One of our common frustrations as PR people is getting client/boss approvals on writing projects.
You know – when you send the attachment or Google Doc link and what you get back has more red “track changes” than black original.
There are lots of political and personality dynamics at play, so what I’m about to share won’t automatically cure all your approval woes. But it will definitely help.
The key is to divide the approval process into TWO HALVES.
First half – BEFORE you start writing, email your approver(s) and tell them your intent to write a release, case study, whatever. Tell them you’d like their agreement on three things:
1. Business purpose of the document – the bottom-line business goals you aim to support by producing it. Bosses and clients LOVE this, and once they see that you’re prioritizing what’s most important to them, they are more likely to get on board.
2. Main message – the point you want to get across to readers/visitors that will lead them to the business goal.
3. News hook or content marketing “angle” – this is where your expertise as a communicator comes in. You propose the creative way to make your main message interesting or useful to your key audiences. You’ve essentially said to your approvers: “I know what you want. Now here’s where you give me license to achieve it.”
They will often appreciate your strategic approach and sign off right away. If they don’t, you’ve saved yourself lots of writing time by catching and accommodating their concerns early in the process. Then you write your doc, and you’re ready for . . .
The second half: You send the final copy with a preface that says, “Since we’ve already agreed on the primary purpose and approach, all that’s left is for you to check for any factual errors or vital legal/proprietary concerns. If I don’t hear back from you by (date), then I’ll know all is well and we’ll proceed.”
If you want to get really cagey, you cut and paste the release into the email, so the reviewers are less likely to use “track changes” or Google Doc’s comment feature to weigh in on every comma and synonym.
Divide your approval process in half and enjoy faster approvals and less unnecessary meddling.