What is an editorial board and why would you want one?
In B2B marketing, editorial boards are an approach to help marketers consistently create content that engages with the needs and interests of their audiences.
The board is a regular meeting between marketing, sales, content creators, senior and sometimes C-level stakeholders – all with an interest in creating content for your organisation. It’s also a great way to field information from people who have regular contact with existing and potential customers, and generally come up with content ideas.
Did you know that 60-70% of B2B content goes unused? Editorial boards are a great way of getting team buy-in and reducing content waste, because both sales and marketing have a hand in creating content.
And if you don’t have a content strategy?
Research has found that 68% of B2B brands don’t have a documented content marketing strategy. They know the value of content, know they need to be creating content on a regular basis, but they don’t have a documented content strategy as such.
We always encourage you to have a documented content strategy. But if you don’t have one: an editorial board is a way to have a governance process in place to make sure content is happening and that it is the right content.
With an editorial board you can:
- Generate content ideas
- Decide on content that fits the brand and audience’s needs
- Make sure content fits your brand’s themes
- Check that all of your audience personas are having content tailored to them
- Get content approved quickly and smoothly
- Stops random acts of content
- Review content that is and isn’t working
5 essential steps to running a successful editorial board
Here’s five rules to keep your editorial board in order:
1. Set a time and place
Keep a regular meeting slot for the editorial board. A thirty minute meeting or conference call once every two weeks is how we’ve run editorial boards here at Radix and with clients. You can run it more frequently than this, but any less and you’ll lose the ability to act quickly on ideas and information on how well different pieces of content are performing.
2. Bring your key players
During your meetings, ensure you have:
- A marketer: so that content ideas can be checked against strategy and message
- A head of sales or sales representative: they have the customer insight that will let you know what content is missing and what customers want or need
- A content writer: from the meeting they’ll be able to garner important background information to produce the content
And if they’re available:
- Senior and C-Level team members
Senior and C-Level team members are great to have on editorial board meetings. They’re the ones with the vision of where the organisation is going and what the customers are looking for at the highest level.
If your business relies heavily on partners, you may also want to bring in your head of alliances, as they’ll have insight to share from the partners who are selling your products.
3. Review content – find out what’s working and what isn’t
It’s really important to stay on track and review created content. You need to make sure it’s doing its job and you’re seeing value from it. The whole aim is to create content that is appreciated and useful – engage the audience so that it gets the results that you need.
An advantage of having these meetings is that you can act quickly on trends that are happening with your content and your customers.
4. Listen to the team
Editorial boards aren’t just for planning: they’re good for idea generation too, enabling participants to bounce ideas around. Ideas spawn ideas and you will end up with a richer variety of content, more so than if it was just one or two people coming up with ideas.
These are people who will have been reading around key topics, talking to customers and heading to events – so they have a lot of relevant current knowledge to draw upon.
5. Have an editorial calendar
An editorial calendar allows everyone involved in the editorial board to see what content ideas are being worked on and when they’re likely to be completed or if any issues have arisen. You can divide up the calendar by theme, so you can easily check if you’re producing content around all of your key themes, or if you’re focusing on one at the expense of others.
The calendar can be put together in something as simple and as easily accessed as a Google Sheet. It should be updated after each meeting and when progress with content has been made.
The calendar should at least show:
- Content ideas and how they fit to themes and personas
- What actions are being taken on the ideas
- Who is writing the content
- What format it is being written for
- Due date for completion
A typical editorial board meeting
If this isn’t the first meeting, you look at how the content you’ve previously produced is performing, and then look at the content ideas that you’ve got in your editorial calendar. Based on reports on how content is doing, you can prioritise content ideas accordingly, planning content for the next couple of weeks.
You can also look at anything that’s gotten stuck in the creation process. Ideas can be discussed and everyone can feedback into these ideas and either approve them or not. The calendar is updated after the meeting.
Do you have experience to share?
We’ve used editorial boards to good effect with our clients and for our own marketing, and find they really help to create a regular flow of original, high-quality and relevant content. If you run an editorial board for your organisation or your clients, we’d love to hear your experiences and tips for getting the most from them. Let us know in the comments.
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