If you don’t establish a clear process (including due dates for your content reviews), your content manager could jet off to Ibiza before they sign off on the important file you need for your project.
Rather than twiddling your thumbs until your tanned marketing colleague returns to the office – or going ahead and publishing the content without his feedback (only realizing later that you’ve missed a glaring typo – take the plunge and permanently change the way your marketing team approaches content review processes.
Table of Contents
What Is Content Review and Approval?
A content review and approval process involves creating a fixed series of steps that a new piece of work needs to go through before it can be signed off and used to market your services to your audience. Also, it’s a formal way for your team to review this content at its draft stage, in order to ensure it’s the best it can be.
All of the content your company produces should be streamlined and seamlessly tie into your core message and branding. For you and your marketing team, establishing a content review and approval process is imperative, particularly as your team grows. Soon, no one job will be the domain of a single team member. If you will soon have numerous different people all attempting to do the same thing, it’s vital that this change in creators is not apparent in the end result.
When it comes to creating strong, on-brand content that’s free of mistakes, the content review process supports these goals by boosting your team’s communication and ensuring consistency across the content you produce.
Why Should You Care about the Content Review and Approval Process?
In order to ensure that your marketing team is operating effectively, it’s a bit of a no-brainer that you should take the time to optimize a formal content review and approval process. Below, you will find our Top 5 benefits that come with implementing this policy into your content production.
Ensure brand consistency
By having multiple team members check over your drafted work, your brand will produce consistent content, as this process ensures that you are all working toward the same standard and style.
Save your team time
By establishing these clear rules about what your content should look like and making sure you consistently adhere to these core branding principles, you will effectively reduce the time you need to create this content. Plus, this more efficient form of communication will minimize any misunderstandings amongst your team. In other words, your jobs will get done more quickly.
Enable your team to grow
It is no longer the case that one person in your team has to act as a specialist creator of one type of content. Due to the sharing of expertise, the consistency of any new created content and system of feedback that this process provides means that multiple team members are able to produce specialist types of content.
Ensure that any mistakes are spotted
We all need our work to be double-checked before it goes out to our audience. To establish a streamlined and efficient content review and approval process between you and your coworkers leaves you with the best of both worlds.
Organize all feedback
This streamlined process will also help you keep a better overview of all the reviews that this piece of content has coming in. You will ensure that no one’s feedback gets lost in the process. And with one glance, you will immediately be able to see the stage that each piece of work is at.
Keep your end goals and targets in mind
The content review process will confirm that nothing got lost in translation. By establishing a set group of your team members (who are present from the initial kickoff meeting right through to the final approval stage) to keep an eye on the progress of this content, you can work together to govern this piece of work, and ensure that the end result has stayed true to your initial goals for this particular piece of content.
Who Is Involved in the Content Review and Approval Process?
In this section, we’ve provided a bit more detail about some of the key roles involved in a strong content review and approval process. And we’ve given a few insights into the ways you can assign these positions to your team members.
This person is the owner and original creator of the new, drafted piece of content. They should be the member of your team who produced the content in the first place, as well as the individual in charge of taking in the changes recommended in the feedback element of the content review and approval process.
If you want to take your content to another level, read our Top 38 content marketing tools that change the game of content creation.
This member of your team is best suited to be the main provider of feedback for this new piece of content. This person could be a social media manager, an SEO expert, a copy editor, or even an expert from another department. Their job is to edit the content and provide the content creator with further suggestions for recommended revisions.
This role involves organizing the progression of this piece of content through the review stages. It ensures that it is correctly assigned to the right members of your team for review, that it is thoroughly being checked over, and that it prevents the work from being held up in this draft stage for an unnecessary amount of time. They will also be the team member to issue the final content approval. Ultimately, this individual should be the one to publish the content when it is ready.
Once you’ve published this new piece of content, you’re going to want to showcase it to your customers in style. With this next step in mind, take a look at our 7-step content marketing process…
What Does the Ideal Content Process (from Kickoff to Review and Approval) Look Like?
In its very essence, we’re recommending a checklist here because they are great working aids. The detail it covers involves what makes a checklist level-up into a content review and approval process, as well as the way it is shared between your team members.
It’s a process that is designed to be flexible and suit both the way your team works and the piece of content at hand. So defining the perfect content process strategy is no simple matter.
However, these five elements are key steps to take if you’re looking to optimize this process. They will enable you to consistently create solid, well-thought-out content that fits with your company style, branding, and goals.
Begin the content process as you plan to continue: as a team.
Start out with a team kickoff meeting. During this time, the content creator can outline their idea and their plan to create it, then receive any initial thoughts, feedback, and pointers from other members of your marketing team. The piece will already be stronger, as you have utilized the expertise of your team members to help the content evolve and take better shape early on.
Creating a solid briefing
Once this first meeting has taken place, the content manager and the content creator can work together to write out a strong, detailed briefing for the proposed piece of content. Our creative brief template can support you here. Also, this stage would be a good point to assign the roles required for your review process (detailed above) to the relevant team members.
Creating great content
At this point, the content creator can get to work and start creating a fantastic piece of content. This person will independently create this piece of work (give or take a bit of advice from other members of your team here and there) until they feel like it is the best they can make it. At this point, it is ready for review.
Review and feedback loop
These steps break down the review and feedback loop that your content review process will consist of.
1) First review round
The first draft of the content is shared with the content reviewers, in order for them to comment on it. Their feedback will then be returned to the content creator.
Here at Filestage, you can easily share this first draft of a file with all involved content reviewers in a separate review step. Then they can leave their feedback and discuss unclarities.
2) First revision round
The content creator can then update the content accordingly, based on this feedback.
3) Second review round
Once these changes have been made, it can be resubmitted to the content reviewers. Then the content creator can receive any additional feedback on this piece of work.
After the revision, the content creator just uploads the new version of the file to the same review step in Filestage, so the reviewers can have another look.
4) Second revision round
The content can now be updated by the creator, based on the feedback they receive.
Furthermore, review rounds may be required, should any other stakeholders be invested in this piece of content whose opinions and feedback need to be considered before the content can be approved.
With Filestage, you can create separated review steps in one project for each group of stakeholders.
Filestage is a fantastic helper for various steps and stages of the content review process, such as document review and approval. This software solution provides a communal, collaborative platform that effectively streamlines the feedback process. Thus, it increases your marketing team’s productivity and time management, while bringing more clarity and transparency to their thoughts throughout this stage.
Now that everyone’s had a good look at the content, it’s been reshaped in a way that takes into consideration all of this expertise and invaluable opinions. It just requires a final content approval from the content manager. Then if they give it the green light, it’s ready to be published.
How to Create a Solid Content Review and Approval Process
We’ve covered all of the basics around the what, the who, and the why. Now it’s time to venture into the how.
In this section, we’ll provide a thorough outline of the strategic and structural best practices for you to adapt when you’re setting up a content review process within your marketing team. These points of consideration will help you successfully implement this process into your team’s workflow.
Set objectives for content creation
Before you start creating the content, you should outline clear, well-defined content objectives. You should continue to refer back to them throughout the process, in order to ensure that the content meets these requirements.
These objectives could include anything from a SMART goal to one that focuses on increasing your customer acquisition.
For example, your objective could be for this new piece of content to increase the online traffic that reaches your website, generate more online sales, or engage more effectively with your target market. As the content goes through these review processes before it gets approved, ensure that you are tracking these indicators.
After all, specifying, focusing on, and measuring the success of a piece of content is something that should be at the forefront of your mind every step of the way.
Create content policies, content standards, and editorial guidelines
As a part of your content creation process, take the time to define your company’s unique content governance model. The guidelines that need to be put in place include clear content policies, the standards that each of these new pieces need to adhere to, and editorial guidelines for content reviewers and managers.
These policies could specify guidelines surrounding a variety of matters. For instance, you need to ensure that all content adheres to your company’s established branding, and you need to confirm that any written content sticks to your editorial style guide. (This protocol ensures consistency in matters like your spelling, grammar, and referencing.) And for web-based content, you need to attain a specific level of Search Engine Optimization.
Then once you have clearly outlined these fixed governing principles in this way, provide all members of your marketing team with access to these files.
This process will enable you to:
- Easily assign the relevant roles to your team members. (We will cover this point in more detail shortly.)
- Keep your content creation workflow consistent.
- Grow your marketing team without compromising the quality of your content.
- Consistently meet the goals that are the driving force behind this content.
This concept goes hand-in-hand with the design review process that your marketing team should be conducted on a regular basis. Don’t have one in place yet? Our trusty guide outlines why your team needs a design review, and how to go about putting one in place.
Ultimately, establishing these fixed measurements to govern the work your team produces will help you adhere to your unique company message.
Build clear and transparent processes
Clear communication will determine whether your new content review process is a success or a failure. By using the shared collaborative that Filestage provides, you will be able to achieve this level of transparency across your team far more easily.
The process you build and implement amongst your team members should clearly outline everything – from whom will be creating the content and which team members will be providing feedback about modifying the content to detailing the objectives this content is expected to meet and the deadlines each step in the creation process.
This way, your content review process will be far more clearly defined, as it will be evident to everyone involved that they have been planned in strict adherence to your company’s long-term management strategy.
In addition, this clarity will make sure there are no miscommunications when it comes to issuing feedback.
With this transparency established, the feedback that each of your team members provide for this drafted content will be far easier for the content creator to understand. Therefore, the revisions you make will be effective and stay consistent with the voice, tone, and intentions of your brand.
Define the content team (reviewers, creators, and managers)
As we mentioned earlier, an essential part of the content review process is defining your content team and correctly assigning these roles.
Correctly correlating the task at hand with the different skill sets, unique insights, and knowledge that each of your team members possess will form the crux of your whole feedback loop. This expert team will ensure that the feedback consists of relevant and well-considered suggestions, which will help the content to reach the highest standard possible.
So when you’re assigning these roles, define them based on which parties have a vested interest in this particular piece of content. In addition to members of your internal marketing team and potential members of other teams in the company who have particularly useful specialties for the task at hand, this process could also include your clients (in the case of marketing agencies). Their feedback and approval will be important to take in before the content can be published.
Also, consider the objectives you outlined at the start of this content’s creation process, and bring in the members of your team who have the most relevant skill sets, in order to help turn this endeavor into a reality.
Make all relevant information available to the team
Once you have established which team members will be involved and the contributions they will be expected to make, immediately provide them with all of the relevant information, guidelines, and documents they will require to fulfill this task.
This endeavor will include content objectives, content policies, content standards, and editorial guidelines. You can make all of these key pieces of information readily available to your whole team.
One easy and effective way to accomplish this goal is by using the shared platform you have chosen for this piece of content. Through Filestage, you can upload this content and invite your team members to view it via this online collaborative working space. From there, your team members can directly edit and comment on the file, in order to provide you with their feedback.
This process will minimize any time-wasting or miscommunication, and it will make this whole process efficient and streamlined. It will also ensure that each of your team members have invested their time in this piece of work well.
(Proven) Best Practices When Reviewing Content
In order to make sure this process is one that your marketing team will be able to incorporate into their content creation for the long term, you will need to consider what to do and what not to do.
Advise your team on how to best go about their content-reviewing with these useful tips. If you’re looking to make your content review process stick, we guarantee these tips for the best content reviewing practices will come in handy.
These operational best practices are some general pieces of practical advice, which will help you conduct this process in a way that showcases all of its fantastic benefits in full. In other words, when you look at making your new content review process permanent, your team won’t need any convincing.
Put clear due dates in place
Be firm with these deadlines. Bottlenecking is a common problem that you need to avoid at all costs. By having clear due dates for content reviewers to adhere to, you will keep the process timely and efficient.
These deadlines should apply to both the date (or time) that the content will be ready for a particular team member to look at, as well as a clear deadline for them to submit their feedback. Then you can move this piece onto the next stage of the process.
This way, nothing can get held up unnecessarily. So you will be able to effectively cut down on any bottlenecks or frustrating delays that could start cropping up in the workflow.
With Filestage, you can set due dates for every file separately.
Less is more
Keep the number of reviewers as few as possible and as many as needed. By only including the key team members in this process, there won’t be too many voices giving their opinions, which would result in the initial goals of this content getting lost in the noise.
It will also help keep this review process to find the right balance between speedy and useful. This consideration will ensure your team sticks to the process, rather than getting wound up by the unnecessary delays it would have caused to their workflow otherwise.
Provide guidance to reviewers
The content manager should provide reviewers with any key information that might be useful for them (in the form of the documentation that we detailed above), as well as any more general advice and guidance about what it would be useful for them to comment upon. For example, this guidance could include asking them to direct their energies towards modifying a particular image or paragraph in the drafted content. Or it could involve specifying whether you would like them to edit the file directly or provide their written feedback in a separate document.
This way, the reviewers will know exactly what aspects of the content they should be focusing on. So the feedback they provide will be useful, focused, and efficient.
Don’t lose sight of your initial goals
Keep the initial goals you set out to achieve with this piece of content at the forefront of your mind. Over time, it’s easy to lose sight of the ground rules you first laid out all those meetings ago.
But by making this the priority of multiple team members (whose job is to govern the content in accordance with these initial goals), you can make sure you are all consistently referring back to these overarching initial goals. They will form the crux of the feedback that the entire team provides, which makes it far easier to adhere to them as part of your mental checklist during the reviewing and approval processes.
Shape the process so that it fits in well with your team
It is a flexible system, and it should suit your team. So treat it as such. After some time has passed, get your marketing team together for a meeting in which you discuss and review your current content approval process. These tweaks could include a longer or shorter deadline for each reviewer to provide their feedback – by employing more or less content reviewers or altering the topics that need to be determined in the kickoff meeting.
Once you have discussed its strengths and weaknesses, you can consider making some tweaks to the process. Then it will become even more streamlined and useful. The way each team works is unique, so don’t be afraid to modify this process if it would be more useful to conduct it another way.
We’ve also written up a list of the pros and cons of the top review and approval tools out there, which could be just the thing you need to modify this process to best fit your marketing team.
Try to create a repeatable system
This point ties in well to the point above. But the content review process you ultimately establish across your marketing team should be repeated time and time again.
Although there may be elements of it that differ depending on the type of content, the crux of this process should be clear. It should contain an efficient, logical set of steps that your entire team is highly familiar with. Then it will quickly and seamlessly become a core part of your marketing operations.
If you’d like a few more tips on how to speed up your review and approval process, we have a blog post full of even more great advice that will help you do just that.
Best Content Review Software
So now that we’ve provided you with everything you need to get started, there’s just one thing left to do: connect your marketing team with a solid, dependable piece of content review software.
Each of these three pieces of software will significantly aid your new content review process and provide a platform your team can use to centralize these steps and implement them in an organized, efficient manner. Our comparison of their pros and cons will help you decide on the best fit for your marketing team’s operations.
Filestage is a content-proofing platform that is suitable for marketing teams of all sizes. This advanced software solution will benefit your content review process by providing an all-in-one shared place to review videos, images, and different kinds of documents. Filestage also offers different options (such as comments, annotations and attachments) for giving precise and valuable feedback.
Overall, Filestage provides an efficient platform that helps you create a consistent workflow that will improve your team’s productivity and bring more transparency and clarity to your work. It ensures that no feedback gets lost and approvals are finished in time.
ReviewStudio provides its users with a single centralized collaborative platform, where teams can provide their creative feedback directly onto file types, such as images, videos, PDFs, and HTML. While some users have found this software to be slightly confusing at first, its highly rated customer support and streamlined tracking feedback function is worth getting acquainted with.
Designed to banish to-and-fro edits via email, GoVisually helps users navigate their content review process by providing a proofing tool that is designed to speed up the whole process. Although the amount of notifications it provides can get a little pushy at times, its plus points include a user-friendly experience with an effective commenting and approval feature.
To tick off all the boxes for efficient collaboration and error-free, on-brand, quality content, your workflow needs a precise and fixed content review and approval strategy.
As your team gets bigger, meet this increased demand by continuing to utilize all the strengths and expertise your team brings to the table in a way that simultaneously produces exceptional content and cuts down on bottlenecks.