The Digital Vibes


Changing face of journalism and PR
October 6, 2008, 12:21 pm
Filed under: Online publishing, Social Media | Tags: , , ,

There’s no doubt that PR and journalism are linked, therefore any changes in the media landscape would affect the PR practice also.

Mequoda recently had a post on how to hire a kickass online editor… good insights into a different pool of editors that PR folks will soon have to deal with:

9 personality traits of the perfect Online Managing Editor that can write great content, sell your products, and create buzz about your brand (yes, it’s only one job)

Ten years ago, marketers were responsible for positioning products to sell, while editors were focused on producing great content. Online, the two are one in the same. You can’t be a profitable online business if no one finds your content or is enticed to buy your products. This is why we say that every editor must also be a marketer.

But there are plenty of other traits that make up an Online Managing Editor superstar. Besides the classic skills like their attention to detail, strong grammar, project management and creativity, there are less obvious personality traits you need to think about.

First let’s talk about the personalities that don’t fit the kick-ass Online Managing Editor description:

The “Print Guy/Girl”: A strong print portfolio doesn’t transfer online as easily as you might think. Print editors don’t need to think about SEO or selling anything. Your Online Managing Editor needs to write every article with both of these things in mind.

The Casual 9-5er: In online publishing, nothing is 9-5 anymore. Business hours don’t close, just like your website doesn’t close. When sudden news arrives that is detrimental to your audience, you need someone who not only is available, but also is willing to go the extra mile in order to post the content and satisfy your audience.

The Ego-Centric Journalist: A journalist over-confident in his work is less likely to adapt to your style guide. Just the same, when your style guide changes or your company starts moving forward in new directions, your Online Managing Editor should embrace it, not resent it.

The Disciplinarian: Someone who reminds you of what their job entails and what they “won’t do” is not a superstar of anything. Online publishing is an ever-changing platform. Someone who joins your team in the fall, will likely be doing something slightly different by the springtime or summer. Adaptability to change is key.

On the other hand, here are the most desirable traits you will find in a kick-ass Online Managing Editor :

The Casual Marketer: Some editors just have marketing blood in them, and some need to be trained. Either way, an Online Managing Editor with copywriting experience or at least a background in information marketing will understand the relevance between great content and revenue potential.

The Go-Getter: Your Online Managing Editor should enthusiastically reach out to other Online Managing Editors and be able to find mutually beneficial relationships. Exchanging promotions, links and other trade-offs will expand your reach and build your audience. Your Online Managing Editor should understand that audience development is part of their job.

The People Person: Your Online Managing Editor is the voice of your articles and blogs and will be the personality of your brand. A strong desire to engage, both online and off, with your readers is a benefit that your audience will see right away.

The Sales-Driven Writer: This might depend on your compensation package, but an Online Managing Editor that is driven by sales is more likely to “write to sell”. A Online Managing Editor that will not accept bonuses dependent on how much they sell is not confident in their ability to do it.

The Social Media Junkie: The more in touch with social media your Online Managing Editor is, the more likely that folks in that space will trust their content, thus the more likely they will be to link to it and recommend it to others.

Question here. Larry Weber described the future of the marketing communications department in his book Marketing to the Social Web, with roles defined by paid and unpaid media. If PR has traditionally influenced unpaid media as a credible messenger to the masses, how then should PR deal with the marketing and sales-driven online editors that publishers should now be hiring?

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