A few days ago I received Howard Rauch’s new book, “Get Serious About Editorial Management,” in the mail (the old mail —physical mail — so now I have a hard copy).
For the last several decades, first as a rising editor at two B2B media companies and during a long stint as VP/editorial director of Gralla Publications before founding a consultancy, Howard has been one of just a handful of voices focused on the study of day-to-day editorial work in B2B media.
Particularly since founding Editorial Solutions, a Tenafly, New Jersey-based editorial firm in 1989, Howard has helped drive an important conversation about B2B editorial skills and standards. He mostly focuses on quantitative measurement, in every conceivable facet of the business. He homes in on specific tactical approaches for a whole array of activities, from business travel to tradeshow planning, and from the importance of infographics to whether an editor-in-chief should also be a brand’s top writer (Howard says yes).
Howard’s forte is content-creation nuts-and-bolts, for sure. I used to be skeptical of trying to assess editorial performance based on, say, the number of stories an editor produced, or how long it took per story to write. I felt like that excluded the qualitative aspect.
Howard says they coexist peacefully. I learned this when I got my first professional newspaper job. In college, I could get away with saying “quality takes time.” In the professional world, I quickly learned that wasn’t the way things worked—you need quality and speed. Without it, you’re basically finished.
The more you dig into Howard’s philosophies and his recommendations, the more you realize that it’s just an explicit expression of proper work habits and management techniques, expressed and applied specifically for the world of B2B content creation. That’s an under-analyzed area of journalism, so any empirical study is worthwhile, and Howard’s is excellent.
In fact, with the ascendency of measurement and analytics in digital content creation, you can conclude with a great degree of accuracy that Howard Rauch was the original advocate for performance metrics.
What’s Howard look at? In his book, he proposes standards for original writing, for editing, for conducting interviews, searching for stories, and much more. He suggests optimum frequencies for business travel, for getting out in the market, for team training, for public speaking.
But because it’s a management book, it deals in depth with some of the issues that content-creation managers have, including:
- Causes and symptoms of editorial burnout.
- Evaluations and feedback.
- Promoting and marketing the brand’s content.
- Assessing true editorial superiority.
- Competing with established brands.
There’s much more in the book too. It’s a quick read, and if you’re doing your job as an editorial leader well, you may find a lot of affirmation. If you’re still learning the ropes as a manager, or as a B2B editor at a more junior level, then this book is also well worth reading.
Visit www.editsol.com to connect with Howard.