In today’s episode, co-hosts Shaheen Samavati and Kyler Canastra chat about creating an editorial process that ensures you’re producing high-quality content.

As a former newspaper journalist who worked in corporate communication and marketing and later co-founded multilingual content agency VeraContent, Shaheen has a unique perspective on this topic. Her hands-on experience in newspaper journalism and corporate marketing have both contributed to prioritizing and designing solid editorial processes at VeraContent.

Kyler also has first-hand experience working with VeraContent’s editorial processes from his previous roles as writer, translator and project manager.

Tune in as they chat about the importance of creating a strong editorial process, the level of editing required in corporate marketing and how to uphold high-quality standards across an entire team. They also take a look at VeraContent’s editorial process and discuss best practices.

You can watch the full conversation in the video above or on YouTube, listen to the podcast on Apple or Spotify, and read a recap of the conversation below!

Why is it important to have a solid editing process?

Thorough editing leads to better quality work. And if you want your content to stand out above your competitors and the increasing digital “noise,” it’s essential that your content goes through a certain level of quality control.

“If you have a good process for creating the content in the first place and have a standard way of making sure it’s of top quality, then it’s going to make you stand out.” – Shaheen Samavati

A lot of online content is simply regurgitated information that hasn’t been well thought out. A solid editing process can help ensure your brand creates higher-quality content that actually makes an impact.

What does the traditional newspaper editing process look like?

While the traditional newspaper editorial process has changed in recent years due to competition with online content, the base of these processes is still relevant.

Traditionally, there are four stages of the editorial process:

  1. Check that the topic is relevant for the newspaper
  2. Edit the content to ensure all the information is accurate
  3. Edit the copy for style, grammar and tone of voice
  4. Do a final proof of content, images and layout before publishing

“It was a pretty lengthy process, but done in a pretty short amount of time—especially for breaking news articles.” – Shaheen Samavati 

What level of editing is necessary for corporate communications and marketing?

While a four-step editorial process is great, it’s also cost- and resource-intensive, which not all brands can afford.

For that reason, the editorial process is usually shortened when it comes to corporate marketing. Luckily, there’s less permanency in online content vs. newspapers, so you can always edit something later on.

However, the more you edit something, the more facts you’ll check and as a result, the quality will be inevitably higher. For that reason, Shaheen says that some level of editorial control needs to happen to ensure you’re meeting consistent standards—especially if you’re publishing a lot of content.

How many stages are needed in the editorial process?

Having just one set of eyes on the content isn’t enough. You should have at least two stages of editing:

  1. First you need to edit for accuracy and check that the brief was followed. 
  2. Then you need to edit for tone, grammar, style, etc. 

Both of these rounds of edits require the editor to be in a different mindset, which is why it’s usually best to be done by two separate people. If you only have one resource dedicated to editing, then it’s important for them to remember the two steps in the process. 

“Those are the two steps that are essential and anything above that is the gravy.” – Shaheen Samavati

Is it worth investing more budget into a solid editorial process?

It depends on your objectives and what the content is going to be used for. According to Shaheen:

“If you’re doing journalistic-style content and want to be the leader in that topic, then it’s absolutely worth investing in making sure it’s top quality. That goes with finding the best writers in the first place, then putting the content through an editorial process to ensure a high standard.”

As Kyler points out, sometimes it’s better to invest early on:

“Getting the right writers and an editorial process in place from the beginning of your content production process is worthwhile because if you don’t, it could cost you more in the long run. For example, if you make mistakes and publish things that aren’t true or in line with your brand, you may suffer those consequences later on.”

How can you uphold high editorial standards in languages you don’t speak?

A solid editorial process is even more important when working with multilingual content. You can’t expect your internal team to speak every language you’re publishing in, so it’s essential to build up a team that focuses on each language.

At VeraContent, we follow a pretty consistent editorial process across languages. Still, every language has nuances, so the process is adapted to each language. That means creating specific guidelines and style guides for not only every language but also each client.

“It’s so important to have an editorial process that is organized and set up well to be able to consistently adapt it across languages.” – Shaheen Samavati

What does VeraContent’s editorial process look like?

Firstly, we love documentation, checklists and tools that help us optimize collaboration.

A big part of our editorial process is collaboration—both internally and with our clients. We create loads of opportunities for writers to get feedback from their editors. This includes chatting about ideas, why things are done a certain way and how it could be done better.

“Our feedback system allows collaboration to go really well, but it also allows us to build trust with everyone we’re working with.” – Kyler Canastra

This constant feedback means that our project managers don’t need to be able to speak every language of the projects they’re working on. Since everyone in the production line provides feedback in English, our project managers can always understand the reasoning behind content and editorial decisions.

Our editing process is essentially a more concise version of the traditional four-step editorial process. Once a linguist, writer or translator has created the piece of content, an editor then edits the text. The editor provides feedback and ensures the content’s quality—checking for accuracy and facts along with the tone of voice, style and grammar.

Everything is documented, and project managers oversee the entire process—they also chip in with their editorial feedback where relevant. We’re also pretty strict with following style and tone guides for each client.

Why do companies struggle with setting up an editorial process?

Ultimately, it comes down to editing not being the company’s core competency. A lot goes into setting up processes and ensuring quality, and not every company has the resources to put towards it.

“It’s a big operation to consistently create content and design all the steps around it. And if you’re a company that, for example, designs widgets, you’re used to a completely different process.” – Shaheen Samavati

It’s important to understand what your objectives are, what your product is and how much editing you need to consistently produce quality content. From there, you can decide where to put your resources—whether it’s building an internal team or hiring an external agency.

You can check out Shaheen and Kyler’s speaker profiles if you’d like to have either of them speak at your next event or be a guest on your podcast.

Check out more posts on content production and editorial processes:

To read the full transcript, click on page number 2 below.