Your Magazine Needs an Editorial Board - Here's Why

Content Strategy

As the publisher of a brand magazine, you target a niche audience. Your readers may be employees across multiple locations, university alumni or people looking for specific information about health and wellness. In addition to readers, there are a host of other stakeholders—donors, executives, board members—whom you need to keep in mind for a successful magazine. Making sure your magazine addresses the varied (and sometimes conflicting) interest of all stakeholders can be a monumental challenge. That's why you need a formalized editorial board to keep every element of your publication aligned with your main objectives.

An editorial board is designed, in part, to reduce the gap between what you think your objective is and what your stakeholders actually want. A cross-section of voices between your organization and your audience helps ensure that you are focusing on the intended message and that the message is engaging and relevant to readers. Creating strong and relevant content is important for the magazine to have a lasting impact as it reaches more readers.

Role of the Editorial Board

The editorial board establishes the publishing calendar. In most cases, your magazine is just one element of a broader marketing strategy. Content decisions are strategic, with each article having an intended goal in mind. Experts recommend looking at company materials from the customers' perspective, starting as soon as they open an email solicitation, visit the website or pick up a magazine to flip through.

To understand what messaging is important for the magazine, the editorial board must have insight into the full scope of information offered by the company to the customer. Often, readership provides a necessary perspective, particularly when the magazine is written for a professional association or specific group of individuals. 

Members of the Editorial Board

Increasingly, editorial boards are cross-functional. They draw upon the expertise of stakeholders from within and outside the organization. In addition to communications and marketing staff, board members may represent segments that offer training, technical support, industry leadership and professional development. This ensures that the magazine has content that is constantly changing while remaining relevant to its readership.

As well as stakeholders, publication teams should include designers, copywriters and executives; all of whom will take responsibility for and develop the entire magazine. With the right voices at the table, the magazine can offer a unified and consistent message to readers. While not everyone involved in the publication can sit on the board, it should include those who have an ongoing and higher level of involvement in its content and direction.

Tapping the Expert Knowledge of Readership

One benefit of going outside your organization for content advice is that you can tap into the unique expertise of your readers. If your brand magazine focuses on a select industry, you can use the firsthand knowledge of those in the field to reflect upon the relevance and accuracy of your stories. The resulting content will be more interesting and more likely to be closely read than that which lacks an in-depth understanding of real-world reader experiences.

A brand magazine is a major investment. Like all marketing activities, it must convey a specific message and an image consistent with brand identity. However, in order to make the magazine content compelling for the reader, it is important to go beyond high-level messaging. Tasking a cross-functional editorial board that knows the readership and brings new insight into the publication can make sure it's successful at creating a brand voice across all sectors.

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