Webinar tackles daunting topic: What publishers want from editors
“What publishers really want from editors”—the focus of ASBPE’s February 28 webinar—clearly is a challenging topic. Equally worth a follow-up session some day is the logical response session: “What do editors want from publishers?”
Meanwhile, featured speaker Kilian Schalk, founder of consulting firm PurpleGray, clearly was prepared to present the publishers’ viewpoint. He offered an overwhelming list of possibilities based on off-the-record interviews with ten sources. Following is a partial agenda of actions editors were advised to consider.
- Have more face-to-face contact with readers.
- Have understanding and passion about your brand.
- Become more of a contact strategist and less of an editor.
- Check if there is enough reader interest to justify introducing a content deviation.
- Understand and guide editorial applications geared to new channels.
- Be willing to create disruption by tackling the “big story.”
- Be curious about the business side of publishing and be able to ask questions.
- Understand business objectives and how editorial fits within them.
- Partner with your publisher in achieving business goals.
- Be aware that massive change is on the way.
- Do a lot more with less money.
Later on, Schalk devoted a separate list to editorial performance concerns. Among them:
- The need to learn new skills is constant.
- Resources are being stretched thin.
- Sufficient data that evaluates new channel potential is required.
- Technical talent is expensive. An in-house training program may produce qualified candidates able to fill newly created positions.
- Journalism schools don’t necessarily teach reader engagement.
- Know how to read a profit & loss statement.
- Understand that editors at all levels must be brand ambassadors.
- Be more excited about the opportunity today’s times provide.
Schalk also listed some actions publishers should take:
- Read every story that’s published.
- Build a partnership with your editor.
- Appreciate the effort that goes into content creation.
- Work together with your editor to make change.
Q&A time was limited so I was unable to pose a few questions that came to mind:
- In a do-more-with-less environment, where are editorial cutbacks most likely to come. Many staffs already have their hands full dealing with print and online responsibilities.
- How many sales teams will push harder for obvious editorial hooks? Instead, could they do much better by learning how to sell big picture content capable of drawing high readership?