The creation of online content begins and ends with the editorial meeting. In the truest sense of the word. The editorial meeting should not only serve the definition and planning of topics for future content items but also the performance analysis of already published content. At the same time, the responsible persons, processes, and communication channels should be taken into consideration. This can only be achieved with efficient meeting management. We'll show you how.
When you want to work creatively, you need freedom. However, in the context of a meeting, freedom often brings about inefficiency. Then the editorial meeting, which was scheduled to last two hours, suddenly lasts four hours. And what is discussed from hour three onwards often does not concern topics for a blog article rather than the strategic orientation of the entire company. That's why it's especially important in creative processes to provide a structure that creates space for free thinking but also respects time and task management. The following tips can be helpful in order to achieve that goal:
1. Define processes and responsibilities in advance
A clearly pre-defined creation, revision, and approval process, including the definition and assignment of the necessary roles, is a prerequisite for an efficient editorial meeting. In any case, define the task ownership in these areas:
- Editorial team and/or revenue team
Who takes the lead for editorial planning and coordination? Who should be in charge (internal departments, external agencies, editors, graphics, etc.)?
- Content creation
Based on the example of an online blog: Who writes the articles? Is there a designated content manager? And: Where and from whom is the knowledge obtained?
- Content translation
In which languages should content be published? Who is in charge of the translation?
- Selection of image material
Who researches visuals for textual publications? From which pool is the material taken?
- Reviews and approvals
Who checks texts for correctness in terms of spelling and grammar on the one hand, and content on the other? Who gives the final approval?
- Content input
On which online media are content items published? Who brings the content into the appropriate format and uploads it?
- Content distribution
Where is the content advertised (e.g. Facebook, LinkedIn, Xing, etc.)? Who writes the captions and posts the content?
2. Define meeting goals and send out an agenda
The editorial meeting should serve to determine topics of future content that correspond to the findings of the performance analysis of past content. Against this background, previously generated and collected ideas as well as questions from customers are discussed and evaluated. The content calendar determines when which content items are published, which results in deadlines for the following elements:
- Obtaining or providing the necessary input for the publication
- Transmission of the first draft
- Feedback loops and approvals
- Completion of the content
Ensure that all participants have a common understanding of the goals and meeting points. Speaking of – pay particular attention to who you invite to attend the editorial meeting. The participants should consist of both sales and marketing staff. Together they form the so-called revenue team.
Bring as many people to the table as necessary, but as few as possible. Because two things are clear:
- The more people you invite, the more diverse the ideas will be.
- Too many cooks spoil the porridge. If the invitation policy fails, it is to the detriment of both the efficiency and effectiveness of the editorial meeting.
In addition: The members of the revenue team, especially the sales staff, should prepare a list of the most important and most frequent questions from customers in advance in order to be able to take this input into account in the content planning in the best possible way. This list is the basis of a good editorial meeting.
3. Stick to a clear structure
According to our project experience, the following structure or agenda for the editorial meeting - not considering industry-specific peculiarities – has proven its worth:
- Analysis and interpretation of performance reports
- Definition of events, anniversaries and world days in the next 6 months
- Analysis of the most frequent customer questions as well as the derivation of topics for content pieces
- Definition of the relevant topic clusters for a planning horizon of 3 months
- Breakdown of clusters in articles and planning integration in the content calendar
- Definition of content offers and e-mails
- Planning of information retrieval for the scheduled articles (interview appointments with internal experts, etc.)
- Discussion of how the blog posts can be taken up on the social channels
4. Create enough lead time for preparation
As in many other areas, the same applies here: Work that you save in advance often catches up with you afterward. So communicate the dates for the editorial meetings with sufficient lead time and clarify to what extent the participants can prepare for them.
5. Set up an infrastructure that optimally supports your processes
The success of your editorial work depends on the technical infrastructure behind it. With professional tools, you can achieve considerable efficiency gains in the editorial process and eliminate susceptibility to errors. In our client work we use the following platforms and tools:
- Google Drive
A team file, which can be accessed by all process participants, contains all content that is created and all inputs that are necessary for it. This makes information easily accessible and the transmission of content via link practical.
- Content calendar
The content calendar has the form of a Google sheet and serves as an overview for all process participants. For each content item, it defines the content and format as well as responsibilities and timings.
- Monday (alternatively Asana or Trello)
Monday is a web-based project management software that helps to clearly map and track editorial processes on a board. Each item in the Content Calendar appears in the form of a column on the Monday board, depending on the view selected. The board is used to define specific tasks and assign them to the responsible parties. By updating the status, all process participants can see at any time which phases an item is in and/or whether and which to-dos exist for the respective person.
As you can see, there is a lot to consider in the run-up to an efficient editorial meeting. This is important so that the people in the meeting can keep their heads clear for what ultimately counts: Creative content with substance and relevance that creates real added value for the target group and answer the questions of potential customers.
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