5 Ways to Streamline Commercial Content Workflows

By Karen Timmins, Head Regulatory International Advertising & Promotion, Global Regulatory Affairs at Takeda

The industry’s shift toward hybrid engagement is making it critical for companies to move away from outdated methods of content creation rooted solely in print production. Digital channels are now frequently integrated with in-person exchanges to fit healthcare professionals’ (HCP) new preferences, and, as a result, generating demand for a more dynamic mix of digital and print content—from websites, web banners, social, and video, to emails and sales materials.

A more viable approach to content creation in today’s environment is leveraging real-time data and modular content to meet this need. Based on our experience at Takeda, here are five ways organizations can streamline content workflows to get quality content to market faster—no matter which channel.

1. Leverage real-time insights to optimize the content development process
Consistently measuring the health of the content review and approval process makes it easier to identify setbacks and make instant improvements to the content lifecycle. Two metrics, in particular, are essential for internal benchmarking: the average time from draft to market and average content reuse.

Measuring the average time it takes to move from creating an initial draft to getting a final approval provides a clear picture of how long each review cycle takes and the number of revisions a piece of content needs. This helps identify medical, legal, and regulatory (MLR) bottlenecks and address them in real time. And it can be particularly useful for leaders and management teams, as it informs organizations about which pieces made it from idea to execution, helping refocus efforts in areas that matter most.

Tracking average content reuse across global and local markets also allows companies to see how they are maximizing resources and the types of content being repurposed more frequently. This shows which messages resonate most with customers, how resourceful teams are with existing content, and where reviewers can save time throughout content’s journey to market.

2. Spend more time in the pre-approval stage to enhance content quality
Before content goes through initial reviews, spend time outlining how and when each piece will be used. Problems arise when content has an unclear purpose or when key stakeholders aren’t involved in discussions at the start of the content creation process.

By informing stakeholders of content goals early on, there is better alignment throughout the MLR review process, making for shorter review cycles and faster content approval. Having all the information upfront also prevents unnecessary revisions or corrections, enabling content to make it through a first pass approval.

In the concept development stage, ensure that each piece of content has a clear audience, objective, and purpose. This enhances the content that gets pushed through reviews, creating a smoother approval process and avoiding costly holdups.

3. Track variations by country and region for tailored content reviews
As content makes its way through different countries, the landscape, requirements, and customs involved in putting together a piece of content change with it. This can cause discrepancies in the data captured and make it seem as though certain countries are less efficient in reviewing content than others.

By recognizing the communication styles, legal requirements, and habits unique to each area, organizations can make sense of variations that occur within average review timeframes and set more realistic internal metrics. More importantly, it empowers organizations to be proactive and tailor content to the needs of local review and approval processes—ultimately reducing unnecessary delays.

4. Prepare for digital content creation with a modular approach
Currently, 74% of digital content that makes it through reviews gets approved in the first cycle. Yet, approval delays remain high at an average of 21 days.1 This suggests that there’s an opportunity for organizations to improve traditional review processes with more agile approaches—especially as digital heightens the demand for more varied, complex, and multichannel content.

Modular content can help by breaking up complex pieces into smaller modules that are linked to an approved reference or claim. This eases the MLR review process, giving key stakeholders more visibility into what has already been approved, avoiding unnecessary re-reviews and re-submits. It can also empower teams to continue repurposing existing content more frequently, leading to cost efficiencies, quicker content creation, and shorter review timeframes.

5. Strengthen the content lifecycle with industry benchmarks
While internal metrics serve as great guideposts, they don’t provide a complete picture of how well a company is getting content out to market. It’s critical to compare internal content review and approval methods with industry averages to understand variations by country and assess where you stand among competitors.

Monitoring these trends and sharing this data openly enables organizations to identify the content that matters most and fuel healthy competition for continuous improvement. Ultimately, it creates a community effect that allows organizations to share best practices and shape the future of individual and collective efforts regarding copy approval.

Speed content to market in the digital-first future
Traditional review and approval workflows are no longer equipped to meet the complexity of digital content. To adapt for this new reality, organizations need to act on real-time insights and prepare to adopt modular strategies that simplify review cycles without delaying the approval process.

More importantly, they should feed existing performance metrics with nuances present in each market and benchmark performance across the industry. This will drive better review and approval methods to speed content to market and set the stage for digital launch success.

For more best practices around using data and insights to speed content to market, read highlights from a discussion with Takeda and Norgine.

1.Veeva Pulse Content Metrics, “Commercial Content Trends Shaping the Future of HCP Engagement,” June 2021

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