The A-to-Z Guide to Content Quality Assurance

Content quality assurance is essential for any content marketing team’s success. And we’re not just talking about fixing typos and grammar issues here. Quality content positions your brand as an authoritative source of valuable information for your target prospects and customers. Thus, part of quality assurance is ensuring both topical and audience alignment.

It’s even more critical for teams in large corporations. All the complexities of content management seem to grow at an exponential rate.

Having a comprehensive methodology in place, as Brody Dorland points out, can provide leadership with all the tools they need to streamline their content operations and governance workflows. A key ingredient in that methodology is an efficient quality assurance process.

Document Your Process

Documenting the processes that your teams must follow to consistently produce quality content is the first step. Plug these processes into your content calendar, and your teams can see at a glance which steps they still need to take before they hit the “Publish” button.

If your content platform has functionality to build out content workflows, use it to document what steps you need to include in your quality assurance process. These steps will likely vary depending on the type of content, organizational and team structure, and production requirements.

For instance, if your corporation does business in other countries and you’re providing multi-lingual content, you’ll likely need to include a translator and native-language editor in your quality assurance process. Lost-in-translation fails can be hilarious – but not when they happen to you.

So, consider your company’s specific needs as you plan the steps your quality assurance process needs to include.

Follow These Steps for Content Quality Success

As Doug Kessler points out in a Content Marketing Institute interview, “Quality content resonates with its audience. If it doesn’t do that, it ain’t quality.” Focus your quality assurance process on providing value and incredible experiences to your audience, and your content will resonate with your target market.

Here are some steps you might consider when drawing up your company’s quality assurance process.

Start with Quality-Focused Ideation

The first step for your creative teams to follow is to filter every idea through the lens of value. Use your brainstorming sessions to stimulate your creative juices, but it’s essential to eliminate ideas and topics that don’t maximize value for your audience.

Use your buyer personas as your filter. Does the topic speak to their needs? Does the solution you propose solve one of their nagging problems? Is it information they need to make a decision? If not, revise it or toss it and move on.

Tag those ideas that meet the value test with the proper buyer persona metadata so that your teams can designate which segment to send the content to. Nothing irritates a prospect more than an inbox full of irrelevant content.

Tie It into Your Corporate Goals

When you share your company’s overall goals with your creative teams, they have a better idea about how to tailor their content to achieve them. Whether your company’s goals include expanding markets into new geographical regions or reaching new segments, your content should help your brand reach its objectives.

Include Your Key Differentiators and Focus Keywords

In your content request form, state your company’s key differentiators and focus keywords as they relate to your target market segment. It’s especially crucial to include that information if you work with outsourced creative talent. They work with a broad range of clients, so the more information you can include in your briefs, the better.

Turn It into a Story

Even if your company primarily does business with other businesses, tasking your content teams to turn every piece of content into a story will yield more fruitful results. As Nick Hague, Head of Growth at B2B International, points out, 90% of all buyers rely on their hearts more than their heads when they weigh a purchasing decision.

That goes for B2B purchases, too. When your marketing content appeals to their emotions, B2B buyers are 50% more likely to buy what you’re selling than if you’re only making a rational argument.

So, turn your content into a story with a hero (the prospect), a helpful adviser (you), and a weapon (your products and advice) that eventually slays the monster (a problem that keeps your prospect up at night). When your prospects can visualize themselves in your story, they’re more likely to read or watch it through to the end. Build suspense, and you’ll have them on the edge of their seat.

Kick Wordiness to the Curb

Coach your creatives to eliminate unnecessary words. Strings of adverbs, passive voice verbs, and lengthy phrases usually can go in the virtual trash can. Replace them with vivid verbiage that connects your readers’ hearts and minds to your message.

Follow Your Corporate Style and Compliance Guidelines

Your content is your brand’s public face. Make sure it speaks with a consistent voice and optimum quality by instructing your teams to refer to your brand style guidelines.

Similarly, incorporate your company’s content compliance and legal requirements on your content platform where creatives can access it easily. Making it easy for them to check their content against these requirements can speed up the approval process and save you legal headaches.

Put It Through a Rigorous Approval Process

In addition to your compliance and legal departments, your content needs to pay a visit to your in-house editorial team before it goes to publication. Typos, broken links, incorrect facts, logical fallacies, verbal stumbles in a video or podcast, quoting a source without citing it, and grammatical errors can diminish your brand image.

Hire and keep the best editors you can find. No matter how good your writers and presenters are, there’s nothing like an extra set of eyes and ears to ensure your content communicates world-class quality.

If your content is going out to a foreign audience, be sure to have native speakers create and check the content. If your content needs to meet the target country’s statutory requirements, use a sworn translator to check it and your company’s in-country legal team to ensure that it ticks off all the legal boxes.

Include a Content Quality Assurance Checklist on Your Briefs

At the bottom of each brief, include a brief checklist that your creatives can refer to, as Content Marketing Institute’s Amanda Maksymiw advises. Include all the above tasks and any others specific to your company’s goals.

Finally, Test Your Content’s Performance Against Your Key Metrics

No matter how tight a quality assurance ship you run, some content won’t resonate with your audience. Whether it’s a piece from the early 2000s that’s past its prime or your audience interests have shifted, you need to adjust on the fly. Use your content analytics to provide you with the information you need to measure your content’s power to connect.

Testing your content’s performance against your key metrics and then revising it to perform even better is the best way to ensure that your content radiates quality across all channels. And, when you find a piece of content that performs better than your expectations, consider repurposing it in a different format to reach new audiences.

Implementing content quality assurance protocols can get crazy-easy with the right content marketing platform. With DivvyHQ, you have customized content request forms, a dedicated ideation area, out-of-the-box content strategy metadata management, simplified campaign management – and of course, a content calendar that ties it all together.

Get your content on the road toward world-class quality when you let DivvyHQ do the heavy lifting. Try it free for 14 days today!