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How to simplify the dreaded approvals process

Content marketing is appealing to any organisation that needs to communicate with large numbers of people. It gives marketing managers and internal communications specialists the means to address target audiences in their preferred channels with material that appeals to their needs, interests and aspirations. It also can help you build conversions, but that’s not what this blog is about.

Overcoming the Hidden Barrier in large-scale Content Marketing

Content’s appeal is especially strong for marketers working in large organisations, such as global advisories, major banks or federal government departments. However, marketers in these entities face an invisible challenge that doesn’t relate to production or delivery. The trouble with content marketing in highly regulated organisations can come down to compliance obligations and the dreaded approval process.

There are two key difficulties at play here.

The first is time. One of the key appeals of content marketing is its timeliness and sense of relevance to the reader. But when each content item has to pass through 10 or 12 layers of approval – and you need to chase stakeholders at each stage – the relevance of a topical piece can dissipate very quickly.

The second is a byproduct of scale. In many businesses, each piece of content needs compliance approval in many different parts of the business – from brand to legal. Considered at scale, the prospect of managing approvals on a content marketing project that involves hundreds or thousands of content pieces becomes very unappealing indeed.

What can you do about it?

You can’t avoid the need to meet compliance obligations with content that you’re sending out into the world – particularly if it’s timely and definitely, if you’re tailoring messages for social channels. The risk that a piece of unapproved content will go very wrong is simply too great.

One way to overcome this challenge is to review the system you use to manage approvals. Content marketing platforms can help with this process in three crucial ways.

Customising approval workflows

In many instances, a content platform can allow you to customise and centralise approval workflows. The right platform could allow you to map the approval life cycle from start to finish and consolidate it in a single system, which saves the effort of establishing a new workflow for every new campaign or content item.

Tracking each stage of approval

Content marketing platforms also give marketers the ability to track content as it progresses through each approval stage – and update it according to feedback along the way, which makes version control simpler. This is a small consideration with individual pieces, but it can save much wailing and gnashing of teeth when you’re managing larger content programs.

Replacing legwork with automation

Automation can also take some of the pain out of the process. Using a platform to set deadlines and automatic notifications for each stakeholder with approval rights can save time otherwise spent chasing people down.

It goes without saying that none of these elements alleviates the pressure to meet compliance requirements within an organisation or industry. But they can make it simpler for marketers to overcome the sometimes enormous challenges and frustrations of getting your content approved before you share it with the world.