How to Avoid Content by Committee

How to Avoid Content by Committee

It’s not uncommon for creatives to be required to solicit feedback and approvals from multiple teams before publishing content. Sometimes, this ensures quality and holds creators to a high standard. But all too often, it often leads to delays and content that doesn’t align with the original intent. Here’s how to avoid that.

What Is Content by Committee?

Content by committee is a well-intentioned collaborative process in which content is reviewed by various team members before publishing. 

For example:

  • Content managers — for branding and voice
  • Legal consultants — for compliance
  • Subject matter experts — for accuracy

If a piece fails one of these reviews, it’s kicked back to the creator for changes. Once the requested revisions are made, the whole process starts again.

In theory, this process results in great content that is on-brand, accurate, and that doesn’t cause any legal issues. The problem is that things don’t always go smoothly, and the practice doesn’t always live up to expectations.

Keeping the Positives and Ditching the Negatives

Committee approval exists for a reason. After all, no one wants to publish content for an employer or client that is inaccurate or otherwise problematic. But how do you keep all the best parts of this process while maintaining your sanity? Your goal should be to eliminate areas of friction and frustration, and you can do that by following these steps:

Keep the Committee Focused on the Key Parts of Each Piece

One of the best ways to keep everyone on the same page is to ensure that they all understand three key concepts for every piece of content: 

Frequently, people receive content to review and approve without ever knowing these goals. As a result, they often give well-meaning suggestions or corrections that end up steering things off course.

But when you make these elements clear when you deliver content to a reviewer, they can shape their feedback and corrections in light of your intentions, leading to a more cohesive piece that matches your original intent.

Write Clear Guidelines on Brand Voice

You may know your brand voice like the back of your hand, but what about your legal team? They specialize in a very different area and may not have a firm grasp on what your brand needs to sound like. But if you take the time to create a comprehensive brand guide, you can better ensure that your piece retains its voice after being reviewed and refined by multiple stakeholders.

Manage Scope and Deadlines

If you hand a piece to a reviewer with a broad “let me know what you think of this,” you can’t expect to be surprised when they hand you back a document full of red marks and notes in the margin.

Likewise, if you’re not specific with your timeframe, you may not get it back until the day before it needs to be published.

When you’re unclear with your expectations, the reviewing process can become a bit of a free-for-all. It’s important to keep everyone in scope by clarifying exactly what you want from them (and when). For example, “Please review and respond with an approval or notes on the technical instructions in paragraph three by Thursday afternoon.”

Get Help with Your Content Process

LaneMKTG is a team of experienced digital marketing experts who deliver powerful content that gets results. Schedule a consultation with us to learn more about how we can take the frustration out of your content creation process.