You have made an excellent plan to increase brand awareness, improve website conversions and grow social media engagement for your company. But you couldn’t make any of it happen because the content was not published as scheduled.

Are all your content marketing efforts going in vain?

When you look deep into why the content production was lagging, you’ll be surprised to know that the content creator does not always cause the delay.

Content approval is a part of the content creation process where stakeholders (brand manager, content manager, leadership, designer, etc.) review the content and provide feedback for improvement to ensure that the content is of high quality before it gets published.

Before any content gets posted, if it has to go through a whole bunch of people and get their approval, content production will move at snail’s pace.

However, an efficient content approval process can avoid such a situation. It can

✅ Speed up the content production and publishing cycle

✅ Remove friction and avoid delays between teams and stakeholders regarding goals for the content

✅ Publish content on schedule, ensuring timeline adherence of content calendar, campaigns and promotional activities

✅ Teams can work more efficiently and effectively, saving time and resources in the long run.

In this blog post, you can familiarize yourself with setting up a robust and flexible content approval process and best practices.

How to create a content approval process?

Creating a content approval process ensures high-quality, accurate and appropriate content. This section will walk you through the key steps to set up one.

1. Define roles and responsibilities

Clearly define the roles and responsibilities of all stakeholders involved in the content approval process, including content creators, editors, designers, brand managers, and leadership. This will ensure that everyone knows their role and what is expected of them and will help to prevent confusion and delays.

2. Establish approval/publishing criteria

Establish clear criteria for what constitutes high-quality content and what should be published. This can include guidelines for tone, style, accuracy, and readability, as well as specific requirements for different types of content (e.g., blog posts, social media updates, etc.)

3. Define steps for drafting, editing, and final review

Establish a clear workflow for creating, editing, and reviewing content, including who is responsible for each step. This can include steps for drafting, editing, and final content review, as well as guidelines for handling feedback and revisions.

4. Automate using tools like DAM and project management

To automate and streamline the content approval process, utilize digital asset management (DAM) and project management tools. This can include tools for version control, commenting on asset versions, task management, and tools for tracking progress and measuring the success of the content.

5. Train new users

Provide training and resources to new users to ensure they understand the content approval process and how to use the tools and systems involved. This can include training on using specific tools and best practices for creating and reviewing content.

6. Periodical process review and improvement

Regularly review and assess the content approval process to identify areas for improvement and make changes as needed. This can include monitoring metrics such as content quality, turnaround time, and engagement, as well as gathering feedback from stakeholders and adjusting the process accordingly.

Here is a sample content approval process for a blog post.

Steps involved in a content approval process
The broad steps involved in a content approval process.

1. Content creation: The content team creates new content using tools like Google Docs or Notion based on content creation guidelines.

2. Initial review: The content is reviewed by an editor or manager for grammatical correctness, technical accuracy, and overall adherence to brand writing voice and tone.

3. Feedback and revisions: The content team makes revisions based on feedback and resubmits the content for review.

4. Additional approvals: For sensitive content, it is reviewed by legal to ensure it complies with relevant laws and regulations. If the blog post is on a technical or subject-heavy topic, it is reviewed by a subject matter expert to ensure accuracy and completeness.

5. Sign-off: The final version of the content is electronically signed off by the appropriate parties.

6. Publication: The approved content is published on the website's blog section as per publishing guidelines.

7. Tracking and reporting: The performance and engagement of the content are tracked and reported to measure the effectiveness of the content.

Bottlenecks that slow down the content approval process

Did you try a new route and get stuck in the heavy congestion? Knowing a way out of it would be a relief, like an alternative route.

Similarly, roadblocks are common as you attempt to create a content approval process. Here is a heads-up about the most common bottlenecks in the content approval process.

Bottlenecks in content approval process - ImageKit blog

👎Lack of a well-defined content workflow

This can lead to confusion and inconsistencies in the content approval process, as different team members may have different understandings of how the process should work. This can lead to delays, errors, and inconsistencies in the content.

For example, if a brand manager is unaware that they need to provide feedback on a piece of content before it goes to the next step in the process, it can cause delays and errors in the content. Worse, the approval could take longer if they are not tagged or intimated that their feedback is awaited on the doc.

👎Broken lines of communication between team members

If team members are not communicating effectively, it can lead to confusion, delays, and errors in the content approval process. For example, if a team member is unaware of a change that has been made to a piece of content, they may end up reviewing an outdated version.

If a content creator is unaware of a change that a brand manager has made to the content piece, for example, a slightly different logo color, the creator may end up working on a redundant version leading to inefficient use of time and resources.

👎Too many review dependencies

If the content approval process requires too many people to review and approve content, it can slow down the process and lead to delays. It is ideal to have as few approvers as possible to avoid delays.

For example, if a content piece must be reviewed and approved by the brand manager, legal team, and content manager before it can be published, it can slow down the process and lead to delays.

👎Excessive dependency on an individual for review

The other way around to completely depend on a single person for reviews is also not recommended.

If one team member is responsible for reviewing and approving all content, it can lead to delays and errors if that person is unavailable. Additionally, having one person do all the reviews can lead to a lack of diversity in opinions and perspectives.

👎Inadequate automation

If the process is not automated, it can lead to delays and errors, as team members will have to handle the process manually.

For example, if a team of marketers is manually tracking feedback and revisions for their content creation and approval process on a shared google drive folder and email, it can lead to confusion, delays, and errors like missing feedback or working on an outdated version of the content. This can cause the team to lose time and resources, which could be used for creating new and engaging campaigns.

A digital asset management (DAM) tool with can help overcome the challenges of implementing a content approval process.

Other bottlenecks can be a lack of standardization, non-adherence to brand compliance guidelines and metrics, a lack of a proper feedback loop, or even lack of employee training. These bottlenecks can impede the process and lead to delays, errors, and inconsistencies in the content.

There is no one perfect set of guidelines that work for every content type. Not having content guidelines for each type (blog post, social media, landing page, etc.) can lead to a lot of back and forth.

Fortunately, there are several best practices that can help overcome these bottlenecks.

Best practices for streamlining the content approval process

Just like a well-oiled machine, a streamlined content approval process can make all the difference to your content marketing efforts. By implementing best practices, you can ensure that your content production runs smoothly and effectively.

Best practices for streamlining the content approval process - ImageKit blog

👉 Automate rule-based workflows

One of the best ways to streamline the content approval process is to automate rule-based workflows. This can include software or tools that automatically route content through the approval process based on pre-determined rules and criteria.

For example, a company might use DAM software, which automatically sends new blog posts to the content editor for review and approval before publication. This eliminates the need for manual tracking and approvals, saving time and reducing the risk of errors.

Related reading: From 3 days to 3 minutes - How Noon optimized its image workflows and turnaround time

👉 Use marketing collaboration and project management tools

Another effective strategy for streamlining the content approval process is to use marketing collaboration and project management tools. These tools can improve communication and collaboration between team members, as well as provide a clear view of the progress of each piece of content.

For example, a cloud-based DAM with a media library will make it easy for all users to access, retrieve, and use brand assets without exerting too much dependency on each other.

👉 Limit the number of approvers

To avoid delays and confusion, limiting the number of people who need to review and approve each piece of content is important. This can be accomplished by clearly defining roles and responsibilities and having a clear workflow that outlines who is responsible for what.

For example, a company might have a content editor who reviews all blog posts and articles and a separate manager who reviews all social media posts. This helps to ensure that the approval process is efficient and that content is not bogged down in too many reviews.

👉 Plan time for review and approval

Another important best practice is to plan time for review and approval. This can include setting aside specific days or times of the week when content will be reviewed and approved or having a calendar that clearly outlines when each piece of content is due.

A company can have a policy that the content editor must review and approve all blog posts before they are published on Monday mornings. This helps to ensure that content is reviewed and approved on time and that there are no delays in getting content live.

👉 Establish an approval protocol for emergency changes

Sometimes, it's necessary to make content changes outside the regular approval process. To ensure that these changes are handled quickly and efficiently, it's important to establish an approval protocol for emergency changes. This can include having a designated team member responsible for handling urgent changes or having a clear process in place for how and when changes can be made.

A case of emergency can be an unexpected press release that has to be published the next morning. In such scenarios, once there is a go-ahead from the CEO to prioritize it, the reviewer or editor can do it at once.

👉 Set alerts delated approvals from stakeholders

Finally, it's important to set alerts for delayed approvals from stakeholders. This can include email notifications or project management tools to remind stakeholders when they need to approve the content or having a system for escalating approvals if they are not received on time.

For example, a company might have a system where an email reminder is sent to stakeholders 24 hours before the content is scheduled to go live. The approval can be escalated to the next management level if no response is received.

Tips for automating the content approval process

Workflow automation has improved jobs for 90% of knowledge workers and productivity for 66% of them.

It can help save time and resources in the long run.

Boost your content production with the best workflow automation tool, ImageKit - a cloud-based Digital Asset Management (DAM). It lets you:

🎯Assign different access levels to team members to ensure that only authorized individuals can access, upload, and approve content.

🎯Share images quickly using SEO-friendly URLs

🎯Use AI-based auto-tagging to organize assets and improve searchability. This makes it easier for team members to find the assets they need for a specific project.

🎯Automate asset editing and QC workflow to quicken the approval process.

🎯Use the version control feature in your DAM system to track changes to a document and revert to previous versions if necessary. The feature also allows users to comment on each version to provide context for the changes.

🎯Use performance monitoring feature to track asset inventory and identify assets that need optimizations to keep bandwidth consumption low.

Moreover, Imagekit also supports integrations with other collaboration tools to create a streamlined and efficient content approval process that saves time, increases productivity, and ensures that all content is accurate and high-quality.

Signing off

Setting up a content approval process is not so difficult. The key is to make it robust and flexible to publish high-quality and relevant content on time.

Get started with the content approval process by clearly defining roles and responsibilities, establishing approval/publishing criteria, and creating a workflow. Avoid common bottlenecks like lack of a well-defined workflow, broken lines of communication, and too many review dependencies to ensure smooth and timely content production and publishing.

Above all, use a workflow automation tool like Imagekit, a cloud-based DAM, to automate tasks using features like version control, rule-based automation, workflows, notification, and many more.

Simplify your content approval process with Imagekit - Try it now!