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If you’re struggling with delayed production timelines and far too many edits to your content, this post is for you.
This article will discuss the need for a content approval process and why you should create one for your organization. But before that, let’s discuss what a content approval process is.
It refers to a detailed approval process that helps companies maintain their brand identity, ensure accuracy and consistency in their messaging, and protect their reputation. It includes internal reviews from internal stakeholders to:
This process helps you establish topical authority in your domain by publishing high-quality content consistently. Also, when you implement it, external stakeholders like co-marketing partners can sign off on the materials—leaving no room for error.
Let’s look at why you need such a process and how you can set up a customized workflow for your organization.
Too often, companies have too many stakeholders involved in the review process, turning into a nightmarish situation for everyone involved. Due to such long, drawn-out processes, companies sometimes don’t publish what they’ve worked on for months simply because they ran out of time.
There are several other consequences of a poor content approval process:
While the consequences are dire, you can fix them by creating an approval process that works for you. Here are a few benefits of implementing one:
When you approve content at various stages of development, you can catch and correct inconsistencies and inaccuracies before they reach customers. This helps maintain the integrity of a company’s message and image while protecting against possible legal issues associated with inaccurate information.
Plus, taking proactive steps to prevent mistakes can help save time from reworking poor-quality pieces of content later.
Aligning brand messaging and strategy is a massive challenge for companies. It’s the one thing that sets them apart—but it’s often forgotten.
Dennis Shirshikov, Head of Growth at Awning, agrees. He says, “One of the biggest challenges I face when getting content pieces approved by my team is ensuring that the messaging aligns with our overall brand strategy. It can also be difficult to get everyone on the same page when it comes to tone and voice.”
Including a tight approval filter for each content asset and running it through a messaging and style guide ensures everybody is on the same page. And you deliver content with a consistent tone across different channels.
In addition to information depth, ensure that your content is optimized correctly for search engines. It can help to improve your website’s ranking in search results and can also help to increase traffic to your site.
There’s no point expecting conversions if you don’t do this. You need the traffic to convert, which can only happen if you optimize the page.
The optimization process should consider UX too. This means no pesky pop-ups before the reader has a chance to even peek at the content.
Quality control is a core goal of creating a content approval workflow—and the SME acts as a hard stop in this process.
According to James De Roche, Managing Partner at Lead Comet, the truth is in the details. He adds, “99% of the content on the internet is generic. You need to stand out. SMEs are critical to providing real, actionable insights. With AI-generated content, the need for SME feedback will be crucial to the success of any content strategy.”
Depending on the type of content, the process typically involves review by multiple individuals:
Doing so reduces the risk of an organization retracting or apologizing for inaccurate information later. Plus, it ensures you’ve covered all angles before making the piece live.
When we put out a call for pitches, we received 20+ responses from marketing leaders, content marketing agency owners, and freelance consultants. Do you know everybody’s secret ingredient for a solid approval process? The content brief.
Remember this silver bullet in your arsenal to make your review process as tight as possible.
It serves as a reference guide and a living document for the entire approval process. Also, it gives you a concise overview of what to cover—keeping stakeholders focused on the things that matter.
Ken Marshall, Chief Growth Officer at RevenueZen, says, “Often, too much time is spent reviewing or debating small things (like oxford commas) that don’t actually impact the effectiveness of the article.”
The best way to tighten the production timeline is to get stakeholder input early. It allows more flexibility in structuring the brief, leading to a clear-cut writing process. Plus, when they approve the brief before any work is done, you also set more explicit expectations for the writers.
Here’s an inside look into the brief template we use at Content Camel:
Grab the template here ➡️ Content Brief
A well-written content brief improves efficiency and helps you produce high-quality work faster. You know what’s expected from start to finish—ensuring your review process goes as smoothly as possible.
When setting up a review process for the content publishing workflow, think about the essential steps and who needs to own the process. Document this on your content calendar too. Here’s what the usual production process looks like:
Based on this, you need to determine how each role fits into the overall workflow and who will have final authority on any changes or edits. Typically, a production team consists of content creators, content managers, editors, and subject matter experts.
Content creators like strategists, writers, and designers are typically responsible for the following:
Content managers act as project managers**. **They’re responsible for defining quality standards, overseeing the design and editorial decisions, assigning tasks to team members, and tracking progress throughout the development cycle.
Content editors are responsible for reviewing all submitted materials for accuracy, grammatical consistency, style guidelines adherence, quality assurance checks, etc., before approving them.
Subject matter experts are usually responsible for final approvals on high-stakes projects where their experience will provide additional value to the end product.
Once you know who is responsible for which process, set up service level agreements (SLAs). Jenna Thomas, Senior Content Marketing Manager, says, “Establish SLAs for each step of your content production process, including ideation, SEO research, brief/outline creation, writing, revision, and publishing. Estimate how long it takes to complete each step under normal circumstances—and then add a day of cushion to each step of the process. These SLAs show stakeholders how much goes into the content creation process, and they keep content creators accountable.”
As a content manager, there are several things you have to do after production, like distribution and monitoring performance. In that case, add these as part of your workflow for a clearer picture.
Next, atomize the process. Creating content review checklists for each part of the process is an excellent way to achieve that. As a writer, I have a checklist for the content editing and submission processes, even if a client doesn’t provide one. It helps create high quality consistently because the workload might get to you.
Here’s what my writing checklist looks like—feel free to borrow and tweak them for your use:
You can set up a simple checklist for each part of the process and templatize them using tools like ClickUp, Monday, Trello, etc. Then, you must assign individuals to each part of the process and activate production. You can even automate certain parts of the process, like creating Google Docs for submission, creating new task cards every time you create a brief document, etc.
Samantha Walls, Inbound Marketing Manager at InTouch Marketing, recommends doing the same. Her content team uses a 6-step content workflow to streamline the production. “It helps the team know where each content piece is in the process and automated workflows established to notify key personnel when a content piece requires their input or approval. Each team member owns their respective niche in the process and is fully aware of the overall impact they have on the entire workflow,” says Walls.
Review the timelines within your project management tool and keep refining the workflow to ensure it’s as tight as possible.
If you find yourself constantly frustrated with the state of your organization’s content, it’s time for a change. Create a content approval process and streamline the entire production process. It helps you achieve the following:
If you’re looking for a tool to manage your content in one place, start a free trial of Content Camel today.
Organize. Share. Track. Enable sales with your best content.
Content Camel is a sales enablement tool used for sales content management. High-growth sales teams use our system to quickly find and share the right content for each specific sales situation and measure content use and effectiveness.