Categorizing Editors Based on Online Skills

Editor jobs have changed considerably now that they have to worry about page views as much as assuring the content published looks plausible and well written. But classifying someone’s online skills can be difficult.
Well Alison McPartland, manager of search at the B2B publication Questex Media, explains to Folio how her team sorts editors to highlight their online strengths and weaknesses.

“We want to show the particular strength or weakness in each editor,” says McPartland. “There are different ways to focus on how they’re preparing content online and we want to highlight those differences. If someone is our top Optimization Editor, what is he or she doing that you could be doing?”

In order to accomplish this, McPartland describes the editors in four different ways.

1) Acquisition Expert – This person is an expert at drawing people onto the site from outside sources.
2) Optimization Editor – This editor’s talents lie in using SEO tactics to bring in new users.
3) Retention Writer – An ability to keep readers on the site, looking at new material describes this type of editor.
4) Engagement Enhancer – This person has a knack for convincing readers to participate on the website, like adding a comment or signing up for the RSS feed.

The editors-in-chiefs in the company actually like the categorization strategy as well.

“By creating these different ‘categories’ of editor, it’s easier for us to see why a particular story or author performs well month over month,” says Stephanie Ricca, editor-in-chief of Questex Media’s HotelWorld Network. “We don’t use these categories as specific descriptors-meaning, we don’t say things like, ‘Stephanie is the Acquisition Expert because she does X and Y and Chris is the Optimization Editor because he does B and C;’ instead we use Alison’s reports to get better at all aspects of what gets a reader to our site and keeps them there.”

What wasn’t discussed during the entire piece was basic editor duties, like assuring quality writing or challenging reporters on assumptions. But I guess that’s the reality in the digital age.