Yikes! It's almost September. This year is flying by, but there are three things I look forward to each September:
- Back to school sales on all the office supplies.
- My wedding anniversary on the 30th.
- September issues of fashion magazines.
That last one is a bit of a needle scratch, especially if you’ve seen my generic wardrobe. My attraction to September issues – those big, fat, ad-laden editions of fashion magazines that hit the newsstands this time of year – goes back years. Part of it is the gorgeous photography, but mostly, I’ve just always wanted to be an editor-in-chief.
I mean, I was star struck when I met Tina Brown (Vanity Fair, The New Yorker, Daily Beast) at a conference a few years back!
Despite my years in corporate communications, my career role models have always been editors-in-chief. They are the people who set and protect the overall voice and point of view of a publication, who have the ultimate responsibility that all content says what it is supposed to say to the people it’s saying it to. They keep the medium on message. They are the public face of the publication (or e-zine or blog or podcast or Instagram feed or whatever channel they come up with tomorrow).
I’m a fan of people like Tina, Anna Wintour (American Vogue), Joanna Coles (Cosmopolitan, Marie Claire), Kim France (Lucky) Emmanuelle Alt (French Vogue). It’s not about the imperiousness of Miranda Priestly, the lampoon version in The Devil Wears Prada.
It's about being the keeper of the vision.
That means that as a business owner who markets with content, I actually am an editor-in-chief. And so are you. You are the keeper of your business’s vision through what and how you deliver to your clients. And also in how you talk about your business.
There are three fundamentals the Tinas, Annas, Joannas et al of the world know about creating a compelling message through content:
1) Live by an editorial calendar
It’s a plan that organizes and schedules all your content in all your channels and brings consistency and message clarity to communications. Your editorial calendar should only be as complex as you can keep up with. Consistency and focus get your message farther than tossing lots of random words into the wind.
2) Edit for a consistent voice
The things you say and the way you say them are as much of a brand element as your logo, color palette and fonts. For me that means reviewing content to assure that it delivers my core messages; offers up useful, actionable information; and just sounds like me. (There’s also the edit for clarity and correctness, but that’s a whole different story.)
3) It’s always about the audience
Never get so precious about your own message that you forget who you are delivering it to. Put yourself in the shoes of your audience and stay focused on what they need from you, not what information you can dump on them.
Is there more to creating strong content to support your business goals? Of course (and we touch on the many others every other Wednesday in this space). But these three things are at the core of a solid content program and will help you be the writer – and editor-in-chief – your business needs you to be.
In a world where endless content is flung at us 24/7, you have to be well said if you want your message to get through all that noise. You have to be the editor-in-chief of your business’s message.
So how will you channel your inner Anna Wintour today?