“Telling great stories is always an editor’s top priority, but working with a brand adds an entirely new set of priorities,” says Ryan Galloway in Contently. “Suddenly having clients to please and marketing KPIs to hit can make the transition from traditional media to brand publishing a challenge, especially for veteran editors with decades of experience.”
As brands become content publishers, they often look to hire traditional media editors to guide their efforts. Editorially speaking, this is the right idea. These editors—long separated from the “business” end of the business—understand great storytelling and how to engage an audience.
The challenge for the editor, Galloway suggests, is in making that transition to being a part of the business team.
“In the grand old days of media, editorial and revenue-generating teams rarely interacted. Editors—or so they often thought—did the ‘real work,’ while the business folks brought in ad revenue and grew subscriptions,” he explains. “For many editors, it was even a point of pride that they didn’t involve themselves with all that ‘money’ stuff. But when editors work with brand publishers, those silly old barriers disappear. Editorial doesn’t just work with the business side, they’re on the business side.”
This leads to a new set of challenges, both for the editors and for the marketing folks on whose teams they find themselves. Often it means helping the sales and marketing folks understand what brand content is not – thinly veiled product pitches.
Doing this takes some finesse and a good deal of patience. Galloway suggests one good strategy to help marketing comes to terms with the brand content strategy is to get them involved in answering the following questions:
- How is your current content performing? Are readers engaging with more than one piece of content per visit? Are they sharing your content? Are they using it as an entry point to other products or services you offer?
- What do you want your audience to do after they read or view your content? Do you want them to buy a membership? Sign up for a free trial? Share the content with friends?
- How do you want to talk to your audience? Are you happy with your content’s current voice and tone? If not, how would you like it to change?
- How do you want your audience to perceive your brand? As a friend? An authority? A thought leader?
- Which brands and media outlets do you admire? What do you like about their content? Can you show me content that you specifically don’t like? Why don’t you like it?
Getting their answers and rolling them into your brand content strategy can lead to a successful partnership with a continued focus on solid editorial integrity.