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managing editor

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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.


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Kevin Cain is responsible for setting and executing OpenView’s content marketing strategy.

  • Carol Mccarthy

    I agree wholeheartedly. And these days, it means using social media smartly to get your message across. It also means drilling down into data to provide context in stories and finding ways to evolve that one story into many views (lists, photo galleries, links, etc)
    Carol McCarthy
    applicant for managing editor, Open View

  • Stephanie Tilton

    Great advice, Kevin! Your post helps connect the dots when it comes to marketers becoming publishers. The managing editor can ensure that quality content mapping to key themes gets produced on a consistent basis. This editorial role is all the more critical for any company that needs to engage prospects over the course of a lengthy buying cycle until these prospective buyers are ready to talk to sales.

    • Kevin Cain

       Thanks for checking out my post, Stephanie!

  • Eugene Cassidy

    Kevin, these are terrific premises. Still I get the impression
    that even as the Western world moves more to personal media models, academia
    doesn’t teach them and businesses don’t quite yet buy the need for them.

    Ages 11 to 25 tilt to personal media on the street but the
    balance slides back to mass media at work or school.

    What I’m getting at is that blog posts, tweets, and social
    media postings done professionally are work. No one would think of asking an
    unschooled or unprepared person to squeeze a news story, television show or
    film into their daily or weekly workload as part of a content marketing strategy.

    It should be a priority, instead of a nice thing to have.

    I’ve been writing professionally for 25 years. How many
    times do you think I rewrote this comment?