The lines between editorial and advertising/marketing once strongly understood to never cross, seem to be intersecting more often than not. I can understand that. As a writer, I approach a source and ask nearly the same questions whether I am on assignment for a marketing manager or a magazine editor. That’s because I want to write good content. I am seeking expertise. When endorsements are needed, I am upfront about asking for that and always get permission to use the comment.
What magazine editors and marketing managers want is good content. I may be writing a magazine article, a company newsletter, or a blog post but I approach my assignments with equal vigor towards delivering good content that is useful and of interest to the audience. Still, there are some differences when writing for editors and marketing managers. Here are some of them.
Writing for editors
When editors hire a professional writer they are usually comfortable with letting the writer develop the topic. Because magazine editors often interview readers, talk with expert sources, read industry publications, and know industry suppliers they are alert to good ideas, scheduling, checking facts and writing style. They seem to know their audience better than most companies know their customers. They stay on top of industry news and have a chain of reliable sources to call on. They are deadline driven. Without content, they have no product. If the content needs to be tweaked the process is quick between editor and writer. Editors often acknowledge the writer’s work by giving her or him a byline.
Writing for marketing managers
Some marketing managers are still confused about what kind of content they want. They may have no clear idea of what content will generate interest. One way to close this gap is to conduct customer interviews. Or, look at what topics resonate with their audience on other media sources and social media.
They may be determined to only feature their product or team in the content that is created. Marketing managers often rely on the writer to come up with good ideas and find sources. Projects tend to take longer because there are more layers of approval needed. Priorities may shift. Content often isn’t at the top of the manager’s to-do list.
Writing for companies requires the writer to satisfy the customers’ thirst for information and the marketing manager’s desire for results. Writers are rarely acknowledged but generally earn more money writing for companies than for magazines.
Using content wisely
It depends on what the parties agree to, but it is standard that after the writer gets paid the magazine or company can do what they want with the content. It is often shared on social media sites. Magazines usually archive the information so it’s always available through their website. When somebody does a search on the site by topic, the information comes up.
Some companies never archive their newsletters and let good content rest only on their blogs. It may be hard to find when searching their sites. They rarely cross reference (link) to other existing, related content. Some magazines and some companies are getting better at building user-friendly searchable databases. Searchable content provides a great service to the customer or reader.
While at times editors and marketing managers may seem like they live on different planets, they both want to reach their goals – providing good content that attracts advertisers and subscribers or customers and investors. In other words, they want well-written content that reaches and satisfies their audience.