How To Use Hive To Run a Creative Agency

If you’ve landed on this article, it’s likely that you work at a creative agency. Lucky for you, Hive has many useful features designed specifically to help people produce all types of creative work throughout an agency — from digital advertising campaigns, to marketing materials, to actual 3D-printed jewelry. And more than just helping produce creative work, Hive can help you and your teammates get your job done faster and more effectively than ever before. 

We know that getting started in a new tool can seem daunting, so don’t worry — we’re here to help. Consider this your quick guide to starting your creative workflow in Hive. Follow these steps, and your creative team will be up and running in Hive in no time! 

Step 1: Choose the best project structure for your team type

It’s impossible to condense every type of creative team into only three buckets, so choose the one that’s closest to your team structure. 

a) You are a Marketing & Communications team at a university, institution or organization.

We recommend your projects are the Teams / Work streams that you have. For example, you may create work in the following areas and these would each have a project in Hive:

  • Video
  • Events
  • Newsletters
  • Blogs
  • Public Relations: media relations, interviews, press releases
  • Website content
  • Website development: Do you maintain more than one domain/site? Make them child projects
  • Social Media posts: list channels

b) You are a Marketing or Creative team for your company’s product or service

We recommend your projects are the major categories of marketing work you produce, for example you may have work in the following categories:

  • Product Marketing
  • Partnerships
  • Sales Enablement
  • Website
  • Content Calendar
  • General Marketing (everything else)

c) You create deliverables or perform marketing services when requested by your clients

Great! Follow-up question here: are you paid for the marketing/creative services? Or, phrased another way – are your clients internal to your organization or are they outside of your organization?

If your deliverables are unpaid or clients are internal: We recommend that your projects are the type of requests you receive from those inside your organization. For instance, let’s say you are producing creative marketing materials for real estate agents within your organization. The projects would be the categories of creative work you have, like: Business Cards, New Agent Website, New Listing Postcard, Open House Flyer, Door Hangers.

If your deliverables are paid or your clients are external: Congratulations, you are the traditional ‘client based’ model for project set-up! We recommend that you create a parent project for each client, and child project is the scope of work, or project sold underneath that client.

Step 2: Use actions vs projects for your work

This is where you have even more flexibility! Next you need to choose what work will be logged as action cards, and what will be organized as projects. The rule of thumb is:

  • If your project typically takes longer than 30 days or more than 10 major steps, these would usually be projects.
  • If your project is typically shorter than 30 days, or fewer than 10 major steps, the work is usually action cards.

Here’s an example of each:

Action Cards: In the below example, each of the blog articles are on an action card within the Blog Content project. Each blog article has about 5-6 steps and takes a few weeks to complete:

Projects: In the below example, the website launch has a few components: design, animations, development, QA & user testing and it spans a few months. This makes sense to be its own project.

Step 3: Set up for incoming work

How does work usually come to your team? Pick the option closest to you, but if there are many, it’s ok! You can set up each one.

a) With a request from another team or outside party

We recommend setting up Hive Forms to manage the intake process. This will standardize the information that your team receives, and eliminate the back-and-forth over email. Once you have your Form created, be sure to share the URL with anyone who makes these requests from you. Putting the link in your email signature is a great idea to promote the new request flow. For more information, Review our Forms Tutorial here and our Video Tutorial here.

b) With an email request

We recommend you connect Hive Mail, and use the ‘Create action from email’ option to quickly turn incoming requests into actionable to-dos for your team, slotting them into the correct project and assigning to a team member.

c) With a weekly, monthly, quarterly planning meeting

We recommend you create a Hive Notes series for this recurring meeting, so you can add a new entry each time the planning meeting occurs, create action items directly form the meeting and put them into your Hive Projects to begin work.

Just start by creating the Hive Note, title it, add an agenda, and share it with attendees of this meeting. The next time this meeting occurs, open the Hive Note & use this for meeting decisions, and action items.

Step 4: Get your supporting apps ready

This is where it’s time to think about additional Hive apps your team might need to add to your account. Proofing & Approvals, Resourcing, Timesheets, and Time-tracking are the most commonly used apps among creative teams in Hive. To figure out what your team needs, ask yourself the following questions:

a) Does your team have creative review cycles?

If yes, turn on Proofing & Approvals in Hive Apps.

  • For internal reviewers, you will be able to route creative work to them as long as they are members of the project.
  • For external reviewers (like clients, vendors, partners and others outside of your organization who do not have a Hive license) you will use External Proofing, and you will send them the file using their email address only.

b) Does your team need assistance in Resourcing capacity, keeping track of time or timesheet reporting?

If yes, turn on Resourcing, Timesheets, or Time-tracking so you are ready. Follow the Workflow Guides for these use cases here:

Step 5: Start putting your work into Hive

There’s no time like the present! Let’s get your work into Hive. Ask yourself: Where are your projects and to-dos right now? Will you have to transfer work from other digital locations, or are you starting totally from scratch? Follow the process below that best fits your needs — and again, you don’t have to choose just one!

a) You’re starting in Hive with a blank slate, not importing from another tool or copying a list of tasks from anywhere!

Now that you have your projects created, create the action cards with each of the deliverables that your team currently has to do in these projects. Even better, ask another member of the team to assist.

b) You’re importing from another tool

Hive can ingest project data from other tools when it’s exported in common formats, like CSV and JSON and we have built importers for tools like Basecamp, Trello, Asana and Smartsheet. Follow the import guide here to gather the project work from other tools and import it into Hive.

c) You have a list of tasks in Excel or other spreadsheet

If you have a list of tasks in a spreadsheet, or word doc, just copy & paste to put them into Hive.

Step 6: Rally your troops

Now is a good time to add your team members to the Hive workspace and assign them to their tasks. You can invite them & add them to the relevant projects all at once:

Step 7: It’s go time 🚀

Here is your final checklist to launch now that you have your Projects, Actions, Intake method & supporting Hive Apps (Mail, Notes, Forms) ready to go.

Final Checklist:

  1. Pick your Hive Launch Day & schedule a team meeting for this day
  2. Host a Hive Launch Day introduction meeting for your team, sharing your screen and showing them how the new creative workflow will happen in Hive
  3. Celebrate – you’re launched!