Chief Editor, Follow Your Buyer
You might know me as a writer, coach, content marketer, dog lover, editor, golfer, sales strategist, Diet Coke enthusiast, speaker, Allegheny alum, project manager, feminist, networker, or St. Louis Cardinals fan.
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We get dozens of requests for our editorial calendars from vendors and contributors throughout the year. Our response (that we don't have editorial calendars) might seem perplexing.
You see, editorial calendars were an absolute necessity in the old days when print was the king of the B2B publishing world. Each issue of the print magazine we still publish, Life Science Leader, requires about three months of lead time.
Print takes long-term planning. That was then, and the now is digital. We reach many more readers beyond print, and that digital reach has drastically changed editorial capabilities.
Back when we produced annual editorial calendars, there was a lot of guesswork involved. Today though, editors don’t have to be fortune-tellers. Instead, they can use reader engagement data to see what is relevant and trending. Editors don't have to guess in October what they should cover the following August, now they can react to a new regulation or advancement almost instantaneously.
The old-school editorial calendar model was often a product of throwing editors in a room with sales reps for a few hours and seeing what came out of it. That closed-door process looks something like this: the sales team would review their categories of advertisers, and editors would plan to cover a topic related to those categories a few times a year. Notice what was missing in that conversation? The reader, your customer!
Yes, it’s easier for us to sell ads around an editorial calendar with vendor-focused content, but that’s not the kind of content that benefits our readers. Plus, there are plenty of reasons why we don’t think vendors should choose ad placements based on editorial topics alone:
Creating editorial calendars built around vendors can suggest editors are for sale. And, at our company, they aren’t. To us, an editor’s job is to build a highly engaged audience of like-minded readers. To do that they have to be deeply in tune with what those readers care about (not with what our strategic partners would like them to write about). Our editors publish content based on the conversations they have with their readers, feedback from their editorial board members, and industry research. This reader-editor feedback loop is ongoing, which means their coverage focus constantly evolves.
All of that said, editors do have a list of editorial themes that they update regularly. Fortunately, these themes act as guides so that our editors are no longer limited by working off an editorial calendar. We produce editorial that specifically speaks to the pain points of our readers, and we suggest you plan your content strategy the same way – by writing about what your customers care about, not about your products and services.
We will not be great by what we accomplish, but by what we help others accomplish.How does this apply to your work as a B2B marketer?
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Learning to follow your buyer is a change in mindset
A transition from selling buyers on what you do to helping them accomplish what they do.