Amanda Clark, President and Editor-in-Chief of Grammar Chic Inc., a professional content writing company based in Charlotte, N.C., discussed the importance of editing, fact-checking and overall editorial due diligence with Engage Magazine.
ScribbleLive: Do content marketing efforts need to involve an editor, why or why not?
Amanda Clark: Yes, any type of written material that is created for public consumption on the Internet needs to be reviewed in order to ensure it adheres to brand standards and mission.
SL: Do marketers need to understand there is a difference with content marketing and that it’s not just writing jingles and ad copy? How is content marketing different?
AC: Content marketing isn’t constant promotion — it’s about educating and interacting with a customer or prospect. Content marketing should follow an 80/20 rule. Eighty percent of the time you should be educating your audience, 20 percent of the time (or less) you should be talking about yourself.
#Fails: The Stupidest Social Media Blunders
by Bloomberg News via YouTube
SL: How do content marketers ensure they have quality content?
AC: If you are creating a content marketing strategy for a client, you must first understand that client and their message in order to ensure quality.
SL: Should content marketing be held to the same standards as the news industry uses?
AC: Frankly, I think there is a serious lack of quality in the news industry — so yes, content marketers should strive to be better than their news industry counterparts. The bar is set pretty low if we are considering media outlets as publishers.
SL: Should there be a process in place to prevent errors, to fact-check, etc? Are there any steps that you recommend in this regard?
AC: First, if you are sharing information you need to make sure that the info you share comes from a verifiable and dependable source. You also probably need to make sure that there are several unbiased third parties who are either curating or creating content — I would [not] go on one person’s hearsay alone. Secondly, I believe that receiving client approval and a final sign off on anything that is published on their behalf is something that is necessary.
SL: What should the editor’s role be within a content marketing department?
AC: An editor should be involved in client strategy and understand the content development process. The editor should be a point person on the content team and have a clear understanding of the client’s brand and messaging — otherwise, they will not have the opportunity to possibly catch an issue prior to it going public.
Social media #fails of 2013
by CNNMoney via YouTube
SL: Why are editors important to the content marketing creation process?
AC: Because they need to know the strategy behind the message that is being created on a client’s behalf. If they do not know this, they cannot catch or identify issues in the review process.
SL: How do you convince your company’s leadership to invest in an editor or experts at content marketing? How do you prove the value of the investment into these positions?
AC: I personally believe that outsourcing a content marketing function is the best solution for a small or medium-sized business considering this avenue. Outsourcing allows a business to get a dedicated marketing team that has a knowledge of how effective content marketing strategy is implemented and works to truly understand a brand’s image and messaging.
This is compared to tasking an office manager with the work or adding to the workload of a marketing director who can be more effective in other areas. Plus, hiring an outsourced team is usually less expensive than adding to your staff and increasing overhead.
SL: When it comes to the editorial process — content creation from start to finish — is there a process that you recommend marketers follow to ensure they uphold to good standards/avoid mistakes?
AC: Once content is created there should always be a review and approval process internally before it is sent to a client. Then the client should have the opportunity to request revisions or give a final sign off.
SL: How do you avoid such major gaffes like Delta and the giraffe photo, the #whyIstayed hashtag goof, or other such disasters?
AC: By understanding what is trending on social media or in the news and why. You should never just Tweet something because you think a hashtag is cool without first understanding WHY that hashtag is trending or popular. Same goes with sharing a Facebook status or retweeting a news story — when you aren’t clicking links or truly looking to understand if something is true, relevant or valid — this is where you run into PR nightmares.
SL: Any good examples of companies using an editorial process or editor that works well that you can think of?
AC: Whole Foods is a great example, so is American Express. They are always on-point with the message.
SL: Any examples of companies or brands where they should have used or needed an editor?
AC: The Dignity Project, a charity that helps children in Africa, posted this Tweet after author J.K. Rowling gave a million pounds to a pro-UK campaign called ‘Better together’… oops.