Building Your B2B Marketing Team: The Managing Editor Role

When you think of a “managing editor” you likely think of someone at a newspaper, maybe running the bullpen and yelling at the journalists. The role is traditionally to uphold editorial guidelines and approve stories for print or web copy, and to lead the day-to-day operations of the editorial team. In short, they call the shots.
But if you’ve been paying attention to new developments in the marketing world, you’ll have noticed the role increasingly popping up in new, unexpected places. Specifically, at B2B companies where managing editors are being brought on board to direct the creation, distribution, and promotion of content, including blog posts, reports, case studies, infographics, videos, webinars, and more.

At OpenView, we have helped source and fill a number of these roles for our portfolio companies. The primary goal is for the managing editor to utilize their newsroom-style leadership experience to manage the organization’s content strategy and content team. That includes overseeing the creation and distribution of high-quality, targeted content, and managing the internal and external resources associated with those efforts. Additional responsibilities include identifying and working with industry influencers to create content, optimizing content for search engines, and utilizing social media and other vehicles to promote that content. By leveraging previous online marketing, project management, and/or editorial experience, he or she plays a crucial role in helping the company generate and nurture leads with compelling content.

Can Journalistic Skills Really Translate to B2B?

So what happens when you transplant the traditional managing editor role into the B2B world, where it’s less about being the first to publish a breaking story, and more about managing a team of junior content marketers whose goal is to generate leads and not purely pageviews?
According to Dan Lyons (, who underwent the transition from Editor in Chief at ReadWrite to HubSpot in 2013, it’s really a natural progression. “What makes a good managing editor in journalism also applies to corporate. They need to a) understand the audience; b) know how to tell a story; c) know how to spot a good topic; and d) be really good at organization, keeping trains running on time.”
As expected, this role has a significant editing component, which is where people with this kind of background typically excel. But it’s their art of storytelling that usually wins over corporate marketing leaders.

One Mistake to Avoid

Plenty of great candidates are out there, but if you’re not careful about your definition and expectations for the role, you can find yourself chasing a “purple squirrel” (an ideal candidate who doesn’t exist). In this case, it’s looking for someone who brings a hybrid of traditional managing editor and demand generation expertise. Most managing editors are not deeply rooted in online marketing or lead generation, so expect a learning curve.

Examples in Action

One person who seems to have made an excellent transition from journalism to corporate is LinkedIn’s Daniel Roth. Roth, a former reporter at Forbes and Fortune, is now the Executive Editor at LinkedIn (read more about his move here).
In his role, Roth oversees the editorial team that manages the following:

  • Pulse, LinkedIn’s groundbreaking social professional news product (formerly LinkedIn Today)
  • The LinkedIn Influencer program, publishing content from 500 of the world’s top thought leaders (from Apple’s Angela Ahrendts to Marsh’s Peter Zaffino)
  • All other areas of original and curated content.

Other good profiles are:

Corey-Eridon-LinkedIn-570x687Sample Job Description

The Sr. Managing Editor, Content Marketing position is a strategic position, reporting directly to the VP of Business Development. You will also have significant visibility and interaction with other members of the [company name] leadership team. We seek an individual who shares our passion for creative problem solving, who’s able to work collaboratively with various teams in a fast-paced startup environment, and who’s able to get things done to ensure customer and company success are achieved.
Partner with Marketing Demand Generation and Community & Events leaders to develop a holistic content marketing strategy and execute against a quarterly marketing content calendar in order to meet content quotas and achieve conversion goals.

  • Managing the [company name] content marketing strategy and processes, including the day-to-day editorial functions of the firm’s content marketing effort
  • Manage and optimize the content creation and content curation processes
  • Work with external copywriters on the creation of case studies and/or reports on a monthly basis
  • Support the creation of content by working with the marketing team and other [company name] employees
  • Manage the flow of “how-to” and/or thought leadership content
  • Plan the next type of content to be created (i.e. white papers, presentations, etc.)
  • Edit and maintain an error free, SEO-optimized corporate blog site
  • Develop and maintain a quality control process for each type of content
  • Develop content metrics and track content performance
  • Developing a comprehensive content strategy that is aligned with [company name]’s target buyers and focused on driving conversions
  • Creating the company’s editorial calendar and ensuring that all content is published on time and within budget
  • Managing a team of in-house and freelance resources, including writers and graphic designers
  • Overseeing the creation of articles, blog posts, eBooks, reports, case studies, videos, webinars, and other types of content
  • Overseeing the delivery of all content through the company’s website, social media, direct and paid marketing channels, and other campaigns
  • Establishing and continually optimizing the processes necessary for efficient content creation and distribution
  • Managing the company’s error free, SEO-optimized website
  • Enhancing the company’s brand by working with influencers, creating a strong online community, and finding opportunities to place content for maximum visibility
  • Measuring and reporting on the impact of the company’s content marketing efforts using Google Analytics and other Web analytics tools

Photo by: Markus Spiske

Rebecca Churt
Rebecca Churt
Head of Marketing

Rebecca Churt is Head of Marketing at TrueMotion. She was previously a Growth Strategist at OpenView and spent five years at HubSpot.
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