires the ability to assign different levels of accessibility. As a leader, without that capability, opportunities dwindle.

Protecting Your Critical IP and Business Materials

Protection is important; it is one of the greatest fears amongst creatives. In order to move your career forward, you must share your ideas, but securely doing that is difficult. Intellectual property is a creative's livelihood. If it gets stolen or lost, they can lose years of work and investments in a matter of moments. This has produced the current mindset of rarely sharing ideas, yet that only hurts the creatives trying to scale up.

Security and access can coexist, but it's up to the creative team to ensure that those two elements are in harmony when managing materials. Figuring out how to safely share with external partners and maintain ultimate control over your materials is essential to any successful creative venture. It is the responsibility of creators to protect their materials, but having a system in place that can handle such tasks makes it much easier.

Organizing Your Flow of Materials is Critical for Success

Materials flow is everything. Your career and creative business success is determined by how well you can manage the flow of communication and collaboration around your materials. For selling your services, for collaborating with partners on projects, for making deals - each of these steps requires materials to be exchanged. Navigating how to share and send materials is a crucial stepping stone.

If you can’t keep your materials organized and ready to share in different ways, it slows down every aspect of the business. You can lose out on opportunities, delay projects, and collaborations, or worse – you can create an environment where people are never sure what’s going on.

Organizing materials is important for any creative business. When done well, you’ll have confidence in your ability to share materials quickly and securely, while controlling who has access and when. This will help you stay ahead of the competition, increase your business’s efficiency and help take your creativity to the next level.

The Creative Economy and Materials Flow

Material management is not just about keeping your own materials organized; it’s also about understanding the material flow of others. Materials grow and move through projects, people, and businesses in the creative economy. Every time something is shared, it adds value to the material. This can be a great opportunity for creators to collaborate and combine their resources, ideas, and insights.

By understanding the flow of materials, you can gain intel on where the best opportunities for collaboration exist, and you can use the knowledge to create better materials. This is the power of managing your creative materials effectively; it gives you the opportunity to grow and succeed on a social level.

What is Materials Flow?

Materials flow is the process of managing materials across different stages in the creative process. It includes creating, storing, tracking, and sharing content with internal teams and external partners. It is critical for creatives to have a system in place to manage the flow of materials so that they can stay organized, protect their intellectual property and business assets, collaborate effectively with others, and keep an archive of past material for future reference. The ability to manage materials efficiently is essential for successful creativity.

The Materials You Need to Take Ownership Of Now

As a creator, you own materials, and you work with materials all the time. These are the assets that you create and own. Remember, materials are the lifeblood of your business. Here are some of the examples of material ownership you should be aware of:
  • Ideas for Future Projects
  • Content
    - Everything from artwork, photography, and writing to audio, video, and code.

  • Branding - All the elements you use to represent your creative business identity.
  • Scripts
  • Call Sheets
  • Character Lists
  • Budgets
  • Scripts
  • Revisions
  • Drafts
  • Notes
  • TV bibles
  • Outlines
  • Character Arcs
  • Fundraising Documents
  • Pitch Decks
  • Character Sketches
  • Music Lyrics & Scores
As you can see, there are a lot of types of materials. It is important to get this under control. Otherwise, you will descend into creative chaos. Having a system to manage your materials can help make things easier. You'll be able to find what you need when you need it easily, and share.

As you can see, there are a lot of types of materials. It is important to get this under control. Otherwise, you will descend into creative chaos. Having a system to manage your materials can help make things easier. You'll be able to find what you need when you need it easily, and share.

Benefits of Solid Organization and Materials Flow

If you can keep all of your materials organized, it provides a variety of benefits. Here are some of the ways that materials flow can help you:

  1. Streamlined Workflow - Having a well-organized materials flow will make it easier to find what you need when you need it. This will help make things easy to find and ensure that nothing is missed.
  2. Provide a Consistent Structure - It is easier to maintain a consistent structure for materials when everything is organized. This will make it simple to find what you need and provide your partners with a cohesive experience.
  3. Enhanced Collaboration - With a solid materials flow system in place, it will be easier to collaborate with external partners and get feedback on materials faster.
  4. Branded Delivery - A well-organized materials flow system will help ensure that your materials are delivered in the right way and with your branding intact.
  5. Protected Intellectual Property - Keeping materials organized and secure will ensure that your intellectual property remains protected.

Your business is unique, and so are your material management needs. Building a system that works for you by understanding what materials you need and who needs them will produce an effective structure for success. The results of a powerful materials flow system are:

Increase in Team Member Efficiency

Having a system for managing materials and creative assets will allow you to work more efficiently. This will help increase productivity and save time. In turn, the quality of work improves. Keeping a close eye on materials will help you ensure that they are of the highest quality.

Responsiveness to Executives and Clients

Having a materials flow system in place will make it easier to respond quickly to executives and clients. When everyone has access to the right materials when they need them, it makes the process faster and smoother. This can be a great way to increase customer satisfaction and build stronger relationships that lead to future opportunities.

Expectations and Deadlines are Met

A materials flow system will help you keep track of expectations and deadlines. With everything organized, it is easier to stay up-to-date on schedules and ensure that everyone has the materials they need to meet those deadlines and make the project run smoother. With the ability to track materials better, you will be able to monitor the progress of projects to help identify areas that need improvement and ensure things stay on track.

Tracking Up-To-Date Materials

An efficient materials flow system will make tracing and keeping track of materials easier. This is especially important when working with large teams or multiple stakeholders. When everyone has the right information, it ensures that everyone is on the same page. As materials are sent out, a well-organized system will make it easier to monitor where they travel to. This will help ensure that the right information is shared with the right people at the right time.

Having a Materials System is the Key to Success

The best way to achieve all of this is to stay organized is to create a system. Taking the time to build an organized materials management system pays off in the long run. It saves time, energy, and money - not only now but in future projects as well.

Best Practices for Organizing your Materials & Submissions

Juggling many projects needs a tactical plan to stay on top of the endeavor. Here are some best practices for organizing your materials and submissions:

Utilize Templates

Creating templates for your materials can help you save time and energy. Not only do they provide structure to the documents, but they also help keep everyone on the same page with format, content, and expectations. An important step is to figure out what you are organizing. Removing outdated or irrelevant information will help you extract the important ideas and make templates consistent across the board.

Organize by Project, Talent, or Client

Organize by project, talent, or client so you can quickly locate the relevant materials for each. This will help you track what is where and who has access to it. Categorizing by specific details will aid in cutting down sprawl and materials ending up in the wrong locations.

Reduce the Number of Apps & Tools

Using too many different applications and tools can be overwhelming. Not only that, but the data within each application may not be compatible. A best practice is to use one source of truth to consolidate the data and share it among team members. This will help you maintain control, keep everyone up to date and save time. Opting for apps that serve multiple needs will payoff in the long run.

Embrace Digital Solutions

Digital solutions are a great way to store and share materials. Whether you use cloud storage or shared drive, having a secure and reliable place to store content can greatly help. This way, everyone on the team has access to the materials, so you are all on the same page.

Symbonic provides the Materials Library to make materials management seamless. The system is capable of supporting any file type or link. Utilize the columns to prioritize your needs and easily filter to quickly find the material you need. On top of all of that, there is integrated IP protection to ensure your materials are always safe.

Establish Consistent Standards

Setting up standards is a great way to ensure that brand consistency is maintained throughout all materials. Everything from tagging, folder systems, keywords, and naming conventions should have standards in place. Make sure everyone on the team understands these and how to follow them. Following these will help you create successful projects that stand out from the crowd.

Keep Your System Simple

No matter how you choose to organize your materials and submissions, the best systems are the simplest ones. The more time you spend on making your system overly complicated, the less time you have for execution and implementation. Keep it simple, organized, and consistent. Review your system often and make adjustments as needed to help you stay on top of the materials quickly.

Materials Management is Essential

Managing your materials is essential for success. Using the best practices we outlined such as reducing the number of applications used or establishing consistent standards are simple steps to take today in order to stay on top of material management.

Additionally, establishing a solid system that is simple and organized with yield clarity into obligations and deadlines to help streamline the process and keep everyone on task, increasing efficiency.

With the right tools and organization methods, materials management can be a breeze. Material library solutions like Symbonic provide convenient features to ensure lasting organization. Take advantage of digital solutions, and start becoming more productive. With these best practices in place, material management will become successful for any creative business.  

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