I have a list of URLs for projects that I would love to do, if I had nothing better to do. All of these projects are content marketing related. In some cases, I want to write about something like business travel. In other cases, I want to write product reviews. In all cases, these are commercial ventures, and have a revenue plan as well as a larger business goal in mind.
The thing is, I have no time to run any of these projects. None. I’m working over 80 hours a week, and these will require more attention than I can give them.
The problem gave me something to consider: what I’d want (and by extension, what I feel other people would want) in an executive editor for a blog. In this case, I’m thinking about retail or B2C or the consumer-facting.
Build it as a Business
Blogging isn’t always just writing whatever comes to mind, or riffing off other people’s posts. It can be built around solid business intentions, such as content marketing (writing posts that are intended to deliver action, or at least actionable information), thought leadership (ideal for consulting opportunities), or even media sales model (typical “write good stuff and put ads against it” thinking). For someone to run a blog project like this, they have to develop a simple set of filters.
- Does this move my business goal forward?
- What’s working? What’s not?
- Can I isolate things that aren’t working and replace them with new experiments?
- What purpose is the content serving?
- How do I measure that success?
That’s simple enough. If you answer these questions faithfully every time you consider posting content, every time you consider adding some widget or functionality, every time you work off-blog to build promotional relationships, and in other business circumstances, you’ll find progress a bit more reasonable.
Be Merciless About Content
Write great work or don’t post it. Make decent videos or don’t post it. Create exceptional pieces that drive the business forward, or don’t bother.
There are plenty of personal blogs that roam about just fine, unchecked and all. We’re not talking about them. We’re talking about you as a blog’s executive editor, with a goal of empowering your audience with actionable information. Ask yourself every day whether your efforts are having results.
Promote Liberally, but Tastefully
“Write it and they will come” has been disproven. There are some great blogs out there who never see more than a few hundred people a day. In many cases, what’s often needed is just some old fashioned promotion and potential audience expansion effort. It’s not difficult, but it takes effort.
Always be looking for ways to connect more people to your blog. Find ways to tie-in to other, more successful blogs, perhaps through a guest post, and see if that changes your numbers. Think often about ways to grow your audience and then experiment with them. Leave nothing sacred. Are the titles of your posts boring? Are you using a messy screen layout? Have you built several ways for people to subscribe and pick up your work?
It all relates.
Look for New Revenue Models
Money from blogs doesn’t begin and end with finding ad sponsorships. There are several ways to build revenue. Beyond ads and affiliate marketing opportunities (and I think the latter offers so much potential in the coming years, you might also find ways to build a consulting practice around what you know. You might find crossover or tie-in opportunities that pay better than typical banner sales. You might discover that informational products sell like hot cakes on your site.
A great executive blog editor thinks about this all the time. How do I get more from the effort of blogging, and sometimes, when I say “more,” I mean “any.”
An Executive Editor Makes Decisions
There’s not a lot that can crush a blog too quickly. Build boundaries and relationships with your other business partners, if there are any, and then give the lion’s share of the decision making power to the person running the day to day of the blog. She’ll know better.
Decide up Front the Money Situation
If this is a blog intended to make money, be very clear with all potential business partners what the money exchange situations will be. Know before you spend a dime, and know before you make a dime. This kind of experience can really wreck it for some folks.
Find Great Writers And Develop Them
You have a sense of the work that needs doing. You know what’s important in a blog. How do you work with your writers? My recommendation is to praise and develop the ones who do good work. Be willing to give them advice on how better to craft a story. Give them a sense of how strong you need the piece to be.
By developing them, also give them a platform from which to grow. Make this their place to be “discovered,” and create your business accordingly. Meaning, don’t worry if your stars run off to launch their own blog projects, but instead, develop a deep bench. Make sense?
If it Ain’t Fun…
Decide how long to do this, and what your target setting goals will be on the way to that decision marker. Is it “Write for 3 months and determine the potential revenue between now and then is the kicker, or if its number of readers, or whatever you want to use as a killswitch. Decide whether the experience is fun, whether you want to keep doing it, what you’ll do to transition it or kill it, if it doesn’t worky.
Make sure you keep fun in mind. I wrote this about business, and I’m thinking from the perspective that an executive editor for a blog is here to serve a business purpose, but if that’s you and you’re not having fun, bail out. Be clear with your business partners about what would lead you to make that kind of decision. Be ready to talk through all the details of that with your partners.
What Have I Missed?
What else should an executive blog editor have for a skill on board? Where are these blog editors all doing their work? Can you see how this shifts if you do B2B or enterprise blogging? Can you see the similarities?
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