B2B Articles - March 15, 2023
By Jenny Goldade, Content Specialist
Even if B2Bs have skilled writers, they can’t develop high-quality, relevant content without established agile review processes. B2B marketers and their agency partner (if applicable) need to align on project goals and review process protocol.
Implementing a thorough but agile review process can help B2B marketing teams create their best work faster without sacrificing quality. AgileSherpa’s 5th Annual State of Agile Marketing Report found that 43% of marketers use agile marketing, and 51% of marketers who don’t use it plan to in the future.1
An agile work approach, also known as Scrum project management, allows B2Bs to
B2Bs can use an agile approach to set up fruitful review processes while still being agile and quick.
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Everyone must be on the same page before beginning the project to create fewer bottlenecks. Cross-team alignment means less time is spent fixing mistakes and rewriting content, and more time is focused on polishing the piece, which is what review processes should accomplish.
Before starting a new project, the teams involved should all have clear answers to these questions:
Is there a timeline for completing the project?
What is the goal? (Lead generation? Thought leadership? etc.)
Who is the target audience, and what are their pain points?
What are the distribution channels? (Social media, email, etc.)
What is the content format? (Blog post, e-book, infographic, etc.)
Once everyone is aligned around this information, all teams can take steps to make the review process more agile:
How can the project be broken into smaller tasks? Instead of viewing the content piece as one task to be completed in one go, break up tasks into smaller steps like outlining, drafting, and reviewing.
Is there any existing content to repurpose? For large enterprises that need approval by key stakeholders or executives, using pre-approved content saves time and maximizes resources.
What existing resources can we use to save time on research? Take stock of saved research reports, statistics, and other valuable information on the subject.
Are there team members knowledgeable on the subject who can contribute? Interviewing subject matter experts (SMEs) saves time on in-depth research.
Are there previously approved content templates to use? A pre-approved content structure gives the team more time to review the copy.
Ironpaper’s Scott Dame, Content Specialist, said an intelligent strategy is vital to maximizing efficiency in the drafting process.
“I like to align the client and the internal team on the thesis of the content, then determine what information you already have and will need. Next, you plan for whatever interviews or research will be necessary. Once you have all your data, you can create an effective outline before the draft phase.”
-Scott Dame, Content Specialist
Outlines, ensure the piece follows the discussed goals and objectives. Plus, it’s easier to tweak an outline than rewrite a completed draft that missed the mark. In-depth outlines reviewed and approved by stakeholders also speed up the writing process since the writer has concrete notes and research to reference in one place. According to Ascend2, 41% of marketers said a top benefit of agile is completing tasks faster, and 36% said higher-quality work is another top benefit.2
There are many ways to format outlines, whether structured by section or rough bullet points of notes. The writer can choose whatever format they prefer, as long as it doesn’t compromise the project quality and agility.
It’s also wise to add a header to the document with project goals and other useful information to keep everyone aligned, including
Dame summed up why outline review and approval is so important in an agile content creation process, especially in the case of longer-form content.
“This communication improves client buy-in and helps avoid arduous and time-consuming rewrites.”
-Scott Dame, Content Specialist
Many groups may want to provide input on a piece, but having each member of the team review would bog down the review process and likely create duplicative notes. Instead, select people as representative reviewers for groups rather than having everyone in the group review the content. Having only one representative from each stakeholder group work together as the second set of eyes saves time and can actually increase the amount of collaboration on content; according to Digital.ai, 69% of respondents said agile increases their organization’s collaboration.3
B2Bs can assess whether individual pieces need more eyes and designate different reviewers if the go-to people are unavailable or another person is more familiar with the subject. For B2Bs that partner with a marketing agency, designate one main point of contact (POC) for consistency. The POC can relay important information to the rest of the team.
B2Bs should also designate individuals to conduct certain types of reviews. Assigning reviews to specific people eliminates the wrangling that content writers sometimes need to do. It also ensures all the different bases are covered. Instead of everyone focusing on the same type of review, someone qualified will check each aspect of the piece.
For example, these are a few review types and who best suits them:
Ironpaper’s Ava Champion, Content Specialist, said she finds value in having a fellow content specialist proofread her work before submitting it to the account director for copy editing.
“[Peer review] helps provide an outside perspective, especially if they’re not on the account, and highlights areas I might need to elaborate on or clarify.”
-Ava Champion, Content Specialist
B2Bs should develop a file organization process and stick with it. This strategy applies to where they store files, how they format and describe the project’s goals, and how they keep track of edits and suggestions.
When a consistent file organization system is in place, the review process goes faster with less opportunity for confusion. Reviewers know where to find the document, what it is about, what type of review they’re conducting, and how they should record edits and suggestions.
An organized process also helps eliminate mistakes like sending the wrong file for review. Accidentally sending stakeholders or executives an outdated version or a file with placeholder text that wasn’t changed can create extra work or credibility issues.
Champion said she prefers to receive feedback as comments because her eyes follow it better than suggestions in a document.
“Since it is easy to lose original comments when changes are implemented, I find it helpful to create a copy of the document and title it with the version number. For example: Blog Post for ABC Technology | V2.”
-Ava Champion, Content Specialist
B2B marketers must be on the same page about project objectives before creating content. They should also get feedback on outlines before drafts to save everyone time. Specific people should do different reviews, and there should be a consistent process for making edits. By following these steps to balance thoroughness and agility in the review process, B2Bs can create high-quality content that helps generate and nurture leads.
Ironpaper surveyed 180 B2B leaders about marketing decisions. Download the report here.
1AgileSherpas, 5th Annual State of Agile Marketing Report, 2022.
2Ascend2, The Impact of Agile Marketing, April 2022.
3Digital.ai, 16th Annual State of Agile Report, 2022.
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