Recently the Business Insider was sent an internal email from Aol welcoming a new editor and described their editorial process. It’s a pretty smart document from top to bottom and everyone who creates content on the web could pick up a few pointers from the email.
We’re not Gawker, so be friendly and authoritative, but on the other hand, don’t be afraid to take sides.
Forget the jab at Gawker, let’s focus on the second part of that sentence. Having a tone that is both friendly and authoritative is a clear path towards building trust with your community. The letter goes on to suggest attaching a human element to the post. This is something that I admire about Chris Brogan’s writing. Check out his post How Could New Ideas Change Education. He makes his point by telling the story about his thought process. Building trust inside your community is one of the most important connection you can make. If you need more convincing, check out the book Chris Brogan wrote with Julien Smith: Trust Agents: Using the Web to Build Influence, Improve Reputation, and Earn Trust
Create a virtuous cycle between you (AOL) and a smaller site from which you may be capturing a story. Linklove is real. Use it.
I love the idea that Aol, this giant company, is trying to promote the idea of linking to smaller sites that can use the traffic. The entire document looks at the web from an editorially realistic point of view, which is something that I haven’t experienced in any newsroom I’ve stepped into before. One of the final notes states that you should have a 140 character message and a Facebook message ready for when the story was going to be published. The web department would have done flips for this when I was at the New York Sun. We couldn’t get our editorial staff to tag stories, let alone create extra content for something besides the publication.
I think that the document is a must read for most non-personal bloggers. If you write about your life, SEO strategies might not be up your alley, but if you’re writing niche content, it is something you should read at least once.