We’ve seen all kinds of organizations, including media giants and Fortune 500 companies, who have published content to their Web sites with gross, embarrassing typos. One recently even misspelled the name of their organization, and it went unchecked for two weeks.
Mistakes happen, of course – but when an organization upholds quantity over quality, or pushes out unreviewed material in favor of meeting a tight schedule, mistakes become commonplace and even an acceptable part of publishing online. Not only does this practice damage your message, it damages your messengers: every writer needs an editor and a review process. In fact, the review process hones your message and builds morale amongst your editorial team. A cooperative, constructive review and approval process should be core to your content strategy, ensuring quality, concision, and clarity – all crucial components at the center of a good search engine optimization strategy.
Luckily, there are many tools at your disposal. Most good content management systems (CMS) have nimble built-in review and approval modules that allow you to customize the content review process. The key is to build the approval process into your schedule and budget and get the support of management – who, unfortunately, can often be the culprits when it comes to cutting corners. If your Web team is small and working without a CMS, you can still institute a quality content control process through any of the following means:
- Training your writers and editors to use “Track Changes” in Microsoft Word, or
- Having editorial meetings once a week (or daily) with paper and red pens
- Creating a sign-off policy that creates ownership of your content and makes someone in authority responsible for the material that ends up on your Web site.
If you don’t have a good editorial review process in place, any of these approaches may be a hard sell – at first. But, a content control process is a very worthwhile investment. A lean and focused editorial team with a style guide and approval standards will produce content for your site that is focused, compelling and user-centric.
With a content development process in place, your team is also poised to respond to crises and opportunities more readily, and can branch out into other aspects of content creation, such as content marketing. Fewer typos, glitches, and keyword-crammed content all mean less panicked scrambling to fix lives errors and more time to manage your message and serve your Website users.