The difference between an editor and a content strategist

21/Nov/2015 · 1 MINS READ

I recently saw a job advertised by a well-established fashion brand whose main source of revenue comes from online sales.

Digitally, they seemed to be doing everything right – they had a strong social following, sent regular EDMs, chatted openly and honestly with their customers and tried to post entertaining and inspirational blog posts whenever they could.

The job they were advertising for was an Editor.

On the surface this seems to make sense – they need someone to manage their website and other digital assets like an Editor would a magazine. In all honestly, they’re on the right track and for this can be considered extremely forward thinking.

However, I decided to have a chat with them about the applicants that they’d been receiving to see how they stood up against what they were looking for.

“Are you getting fashion editors from magazines applying?” I asked?

“Yes,” they responded, “and that’s the trouble – they know the industry backwards but they lack the analytical knowledge. We need someone to look at our analytics and make suggestions on how to turn these figures into sales”.

So basically what they were looking for was a content strategist. They wanted someone with industry knowledge but needed someone who knew how to use content to grow their audience and produce some serious ROI.

And that’s the key word here – ROI.

Historically, while a section editor should be concerned with ad sales (for the sake of their own job if nothing else), it’s not their number one priority. A content strategist however, has to make suggestions based on business objectives. Of course, the audience is still at the forefront of their thinking but the content must meet the key measurement metrics of the business.

So, what this fashion company was seeing were a mass of candidates who could have conversations with their audience but none who could do this in line with a well thought-out content strategy.

With strong experience in publishing (especially digital publishing as there’s more crossover there), these skills are easily learnt but it does take a certain personality type to grasp what is considered more analytical work. It also takes experience and some trial and error and maybe the only way a section editor will get the opportunity to do this is within an agency environment?

Does the shift towards digital mean we should drop the traditional terminology?