Assess Your Editorial Travel Strength
For many B2B editors during the past year, field trip budgets have been under a cloud. Gone are the days when aggressive travel schedules were par for the course. In my previous role as an editor-in-chief, I spent plenty of days each year meeting industry leaders. Staff members did not travel as often, but most did have a few days a month exposed to the reality of the markets they covered.
Competitively speaking, we still should know how our editorial travel activity stacks up against aggressive opposition, if it exists. During my days as a VP of editorial, I relied on a quarterly travel analysis report to keep me informed. If you are not running a similar analysis now, it’s definitely time to introduce the practice. My vehicle for input was an editorial expense form as opposed to the typical approach of using an existing corporate document for tracking purposes.
Your analysis should show destination and number of days travel per trip. Submitted reports answer three questions:
- What was the purpose of the trip?
- What articles were written based on the trip?
- In which issues will articles written be published?
The above information went further, indicating the percentage of time spent at conferences versus individual visits with end-users and with vendor/advertiser representatives.
There was no hard and fast rule that every editorial trip made by the editor-in-chief would produce a story. Top editors would be doing many things while on the road. You may discover that some editors always build a story into a trip, while others don’t produce copy at the same pace. This being the case, you need to establish a pages-per-trip standard for your editors. Another factor worth reviewing is specific destinations reached. These considerations should be matched against similar factors among competitors when possible.
Travel analysis also may tell you that the top editor is the only person traveling, while staff is chained to the office. This is not a good situation. If you’re going to build a strong line of succession, you want all staff members to benefit from periodic field trips.
If you have questions or comments, e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 201-569-7714.