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How to Set Up a Content Review and Approval Process

Mar 15, 2021 by Nikita Verkhoshintcev

Whether you’re building your marketing team or you’re scaling your current efforts, having a process for reviewing and approving content is vital.

It might sound daunting, but if you’ve already got a marketing team in place, or even if you outsource your marketing, chances are that you’ve already got some kind of informal process for this in place.

Put simply, a content review and approval process is the steps you take between drafting your content and publishing it as part of your marketing campaign. If you’ve got a team of people collaborating on a campaign, this ensures that everyone knows what content is being produced, who’s responsible for approval, and what content is in the pipeline.

So, why is it important, and how can you set up a content review process in your business?

Why is the Content Review and Approval Process Important?

One of the most important aspects of marketing is consistency, and having a process where content is reviewed and approved before it’s published ensures that everything that’s published stays on-brand.

It’s also the best way to organise your marketing efforts. Having a review process allows your team to organise feedback, know exactly what they’re responsible for, and have a clear pipeline to follow with everything they create. With more people reviewing content before it’s published, it also ensures that any mistakes are spotted before publication.

Content Review and Approval: Step-By-Step

Step 1: Determine Your Content Goals

Before you get started thinking about what content you want to produce, you need to have clear, defined goals for what you want to achieve. This is vital in any marketing avenue, but more so when you’re looking to bring multiple products to market in a short amount of time.

Plus, if you collaborate with other partners and shareholders, you need to demonstrate that your content marketing has an end goal that will produce a positive return on investment.

To build strong, defined goals, you need to use the SMART goal framework, which stands for:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Achievable
  • Relevant
  • Time-bound

For example, you might want your content marketing to increase traffic to your website. So, your goal would look like this:

Content campaign X will aim to increase our Organic Click Through Rate by 10% (S, M, A) by the end of the next quarter (T), and we will achieve this by releasing new blog posts twice a week to coincide with new product launches in category Y (R).

Step 2: Create Policies, Standards, and Guidelines

With goals in place, you now need to define how your content will be created, what content should look like when it’s published, and your brand voice.

While you can leave style up to your content creators, it’s recommended that you set out guidelines now so that all the content your marketing team produces is consistent, relevant, and doesn’t inadvertently bring harm to your brand.

At this stage, you need to decide: - Language formality and tone - Which language (and variation, if applicable) to use - Colours, fonts, and images in use - Referencing procedures - Use of keywords for Search Engine Optimisation - Content formats and distribution channels

Having these guidelines in a team document that’s available for review will help to keep your marketing consistently on-brand, will save your team time in figuring out the best way to structure their content, and will ultimately ensure that produced content is of the highest possible quality.

Step 3: Clearly Define the Content Process

Once your editorial guidelines are defined, you need to decide how content will be created and managed in your marketing team. You’ll define the job roles and responsibilities of individuals in the next step, but for now, you need to define a pipeline that demonstrates who is involved with content at each stage of the process.

This stage will lay the foundation for how your marketing team works in the future, so you should be clear about what tools and processes they use, in addition to how long content should take at each stage.

For example, a typical content process might look like this:

  • Kickoff meeting (Everyone). Team members will share feedback from the last content plan, work to create a new content plan, and share their initial thoughts for the new project.
  • Team briefing (Everyone). Content managers put together a brief detailing the new content plan with a supplied template. Within it is detailed who will be creating each bit of content and who is responsible for reviewing it.
  • Create content (Content creators). Content creators follow the brief provided to create content.
  • Review and feed back (Content reviewers). Content creators share their work with reviewers who will comment and return the work.
  • Revise (Content creators). Content creators revise the work based on feedback from the reviewers.
  • Repeat steps 4 and 5 as appropriate (Content reviewers and creators).
  • Final approval (Content managers). Content is sent to content managers for final approval and publication.

Step 4: Define Responsibilities

The final stage is assigning the roles you laid out in your process above to your marketing team. Depending on the size of your business, your marketing team, and your goals, your content creators, reviewers, and managers can be different responsibilities in a single role, or you might choose to hire people specifically to cover one of those three responsibilities.

Either way, you need to make sure that everyone knows what their responsibilities are in each of these roles, and which roles they are expected to fulfil before they get started. To do this well, you should consider what unique skills and specialities each of your team members have, and how this applies to the content roles you set out earlier.

Once everyone understands their roles, the last thing to do is share the information you laid out above, and start your marketing campaign.

Setting Up a Content Review and Approval Process: In Summary

To set up a great content review process, you need to understand what your marketing goals are and how content will help you to achieve those goals. Next, you need to clearly define the editorial standards for your brand, as well as the content pipeline and who’s responsible for what tasks. Finally, you need to make sure that your team understands their responsibilities in this process and has all the information they need to perform their job role.

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