The marketing approval process and how to make it faster

The marketing approval process and how to make it faster

Marketing approval can be tricky, to put it lightly. Numerous stakeholders. Conflicting opinions. Round after round of feedback. The time from v1 to sign off can feel never-ending, with important deadlines getting missed through no fault of your own.

But with an effective marketing approval process in place – and the right marketing approval software to help you along the way – things become a whole lot easier. Not to mention faster. 

In this guide I’ll walk you through the four-step marketing approval process and share nine tips to speed up the entire process. Those pain points will soon be a thing of the past.

Manage every approval in one place

Request approval without sending a single email with Filestage.

What is an approval process?

An approval process is a structured approach to getting your marketing content signed off by multiple stakeholders. Whether you’re working on a social media video, a print ad, a blog post, or an influencer campaign, an organized approach streamlines, simplifies, and speeds up the process. 

The approval process usually looks like this:

  1. You submit the first draft of your content
  2. Reviewers give their feedback and either request changes or approve the file
  3. You make any requested changes and submit an updated version
  4. This process repeats until all stakeholders have given their sign-off 

The four-step marketing approval process

Let’s take a look at those four steps in more detail:

1. Share your work with reviewers

The first step of the marketing approval process is to share the first draft with the review team. You can share your marketing content via email, or you can use a specific review and approval platform like Filestage to make the process more efficient.

three review steps

2. Collect feedback and discuss ideas of improvements

In this step, you’ll collect feedback from the review team. Some stakeholders may request changes, while others may give their approval there and then.

Dashboard with multiple review steps

3. Create and share a new version

Once you’ve received everyone’s feedback and clarified any questions or conflicts, you and your team can implement the changes. Once that’s done, share the updated version with the review team.

Design file

4. Repeat until you get approval from everyone

Repeat steps two and three until you’ve got approval from every stakeholder. Once everyone’s given the green light, you’re ready to publish, launch, and share your marketing content!

All content approved

Nine tips to speed up your marketing approval process

Now that you know the steps, let’s take a look at how you can speed up the content approval process to make sure you never miss a deadline again. 

1. Define all your reviewers before you get started

It’s an age-old tale. You’ve almost got there with approval and then BAM. In comes a last-minute stakeholder wanting to give their two cents’ worth, disrupting the process and setting you back when you were so close. 

Different projects will require different stakeholders to be involved in the content review process, so make sure you know exactly who needs to review your content before you get started. 

2. Give reviewers a transparent way to share feedback

When you collect feedback via email, there will inevitably be multiple email chains, crossed wires, and conflicting recommendations. And it can become a complete nightmare to manage. 

Using an online feedback tool like Filestage helps you to keep everyone on the same page and avoid miscommunication, conflicts, or crossover feedback. Reviewers can leave comments and annotations for others to see in real time. They can discuss feedback there and then, resolving any conflicts themselves so that you know exactly what amends need to be made.

3. But set up separate feedback streams for different types of reviewers

I’m a big advocate for collaboration, trust me, but there are times when it pays to keep certain stakeholders separate. Your creative and compliance teams, for instance, have different goals, which can lead to unnecessary disputes. The same applies for internal and external teams.  

With Filestage, you can minimize noise between reviewers with different goals by setting up separate feedback streams and review steps. That way, different teams can have private conversations, and you can manage their feedback in the most effective (and least confrontational) way possible.

4. Set due dates so people know when you expect feedback

There’s little more frustrating than having to waste your precious time chasing people for feedback. You’ve got much better things to be getting on with, after all.

Setting a clear deadline for every review step helps reviewers to prioritize and keep your projects moving forward. With Filestage, you can add due dates to your files, and reviewers who still need to take a look will be sent an automatic reminder. Chasing and pestering is a thing of the past.

Set due date

5. Take advantage of annotations and timecodes to make feedback clearer

If you’re creating visual content – be that static or video – it can be hard for reviewers to explain exactly what they want to say in an email, or even with words at all. Screenshots, Long-winded descriptions. Misunderstandings. It shouldn’t be that hard!

Enter Filestage. 

With Filestage, reviewers can use annotation tools to highlight, strike through, add shapes and emojis, and even draw freehand directly on top of your content. And for video content, reviewers can click and comment, and their feedback will be attached to that timecode. Just click on their comment and you’ll jump to that frame in the video. Simple.

Manage every approval in one place

Request approval without sending a single email with Filestage.

6. Tick off comments as you work on the next version

With multiple amends at every stage of the process, it can be challenging to keep track of what you’ve already actioned and what still needs doing. The last thing you want is a setback because you’ve missed an important amendment. 

Create a to-do list (in Filestage, the comment sidebar doubles up as one) and tick each amendment off as you go along so that you can be confident that you’ve addressed everyone’s feedback.

7. Take advantage of automated version control

When you’re creating multiple versions of the same file, it can get confusing. Not only for you, but for your review team too. One missed email and chaos descends.

With automated version control – one of Filestage’s features – all your versions are neatly stacked together, so everyone in your team and review process knows which version is the latest. 

No confusion. No chaos.

8. Give reviewers an easy way to compare versions

It’s rarely going to be smooth sailing when there are lots of stakeholders involved. There’s always one who’s convinced their feedback hasn’t been actioned. Or worse, they contradict themselves and forget that they ever said otherwise.

With Filestage, your reviewers can compare two versions side by side and check their feedback has been met. And you can go back and point out comments on older versions too. That means easier conversations and faster approval.

Compare versions_ poster

9. Get one-click approval with timestamps

You might find towards the end of the approval process that stakeholders start to go quiet. Feedback given. Job done. Once the hardest part is over with, they can forget how important it is to give their final sign-off. 

In Filestage, once your reviewers are happy with the content, all they have to do is hit “Approve”. And if they forget, Filestage will send them a reminder. You’ll get a notification confirming they’ve given the green light, which means you can publish work with confidence instead of chasing people to double check that they’re happy.

Final thoughts

I hope you’ve enjoyed learning about the marketing approval process and how to make it faster. 
If you’d like to see for yourself how Filestage could help with your content approval workflow, you can start a free trial here →