It’s time to hit the publish button, but something tells you to check the post one more time. You know you must make one more pass to ensure the quality is there, but you hesitate because you have three more articles to review by the end of the day, a meeting to lead with your team at 11:00 am, and an email to respond to from the VP of sales asking to see a draft of the post introducing your company’s brand-new product.
The content review process can be a nightmare without the right process, and quality will suffer if it’s not prioritized. Why can’t you rely solely on the content writer’s self-editing and writing skills? The National Commission on Writing discovered that companies spend $3.5 billion on remedial writing training a year, and most of that is spent on existing employees.
Quality is the make-or-break difference in the new content-driven world, especially since 87% of shoppers do online research before buying. A lack of quality can lead to a loss of revenue and irreparable damage to your company’s reputation.
9 tips for your quality review process
1. Involve Three Pairs of Eyes in the Review Process
At least one editor/proofreader, one reviewer, and a manager should review each piece of content. Three pairs of eyes make it unlikely that costly errors and embarrassing mistakes get through to the final draft. The expectations for each team member in the process should be communicated before assigning the content to be reviewed.
Depending on your team, you may need to alter the makeup of the individuals that review the content. It may make more sense for two reviewers to quality-check an editor’s work instead of the team’s manager. Adopt the strategy to fit your team and content plan.
Do you have a system in place to ensure that the quality of the content you publish is up to par? If not, here are eight steps to establish a quality control process for your editing team.
2. Review Your Inventory of Existing Content
When scaling your content process, an often-missed part of the process is reviewing your inventory of existing content. This is important when reviewing an editor’s work because duplicate content detracts from the quality. If four articles focus on the same topic or say much of the same thing, the reader will recognize the redundancy of information, and the perceived quality and value of the content will be diminished.
If your business focuses on a particular niche, it’s understandable if there’s some crossover between pieces of content. The quality review process will help determine if a piece of content is redundant and must be revised.
Keeping a running log of content in a spreadsheet or project management program will help the editor and review team pinpoint existing content by topic or title.
3. Use a Style Guide
Style guides are essential for consistent content and will enhance the work’s quality before the first word is even written. The guides act as roadmaps for writers, editors, and reviewers.
Voice and tone guidelines, rules for capitalization and comma usage, and even formatting preferences are detailed in the style guides. Reviewers should be adept at utilizing the style guide when evaluating an editor’s work.
If you don’t have a style guide or aren’t sure if yours is up to par, you can find out how to create one here.
4. Employ Reviewers With Subject-matter Expertise
Content that focuses on niche areas consistently should be reviewed by someone who has subject-matter expertise. This is important because the quality of the content will suffer if it doesn’t contain accurate information. If your business focuses on a highly technical field, it is even more important that an expert in your field reviews the facts and data contained within each article.
Reviewers must also be experts on your brand. Every word reflects the image you’re trying to build, and if the editor doesn’t catch a discrepancy in messaging, then a highly skilled reviewer versed in your branding will.
5. Adopt Checklists
A checklist is like a quality control inspection for the editor. Did they follow the style guide? Did they use the appropriate links? Was the document within the word count range? You can make the checklist as extensive as you need. If you give your team a more creative license regarding edits, your checklist may be more format focused.
Whatever you decide, make sure the checklist is precise and only contains check-off items essential to the document’s quality. The reviewer will be wasting their time if the checklist contains items that are optional or aren’t pertinent.
6. Utilize Deadlines
Usually, content writers or creators have deadlines to submit their articles, but the same should be true with editors and reviewers. When scaling content, especially in the early stages, the review and approval process is where the content creation process stalls.
Strict deadlines should be applied to every step of the review process. If a piece of content needs to be revisited by the initial editor, then a deadline should be applied for revisions.
Project management programs like Airtable are useful during the quality review process. The editor and reviewer can see where the document is in the pipeline and if revisions are needed. Most programs employ real-time feedback and notifications that are helpful tools when communicating during the process.
7. Communicate Feedback
Feedback is key to developing first-class editors. If delivered correctly, suggestions for improvement are invaluable in amplifying the quality of the piece and future work. Feedback should be specific and actionable.
Examples should always accompany suggestions for improvement. Vague criticism from a reviewer will only dishearten or anger an editor and not help improve their work’s quality.
8. Integrate Client Feedback Into the Process
Ongoing communication with your clients or customers should be a key part of your strategy. You must know what they like and don’t like, as well as their goals for the content. When reviewers go over an editor’s work, they must determine if the content aligns with the customers’ needs.
Value defines quality in content. Not only do you need error-free articles and catchy blog posts, but you also need value-focused content that customers read and then apply to solve their problems. Weekly or monthly client check-ins can help your team gather helpful insight into how they’re doing and what they need to improve. Once you know what you and your team must work on, you can integrate steps to improve your strategy.
9. Keep Quality Top of Mind
Excellence should always be the standard when reviewing an editor’s work. The question shouldn’t be, “Is this quality?” A reviewer should ask, “How can we make this piece even better?” Customers look for information to solve their problems, and if they see that your content is lacking in quality, they’ll keep scrolling regardless of how well your service or product meets their needs.
Learn more about the cost of inefficient content here.
Quality must be taken seriously. Implement deadlines, collaboration, feedback, and checklists in the quality review process. Reviewing an editor’s work goes beyond catching grammar and spelling errors, especially when a company presents itself as a subject-matter expert in their field. Unique and purposeful content that also flows well and is error-free is how you will stand out.
Adapt your quality control process as you scale your content creation process. Following these tips will allow you to take your content to a whole new level.
Need More Help?
Are you ready to stand out in the content jungle by supercharging your content’s quality? We have an airtight quality control process for all our business clients. Learn more about how we can help your business here.