Are you Editorial?

By Scott McLean, COO, Odyssiant 


One of the most frequent questions we are asked is how to run the day-to-day, week-by-week editorial process. As an ex-journalist who has been running content-led campaigns for clients for the past 15 years within the PR industry, I have a fair idea of what needs to be done. And this is why we will very shortly be releasing our next Odyssiant module which will help content marketers easily manage the editorial production process – we will write more about the new EPP module soon and you can always get in touch if you want to know more right now. Just e-mail me at scott.mclean@odyssiant.com.

So what should an editorial approach to brand publishing look like? Let’s start by looking at where the majority of content teams are today and discuss what improvements can be made.

A standard approach is to have a weekly editorial meeting. This will usually bring together either those people directly involved in producing content or sometimes a wider range of people who can represent their different business functions and therefore provide input into the content production process. So far, so good from a content planning perspective. However, it does raise the question about the need for collaboration tools to make it easier to manage the production process but that’s what the EPP module is all about and I promised not to write more about that, so I’ll move on!

What should the agenda look like? In other words, what should be covered at these weekly meetings? It seems that most of these meetings are used to gather progress updates and as mini-brainstorming sessions of what content people can think of to produce. While this may seem all well and good, we know from discussions we have that many content marketers are finding these hard work and deeply frustrating, especially when people outside the content team are involved. It seems most people are finding it increasingly difficult to come up with the content ideas and finding attendees disengaged. That is why at this point we need to pause and take a step back.

Of course there is a need to meet on a regular basis to discuss progress. However, if that is the only opportunity given to discussing what content to produce then you have almost certainly fallen into the trap of creating content with no strategy and that is why you are finding them hard work.

Brand publishing is not the same as media publishing. In the latter, the journalists know their audience, know the purpose of their publication (regardless of whether online or print) and therefore know exactly what type of content they need to produce on a daily/weekly/monthly/quarterly basis. But fundamentally their agenda is entirely different to that of brand publishing.

In brand publishing we are creating content to directly support business goals, not simply to fill pages and keep the reader happy. That means that the production process must be secondary to the strategy. In turn, this means that time must be devoted to the review of the content strategy which will in turn inform the editorial production process.

What that means is that at the very least you should have quarterly, although more advisably, monthly, content strategy planning meetings. Within these meetings you can then assess the effectiveness of the content programme by reviewing your key strategy analytics – i.e. your content journey metrics and content attribution metrics as described in our Know How article ‘Audience Journey Planning is the first step to commercialising content marketing’. By doing so you know how well your content programme is performing and this in turn will inform the areas of focus for the period ahead.

The Odyssiant Content Strategy Planner has been designed with this part of the process in mind. It allows you to develop your content strategy and identify what content needs to be produced to execute the content plan. This then feeds into the editorial planning process.

This means that you are no longer simply “feeding the content beast” but instead trying to create content ideas that meet ongoing strategic requirements. Of course, if you have read the Know How article referred to above, you will be aware that there is a third type of content metric that needs to be assessed. These are the content engagement metrics that tell you how well your content is performing on a day-to-day basis. Our advice is that this is the first item on the weekly agenda as it will tell you where you need to apply more effort or, alternatively, to drop an idea as it is simply not proving of interest to your audience.

Once that is done, then you are in a position to determine what content needs to be produced in the coming week, who is going to produce and status updates to ensure there is a sensible distribution of workload.

With this approach in place you are running a content programme that is always focussed on delivering in line with the strategy of meeting commercial goals. It will make the meetings more focussed, more worthwhile, and less frustrating as everyone will have a clearer idea of what they are trying to achieve.

 

About Scott McLean

COO of Odyssiant: An ex-journalist and seasoned communications professional, Scott McLean has been at the forefront of developing and delivering audience engagement programmes for a wide range of businesses, from pioneering start-ups to large international businesses. Through his experience, Scott understands the power of content and how businesses need to expand their understanding of audience engagement if they are going to become truly customer-centric.

 

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