Revised Mind Set Needed to Cope with Editorial Job Demands

By Howard Rauch

Discussions about today’s editorial workload dilemma usually focus on how we split our time percentagewise between online and print. I followed the same line of thinking while creating an editorial performance survey for an upcoming ASBPE webinar. But early input via initial telephone brainstorming sessions with survey respondents suggests the need for another mind set.

For instance, consider the point raised by a group editorial director who has embraced “web first” content creation. He believes online and print activities must be blended into one fluid process. “We have not changed the way we gather information, write it for the web and then repurpose it for print,” he said. However, significant changes have been made in production procedures, especially how deadlines are organized.

Another brainstorming conversation mulled pros and cons of expedience as the answer to making job ends meet. For instance, I’ve noticed some sites relying moreso on straight reruns of press releases. The editors don’t try to hide the fact that content is far from original. “We select only the most relevant stuff for rerun,” says one online editor. “It doesn’t matter if we’re not the source in every case.” My view? WRONG!!! Our content-creation emphasis must be on exclusivity and enterprise. Does anyone not understand why that approach is mandated?

Finally, I’ve started asking respondents if they have “blog disease.” What’s that, you say? It pertains to sites where “blog” has been perceived as the magic word. Use it often and it will do wonders in terms of page views. Thus … I’ve come across many so-called “Industry Insight Blogs” that are merely a parade of rewritten press releases. On the other hand, I’ve seen some really keen blog sites packed with individual opinion pieces. Some content packages receive additional zip thanks to sizzling excerpts from recent chat room discussions.

As you can see, my current focus on editorial performance conditions is yielding a variety of thought-provoking insights. And the telephone brainstorming sessions are just getting started! It’s still not too late for you to weigh in on our current editorial performance dilemma. Because of an expected rescheduling of my June 17 webinar date, I am extending the deadline for additional performance questionnaire submissions and accompanying telephone brainstorming sessions. If interested in participating, send me an e-mail (howard@editsol.com) or call me at (201) 569-7714 for more details.

Last but not least, I leave you with this notable philosophy that emerged during an exchange with a really interesting guy: “Too many people think that B2B publishing involves a church and state relationship. They are wrong. Instead, B2B publishing is a heart and lungs affair. Both partners must be functioning properly; otherwise, the relationship will fail.”

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