Why You Need a Managing Editor and What to Look For

February 1, 2012

managing editor

Last week, I wrote the first post in my content marketing blog about the importance of content marketing. This week, in conjunction with a couple of searches our recruiting team is working on, I’m writing about a role any expansion-stage company ramping up its content marketing efforts should consider hiring: a managing editor.

Good managing editors use a combination of editorial, project management, and strategic thinking skills to help your company create its own content factory. In the process, they help elevate companies’ brands and revenue by producing the kinds of collateral, Web content, thought leadership, and corporate communications that get the attention of clients, prospects, and the media.

Of course, not all managing editors are alike — it’s a widely used title that can translate into a variety of responsibilities, skill sets, and experience. Check out the job sites and you’ll find hundreds of postings for positions ranging from the entry level, where someone is needed to oversee the company newsletter, to the senior level, where the responsibilities include setting and executing a corporation’s content marketing strategy. Sometimes those who fall in the latter category are also called content strategists.

Regardless of your content needs, the right managing editor will be a valuable addition to any team. With that in mind, and with a nod to Steven R. Covey, here are some of the qualities to look for before extending the offer.

The Seven Habits of Highly Effective Managing Editors

Habit 1: Being Proactive

The best managing editors take a lot of initiative. They’re not only a source for new ideas, they work ahead to build a reservoir of evergreen content, and continuously look for new ways to present and distribute that content.


Habit 2: Beginning with the End in Mind


Understanding why you’re writing something before you write it may sound like a no-brainer, but it’s a step that’s often overlooked. Knowing what a piece of content is meant to accomplish, who it’s intended for, and what format it should take should always be part of the process.

Habit 3: Putting First Things First


Planning, prioritizing, and executing are part of the managing editor’s daily rhythm. Missing a beat can mean missing a client deadline.

Habit 4: Thinking Win-Win

Producing great content should never be a zero-sum game. When leveraged effectively, the value it can provide will more than offset the time and resources it took to create.


Habit 5: Seeking First to Understand, Then to Be Understood

One of a managing editor’s most valuable tools is his own ears. Being a good listener is the first step to understanding new ideas and being able to relay them to others.


Habit 6: Synergizing

Great content is rarely the result of just one person’s efforts. Capitalizing on the strengths of others will always lead to a better end product.

Habit 7: Sharpening the Saw

Whether regularly recruiting new freelancers, seeking out opportunities to connect with peers, or staying up on the latest trends, great managing editors always look for ways to improve.


Content Marketing Director

<strong>Kevin Cain</strong> is the Content Marketing Director for <a href="http://www.bluechipcommunication.com.au/">BlueChip Communication</a>, Australia's leading financial services communication firm. Before joining BlueChip, Kevin was the Director of Content Strategy for OpenView.