How to Build An Efficient Editorial Team
  • 6-minute read
  • 10th October 2022

How to Build An Efficient Editorial Team

Setting up an efficient editorial team largely comes down to planning. Getting the right systems and processes in place, plus the right people, makes the job easy. Thankfully, assembling an efficient editorial team is in your control. This guide will tell you the steps to take to help your editors become the dream team.

Table of Contents

Find The Right Talent

Depending on your business size and how much content you’re producing, you’ll need different types of content staff. Here are the roles you might want to hire for:

  • Writer: Writers write (and often research) the content.
  • Editor: Editors enhance the readability, structure, flow, and quality of the content.
  • Content creator: Content creators take ownership of ideation.
  • Proofreader: Proofreaders correct grammar, spelling, punctuation, and accuracy errors.
  • Reviewer: Reviewers are responsible for quality control.

If you’re only producing a small or medium amount of content, you might only need content creators, writers, and editors. To produce content on a bigger scale, you’ll benefit from content creators, writers, editors, proofreaders, and reviewers.

To get great people, think about the qualities you’d like them to have. Do you need them to have experience editing content specific to your industry? Would you prefer them to have a background in writing B2B or B2C content? What qualities will make them a good fit for the rest of your team?

Finding the best editors for your business doesn’t have to be challenging. Here’s our guide to finding great editors. 

Style guide

Do you have a style guide? If you don’t have one, you need one.

Having a style guide keeps all your editors aligned. It’s a single document that tells your writers and editors how to write for a specific brand, whether it’s your own or for a client. Style guides detail everything from a brand’s tone of voice and preferred word choice to its preferred use of grammar, punctuation, and formatting. This keeps the content process running smoothly because it reduces the chances of mistakes that’ll slow down the editing process.

Style guides also limit disputes about grammar and tone (e.g., the age-old argument about whether to use Oxford commas) among editorial teams. Removing tension about what’s correct by creating a style guide will help your editorial team work better together. 

You can update your style guide whenever you like – just make sure you have a running update list.

Don't have a style guide? Here are the top 10 things you need to include in yours.

Define Your Processes

You won’t have an efficient team of editors, no matter how great they are, if you don’t have processes in place to aid collaboration.

The processes you need could include task assignment, proofreading, editing, revision, approval, and quality control (more on quality control below). Getting helpful processes in place doesn’t have to disrupt your team if you plan. To help you, here are four tips for creating a productive editorial process.

Pro tip: When you hire a new editor, make sure they are properly inducted. This time can be spent walking them through your editorial process so you know they understand and can answer any questions they may have.

Identify and Correct Your Bottlenecks

Bottlenecks are blockages in a workflow that impact productivity.

Some of the biggest time sponges in the editorial world are bottlenecks. Don’t worry – once you’ve identified what the bottlenecks, if any, are in your workflow, you might be surprised at how easy it is to iron them out.

Spend some time every quarter looking at potential bottlenecks your editorial team might be struggling with. The best people to speak to will be your editors themselves. They’re best placed to identify any pain points because they deal with them every day.

Common editorial bottlenecks include late approval, no style guide (causing mistakes and disputes), and disjointed workflows. If you don’t know where to start, this guide to overcoming content bottlenecks will give you some actionable pointers.

Pro tip: Create a simple system for editors to report bottlenecks. This could be done through a monthly or quarterly survey or through regular team or one-on-one meetings.

Quality Control

Many content teams miss this, but implementing a quality control step improves efficiency. A quality control process is an extra step at the end of a content workflow that checks content before publication.

Quality control looks for errors in accuracy, tone, formatting, clarity, objectives, audience, and more. It’s good practice to delegate quality control to a handful of your best editors. That way, you know someone who knows your content inside out is taking ownership of that workflow step.

While establishing a quality control process can take some time, you’ll reap the rewards by saving time on corrections further down the line. It’ll also keep your brand and reputation intact.

Struggling? Here are 8 steps to establish a quality control process for your editing team.

Get Savvy Software

Collaboration is key for teams, and editorial teams are no exception. There are all kinds of software and apps you can use to help manage tasks and projects.

You might want to try tools like Trello, Airtable, or Streamtime. All these tools help teams see what everyone is working on, track deadlines, add comments, assign tasks, and more.

While project management tools can be great for all teams, they’re particularly useful for those with hybrid or remote working structures. There’s no one-size-fits-all approach to software, so it’s best to do some research to find out which tool will work best for your editorial team.

Pro Tip: Keep your team connected – especially if they work remotely. You can do this through regular team meetings and even team-building days (yes, virtual team-building activities exist).

Ready to Scale Your Content?

Proofed’s editorial desk for business teams can take all this off your hands. By building a fully managed team of editors and creating a customized style guide for your brand, Proofed will know your tone and stylistic preferences to a tee. We work around the clock to give you 24/7 support and help you meet even your tightest deadlines.

We are trusted by thousands of businesses globally, including top startups and Fortune 500 companies, to help them meet their editorial needs. Want to partner with Proofed? Learn more about what we can do for your team.

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