Creative Workflow Approval Software: The Definitive Guide

Creative Workflow Approval Software: The Definitive Guide

The Definitive Guide to Creative Approval Workflows

Every day, in every marketing department, you’ll see people working to tight advertising and material deadlines. But there’s one thing you should never see – someone cutting corners on creative content approval. 

We get it, chasing approvals can be a nightmare. But the good news is there’s creative workflow approval software that can help. Not only does it save you time and avert potential blunders, it can actually help elevate your content. We look at the importance of approvals and how marketing tech can make them a whole lot smoother.

Creative workflow approval software allows you to set specific approvers at specific stages

Firstly, why are creative approvals important?

Obtaining feedback, aligning with objectives, and maintaining consistency is fundamental to achieving and exceeding business objectives and creative excellence.
Each collaborator on a piece of creative brings their own area of expertise and a pair of fresh eyes to the work being reviewed. It’s a good thing. Here’s a list of the kinds of benefits approvals bring:
Quality assurance

An approval is a checkpoint, ensuring that each stage of the creative process meets the predefined quality standards. By requiring approval at various milestones, it prevents subpar work from progressing further, maintaining a consistent level of quality throughout the project.


Feedback integration

Constructive feedback helps creative teams obtain valuable insights and suggestions during the content approval process. While there is a balance involved in maintaining a strong creative idea, having feedback ensures that the final output incorporates diverse perspectives and refines the creative work.


Alignment with objectives

Approval processes help ensure alignment between creative content with the overarching objectives and goals of a project or campaign. By seeking approval at critical junctures, teams can ensure that the creative direction remains in sync with the strategic vision in order to maximize the impact of the final output.


Risk mitigation

An approval process helps mitigate risks associated with concepts the creative team may not have considered. By involving key stakeholders in the approval chain, potential compliance issues can be identified and addressed early in the process, reducing the likelihood of costly errors or misunderstandings that may compromise the quality of the work.


Consistency across platforms

Creative content often needs to be adapted for various platforms, mediums and regions. An approval process ensures that the creative work maintains a consistent brand identity and messaging across all iterations. 


Time efficiency

While it may seem counterintuitive, content workflow approval rules can actually contribute to time efficiency. By preventing the advancement of work that has veered off-brief, teams can avoid wasted time and resources on revisions or corrections later in the process. This allows for a smoother workflow and faster delivery of high-quality creative content.

Compliance and legal considerations

In industries with strict regulatory or legal requirements, creative approvals become essential for ensuring that content complies with all relevant standards. This is particularly important in highly regulated industries such as healthcare, finance, and food and beverage. Adherence to guidelines in these fields is non-negotiable and compliance breaches come with hefty fines.


What is a creative approval process?

A creative content approval process is a systematic and structured workflow designed to review, evaluate, approve, reject or request changes to creative material before it’s launched. This process is integral to any marketing, advertising, design, and content creation where quality of messaging, regulatory compliance, and alignment with brand guidelines are all critical.
Rarely, if ever, do you achieve perfection in the first iteration of any creative submission. Your global office will want changes, legal will want changes, even your local barista will want changes. 
It’s very often a challenge getting feedback and approvals in a timely manner … let alone threading together the feedback from multiple stakeholders. There are usually a number of stakeholders for any given piece of creative and that’s why approvals need to follow a protocol. 

Here’s what a typical content approval workflow looks like this:
Step 1 – Creation and submission

The process begins with a submission of the first draft of creative content. The content could be collateral, a social media post, press ad, web page design, a storyboard, written content and so on. It is usually submitted to the person who requested the work. It is this person who then takes the baton and traffics the content approval through the next stages.


Step 2 – Review and evaluation

Relevant stakeholders, including members of the creative team, marketing professionals, legal experts, and other decision-makers, review the content. Each reviewer assesses the material based on predefined written in the creative brief. Messaging accuracy, brand consistency, legal compliance, design quality, and alignment with strategic objectives are all evaluated.

Step 3 – Feedback

Reviewers then provide feedback on the creative content, suggesting revisions or clarifications as needed. This stage often involves collaboration and communication between team members to address any concerns or improve specific elements of the content.




Step 4 – Revisions made
Once each collaborator has reviewed the work, the creator then assesses each point, makes refinements and voices any objections to the requested alterations. They resubmit their work for another round of reviews. 


Step 5 – Approval decision

Once the necessary revisions are made, the content goes through a final round of approval. Decision-makers determine whether the content meets the established criteria and is ready for publication. Approval may be granted, or further revisions may be requested. This process is repeated until all stakeholders have approved the work.


Step 6 – Documentation

A well-organized content approval process includes documentation of the entire review and approval journey. This documentation serves as a record of decisions made, feedback provided, and any changes implemented, ensuring transparency and accountability.


Step 7 – Launch

After receiving final approval, the creative content is deemed ready for publishing or deployment. It can then be released across various channels, such as websites, social media platforms, print media, and so on.
Digital asset approval software allows collaborators to make comments and mark ups and track versions.

What is creative workflow approval software?

Understanding the importance of approvals and knowing the process is one thing, but managing them in a fast-paced environment without a single source of truth is quite another. This is where creative workflow approval software helps. 

Creative workflow approval software provides a central platform that traffics creative work through from submission to launch all in one place. Unlike managing creative feedback, proofing, approvals and various versions via email chains, creative workflow approval software enables collaboration to happen in real time and provides timelines, reminders and a history of all comments and markups.

Content workflow approval software allows you full visibility on the status of all your digital assets.

Creative workflow approval software functionality

Content workflow approval software is designed to cut approval roadblocks and get creative assets to market faster. It allows you to send and manage approval requests and keeps a record of all actions. 
Here’s a list of core functionalities:
Full visibility
  •  Dashboards provide full visibility on the status of all your digital assets
  •  Allows collaborators to mark up and comment directly on creative work
  •  Add notes, freehand drawing, shapes, as well as time coded annotations for video and audio
  •  Feedback and comments can be made public or private
  •  Collaborators can be tagged and notified in a comment
  •  Approvers can include external partners such as agencies
  •  Side by side comparison of versions
  •  Searchable history of each creative version, markup, comment and approval
  •  Centralized and clear file structure to make finding digital assets fast


  •  Project manages approvals with pre-set milestones and alerts
  •  Configurable multi-stage workflows nominating select approvers
  •  Prompts to approvers reminding them of pending work
  •  Obtain detailed reports on approvers performance, time to market and where bottlenecks occur 
Streamlined delivery 
  •  Creative work is managed from submission to launch in one place
  •  Final art approved digital assets can be pushed directly to selected media channels or global offices

Content workflow approval software helps solve the impossible task of managing a high volume of creative content with many collaborators via fragment communication. It provides one central ecosystem that allows you to contribute quality feedback, track history, project manage, and ultimately get great creative work out the door faster.

If you’d like to learn more, contact us for a demo.

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