Digital marketing agencies have always been forced to adapt.
Whether it be Google’s ever-changing algorithms or the Sysiphian trial of keeping up with online trends, being a digital agency means building upon a very unsteady, shifting foundation. Because of this, the jobs within a digital agency have also been altered over time.
For some, this means the rise of the “Jack of all Trades” mentality as more and more people in digital spaces are forced to become specialists in SEO, PPC, content marketing and more to stay viably employable. For others, this has meant completely uprooting their understanding of digital, as the landscape is now unrecognisable in comparison to when they first learned their craft. However, what we are here to talk about today is a third option, and that comes in the form of other specialties and fields seeping into the framework of the traditional digital agency. Specifically, we’re here to talk about the role of the content editor.
Working as the head editor for a digital agency for the past few years, it has been surprising to me just how few companies have taken the plunge and hired wordsmiths to manage their content production. However, before we get into the benefits of having an editor, let’s take a look at how content editors ended up working for digital agencies in the first place.
First Thing’s First: What Do Content Editors Traditionally Do?
As the name suggests, content editors, well, edit content. When you think of editors, you think of people that fix typos and grammatical errors, provide notes on the work of writers and creators, and make changes to pieces in order to provide consumers/clients with the highest quality end product possible. However, while this may be a portion of being an editor, it isn’t the full story.
Prior to the internet becoming the dominating force it is today, being the editor of a company was seen as a much more esteemed role, and one that often came with a level of gravitas and power. After all, an editor is the siphon through which all content must pass through before it is ready for consumption by the masses. In some cases, with magazines and newspapers acting as many people’s primary news outlet, an editor’s changes could alter the perception of a population regarding particular subjects.
In short, content editors manage writing teams, push content in certain directions and ensure that each disparate piece of writing comes together into a cohesive whole, including factors such as design, presentation and development of ideas. However, while this role had remained relatively stable since the dawn of mass-publishing, the impact of the internet eventually caught up.
How Did Editors End Up in Digital?
The slow but inevitable shift in zeitgeist from traditional media outlets to the online world changed everything for those in the journalistic world. On one hand, the dwindling number of active physical publications and the lack of funding for many of their online counterparts made finding stable employment rather difficult for content editors. Plus, with the online publications developing very different rules, trends and communities when compared to their offline equivalents, editors were now editing for an entirely different audience with its own criteria.
However, on the other hand, you had a new batch of writers and content editors that had grown up online, and with content being the driving force behind the internet and, in turn, fields like digital marketing, it truly was a match made in heaven. So, once search engines began incentivising high-quality content as a ranking factor, the role of the digital agency content editor was born.
The Benefits of Having a Content Editor as a Digital Agency
While the idea of having an in-house editor as a digital agency may seem like a costly, unnecessary endeavour to some, this couldn’t be further from the truth. After all, as the now-cliche agency saying goes, “content is king”, and an agency that doesn’t have a means of producing high-quality content for their clients isn’t going to last.
This issue often leads to agencies outsourcing their content to other agencies. While this is certainly an effective way of dealing with an inability to produce content yourself, it does have some major drawbacks. For one, it means you don’t have full control over the content-generation process. So, for each request or change your client has, the amount of back and forth between you, your client, and your content agency can get convoluted very quickly.
This method also, in most cases, requires you to pay your competition for a service that you could easily take advantage of with some slight tweaking to your agency. After all, if you’re going to another business to manage your content, what’s stopping you from becoming the content provider yourself? An experienced editor will allow you to broaden your horizons, all while lowering outsourced expenses and increasing the quality of your output.
Other benefits of hiring a content editor include:
- Having the skillset required to provide your customers with engaging content and branding.
- The ability to up the quality of your own advertising and copy, thereby drawing in more clients.
- Having a mediator between your company and freelance writers, which will allow you to increase your output over time without having to pay in-house staff wages.
- The peace of mind that comes with having an expert on-hand to check work prior to it being seen by clients.
- Easy on-site blogging, and being able to make informed decisions regarding web copy quickly without the need for external assistance.
- Future-proof your business. After all, while trends in digital may come and go, content is the one thing that is likely to stay relevant forever.
While the list could certainly go on, the point I’m trying to make is simple: content is important, and your business should act accordingly. A defined content editor may not be the right fit for all digital agencies, but if you’re looking for a way to improve your client services and remain competitive within the digital landscape, hiring a content editor is an excellent place to start.