More Than Ever Before … Editors Are Miracle Workers

By Howard Rauch
President of Editorial Solutions, Inc.

The realization that editors must wear many hats first started picking up steam almost 20 years ago. At that time, the big deal was management urging editors to play a stronger role in marketing affairs. The situation prompted me to create my first “miracle worker” self-scoring profile, which I subsequently introduced at an industry workshop. Back then, I listed ten diversified roles editors were being challenged to play. Under those circumstances, we had every right to consider ourselves to be miracle workers!

Today, especially in view of our website involvement, our list of roles clearly has expanded. But the key question is still the same. Are we willingly prepared to play each role to the hilt? To that end, here’s my newest miracle worker profile. For each role described, rate your capability. If your final score falls below 80, consider which factors inhibiting your performance can be improved.

Part I: For each of the ten roles below, rate your performance on a 1-7 basis, seven being best.

Magician. Consistently delivers top-quality content, even though frequently saddled with a restricted budget. SCORE: _____

Assassin. Candidly assesses editorial strengths and weaknesses vs. competition, then provides evaluation results to the marketing group. SCORE: ____

Marketing wizard. Periodically recommends special projects/supplements that have promising ad potential to marketing group. SCORE: ____

Technology expert. Rarely baffled by computer/website glitches. SCORE: ____

Graphic guru. Conjures up snazzy layout ideas. Also battles proposed design ideas by artists that are esthetically interesting but are less than reader friendly. SCORE: _____

Show business star. Always a star performer before an audience and constantly in demand to appear on industry programs. SCORE: _____

Teacher. Personally involved in training/providing feedback to all staff members. Accepts the reality that training is a never-ending task. SCORE: _____

Industry maven/statistician. Data-adept in terms of creating, interpreting and publishing surveys addressing ground-breaking issues. SCORE: _____

Customer service specialist. Adheres to a written policy describing productive ways to handle editorial complaints. SCORE: _____

Visible editorial contributor. This role is especially critical for the editor-in-chief whose contribution per issue rarely goes beyond an editorial column. Maximum score is possible only for editorial managers who always byline important features. SCORE: _____

Part II: For each of the two roles below, rate yourself on a 1-15 basis.

Webmaster in every sense of the word. Maintains a timely, fast-paced, easily navigated site. Capably traffics readers back and forth between e-newsletters, websites and publications. Constantly delivers exclusive website material. Evaluates strengths/weaknesses of own site vs. competitors. Somehow capably executes this role while fulfilling all other responsibilities in exemplary fashion. SCORE: _____

Management problem solver. Website involvement has heightened the importance of this role. Frequently, without benefit of any “upsizing,” editors regularly update websites, generate one or more e-newsletters and simultaneously deliver a regular publication. This accomplishment is indeed a miracle. SCORE: _____

Did I leave out any miracle-working roles? If so, please let me know. Maybe top management needs to know as well.

Howard Rauch is president of Editorial Solutions Inc., a consultancy focusing on B2B magazines. Rauch is the 2002 recipient of ASBPE’s Lifetime Achievement Award. You can contact him directly at howard@editsol.com.

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