For any content marketing project, there’s usually a point when you require approvals. Whether you’re an agency who needs client sign off or a communications professional who needs the boss’s go ahead, approvals are part of the job.
Articles, videos and radio segments that News Canada sends out to the media for pickup differ from other marketing and communication projects, and it may not always be clear what approvals you need and when you should seek them out.
Here’s the ideal process to follow for smooth approvals and successful earned content:
Make sure you understand the service and can explain it to approvers
Sounds like a no-brainer, but it’s worth remembering; this service is unique and approving bodies may not be familiar with “the why” behind the requirements. This is especially common for legal teams. If you want a reminder, or some tips and explanations to share with your approvers, we’re happy to help.
Get Fifth Story feedback on topics
It’s always worthwhile to get Fifth Story’s feedback on the topics you’re considering. With over 40 years in this field, we have our finger on the pulse of what the media are looking for in this context. A recent blog highlights results of our latest media survey, and it reminds us that timely, lifestyle content with limited branding is the way to go.
When you share topics in advance of writing, we can warn you if they are unlikely to achieve strong pickup from the media. We can also warn you if the market is already oversaturated with the same, if otherwise good, topics.
Here are some key tools from our resources page to help you develop your content ideas to share with us:
- Writing guidelines — review requirements for activating the audience guarantee
- Article topic brief — outline your article topic ideas for us on this form
- Radio production brief — outline your key messages for your radio segment
Submit your drafts prior to seeking final approval
Before your approver signs off on final copy, submit your drafts to us. For articles, submit them by the draft deadline we provide. That way we can flag anything that comes up in the writing, such as too many brand mentions or promotional phrasing. This means you’ll present approvers with successful copy from the get-go. It prevents extra rounds of review and having to explain more edits.
We’ll also edit to align the articles with Canadian Press style, which is the editorial style guide all Canadian publications follow. So, if you’re a stickler for the Oxford comma or want a trademark symbol in the articles, know that you’re out of luck.
If there’s absolutely no way around sharing with your higher-level approval team (such as legal or the client if you’re an agency) before us, remember to explain the whys behind the service and tell them that we will be providing edits.
Sign up for monthly reminders on upcoming deadlines here: https://fifthstory.com/downloadable-resources/editorial-calendar/
Finalize the content with the approvers.
After we’ve provided edits for your content, it’s finally time to get approval on it. We’ll review any further changes in one round of review. The better the approvers understand the service, the smoother the process will be.
Note: Because this is earned content, that means it’s paid distribution and not paid placement. This means you do not need to, and if fact should not, send the content to ad standards or include disclaimers etc. These actions can hurt your content’s results in the media.
For a refresher on why and how earned content works, or if you want some help with topics, reach out to your account manager or email@example.com.