What do magazine journalists and community managers have in common?

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http://www.flickr.com/photos/angelabowman/8450025763/

Entering college in 2009, I knew I wanted to be a magazine journalist. My ultimate goal was to create a magazine that caters to all women of color. Although still a passion of mine, I am exploring other fields to broaden my perspective on the vast world of communications.

In doing the #cmgrclass readings for this week, I found a lot of commonalities in how community managers and magazine staff writers and editors prepare for content creation.

Throughout this post, I am going to focus specifically on the editorial calendar. All major publications have an editorial calendar in which the staff refers to before going to print. It’s essentially the element that keeps publications structured and organized. Our readings have indicated that community managers also use this method to ensure consistency when writing compelling and engaging content.

Editorial calendars allow community managers to plan ahead. This will prevent the infamous writer’s block in the future. When you have a clear direction it’s much simpler when it comes to creating stories to share with your community. The calendar will also help community managers foster short and long terms goals for the evolution and progression of the community in the future.

In the documentary released in 2009 called “The September Issue” director R.J. Culter explores the most anticipated Vogue magazine issue of the year—the September issue. Readers and subscribers also informally know this issue as the fashion issue. Anna Wintour, editor-in-chief, is frequently captured referring to the editorial calendar in preparing for the publication’s largest issue of the year. The Vogue editorial calendar helps her see the completion of particular projects, look ahead to see what needs to be tackled, and continually track progress until the issue goes to the publishers.

In essence, community managers are doing the same when creating an editorial calendar. They will have an opportunity to delegate responsibility based on the number of incomplete components of a blog, oversee which tasks are currently in the works, and see if there’s room to address current topics that may happen throughout the year. In using this method, community managers allow room to create themes around the content they produce, which has the potential to attract advertisers. Planning ahead gives community managers time to carefully construct topics and pick an angle that will further engage members.

Like magazine journalists, community managers are expected to use a conversational writing style. Therefore, users feel an urge to comment and inquire about specifics. Community managers and magazine journalists also have to understand the difference between timeliness and timeless works. Covering current topics in a timely manner is important. You’re users want to have access to the information while it’s still relevant. Otherwise, they will look to other sources for the most up-to-date information.  It is also crucial to produce pieces that are timeless, meaning no matter the time frame, the information contained in the post can be useful and applied even years after it has been published.

As a community manager, do you use an editorial calendar? If not, in which ways do you manage the content being posted to your site? Share your stories with the #cmgrclass!

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