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| 2 minutes read

8 Tips for Managing a Thought Leadership Approval Process

Having been involved with hundreds of thought leadership programmes, we've picked out our top tips for making your approval process a slick-oiled machine. These recommendations are relevant whether you are launching a new thought leadership initiative, or looking to review your existing publication process. 

Before Launching Your Programme 

  1. Define a set of editorial guidelines for your authors
    • keep these clear and simple
    • explicitly state what you do not want your authors writing about (e.g. religion, politics, etc.) 
    • provide guidance on what a successful post should look like 
  2. Map out the approval workflow
    • decide who is going to be involved
    • consider coverage - do your authors cross timezones, practice groups, or any factors that may dictate who is most relevant to approve their insights? 
    • if different authors have different approvers, make sure this is clearly communicated so that content gets sent to the correct destination 
  3. Don't include too many people 
    • overcomplicating the approval workflow and adding too many approvers will actually slow down the process
    • you want your approvers to take ownership of the process, and build confidence in what to look for, which in turn will speed up the approval workflow
  4. Set some rough guidelines on turnaround times
    • in almost every launch we've been involved with, the authors will ask the question "how long will my content take to get approved?' - we would suggest preparing a rough answer to this question to put their concerns at ease 

Tips Following the Launch 

  1. Install a spelling and grammar checker
    • Most browsers have their own spellchecker running as a default which will help you to identify basic spelling errors - you can check your browser settings to make sure yours is switched on
    • For a more advanced checker, I would recommend installing either Grammarly or the Hemmingway App - my experience is with Grammarly and it saves a remarkable amount of time when going through the editorial process for a piece of content 
  2. Consider the author's experience when approving 
    • FOR SUBJECT MATTER - if you are reviewing a junior colleague's post, you might want to get the content peer-reviewed by a subject-matter expert in the same department
    • FOR WRITING EXPERIENCE - regardless of how senior an author is, if they haven't authored many posts in the past then take this into account. Using the approval process as a tool for positive reinforcement, you can coach your authors over time to write how you want them to. The biggest caveat here is that if you dismiss/reject an author's first post without constructive feedback then they are far less likely to spend time writing content in the future. Content is a marathon and not a sprint! 
  3. Employ YOUR expertise as an approver
    • have confidence in your role as the approver - if you can easily identify a snappier title, then rework the original 
    • Add images
    • Break up long passages of text 
    • Use stylistic formatting like bullets, numbers, and subheaders to make the content easier to read
    • a subject-matter expert is likely to focus on what they are good at (their subject matter) so look for opportunities to improve their content where it is additive to the piece's overall message
  4. Think about where & when you will be approving content 
    • the reason for adding this suggestion is that plenty of the approvers we work with pick up approval requests from their mobile devices 
    • the Passle mobile app makes it incredibly easy to approve content whilst you are on the go, or unable to get to your laptop
    • there are certain pieces that of course make sense to review when at your laptop/desktop
    • that said, a lot of content will be consumed on a mobile device - so being able to read and review it on mobile will ensure the format is reaching the desired impact 

For any questions about your approval process or wanting to learn more about how other firms manage this, feel free to contact


best practice, leadership, content creation, content marketing, thought leadership, approval processes, professional services, marketing