No matter what industry your team works in, communication is key to ensuring that each piece of content has value. Communication breakdowns or errors can lead to a loss of revenue, customers, efficiency, and time. Readers, clients, and customers want to know what you have to offer and how it can help them. If that’s unclear, you have a major problem.
How do you ensure that your content or documents don’t cause miscommunication? The review team will stand as the last line of defense between the content you put out into the world and the readers who desperately need what you have to say.
Quality editor reviewers will catch the errors that even the best editors make. Communication breakdowns are not always the result of poor writing or editing. When the content isn’t aligned with its intended value, the breakdown can begin at the ideation level. Reviewers are your quality control team. You wouldn’t create a product without a quality control team, so why would you create content without one?
Is your quality control process lacking? Here are eight steps to creating a master quality control process for your editing team.
Even the simplest errors can significantly impact your brand. Like this one comma that cost a company one million dollars.
5 Steps to Assembling a Review Team
1. Pinpoint Your Most Detail-Oriented Editors
Every editor is detail-oriented to a degree. Some editors are concerned with spelling and punctuation errors, while others are concerned with voice, flow, and audience errors. The best reviewers can look at the whole picture. They can target grammar and voice errors, but they can also ensure that the content is consistent with your brand while adhering to the style guide. A piece of content may be flawless, but it may still fall short of conveying the intended message.
You’ll find that your most detail-oriented editors hand over error-free work regularly. They take feedback, implement it, and continue to get better with each piece. You’ll see their name in your inbox and know that the content will be ready for publication.
Need quality editors? Here are five tips for hiring great editors.
2. Set Expectations
Once you find the editors you want on your review team, you’ll need to set expectations. Provide them with a detailed style guide and an overview of your vision for the project, and show them your most valuable pieces of content, explaining why that content is what you want to see more of.
Also, let your reviewers know how many editors or documents they’ll be responsible for reviewing. Provide them with expected volumes and potential deadlines. The more structured your editor review team is, the easier it will be to manage the workload. It’s usually better for a reviewer to work with the same small group of editors so the quality stays the same.
Don’t be the content troll under the bridge screaming, “None shall pass!” Expectations must be reasonable and achievable. Even the best editors can find it hard to keep everything the same and of high quality, especially if they don’t have clear goals and standards.
You’ll save time and money if your reviewers aren’t playing hit or miss with what’s expected of them. To ensure nothing gets lost in translation, the dedicated team lead should constantly communicate their quality goals and standards with the client.
3. Give Them a Trial Run
There’s no better way to demonstrate your competence than doing the work. A trial run will reveal more about an editor’s ability to be a reviewer than a resume ever will. Once you’ve established expectations, a strong reviewer can run with the information you’ve provided.
You can decide whether to have them trial one piece of content or five, but after the first trial, you should have a good idea if that person will be a great reviewer. If they’re unsure about a particular element in the style guide or if they notice that a piece of content doesn’t seem to fit the brand, they’ll ask questions. They’ll make detailed comments on anything that must be adjusted or tweaked.
A strong reviewer also knows how to give excellent feedback.
4. Train Them to Give Excellent Feedback
“This is total garbage,” for example, isn’t the kind of feedback you want your reviewers to provide to your editors. Constructive feedback highlights both the positive and negative. If an editor has certain strengths, the reviewer will want to mention them and highlight those examples in the content.
In areas where the editor must improve, the reviewer should point out the problem and propose an appropriate solution. By showing them a particular example within the content and then showing them a comparison copy with the appropriate changes made, the reviewer will provide quality feedback and opportunities for the editor to grow.
Consistency is key when it comes to feedback. Reviewers must demonstrate they understand the style guide inside out and make recommendations consistent with the style guide and brand.
One way to ensure your reviewers stay consistent is by keeping them involved through ongoing collaboration.
5. Create a Culture of Collaboration
In today’s high-paced environment, getting lost in a sea of email updates, memos, calendar invites, and conference calls is easy. Creating a culture of collaboration will help keep your review team aligned. Regular meetings and training must be part of your strategy. You can host these meetings in several ways (e.g., Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Google Meet).
These meetings shouldn’t be one-sided info dumps where half the group mutes their mics and turns off their cameras. These collaborations should allow reviewers to share common errors within the content or documents, what they feel is working best for them, and where they need more support.
Town-hall style meetings will allow your reviewers to be part of the process, not just onlookers and order-takers. Often, new ideas and better processes are discovered in these collaborative environments.
Putting together an editor review team may sound like building a business from scratch, but many key pieces may already be in place. If you already have a pool of great editors to choose from, you’ll be well on your way to establishing a great team.
Setting your team up for success by clearly stating your expectations will start your review team in the right direction, and streamlining communication will help smooth any bumps in the road. Providing feedback along the way will help clear up any gaps or inconsistencies in the editorial process. Does your process seem a little off? Here are four tips for a productive editorial process.
Having your reviewers feel and act like a true team will help ensure everyone is in line with your brand and vision.
Need More Help?
If all this talk of building teams, providing feedback, and meetings seems like a lot to take on, we’ve got you. Every one of our business clients has a dedicated review team. This adds an additional layer of quality to their content and allows us to maintain that quality no matter the scale or volume of the content. After all, quality writing equals happy clients.
We can also provide a dedicated team of editors customized for your business. We assemble a team of specialist editors who adhere to your style guide. If you don’t have a style guide or if you have one that needs a major overhaul, we’ll handle that for you. Learn more about how we can help you scale your content production process by scheduling a call with our team today.