What An Executive Blog Editor Needs to Know

newsman I have a list of URLs for projects that I would love to do, if I had nothing better to do. All of these projects are content marketing related. In some cases, I want to write about something like business travel. In other cases, I want to write product reviews. In all cases, these are commercial ventures, and have a revenue plan as well as a larger business goal in mind.

The thing is, I have no time to run any of these projects. None. I’m working over 80 hours a week, and these will require more attention than I can give them.

The problem gave me something to consider: what I’d want (and by extension, what I feel other people would want) in an executive editor for a blog. In this case, I’m thinking about retail or B2C or the consumer-facting.

Build it as a Business

Blogging isn’t always just writing whatever comes to mind, or riffing off other people’s posts. It can be built around solid business intentions, such as content marketing (writing posts that are intended to deliver action, or at least actionable information), thought leadership (ideal for consulting opportunities), or even media sales model (typical “write good stuff and put ads against it” thinking). For someone to run a blog project like this, they have to develop a simple set of filters.

  • Does this move my business goal forward?
  • What’s working? What’s not?
  • Can I isolate things that aren’t working and replace them with new experiments?
  • What purpose is the content serving?
  • How do I measure that success?

That’s simple enough. If you answer these questions faithfully every time you consider posting content, every time you consider adding some widget or functionality, every time you work off-blog to build promotional relationships, and in other business circumstances, you’ll find progress a bit more reasonable.

Be Merciless About Content

Write great work or don’t post it. Make decent videos or don’t post it. Create exceptional pieces that drive the business forward, or don’t bother.

There are plenty of personal blogs that roam about just fine, unchecked and all. We’re not talking about them. We’re talking about you as a blog’s executive editor, with a goal of empowering your audience with actionable information. Ask yourself every day whether your efforts are having results.

Promote Liberally, but Tastefully

“Write it and they will come” has been disproven. There are some great blogs out there who never see more than a few hundred people a day. In many cases, what’s often needed is just some old fashioned promotion and potential audience expansion effort. It’s not difficult, but it takes effort.

Always be looking for ways to connect more people to your blog. Find ways to tie-in to other, more successful blogs, perhaps through a guest post, and see if that changes your numbers. Think often about ways to grow your audience and then experiment with them. Leave nothing sacred. Are the titles of your posts boring? Are you using a messy screen layout? Have you built several ways for people to subscribe and pick up your work?

It all relates.

Look for New Revenue Models

Money from blogs doesn’t begin and end with finding ad sponsorships. There are several ways to build revenue. Beyond ads and affiliate marketing opportunities (and I think the latter offers so much potential in the coming years, you might also find ways to build a consulting practice around what you know. You might find crossover or tie-in opportunities that pay better than typical banner sales. You might discover that informational products sell like hot cakes on your site.

A great executive blog editor thinks about this all the time. How do I get more from the effort of blogging, and sometimes, when I say “more,” I mean “any.”

An Executive Editor Makes Decisions

There’s not a lot that can crush a blog too quickly. Build boundaries and relationships with your other business partners, if there are any, and then give the lion’s share of the decision making power to the person running the day to day of the blog. She’ll know better.

Decide up Front the Money Situation

If this is a blog intended to make money, be very clear with all potential business partners what the money exchange situations will be. Know before you spend a dime, and know before you make a dime. This kind of experience can really wreck it for some folks.

Find Great Writers And Develop Them

You have a sense of the work that needs doing. You know what’s important in a blog. How do you work with your writers? My recommendation is to praise and develop the ones who do good work. Be willing to give them advice on how better to craft a story. Give them a sense of how strong you need the piece to be.

By developing them, also give them a platform from which to grow. Make this their place to be “discovered,” and create your business accordingly. Meaning, don’t worry if your stars run off to launch their own blog projects, but instead, develop a deep bench. Make sense?

If it Ain’t Fun…

Decide how long to do this, and what your target setting goals will be on the way to that decision marker. Is it “Write for 3 months and determine the potential revenue between now and then is the kicker, or if its number of readers, or whatever you want to use as a killswitch. Decide whether the experience is fun, whether you want to keep doing it, what you’ll do to transition it or kill it, if it doesn’t worky.

Make sure you keep fun in mind. I wrote this about business, and I’m thinking from the perspective that an executive editor for a blog is here to serve a business purpose, but if that’s you and you’re not having fun, bail out. Be clear with your business partners about what would lead you to make that kind of decision. Be ready to talk through all the details of that with your partners.

What Have I Missed?

What else should an executive blog editor have for a skill on board? Where are these blog editors all doing their work? Can you see how this shifts if you do B2B or enterprise blogging? Can you see the similarities?

Photo credit, ChicagoEye

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  • http://danapoint.blogs.com ross

    Picking up on Julia (@mundusvivendi)’s comment above (and John McElhenney) about how to get readers to comment more (or to engage better)… does time-of-day influence blog readers’ inclination to leave comments?

    Has anyone seen research numbers on that? It’s easy to imagine that a reader’s mindset has an influence on her inclination to “engage” in the conversation. Mindsets are different when you’re jacked up on espresso early in a work day versus when you’re kicking back on a rainy Sunday night with the family.

    What about adding a “liking” tool to the comments (like the Facebook’s thumbs up or down) to add a crowdsourcing ranking to comments? Has this been done already and failed for some reason? One would hope that the most “engaging” comments would rise to the top of the list. Comment trending?

    Just riffing… (@rossteasley)

  • http://www.star-chuu.net star

    Hi Chris, I am glad that I’d visited your blog, This is an informative subject which I need to learn as a novice blogger. It helped me to be aware of the matters which occur around this community, simply to my visitors who had left their comments in every topic that I wrote. When I write my first post in my blog, it surely did not satisfy me, but in the long run, when I entered and visited different blogs and read their entries, it was awesome!!. I learned a lot from them. Every author has different ways to express their thoughts, to attract their readers. Anyway, these are truly helpful tips; it’ll assist me in writing good topics to attract my readers and I might be able to monetize it as other bloggers do. I hope you wouldn’t mind if I add you in my friend list for easy visit. Thanks and more power. BTW..I followed you in Twitter.

  • http://www.star-chuu.net star

    Hi Chris, I am glad that I’d visited your blog, This is an informative subject which I need to learn as a novice blogger. It helped me to be aware of the matters which occur around this community, simply to my visitors who had left their comments in every topic that I wrote. When I write my first post in my blog, it surely did not satisfy me, but in the long run, when I entered and visited different blogs and read their entries, it was awesome!!. I learned a lot from them. Every author has different ways to express their thoughts, to attract their readers. Anyway, these are truly helpful tips; it’ll assist me in writing good topics to attract my readers and I might be able to monetize it as other bloggers do. I hope you wouldn’t mind if I add you in my friend list for easy visit. Thanks and more power. BTW..I followed you in Twitter.

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  • http://readwriterachel.com Rachel

    Hi Chris,

    Wouldn’t these responsibilities fall more under “blog publisher” than “executive blog editor”? Since most of the work is on the advertising/revenue building side? Not bashing your ideas at all–in fact, I think this is a great set of rules for any blogger to follow as well as a possible job description that we may one day see people hired to do. But if this job does become commonplace, I hope we’d call it what it is: a publisher.

  • http://readwriterachel.com Rachel

    Hi Chris,

    Wouldn’t these responsibilities fall more under “blog publisher” than “executive blog editor”? Since most of the work is on the advertising/revenue building side? Not bashing your ideas at all–in fact, I think this is a great set of rules for any blogger to follow as well as a possible job description that we may one day see people hired to do. But if this job does become commonplace, I hope we’d call it what it is: a publisher.

  • http://www.agencyport.com/blog Mapo

    As a business blogger meaning I’m trying to build a discussion around the typical pain points of my clients and the types of services we provide, I don’t want to give away our strategy too much. I like my salepeople to have some “exclusives” when they go into a meeting. Am I stone-aged here?

  • http://mapoonline.blogspot.com Mason Power

    As a business blogger meaning I’m trying to build a discussion around the typical pain points of my clients and the types of services we provide, I don’t want to give away our strategy too much. I like my salepeople to have some “exclusives” when they go into a meeting. Am I stone-aged here?

  • http://veryofficialblog.com Shannnon Paul

    Chris, thank you for writing such a thorough post. I’ve been thinking and reading a lot about the money issue you highlight here and hope to fetch all the random thoughts I have at the moment to assemble them into something worth reading… more to come.

    Mason, I just wrote about that very thing. I use the metaphor of a recipe. Just because you give away your recipe doesn’t mean anyone can duplicate your cake — we as individuals are more important to the deliverables we produce than we often realize. Give away the recipe — people will still want *your* cake. Ideas are plentiful — it’s all about execution. Good execution is rare.

  • http://veryofficialblog.com Shannnon Paul

    Chris, thank you for writing such a thorough post. I’ve been thinking and reading a lot about the money issue you highlight here and hope to fetch all the random thoughts I have at the moment to assemble them into something worth reading… more to come.

    Mason, I just wrote about that very thing. I use the metaphor of a recipe. Just because you give away your recipe doesn’t mean anyone can duplicate your cake — we as individuals are more important to the deliverables we produce than we often realize. Give away the recipe — people will still want *your* cake. Ideas are plentiful — it’s all about execution. Good execution is rare.

  • http://www.seocopywriting.com Heather Lloyd-Martin

    Hi, Chris-

    Great post! You definitely outlined some main points any executive editor should consider.

    I would also add: Prepare editorial calendars and decide on a blogging schedule. So many people start out blogging five times a week because they feel like they *have* to – when actually, one excellent blog post, once a week, may serve them better. Having an editorial calendar allows people to clearly see their upcoming obligations and decide what frequency best meets their goals.

    I would also add that the executive editor should conduct keyphrase research, develop a keyword list and learn how to insert these keyphrases into their blog posts (plus teach their writers best practice SEO copywriting tactics, as well.)

    Thanks so much!

  • http://www.seocopywriting.com Heather Lloyd-Martin

    Hi, Chris-

    Great post! You definitely outlined some main points any executive editor should consider.

    I would also add: Prepare editorial calendars and decide on a blogging schedule. So many people start out blogging five times a week because they feel like they *have* to – when actually, one excellent blog post, once a week, may serve them better. Having an editorial calendar allows people to clearly see their upcoming obligations and decide what frequency best meets their goals.

    I would also add that the executive editor should conduct keyphrase research, develop a keyword list and learn how to insert these keyphrases into their blog posts (plus teach their writers best practice SEO copywriting tactics, as well.)

    Thanks so much!

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  • http://www.1918.com/ 1918

    This sounds like a manifesto for digital newspapers as much as bloggers.

    I’ll be passing this link out to all of my friends in the digital newspaper world.

  • http://www.1918.com Phil Buckley

    This sounds like a manifesto for digital newspapers as much as bloggers.

    I’ll be passing this link out to all of my friends in the digital newspaper world.

  • http://www.vorsight.com/blog Beth Avery

    Chris – this is a great article, and very helpful.

    I would love to see an expanded post on your site about your second point – Promote Liberally, but Tastefully.

    I understand that this won’t happen over night, but I’m looking for some ideas to help get me jump started.

    Thank you!

    Beth

  • http://www.vorsight.com/blog Beth Avery

    Chris – this is a great article, and very helpful.

    I would love to see an expanded post on your site about your second point – Promote Liberally, but Tastefully.

    I understand that this won’t happen over night, but I’m looking for some ideas to help get me jump started.

    Thank you!

    Beth

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  • http://www.orenhope.com Elisa Peimer

    Speaking of thought leadership, blogging is one of the things my partner and I have been doing to promote our new marketing and copywriting consulting business. Getting the word out via Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and general email word of mouth has been great, but being able to voice our opinions and experience has been fun and interesting as well. It gives us the opportunity to talk about our business in a whole new way. Sometimes it’s challenging to think of new topics that are interesting to both us and potentially to our audience, but it’s worth the effort.

  • http://www.orenhope.com Elisa Peimer

    Speaking of thought leadership, blogging is one of the things my partner and I have been doing to promote our new marketing and copywriting consulting business. Getting the word out via Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and general email word of mouth has been great, but being able to voice our opinions and experience has been fun and interesting as well. It gives us the opportunity to talk about our business in a whole new way. Sometimes it’s challenging to think of new topics that are interesting to both us and potentially to our audience, but it’s worth the effort.

  • http://www.orenhope.com Elisa Peimer

    Speaking of thought leadership, blogging is one of the things my partner and I have been doing to promote our new marketing and copywriting consulting business. Getting the word out via Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and general email word of mouth has been great, but being able to voice our opinions and experience has been fun and interesting as well. It gives us the opportunity to talk about our business in a whole new way. Sometimes it’s challenging to think of new topics that are interesting to both us and potentially to our audience, but it’s worth the effort.

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  • http://www.gordyo.wordpress.com Gordy

    You just gave me a lead on how to get on my blog. Started one one recently and can’t seem to keep up with it or know what to do next. you just became my blog mentor! Thanks.

  • http://www.gordyo.wordpress.com Gordy

    You just gave me a lead on how to get on my blog. Started one one recently and can’t seem to keep up with it or know what to do next. you just became my blog mentor! Thanks.

  • http://www.gordyo.wordpress.com Gordy

    You just gave me a lead on how to get on my blog. Started one one recently and can’t seem to keep up with it or know what to do next. you just became my blog mentor! Thanks.

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  • cb3r3al/editorchris

    thumbz up

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  • http://twitter.com/miamiolivia MiamiOlivia Fashion

    The best advice here is the bit on having a way to measure success. It probably is dollars, but maybe not. The key seems to be having a measurable goal to start out with. Sometimes we leave this integral part of our projects out.

  • http://www.rdpusa.com/ Executive Coach

    One of the major things a Blog Editor needs to take a look at is the time requirements. Blogging is highly misleading. Sure you can do it from home or on the go but it still takes a massive time schedule and dedication. It has been my experience most people fail online because they lack the ability to schedule their time effectively. This causes them to take for granted the computer will always be there and thus stuff never gets done.

    You mentioned you work 80 hours a week. I have found this to be extremely common in the more successful online business ventures. People who work from home often spend more time working than those who have a regular 9 to 5 job.

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  • http://www.ocexecutive.com/ OC Executive

    Key for us is rotate content between several of us. It keeps content fresh and keeps us fresh too!