Change Tracking for Content Creation: Trim Costs and Shorten Timelines

Gents and ladies who create content, I know what you like. You like to trace a line across a blank canvas. You like to make stuff.

I do, too, but when we are making content, it is collaborative. While some bespoke communication is always a part of human interaction, standardization and systems make us all better and make the work easier. The better we deal with the back and forth of revision, the shorter the effort.

At Lion’s Way, our change tracking habits are critical to efficient delivery of quality. I really needn’t bore you with the whole process of tables and docs and tasks. In fact, I am positive that it is not the best possible system. We are always looking at it, critiquing and tweaking.

Just this week a white paper had to come back for two quick fixes. They were requested changes, delivered in short emails, that did not get addressed in a doc.

If you work with long form content, you know that this is

a) embarrassing
b) delaying
c) normal

We can do better, so I am rethinking the underlying priorities of change tracking.

To keep from getting burned, apply attention and care to reviews and change requests.

Requirements for Good Change Tracking

  • Record source and intent of change. This is one of the reasons why using writing platforms that don’t allow for versioning hurts projects. Changes will happen, another person will undo it, and we will have to call a meeting to figure out why.
  • Verify changes have been implemented. For us, this is a two-person sign off in most cases. Person 1 (say a creative director or lead writer) who receives the changes from the client standardizes the request. Person 2 (designer or writer) makes the change. Then person 1 verifies it is done.
  • Objective review. We maintain, in a very nicely appointed cage, a copy editor who is not a part of the rest of content creation. At the right point in a project, we unleash her. She is not only looking for misplaced apostrophes and proper use of the singular verb for business names (Lion’s Way is happy to see you today.), she also speaks up if our collaborative project is more disjointed free jazz than harmonious concerto.

A lot of our job is to bring a lot of voices together into one content piece. I have been working to improve change tracking because, though it is a drab process, doing it poorly hurts projects.

If you have insight into change tracking for content, I would love to compare notes. Feel free to respond to me here!

Lion’s Way makes fierce, content such as white papers, web copy, technical documentation, and infographics that reach the technical and B2B audience. The Lions’ clients are disruptive technologies and services who need to explain themselves authentically to the marketplace.

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