We’ve been running Managing Editor for a little over a year, and one of the most common things I hear from our readers is that they want to get together and talk through their big challenges. “How do I join the community?” people ask. “I’d love to have this conversation around a table. If you get all these people together in a room, I want to be there.”
We’re planning an in-person event for the future, but we want to start hanging out now! So we’ve decided to start things in the virtual world. We’re bringing together some of our favorite content marketers together online on Thursday, March 14. We’re calling this online event Managing Editor Live! Join us for one or two sessions or sign up for the full afternoon.
What to Expect
The event theme is “Management” — managing content and managing people.
We reached out to some good friends of ours — generous editors, practiced managers and innovative leaders — and asked them to share their best tips for running a modern content operation.
Here’s a preview of our lineup:
- Opening: “Welcome to Managing Editor Live!” with Managing Editor’s Lee Price and Mary Ellen Slayter
- “How to Hire Modern Marketers” with Jeff Perkins, Parkmobile CEO
- “How to Manage a Remote Content Team” with Lindsey Donner, Chief Content Officer for The Community Company
- “How to Give (and Receive!) Creative Feedback” with Devin Bramhall, Director of Marketing at Animalz
- “How to Run an Audience-Focused Editorial Team” with James daSilva, Senior Editor, SmartBrief
- “How to Show the ROI of Content to the C-Suite” with Laleh Hassibi, VP of Marketing, Datica
- “How to Be a Better Editor” with Jennifer McNally, CEO of Communication Counts
- Closing Keynote: “How to Change the Conversation about Content ROI” with Managing Editor’s Lee Price and Mary Ellen Slayter
Each session will include Q&A and discussion. You’ll have the chance to meet other members of the Managing Editor community and talk to your peers about how they’re approaching challenges like talking about content ROI, bringing together a remote team, and editing other people’s writing.
Sneak Peek: How to Be a Better Editor
As a sneak peek, we talked to editor Jennifer McNally, who is leading a session on how to be a better editor.
When you’re giving feedback to a writer, what’s the most important thing to keep in mind?
The most important thing when giving feedback to anyone — writer or otherwise — is the human element. I have managed teams from 1 to more than 100, and I have always tried to get to know the people I worked with. When you get to know the person, the human behind the “employee,” you start to learn their quirks as writers. And that’s how you will know if they’re having a bad day or are sick because you know them as a person AND a writer so you can spot little changes in their writing. And the advice our mothers gave us holds true when giving feedback: be kind to everyone.
How do you handle disagreements with writers?
Believe it or not, I haven’t had a lot of disagreements with writers, but the easiest way to reduce them is to come from a place of calm rationale. Understand that writers feel very proprietary over their writing, and don’t criticize THEM. Approach every situation with that human element in mind, be a good person and remember that you are working together to put out the best piece you can. And lastly, don’t edit emotionally; use a style guide or factual reasons for why you make the changes you need to make as an editor.
Do you edit differently for someone who is remote, versus a writer you can work with in person?
I don’t edit differently per se, but I do communicate differently with a remote worker versus someone in-person. So much can get lost in translation when you can’t see someone’s facial expressions or body language, so I feel like you need to work doubly hard to make sure your true meaning comes across when you can’t see someone. From that perspective, I’ll often try to over-communicate with remote workers, checking in over email and either video or phone, just to make sure they understand my edits and see if they have any questions.
What was your path to working in content marketing?
I came to content marketing from a winding path of traditional journalism at daily newspapers to online media and that’s where the lines blurred a bit. I actually worked at SmartBrief, where I experienced a tremendous amount of professional growth because it was a small company. I was able to transition over a dozen years from the copy desk to leading the content department and then working to formalize the company’s content marketing department. It was really a response to what SmartBrief’s clients and partners were asking for at the time.
What do you suggest for people who want to transition from writing into editing?
There are a number of “industry” groups out there to help with that transition. I’m a big believer in professional development, and I think the work that groups like ACES are doing is great. It’s important to build your own skills up through courses, but interacting with and networking with other like-minded people can’t be beat.
What are concrete skills people can work on to become better editors?
Read, read, read. And don’t read the same genre over and over again. Having a wide breadth of knowledge and words that you have read will help you as you edit complex pieces.
Along with reading, do your research. Find out what style guide you should be using for a particular industry and actually read it. Research the industry in which you want to be an editor. The more you know the terminology, the easier editing will be.
Let's keep the conversation going. Sign up to join us at Managing Editor Live!
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