A thing worth doing is worth doing right -- but if you keep re-doing that thing just to get it to a certain level, then maybe the way you're doing it is wrong. Of course, high-quality marketing content is worth its weight in gold for any business trying to improve its impact on prospective customers and its reputation with the major search engines. But if you could get that content from rough first draft to gleaming final product in less time, and spend less money in the process, wouldn't you leap at the chance?
Well, the good news is that you can indeed make your content creation and revision system more efficient -- by tweaking your review process. Here are some tips:
Decide on a point person. If you have more than one person "in charge" of commissioning, evaluating and approving content, then you really have no one running the show at all. The confusion is compounded if you're trying to communicate your wishes to the writer through a third party such as a marketing agency. Pick one person to issue any and all requests for changes to the writer. If you're communicating with a marketing agency, make you're talking to the one person in that agency assigned to your account -- and make sure that person then sends the instructions to the one person who's supposed to relay them to the writer.
Remove the extra cooks from the kitchen. Designating a chief decision maker won't solve your content review woes if that decision maker is listening to conflicting opinions from too many people in your company. This not only causes a massive slowdown as dozens of responses trickle in, but it can also turn the draft into an unholy mess of redundant or conflicting requests. Instead of automatically distributing the draft to everybody you can think of, give your email list some judicious pruning first. Who really needs to read and comment on this, and who doesn't? You'd be amazed at how much faster and smoother the review process becomes when you dispose of the "review by committee" approach.
Choose a decision maker who won't waffle. I had one client who'd rave over the wonderfulness of the press releases I was sending him, only to contact me a few days later asking for changes. I could tell from the attached email trains that he'd sent the draft out to various third parties (colleagues, friends, casual acquaintances) and gotten some suggestions back, most of which were horrifically off the mark. I was able to talk him out of these "improvements" fairly easily -- but that achievement just confirmed the underlying problem, which was that he allowed himself to be swayed with every breeze. Do not assign someone with this trait as your reviewer in chief! Give the job to someone with a firm, unwavering grasp of your marketing plan, or outsource it to a marketing firm staffed with such individuals.
Streamlining your review process can be a big step forward in optimizing your marketing content machine. Hiring a copywriter with the skills and understanding to provide you with cleaner, stronger drafts in the first place is a pretty great idea too. After all, the easiest revision is the one you don't have to make!