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For a company publication, there are a few “typical” departments who could lead your publication. Choosing one is an important decision and can play a large role in the success of the publication and the overall direction the publication takes. Here are a few departments who naturally oversee your publication.

1. Employee Relations / Human Resources. When creating an employee publication, your employee relations / human resources department is an obvious choice. This group of people is already focused on your employees. It will keep the employees’ best interests at heart.

2. Corporate Communications. The great thing about the corporate communications team running the publication is that its team members should already be great writers. They understand grammar and punctuation. They get the details, which can help make the publication a great one. Also, they typically know the company news, thus story ideas should be readily available.

3. Marketing. The marketing team will typically think of the multiple ways the publication can be used. Even if it is an employee publication, the marketing team will add its spin to the publication to make it worthwhile to advancing the company. Plus, they will know what information needs to be included in the publication to help gain new customers.

Now, I have worked with numerous editors from these different departments who have been able to combine the benefits of each group to their publication’s benefit. Ideally, that is what you will find. Someone who can keep the employees’ needs at heart, help advance the organization and keep the quality of the publication high through strong editing.

As I said in an earlier post, I believe the best situation is to let an out-of-house organization (like a PR firm) run your in-house publication. However, any publication still has to have a company department and / or editor in charge. Picking the right department, in a way, confirms how you want your publication run and what purpose you want it to have, so choose wisely.

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For any company publication, an editorial board plays an important role in ensuring a variety of voices are represented. It helps keep the coverage widespread and, typically, will help ensure the goals of the publication are met. Because of these important end results, it is important that you choose your editorial board carefully.

Photo By Mary Ann Muher

Photo by Mary Ann Mulhern

1. Find people who will work well together. Editorial board meetings are often filled with heated discussions and debates. Because of this, it is important to choose editorial board members who will stay cool under fire. You need even-tempered people who can debate but also discuss. You want to keep out people who will try to monopolize the editorial board meetings and instead find people who are team players. Choose those who will put their personal vendettas aside for the good of the publication.

2. Pick opinionated people. While this may appear to be in contrast to reason No. 1, but it actually is right in line. You don’t want to choose editorial board members who will sit on the sidelines and not contribute. Frankly, it is a waste of a seat. You need people who will bring ideas to the table, represent the company and help make the decisions that drive the publication forward.

3. Represent the company. I’ve mentioned in earlier posts how important it is for one group to not monopolize the publication. Whether the publication is going to your customers or to your employees, more than likely the goal is to well-represent your company to its fullest. That means showcasing different departments or divisions. When choosing your editorial board members, ensure you have people who represent all facets of the company. This way, when they bring story ideas to the table, you hear the great works from all across your organization.

4. Choose a leader. It is true that everyone can’t be a leader, but someone needs to be. There has to be a person who can break ties and make the decisions that no one else is willing to make. This person also needs to be willing to stand up for the editorial board if and when a story or decision is questioned by outside sources.

5. Have a contrarian. On the editorial boards I have been a part of or managed, some of my favorite people to work with are the ones who voice the opinion that no one else is willing to say. You need the person who will stand up to the popular vote and help people see things in a different way. This helps keep your publication honest and, in many cases, keeps you from writing an article  or publishing a photo that could damage the organization.

What do you think? What are things you consider when choosing an editorial board?

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