An image of content reviewed and approved

Do the words “prolonged agony” resonate with you as a marketer enduring the content approval process, or lack thereof?

If publishing content that involves time-sensitive topics is always just out of reach, your content approval process is probably broken—and that’s if you have one at all.

A content approval workflow charts the course of the content creation process from ideation to distribution. Content creation is a high-volume recurring task for many companies, and content approval workflows are critical for consistency and campaign deadlines. But if teams aren’t automating their content approval workflow, target dates and opportunities to promote company culture and new products are missed, as well as chances to stand out as an industry expert.

Despite popular belief, creativity doesn’t mean glorifying a lack of systems and processes. Content marketing needs flexible frameworks and automated content approval workflows to achieve the best outcomes.

The wrong way to set up content approval workflows

Many businesses that are unsuccessfully working through content approval processes encounter so many bottlenecks that their creative efforts come to a complete halt. Content marketers complain that their work is stuck on approval for weeks (or sometimes months). In turn, they miss key dates—even though they hit their targeted deadlines. So what gives?

  • Notifications and hand-offs aren't automated
  • Workflows are too rigid and don’t allow for flexibility depending on the scope of the project
  • Forms don’t consist of the adequate fields to create thorough briefs
  • Content requests are not set up for input from multiple sources
  • Content requests are set up for too many rounds of approval
  • Unclear deadlines


The Content Marketing Institute found that 58 percent of businesses don’t have a formal content workflow. But 64 percent of marketers expressed that they wanted to learn to build a better content strategy and 32 percent of organizations reported that their content workflows were in the fair-to-poor range.

Building an effective content process is possible 

Regardless of the size of your business, the basic content approval automation framework remains the same: request, create, review, publish, distribute.

Before mapping out your content approval process, make sure you spend some time thinking about all the tasks involved in the process, the people responsible for carrying the tasks out, the point at which one task transitions into the next, and when specific alerts need to be triggered.

Content request
With all content, the process starts with a request for a particular type of content. Whether the requests come from leadership, the marketing team, sales, customer services reps, people operations or subject matter experts, design the workflow to allow the requester to pitch their topic.
Once the request is raised, the editor or content strategist should review it to ensure that it’s aligned with the content strategy and that there is adequate time to fulfill the demand. After review, the request can be accepted or rejected.

SEO input
Do you have an SEO expert on your team? Pass the approved brief to your SEO specialist so they can assign the right keywords and make appropriate suggestions.

Writing
A writer is now assigned to the job. The task should include a thorough brief, keywords, references, subject matter experts to interview and a deadline.

Design
Once the writer has finished their piece, the piece should go to the graphic designer for a hero image, body graphics and social media graphics.

Review
The content should then be passed to an editor. Changes needed for design or from the writer should be sent to the designated part for revision. Afterward, the amended piece should go back to the editor for final approval.

Publishing and distribution
The approved content should be sent for publishing and distribution to the appropriate channels. This task is likely done by a social media manager or community engagement expert.

A unified team produces more effective content

Using Qntrl, your writers and editors can spend less time navigating process requirements and more time doing what they do best. Effective collaboration between managers, writers, and editors ensures that every piece of published content flows through all the necessary approval points without waiting on or skipping reviews.

All team members have access to who is working on what, so that tasks are uniformly distributed across the editorial team. Opt to inform stakeholders of progress in the content creation process through automated emails and seamlessly upgrade or modify the approval chain at any time.

With automated handovers, delays and roadblocks are a thing of the past. Since every organization has a unique content approval procedure, you’re in control of creating the process that most closely resembles your individual needs.

Take control of the content process once and for all

A content approval workflow is necessary for quality control, goal alignment, optimization, and strategy. Having the proper procedure in place allows you to catch and correct errors before distribution, clarify messaging before promotion, optimize content for publication, and ensure your content aligns with the overarching strategy.

With Qntrl, every version of every document is at your fingertips. From the first draft to the final PDF, you have complete visibility of what’s going on in the content marketing process. Customizable notifications and status reports elevate accountability within the process and minimize delays.

See for yourself with a content approval process demonstration today.

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