Editorial boards are an old tradition at media and newspapers. In today’s digital marketing world, brands’ content editorial boards aren’t quite as influential but still serve a critical role in content marketing strategy. This post will explain why and how to set up central and local editorial boards.
It should not come as a surprise that the content marketing strategy has to stand side by side with an internal organizational transformation. In fact, today’s marketing organizations are barely designed to properly support a content marketing strategy. The content editorial board is the core of your transformation. The board has to handle all content-related requests and issues, has to define the distribution/amplification strategy and content measurement framework. In large organizations the editorial board has the key role of alignment and coordination between several division and content sources. Finally it has the task to finalize an internal content communication and distribution plan.
The board has to manage the so called content ecosystem: the combination of internal writers, internal and guest bloggers, agencies and freelances that will support your editorial efforts. External sources have to be educated and in some large firms certified, in order to be part of your ecosystem.
Without a plan, an editorial board and editorial calendar, nothing will happen.
The choice of content editorial board members depends on the central marketing organization, which can be complex or lean. In general, I suggest the following macro-areas of expertise:
- content & persona owners: they are responsible for content and personas. Functionally, the domain could be represented by strategic marketing reps, product managers or technology leads;
- channel/content distribution owners: they are expert of content and content distribution via different channels – email, social media, SEO, paid promotion, etc.
- geographies: it’s always interesting to invite one of more geographies to the content meetings. Advantage is two fold: getting early inputs from geos and learning about new content created at local level which might be “elevated” at global level
The editorial calendar is the tool of the content editorial board. It is much more than just a calendar with content assigned to dates. A good editorial calendar maps content production to the audience persona and the phases of the buyer journey. Ultimately, the editorial calendar is your most powerful tool as a content marketer. Without a plan, an editorial board and editorial calendar, nothing will happen.
Fact is, there should be two calendars in place: the (content) production and the distribution calendar. Here is where software like Content Marketing Platforms (CMPs) can make the difference and increase the board’s effectiveness. In absence of a proper CMP, production and distribution could be unified under the same spreadsheet.
While the central editorial team will lead content strategy at a global level, a local editorial board should be in place in each major country or geography to manage proper local content planning and distribution. The choice of editorial board members depends one more time on the local marketing organization. In general, I suggest the following members:
- A field marketer responsible for operations in that specific country;
- A digital marketing lead (or individual channel distribution leads – social media, web, newsletter, SEO – in larger organizations);
- A content lead (assuming that the country has a content lead);
- A strategic marketing lead (or a local product marketer)
- Members of the local content agency – if an agency is supporting local operations
The local editorial board will agree with the central team on target personas, lead the decision for adopting content created centrally, contract with local vendors, and engage members of the central team to secure a strong, continuous dialogue.