Editorial Strategies Must Incorporate Business and Team Goals

In June a version of this article was published in two parts on Poppulo’s IC Matters blog. I’ve combined them here for your convenience, but please forgive a little bit of repetition between them.

Editorial Strategies Must Incorporate Business Goals

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An editorial strategy is a plan for how your team manages, uses, and measures content, contributors, channels, analytics, and feedback to support the company’s goals.

Understanding and aligning with business goals is one of five key components of an editorial strategy for internal communications. Remember:

  • Goals are strategic.
  • Tactics are the things you do to support those goals.

Editorial content must support business and corporate communications outcomes.

Two Sets of Goals

You must have clarity on at least two sets of goals before you design an editorial strategy:

  1. Business goals
  2. Team goals

Questions to ask about company goals:

  • What are the company’s stated goals?
  • Are the goals achievable?
  • Or are the goals aspirational?
  • Is the goal broad? Specific? Or purposefully vague?
  • Are the goals company-wide? Or are they specific to a department or region?

Questions to ask about your team’s goals:

  • What are they?
  • Who sets them?
  • How is success achieved?
  • How do they align with your personal goals?

For this part, I’ll stick with understanding how business goals can help design your editorial strategy.

Thought Exercise

Suppose you work for a company that, over the next three years, wants to improve outcomes for:

  • Sales in new geographic markets (e.g., China, India)
  • Innovation (to be seen as an innovative company)
  • Ensuring that client data is secure
  • Recruiting and retaining top talent

Knowing that these are your firm’s priorities, you now have some direction for your editorial strategy.

You will manage gobs of content, much of which will fall outside the company’s objectives. That’s par for the course.

  • But…but…you should put more work and emphasis on supporting company goals than other initiatives.

The bone of your editorial pursuits is dictated by company goals. The marrow could, for example, come in the form of an editorial series dedicated to each of the objectives. Imagine:

  • One article per month that provides sales tips on how to sell to clients in China. Or,
  • A six-part video series on how the Security team is building new tools to keep data out of the hands of criminals.
  • Learn more about how to create a sustainable editorial series in part four of this series.

Bonus: The content you create — an employee profile, for example — can then be shared with colleagues in Marketing and External Communications to support the “recruiting” and “innovation” goals. Marketing and PR can publish the same content to outside channels, like the company blog, LinkedIn, and third-party sites like The Muse to get the word out about how great the people are at your company (and look at all the innovative things they do!)

This is a broad outline of how you must consider business goals when designing your editorial strategy. The implementation is unique to each company, but the ideas are universally applicable.

Editorial Strategies Must Incorporate Your Team’s Goals

credit

An editorial strategy is a plan for how your team manages, uses, and measures content, contributors, channels, analytics, and feedback to support the company’s goals.

Understanding and aligning with business and team goals is one of five key components of an editorial strategy for internal communications. In another blog post, I address how your editorial strategy must incorporate business goals. Company goals and team goals must be wed to have a successful editorial strategy. Remember:

  • Goals are strategic.
  • Tactics are the things you do to support those goals.

Two Sets of Goals

You must have clarity on at least two sets of goals before you design an editorial strategy:

  1. Business goals
  2. Team goals

Questions to ask about company goals:

  • What are the company’s stated goals?
  • Are the goals achievable?
  • Or are the goals aspirational?
  • Is the goal broad? Specific? Or purposefully vague?
  • Are the goals company-wide? Or are they specific to a department or region?

Questions to ask about your team’s goals:

  • What are they?
  • Who sets them?
  • How is success achieved?
  • How do they align with your personal goals?

For this article, I’ll stick with understanding how team goals can help design your editorial strategy.

Thought Exercise

Suppose your team’s goals are to increase:

  • Volumetrics
  • Number of employee contributors to your platform
  • The return on investment for your work
  • Relevancy of content

Pro tip: Don’t forget to add your personal goals to the list!

Knowing that these are your team’s priorities, you now have some help in crafting your editorial strategy.

  • Remember: An editorial strategy is a long-term plan! Don’t get bogged down refining short-term tactics like “add closed captioning to all videos” or “redesign the intranet logo.”

Quantitative and qualitative measures need to be used to gauge your team’s success. And, of course, you should have benchmarks against which to mark progress (unless this is your first year doing X activity — then you’re establishing a baseline).

Quantitative measuring is straightforward. For example, you can use hard numbers to determine whether your newsletter’s open rates increase or decrease. If you can count it, it’s quantitative.

Qualitative measuring is tricky. For example, how do you know whether the content (e.g., videos, town halls, pantry posters, intranet articles) is relevant? One way is to conduct surveys, where you can get a mix of quantitative (yes/no answers) and qualitative (open-ended questions) feedback from employees. Another way is to host focus groups, which provide qualitative input.

Counting the number of employees who, say, submit photos to your digital signage campaign, or write content for the intranet is easy enough (goal: increase the number of contributors). Setting up a system in which employees can submit material, and then vetting, editing, approving, publishing, distributing, and measuring that material is a strategy within a strategy.

Regardless of the team goal, you must understand what your team is trying to achieve over the course of a one-, two-, or three-year horizon, so your editorial program can help get you there.

This is a broad outline of how you must consider team goals when designing your editorial strategy. The objectives and their implementation are unique to each group, but the idea that these goals must be considered when designing your editorial strategy is universally applicable.

In part three of this series, I’ll discuss how understanding (categorizing) your employees helps you craft the right content for your comms program.

If you want help with creating an editorial strategy for your team, reach out. I’d be happy to provide some advice and consultation. Email me at editorshaun@gmail.com.

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