The content editor's position: between content editing and contributing to the optimization of organizational work processes
1 November 2010
Large and small organizations manage the information in their organizations for their various needs (internal knowledge sharing, customer service, etc.) The information is managed by content editors that do not always hold this position full-time and are not always aptly qualified.
While managers know what they require from content editors when they accept them, yet they should still ask themselves once in a while:
Am I satisfied with these content editors' work (which has direct implications on the quality of the managed data)?
Are content editors learning and evolving through this position?
Are they actualizing all their skills?
Is their function backed up by regular and organized monitoring? If it is, is this monitoring sufficient?
Are users satisfied with the content editors' information products?
The load of ongoing work, daily tasks, cutting human resources and a hierarchical placement in a unit that is mainly focused on a different issue can all quickly and easily reduce and inhibit the content editors' position, either unintentionally or without considering the implications.
It is easy to buy into perceiving content editors as those that fulfill momentary needs, perform dry, technical work and handle data that is rarely altered and therefore doesn't really need to be maintained "as long as users understand what they read".
This approach leads to the content editor being assigned additional tasks and responsibilities that do not necessarily have anything to do with content editing.
In order to prevent burnout and fixation of content editors, the editor must define the content editor's position and occasionally refresh this definition. The position's definition can begin from content editing yet can evolve to added values that will make the content editor a professional knowledge manager. Altering its definition may lead to changing the position's title (the position's title has a huge impact on the way the position is perceived and positioned by the organization and by the workers themselves).
Furthermore, it is recommended to recruit workers that are aptly skilled for a full-time position, rather than those that are searching for a subsidiary position besides their main job or those chosen simply to fill in a vacant space in the organizational hierarchy.
Content editing requires concentration, learning, etc.
Editing exposes the content editor to lots of information from various parties in the organization that can raise awareness to problems in the organizational work processes, community between interfaces, etc. When detecting these, the editor can notify relevant parties and participate in solving these issues.
Even if the position requires mainly content editing, it is preferable not to recruit content editors based solely on their basic skills that can be developed (editing and phrasing abilities), rather also based on additional and important skills that can enhance the content editor's position:
Order and organization
Works well with teams and many interfaces
Wishes to learn and evolve via this position
Initiating and executing processes
These abilities allow the user to provide added value to the position and lead the organization's Knowledge Management.
Realizing the substantial the role of content editor stores and what skills it requires, we must accompany the content editor's ongoing work via internal tools (brainstorming and feedback) and objective external tools (tutorials and providing professional instruction and direction) that will enable them to maximize their abilities.
Remember, the knowledge products must be constantly improved and shouldn't be neglected.
In conclusion, management should constantly consider how to turn a good content editor into an even better content editor, acting beyond their defined position: one that studies the world of Knowledge Management, manages information rather than merely editing content, initiates updating and improvements through which he/she improves organizational processes. This requires tools that will assist him/her to advance and evolve; it also requires not assigning them task irrelevant to their profession.
The content editor's position must be enhanced beyond technical writing so that the organization's information is not stagnated and remains fresh, full and updated.