Over the past decade, I’ve worked with a number of publishers and associations. One of the most underrated, but most valuable parts of both groups were the editorial advisory boards.
While at Penton Media, every magazine (we called them magazines at the time, now they are just brands) had an editorial board.
During that time, I was publisher for Fire Protection Engineering magazine, the official publication of the Society of Fire Protection Engineers (a 60+ year old society with over 4,000 members dedicated to the practice of fire protection engineering). The SFPE editorial advisory board was critical to the content creation that went into the magazine, the website and the in-person events.
These boards were always made up of the editor (the chief content officer) and approximately five outside experts who were either readers of the magazine or members of the association.
I can tell you first hand the content was 100% better because of these boards. Simply put, editorial advisory boards are invaluable.
So why don’t more brands have content marketing or editorial advisory boards?
Scenario: Most brands develop regular content marketing as a result of collaboration between internal stakeholders (marketing, operations, sales, customer service, etc.) and external stakeholders (agency representative and freelance content creators).
Good, but not nearly good enough.
In order to create the very best content marketing in your industry, you need a dedicated group of outside customers as part of your content team.
Forming Your Content Marketing Advisory Board
No more than six (including the chief content officer, the primary stakeholder).
Who to Choose?
Choose members like you choose your stocks: diversify. Select customers that:
- Are in different regions of the country or world.
- Both love you and hate you.
- Each member has a primary specialty that coincides directly with your content areas of expertise. For example, in manufacturing you might have one customer that is an expert in assembly design, while the other one is an expert in distribution.
- Will commit to monthly calls with you (alone) and quarterly conference calls with the team.
- Two of the quarterly conferences should take place in person. Do a half-day session with a white board for content brainstorming. Moderation is key, so come prepared with an agenda in advance.
Almost all the people we asked to be on our advisory boards were more than honored. Rarely did someone turn us down, and when they did it was for scheduling purposes, not because they didn’t want to.
Frankly, even if you do this on a simplified basis, the creation of a content marketing advisory board will completely revolutionize your content marketing and your marketing overall. You will see and hear of things that you had never thought of before. Content ideas will be plentiful. Direction will be given and priorities about which content to keep and which to ditch will be easier to see.
Start simple, but start now.
See this post on creative an effective board of directors for additional guidance.