Why the editor-in-chief model elevates your content to a superior level.
There is a lot of outstanding media online.
We often get so bogged down with information overload that our default outlook is that the Internet is full of junk —- that it’s a rare occasion to discover exceptional content.
It may feel rare, but certain media producers do create special content that impresses viewers.
What does that superior content have that yours may not?
How can you elevate your online presence above the “Internet is full of junk” layer of fog and demonstrate that your voice offers clear value?
In this 9-minute episode, I discuss:
- Why assuming an editor-in-chief mindset helps you create better content and build stronger relationships with your audience.
- How a three-word note on my first grade report card influenced my career.
- The surprising way an editor-in-chief views mistakes.
- Taking responsibility for all of the communication you put out into the world.
- Your first assignment to help you develop the mindset of an editor-in-chief.
Listen to Editor-in-Chief below ...
The Show Notes
- 15 Copy Editing Tips That Can Transform Your Content into Persuasive and Shareable Works of Art
- The Lede: How to Learn From Your Mistakes
- What You Need to Know to Make a Living as a Blogger Right Now
- Ann Handley
Become the Editor-in-Chief of Your Own Digital Media Platform
Stefanie Flaxman: Hello there.
Thank you for joining me today — for pressing that play arrow on your device of choice.
I’m Stefanie Flaxman, and you are listening to Editor-in-Chief, a new audio broadcast that delivers the art of writing, updated for the digital age, to help you become a stronger media producer.
Today’s episode is going to talk about the mindset of an Editor-in-Chief, and how assuming that mindset helps you create better content and build stronger relationships with your audience.
But first, I want to let you know that Editor-in-Chief is brought to you by Authority Rainmaker, a carefully designed live educational experience that presents a complete and effective online marketing strategy to help you immediately accelerate your business.
Don’t miss the opportunity to see Dan Pink, Sally Hogshead, punk legend Henry Rollins, and many other incredible speakers live … not to mention — the secret sauce of it all: building real-world relationships with other attendees.
And this is extremely important, because before I joined Copyblogger, I worked online, all by myself, for six years, and one of the hardest parts of that was that no one in my offline life understood what I was passionate about. It was very isolating.
Authority Rainmaker is a unique experience because you finally get the chance to connect with other people who understand what you love to do — because they love it, too.
So get all the details right now at rainmaker.fm/event, and we will look forward to seeing you in Denver, Colorado this May.
Once again, that’s rainmaker.fm/event.
How A Three-Word Note on My First Grade Report Card Influenced My Career
Currently, I’m Copyblogger Media’s Editor-in-Chief, but I’d like you to take a trip back with me for a moment to first grade, specifically, when I got my first report card during my first marking period in first grade.
Like both my mother and father before me, I received a certain comment in the miscellaneous section of my report card.
I got average to good marks in all the subjects I was learning at that time, along with this extra note: Talks too much.
That’s fair enough. I didn’t understand that at certain times it was just more appropriate for me to shut my mouth. Now, in my adult life, I do understand the value of just shutting up.
I think I actually value listening more than talking now — and you’ll hear me say that I do — that there’s a time for talking and equally, if not more, important time for listening — but for my first grade self, it was simply “Talks too much.” — and that’s what my teacher needed to communicate to me and my parents.
She had every right to express that bit of criticism, in hope that I would change my behavior. But it was a blemish on an otherwise strong report card.
It was a behavioral error, or mistake that I had made — the comment pointed out that it would be preferably if I talked less.
And so, at a very young age, we learn to fear mistakes. We fear being wrong and criticized because it will be pointed out and that doesn’t feel so great.
That’s not what you want to be recognized for. Understandable.
I think the criticism would have been way more constructive, positive, and motivational if it said something like, “Stefanie may have a future career in communications,” or “May host her own podcast as an adult.”
But at the time, it was just “talks too much” — a mistake. Don’t make them, otherwise someone is going to call you out.
The Surprising Way an Editor-in-Chief Views Mistakes
Back to the present day. I’m an editor and I’m not terribly liked.
The creative writer who just wants to express herself, doesn’t want her creation marked up, altered, and corrected.
My argument as an editor is we must maintain a severe awareness of anything we produce, so that we are constantly positioned to revise and improve, for our own development as a person and as a creator.
When I change a document — either my own or another writer’s work — it’s not about whether the text is wrong or “not good” — a change is made because I see an opportunity to make a creation more exact and a more accurate representation of the original idea or concept.
Through this mindset, I hope to remove the stigma of mistakes being bad or feared. Mistakes are no big deal because, with the right outlook, we have a chance to revise them.
And if your intentions are authentic and useful, but no one is noticing your content, it may simply be because no one understands your ideas. Here is your opportunity to fine-tune them. You need to communicate clearly before you can form a bond with an audience.
Taking Responsibility for All of the Communication You Put Out into the World
When you assume the mindset of an Editor-in-Chief, you take responsibility for all of the communication that you put out into the world.
Ann Handley, Chief Content Officer at MarketingProfs, who is also a speaker at the Authority Rainmaker conference this May that I mentioned at the beginning of the show, describes content as: everything the light touches.
That may sound like a broad notion.
Let’s break it down, because it’s actually extremely practical.
Your First Assignment to Help You Develop the Mindset of an Editor-in-Chief
Here’s an assignment that focuses on email communication.
If you spend five more minutes on a email and that extra effort saves someone else five minutes, you’re using the content you produce to create a stronger bond with someone you communicate with.
And if you save them time because your communication is clear and concise, doesn’t waste their time, and helps them get an answer to a question their wondering about, then you become valuable to them.
The next time you draft an email, see if you can condense two sentences that say the same thing into one sentence — extracting the most valuable points from each and removing any repetitive words.
Can you be more specific with your word choice by removing a vague word and replacing it with a brief, but detailed, explanation.
You want to support the recipient of your email by providing guidance to the result that each of you want.
Move the conversation forward in a specific way by offering clear-cut ideas or remedies to a problem. Don’t just say something needs to be resolved. Propose an exact solution to the issue at hand.
Becoming the Editor-in-Chief of your digital media platform helps you build relationships because you deliver superior content no matter what you produce.
Your authority is reflected in everything you do — and those individual moments of superior communication contribute to breakthroughs later on.
That is all for today. I hope you have some new ideas to think about as you create your content and take ownership of it, and — in particular — when you write emails.
Let me know how it goes in the comment section of the blog post that accompanies this episode. And/or feel free to write a review or rate Editor-in-Chief on iTunes.
I’m Stefanie Flaxman. Thank you for listening to Editor-in-Chief. Now, go become one.
Clara Mathews says
I got the same comment on my report cards. Fortunately for me, my teachers sent me to the library as ‘punishment’. I should thank them for my love of reading and making want to be a writer.
Stefanie Flaxman says
Ha, you absolutely should! Right on, Clara! 🙂
Samar | Freelance Flyer says
I laughed out loud at “I’m an editor and I’m not terribly liked.” I’m a writer and I love having my work edited. The final piece is always so much better.
Yes, heavy editing makes me feel like I didn’t do a good job but on the flip side, I walk away a much better writer.
Awesome episode, Stefanie! Looking forward to more.
Stefanie Flaxman says
Very cool to hear you utilize having your writing edited as an opportunity to learn, Samar! Thank you for listening!
Brady Thomas says
Great piece!! I am a “traditional” manuscript and academic editor getting ready to branch out into an online forum as the “Editor in Chief” on politics and policy. I am so glad I found you guys!!!!! Brady
Stefanie Flaxman says
Good luck with your new venture, Brady! Happy to have you here! 🙂