There are no shortcuts when it comes to creating high quality content. Marketers have come to the game relatively recently but newspapers and magazines have been producing articles and features for a very long time. They have developed editorial processes to ensure that whatever they publish is accurate, readable, consistent and engaging.
Here are six roles that have traditionally featured in the editorial process. Content marketers don’t need to replicate these positions, but they should ensure that each area of responsibility is covered.
The editor sets the editorial direction and tone of the content. They oversee operations and ensure a consistency of content commissioning across the board.
Depending on the size of the team, the editor may or may not be heavily (if at all) involved in the actual production of content but supervises and guides the process from idea to output.
At the sub-editing stage, a layer of gloss is added to the content. The sub-editor takes the raw copy and knocks it into shape. At its most basic level, this might be correcting typos or grammatical errors. At the other end of the scale, the sub-editor may have to rewrite sections, reorganise structure, or – if the text is unfixable – send the piece back to the writer.
Frequently, and especially if the subject matter is of a technical nature, the sub-editor will simplify and clarify the writing.
A new pair of eyes; one person can’t edit and proof. Depending on how busy the sub-editor has been, the text may have changed considerably since submission.
With these changes come fresh opportunities for errors and stylistic oddities. A skilful proofreader needs, naturally, a meticulous eye for detail. But they also need wide-ranging knowledge and the adaptability to check through content on a variety of subjects.
Images are a powerful tool but are often overlooked. Picture researchers source images to illustrate the content. In the world of social media sharing and the saturation of content at everyone’s fingertips, it is more important than ever for strong images to enable your content to stand out.
A picture researcher will look at a text and see beyond the obvious imagery to find an arresting, appealing and possibly intriguing image. They will also ensure that the image is cleared for use, either through the appropriate accreditation, buying the image rights, or utilising free-to-use stock images.
The role of the designer is perhaps less relevant for straight to web copy, but for anything else design is key. ‘User experience’ may be a term more typically found in digital, but it’s just as important in print.
Designers see the world differently and good ones can inject life into apparently lifeless content.
The publisher is a step away from the editorial process, and ensures that the business goals are being met.
The publisher’s role will include studying analytics and return on investment (ROI). Despite the distance between editorial and publishing, the analytics will inevitably have an impact on the content produced and the publisher will liaise with the editor – what works well, what doesn’t, what you should do more of/what to avoid.
Of course, content marketing doesn’t need to slavishly follow the procedures and positions of the newsroom. But it is worth ensuring that each of these roles is covered in your content production workflow – and by the appropriate person.
Is there someone with a flair for imagery who can elevate your content through a well-chosen photo? Who has the attention to detail and keen-eyed focus to sub a piece of writing into tip-top shape, ready for publishing?
And if you think your team is missing some part of this chain, get someone in who can help. You could turn to our Content Cloud, for example, which is full of experts in their field and offers access to hundreds of writers, designers, illustrators and more.