Strict division between editorial and commercial teams at times seems to be as old as separation of church and state. Both issues provoke strong feelings among proponents of both sides, who defend their arguments with a rare zest. Yet, this ancient division becomes increasingly less pronounced in the age of digital content creation that emphasizes and, more importantly, rewards collaborative effort. As businesses face increasing competition, unifying creative resources; as opposed to spreading them out based on “ideological” differences, is critical to ensuring positive financial and creative outcomes for his/her publishing business. If you have the same goals, make sure to take five minutes to learn more about the way in which you can achieve this type of synergy for your publishing business as well.
Row, Row This Boat of Ours
It all starts with pooling of resources, which has long been separated due to the enforcement of the concept imaginatively named the Chinese Wall. This imaginary wall was erected back in the day for the purpose of separating teams which dealt strictly with content creation, (editorial team) from those in charge of strictly “business” segment of publisher’s enterprise (commercial stuff crowd). Yet, demands of the contemporary market have rendered this division obsolete, making it necessary to unite them under the banner of common business goals which everyone can profit from.
Therefore, the first step to take in this direction is recognizing that the ‘Us v.s Them’ mentality is not conducive to achieving mutually desirable outcomes, both for quality content generation and creating stable financial frameworks. The best manner to instill a sense of togetherness is to draft a joint work strategy. This document should reflect the strengths of both components of the common effort.
In it, content creators should be given credit as innovative and resourceful cogs in the wheel, in charge of coming up with great ideas. At the same time, they should not be allowed to claim monopoly on ideas without recognizing that they cannot always know all the ins and outs of keeping a business afloat. They should be made to appreciate efforts the commercial team makes in protecting the health of business endeavors, which earns them their paychecks as well. This is something the top brass in business have been aware for quite some time. Back in 2013, Time Inc.’s CEO, Joseph Ripp proclaimed “We believe effective collaboration across business and editorial lines is imperative if we are to succeed as an independent company”, these words still ring true when it comes to establishing vital cooperation of this type. No matter how big your business is, learning from big-time publishers can be a valuable consideration in planning for the future.
Stimulating Creative Synergy
Once you make things clear regarding the shared fate of both teams, you can begin playing to the varied strengths of both. You’ll have to understand that the editorial team may be anxious about losing its integrity and audience, if business considerations begin to take president over the content, such as catering more to your advertisers as opposed to the audience. At the same time, your commercial team is on the front lines, dealing with advertisers, marketers and aspects of the business side that often times content creators are unfamiliar with.
Because of this, it is imperative that both teams regularly exchange ideas and have open lines of communication. Editors and authors can put a creative spin on whatever business trend the commercial team may submit for brainstorming, while focusing on the issues that can potentially interest parties they primarily cater to. For instance, there is no reason why issues such as cyber security, e-commerce or online payment should not be treated as topics which can be creatively handled by authors, can use contact information and resources provided by the commercial teams. Identifying these convergent topics can be made easier by holding regular meetings with representatives of both sides, as an excellent way to strengthen both team building and content generation dynamics.
Editorial teams play increasingly important roles in native advertising
Image Credit: Contently
Product to Sell, Story to Tell
At the same time, there is an increasingly important field in which your authors and commercial teams can utilize their capacity for collaboration to the fullest. We are talking about native advertising. According to a study, 68 percent of publishers use the services of their editorial staff for designing native ads, which is 37 percent higher compared to the number of commercial teams in charge of this business. This study demonstrated that separation between creative and commercial sides of business not only did not deserve its “sacred cow” status, but rather acted as an impediment to easy navigation of changing tides of modern publishing and advertising business.
In addition to this, the report also showed that allowing this type of collaboration to flourish has been recognized as a boon for the publishers, who are ready to tap into creative juices that regular content already runs on, primarily through the efforts of editorial staff.
These publishers understand that users increasingly demand storytelling as a part of their UX, even when interacting with ads. At the same time, commercial staff should be made to understand that authors can simply be better at the story-weaving business which provides the backbone of native advertising or product placement. Thus, their role should be re-focused to the equally important task of preparing joint idea-exchange sessions, dedicated to reaching out to top clients that both have a product to offer and a story to tell to your audience. At the end of the day, you’ll be left with teams that continually plays to their strengths, while keeping the audience and business partners happy. Talking about having your cake and eating it, too.
Succeeding at both the creative and financial segments of the publishing business requires investing extra effort in creating a synergy between your editorial and commercial teams. As the once proud “Chinese Wall” separating these two essential human resources has all but crumbled in an era of digital content publishing. Your initial effort to make these two work together will have to be focused on erasing the traces of “Us vs. Them” mentality. As soon as you achieve this, you can start pooling expertise on both teams in order to come up with the content that will be attractive to both your audience and business partners, while preserving your integrity and credibility as a publisher.