So you’ve made a content marketing plan, recruited subject matter experts and internal writers, and managed to get buy-in from stakeholders. You’ve brainstormed lots of ideas for content, put it all in an editorial calendar that extends all the way through the end of the year, and now your content machine is rolling. But how do you keep it moving and on track, with so many other deadlines and priorities on your plate?
Content marketing involves a lot of moving pieces. And whether they are on your marketing team or spread throughout your company, there are probably a lot of people to manage, too. So how do you make sure things continue to run smoothly and everything you planned actually happens?
A regular editorial meeting can help keep your content on track with that strategy you developed. It can also help make sure your copy doesn’t get stalled and deadlines missed, and your content teams stays motivated and enthusiastic about your mission.
Here are some tips for how to make the most of your editorial meetings, along with some things to avoid.
Have meetings regularly and religiously
How often you have an editorial meeting really depends on how often you publish. A newsroom meets at least once, if not twice, daily. You’re a publisher now, so take a lesson from those print guys. Meet once a week, twice a week, once a month — whatever it takes to keep your publishing empire on track. Make sure you meet before deadlines, so you can discuss new ideas and assign them to the appropriate people. Remember, you can always adjust — if you start with a weekly meeting and feel it’s too frequent, scale back. But don’t just skip meetings, and don’t make them long and drawn-out. Limit the time — 30-60 minutes, if possible.
Get everyone involved
Make sure you are prepared with an agenda and updated editorial calendar, and then ensure that everyone gives an update. If you are creating content with a bunch of volunteers, you want them to really feel like they are part of the team, and that the meeting is worthwhile for them. If you truly want to get people involved, pass the baton. Let a different person run the meeting every time. I know, maybe it’s a little unconventional, but you will get a new perspective each time, and the same person doesn’t do all the talking.
Discuss what’s coming up
Depending on how often you publish, talk about what is on the plate for the next week, two weeks, or month, and the status of all of it. Then talk about the period following that. What is on the calendar for the upcoming quarter? Have people started their assignments? Are there problems? Do any of the ideas seem like failures that need to be replaced?
Discuss overall pain points
Find out where people are having problems with content, interviews, or ideas, and address them. Sometimes the group can help work through an idea that’s not fully fleshed out or a stalled story with a quick brainstorming session.
While you’re brainstorming, take 10 minutes during a meeting when you don’t have big problems to discuss or a particularly full agenda and refill the editorial calendar. And if you did this with just five minutes at the end of each meeting, think of the pipeline of ideas you would have in your editorial calendar! When you need some outside-the-box ideas to get the creative juices flowing, download this checklist for generating new content ideas.
Content creators, especially if they are volunteers, need motivation, and that’s where you come in. Part of your job as leader of your publishing world is content marketing cheerleader, so take the opportunity to tell the folks who help you how much you appreciate it and what a great job they do. Your gratitude will go a long way.
What not to do in your editorial meeting:
Let people rattle off their to-do lists
No one cares or wants to hear it. This meeting is to touch on highlights, trouble spots, and check on progress with upcoming calendar items. That’s it. No one needs to hear who Sally is going to call tomorrow.
Dissect a problem piece
The editorial meeting is the place to raise the flag that there is a problem with a particular piece of content, it’s not the place to fix it. The group might have a suggestion for fixing a story that has come to a dead end, but never take meeting time to walk through the entire piece and to dissect the problem in order to repair it.
Make it miserable
The editorial meeting shouldn’t be something people dread, so find a way to make it interesting, or maybe fun, or at least OK. Whether that’s food or a quick game of Nerf hoops or a joke to kick it off, make sure it’s something people don’t mind attending.
Make these meetings something your team finds useful, and maybe even entertaining, and you’ll have a valuable tool that will keep your content marketing strategy on course and driving your goals. To make the job even easier on your team, offer them these resources for creating quality content.