Challenge 2

How do I validate my content?

Now that we have a content team, content is flowing in smoothly. Obviously, that content needs to be substantively correct in order for you to be able to showcase your thought leadership as a company. It may also be the case that certain sensitivities may impact communication.

That is why it’s best to get the green light from experts within the company before publishing content. These could include product experts who check that the content is correct, or legal experts who check that the content complies with all applicable regulations (e.g., advertising and intellectual property law). Here you can find out more about legal compliance issues that a content marketer should know about. In-house validation may involve several people prior to publication.

But do they have the time and inclination to do this task? Our experience shows that while they might be critical of what they read, they are often strongly motivated to collaborate on it. But if you want to persuade them, it is important to properly explain to your in-house expert why your company is doing content marketing, what you hope to achieve and why you need their expertise to do it. If you communicate this well, your employee generally feels recognised and honoured. So, be sure to take enough time to explain it. You can do this by setting up a call or a small meeting to explain to them what it is about and why their involvement is critical.

Once you have your expert’s cooperation, email them the content. Always give a clear deadline for receiving their feedback or approval. And do not neglect to explicitly thank the expert again for their collaboration.

In the best-case scenario, the expert respects the deadline, and you get the feedback back in time. Often, however, experts are so busy that even proofreading a text may be difficult to wedge into their busy schedule.

So, email a gentle reminder. Eventually, the expert responds and when you open the document, you see more red than blue. The expert has taken the task very much to heart and has read thoroughly.

You may be able to resolve some of the feedback yourself, but other feedback may require emailing the relevant editor. Then you will have another wait ahead of you. After the editor has done the reworks, check again with the expert that everything is okay now. After it is green-lighted, the copy will still have to be proofread for spelling errors and then translated. You will also need to have that translation proofread. You’ll have noticed that a single piece of content is going to generate quite a bit of email traffic. On top of that, there is a distinct chance of you rapidly losing track of the latest version. So, what if you want to create five content pieces a month? Your mailbox may well go into meltdown with all the different versions criss-crossing each other. So, content chaos lurks around the corner here, too.

Lastly, remember that you don’t always have to reinvent the wheel. If a content piece has worked well previously, chances are it will also do well a second time. For example, Hubspot has discovered that updating and optimising old posts can yield double the number of monthly leads (Hubspot, 2021). This is why good oversight is crucial: it gives you insight into which content is doing well, at all times.

Validating content:

  • Find out which specialists you need;
  • Encourage them to collaborate with you and allow enough time to do the work;
  • Don’t be put off when you receive lots of feedback, but equally, train your team in giving constructive feedback;
  • Thank them for their cooperation;
  • If you have a lot of content and many specialists, using purpose-built software to maintain an overview is useful.