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The most important thing to understand about quality assurance for content marketing is that is not the same thing as quality control. Both are essential parts of any process where a product or service is created and need to work in tandem, but they need to be approached differently to ensure quality is what gets delivered, and this applies as much for content marketing as with any other product or service.
Here are the basics of what quality assurance and quality control are, and why they are different:
Quality assurance – This is about getting the processes in place to ensure that you are doing the right things in the right way before you start to do them.
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Anyway ... sorry for the interruption! Let's resume the rest of the article.
Quality control – This is where you do everything you can during the creative process to make sure the finished results are what you expected.
This blog post will help you to understand more about quality assurance for content marketing by pointing out the key stages and the policies and procedures that are needed.
Quality Assurance For Content Marketing Through Strategy & Planning
Quality assurance starts long before you’ve even decided what to think about creating when it comes to content marketing. Setting in place procedures for how you will come up with content strategies and calendars is essential to avoid a lot of wasted time, and the resultant drop in quality. Do you know what kind of tools you can use in the content ideation process, or are you just going to sit down and have a good think about keywords?
Do you know the essentials of who your audience is and what you are hoping to achieve with your content strategy? No matter how beautifully written or created your content is, if there’s no definable or measurable outcome from it towards achieving a set purpose, then it’s hard to say that it was a quality piece of content. Having these defined key performance indicators from the outset will drive you towards quality assurance for content marketing.
It’s also essential to make sure that your planning process is inclusive when it comes to getting approval from everyone who needs to approve it, giving them the chance to feed into what the objectives are and that the right audiences are being targeted. This process can sometimes be painstaking (and painful) but it ensures that the right content is being created for the right reasons.
Quality Assured Strategy:
- Involving key stakeholders in the planning process
- Using the right tools for content ideation stages
- Setting clear KPIs
Content Policies & Procedures
When the planning is in place, it’s now critical to make sure that the content is being created in the right way before fingers start tapping keys, which is already too late. Each brand and sub-brand needs clear and easily understandable policies for how it is represented in content that goes out to the public, and the staff involved in creating the content must understand the policies and why they must be followed.
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Anyway ... we'll continue from where we left off above.
This is even more vital if the content is being created by freelancers or agency staff, rather than done in-house, as these people cannot be expected to have the same level of brand knowledge, so must be made aware of what is expected. Brand guidelines, color palettes and style guides are all must-have items when doing the preparation to enable quality assurance for content marketing, and these must be shared with anyone taking on the responsibility of creating content on behalf of the brand.
The same goes for social media policies (which are uniquely important to keep up-to-date), as just one wrong word on a corporate social media account can be catastrophic to a brand and its attempts to present itself in a certain way through its content. Again, this is often done externally, so as well as having a social media policy, there also needs to be a policy and process for the way relationships with these agencies are handled.
Quality Assured Policies:
- Maybe you CAN have too many policies in an organization, but it’s more dangerous to have too few
- Anyone who is creating content for you must have knowledge and sight of the essential brand guidelines
- This is even more critical for anyone doing social media marketing, due to the nature of that channel
Some of this is where quality assurance for content marketing can blur a little with quality control, but again the difference is that quality assurance is about getting the right quality control procedures in place. You’ve come up with a killer content marketing strategy, your content creators have everything at their fingertips to allow them to make no disastrous errors to scupper all your hard preparatory work, but there’s still a problem. Your staff is all human, and there’s no process or procedure that can change that factor.
So you need to have a study and robust review process that ensures that all the boxes are ticked before any piece of content leaves your offices and gets in front of your customers and potential customers. This works best as a checklist and should include the following:
- Content essentials – are the spelling, grammar, titles, headers, and navigation all correct?
- Layout -what is the quality standard for the images, text size and spacing and logos?
- Digital compatibility – does it display on all browsers and devices?
As well as having this checklist, your procedures need to be about how the reviews take place, how the feedback process works and who has ultimate sign-off before the content is published.
Quality Assured Reviews:
- Have a checklist of what constitutes good quality content
- Set up a robust review process with clear sign-off points
You have planned, created and reviewed quality content, but there’s still one more stage that needs to be done right before it can achieve anything at all. The final stage of quality assurance for content marketing is the publication stage. No piece of content is truly quality if nobody reads it, and a great blog post on your website with five page views is not likely to achieve much for your business.
So you need to have in place a process that makes the publication and promotion of your content cost-effective rather than time-consuming. It needs to clearly define where the relevant audiences can be reached, which channels are the most productive, how many times each piece of content will be reposted on social media, and at what times it will have the most impact. Without all of this planning ahead, you will always struggle to develop any quality assurance for content marketing in your business.
Quality Assured Publication:
- There needs to be a strategy for how content is published and promoted
- Factors like audience location, timings, and repetition all need to be taken into account
- It needs to be an easily repeatable workflow