Does Your Content Strategy & Editorial Team Cover the Field?
If you follow major league baseball, you know that the All-Star Game was held last night. I confess I’m not a big baseball fan, maybe I need better seats. Anyway, I know the All-Start Game was played last night because it was held in our home town of Kansas City, Mo. This town has been All-Star crazy for weeks in anticipation of this game. They even colored the water in all our fountains blue!
In all this frenzy, I’ve been forced to think about the make-up of this All-Star roster. As I understand it, fans choose the best of the best players from across all of the major league to fill each of the nine field positions. And, as stated in a Bleacher Report headline, “which team has the most lethal lineup?” It seems, that in this all-important game, the team with the strongest bench wins – which this year was the National League by a mile.
What would happen if we approached stacking our editorial team bench with this same philosphy?
When I speak at conferences, I like to pull up a slide that shows audience members (generally marketers) what the organizational chart of a real publishing department looks like. What roles they have and the responsibilities of these key players. Then, we go through an excercise of adapting this kind of editorial team structure to audience members’ organizations. This structure looks a little different depending on the kind of organization you have, i.e., agency, corporation, small business, etc. This is a really helpful activity for most audience members who have been fed the “we must learn to be publishers now” philosophy, but have really been given no basis for how to actually put this methodology into practice within their four walls.
So what does editorial team structure have to do with baseball?
Well, let me ask you a question. Do you have your “field” covered with the best “players” from across your organization? Or are there some significant holes in your lineup? I would say your organization has relatively the same goal as the two All-Star teams – to beat your competition. You probably also know how well you stack up to your competitors – their strengths, weaknesses, advantages, key players, etc. Knowing your opponents can help you put your strongest players on your bench.
Here are a few key positions where you need to have your strongest players:
Editor (Your Pitcher): A good editor can be the difference between good content and unforgettable content. Find a great editor (you probably have on on staff) who will make headlines stronger, stories tighter, angles better and properly manage the game.
Proofreader (Your Catcher): These people are like gold in your production process, catching all the mistakes and making little adjustment that make your content better. When you find a good one, hold on to them for dear life. They should ALWAYS be the final step prior to publishing anything.
Subject Matter Experts (Your Heavy Hitters): Engineers, Clients, Doctors and Scientists are the ones you need to be bringing to the table when you’re doing your editorial planning. These people hold all the juicy stuff when it comes to valuable content. Make sure they are invited to the brainstorming table and work on pulling out ideas from them about what they’re passionate about and then work them into the production process.
C-Suite (Your General Manager): Don’t let your CEO hide in the duggout. She knows a lot about the market you’re in, competitive environments, the company’s story (the real one), what’s next for your company and your vision. These are all things that great content is made of, especially in our era of complete corporate transparency. Do short interviews to get the info, or better yet, add her to the editorial calendar. She may be surprised and excited about the opportunity.
Sales/Field Reps (Your Infield Players): These people are the closest to your actual customers and clients. Make sure you bring them to the table to hear stories, experiences and frustrations from your customer base. P.S., there are probably a million content ideas sitting in your sales team’s email inbox. Tap it.
What key players have you added to your editorial bench to cover your field?
(Photo Credit: Fred Blocher, Kansas City Star)