Simply put, this is the procedure you need to implement to get accurate and high quality information on your website, news feed, and blog on a regular schedule.
Even something simple like a blog requires a small amount of forward planning. What subjects are you going to write about? If you need an expert to provide input, then you need to make sure you ask the right people to contribute and give enough time for reviews and approvals.
If you are writing about a technical subject, you will need to review the text to make it easier to read as an online article. The original contributors may not be marketers or copywriters, so you need to ensure that the audience for whom the article is for will be able to follow and understand it.
Write lists and timetable your tasks. This includes the time required for reviews, amendments, and approvals. I use a spreadsheet with the titles and status of each article that I plan to write, and any notes for improvement, or whether I need images. When I am working for a larger company, I forward all my content for review to ensure that when it goes live, I know that the information is correct can clear.
Who Does What?
It’s a good idea to define roles within your organisation. For example, the marketing department may have a corporate plan and direction for specific products and services, therefore articles around these should be prioritised. If there is an event coming up, then you need to get the content out there as soon as possible before the date of the event – otherwise, how will anyone know about it!
To start with, you need to review the marketing strategy in line with your website structure and brand image. Then you need to designate who will provide the text and images for each article. You can have a single writer (or team) who create the copy and gather information from other sources; or you can ask different departments to provide their own content, and then have the copywriters review and amend it for web publishing.
You will also need a designated person or team who do a final check and review of the articles before they go live and are visible to the public.
It is also beneficial to have regular meetings, such as a weekly catch-up meeting for those writing content, and a monthly review including the approvals personnel, and allow for recommendations and brainstorming at these sessions.
Whether or not you have a dedicated copywriting team, you must set rules to ensure that the articles written comply with the business brand. You must decide on the tone of the written text, and writing guidelines to ensure consistency of terminology, and formatting guidelines such as whether to capitalise all words in headings, or just the first? What image sizes should be used as content images, header images, featured images?
If you are getting different people across the business to write articles, then you will need to document all of the rules and ensure that they are shared to all of the contributors. And you will need to review all written articles to ensure the rules have been followed. Even holding regular workshops and one to one training can be useful to aid content authors.
In addition to the practical and structural element of writing copy for the web, you also need to make sure that the subject matter is engaging, and easy to follow. High quality content is not about just getting the facts right, but also keeping the reader interested throughout the whole article. (I hope my readers are still with me at this point!)
Remember to also leave enough time to include amendments and corrections before you publish!
Content Approval – Governance
As mentioned earlier, content needs to be checked and approved. There are the consistency checks as per the section above, but also the relevance of the articles to the overall corporate strategy.
A selected high-level person or team should oversee the governance of the website as a whole. Not just blog and news posts, but all the products and services information. Is it all correct and up to date? Are the news articles correct? Have the correct references, links, and named individuals for quotes, been included?
A simple checklist can aid sign-off for web content, along with a tracker spreadsheet containing a description of the website content, status, and comments.
Publication and Scheduling
It is best to publish content, particularly news and blogs, on a regular schedule. Using WordPress, and many other web content management systems, you can create many posts at once, and then schedule a day and time for them to go live. There is also a feature to submit posts for review within WordPress, which will notify the next level of approval.
For the main website information, schedule a monthly or quarterly review to refresh the information about your products and services. You may wish to refresh graphics and update branding colours or logos over time.