So just to recap, we’ve established that there’s a difference between “creating” content and “engineering” content and reviewed some ways to find the content that our audience wants. Now we have to do arguably the most important piece of our content marketing plan (and most commonly misused words in marketing): editorial.
Establishing Your Editorial Mission
Your editorial mission is the cornerstone of your content marketing efforts. It will establish who are you talking to, what you are talking about, and how you are talking about it. You’ve already meticulously studied your audience to find the content they want, now think very hard about how your marketing is going to deliver on that need. Make it about their passion. Try to boil your editorial mission into a singular statement if you can – it will allow you to editorialize around a broader range of topics and address a larger set of audience needs.
An excellent example of this is L’Oreal’s Makeup.com. They have set their focus exclusively on their audience and established a mission to “…encourage curiosity about, and passion for, makeup”. This allows them to address a wide range of editorial channels and have an extremely vibrant conversation with their audience around beauty. With a singular vision and mission for their platform, they address topics ranging from products to trends to tips and advice – and it’s all content the audience wants.
Finding Your Editorial Voice
Once you have a mission, you have to find your voice. You have determined what you are going to talk about it, but now you are tasked with finding out how you are going to do that. One of the most important pieces in establishing your editorial voice is distinguishing your editorial verticals. This is going to determine the breadth and flexibility of your conversation with the audience up front. It will also dictate the relevancy and the organization of that conversation.
After establishing your editorial verticals, you’ll need to further organize your conversation by developing a taxonomy for your content. Taxonomy is a word that gets thrown around a lot in the marketing world, especially in search, but in this sense it literally refers to the architecture and organization of the content you are going to publish. Data from search can really help define all the topics, categories, and sub categories for your content, but there is still a creative element that comes into play in building out a taxonomy. Think about 20% magic and about 80% logic.
Image from Ignition Consulting Group
Lastly, you need to think about the tone of your content. Are you speaking from a position of authority because your content is meant to inform? Or are you speaking emotively because your content is meant to inspire. Or are you doing both? This is probably one of the hardest parts to get right as it can differ between channel or piece of content. Ultimately, maintaining a focus on the audience will guide you in the right path and help you establish the tone of your content and help it evolve over time.
Building Your Editorial Flow
The last part of editorial that you need to address (or that I’m going to address in this article) comes down to the actual publishing piece of your content marketing program. You have to decide on piece of content by piece of content basis what you are trying to accomplish, what form the content will take (long-form, short-form, video, etc.), from whom the content is coming, when it goes live, and where it lives.
Ultimately, it’s best to have someone with a journalistic background to manage your editorial flow. There is a great deal of nuance between all of those questions above and someone who has worked as an editor in the past will understand those nuances. They will be able to address each of them well and ensure that your content is quality and constant. And those two factors will either make or break your efforts because no one wants to read bad content and once you turn on the editorial flow, you cannot turn it off.