That does sound a little strange doesn’t it? You might be wondering what the heck I’m talking about, but hear me out. I believe that one day every company might have 2 CEO’s — one in the traditional sense (Chief Executive Officer) and a newer breed that I’ve daftly labeled the Chief Editorial Officer, who will be responsible for overseeing their company’s content creation or publishing efforts.
Now, I don’t claim to be much of a writer (if you’ve read this far you have probably come up with that same opinion on your own) or to have an editorial mindset, but I have worked in the online media business for a while now and I have followed the “death of newspapers” meme pretty closely. So, I do understand what is happening in this industry. For a long time I felt bad for all of the journalists losing their jobs and having the industry change right in front of their eyes, but lately I have been thinking differently. I think these folks have a really unique opportunity in front of them.
Why? Because content creation is becoming an increasingly important way for businesses to drive traffic to their websites and to generate leads. Today publishing and getting content in front of an audience is literally only a few mouse clicks away. Traditional media companies are becoming less and less effective ways to reach these audiences (think TV or newspaper ads) and it’s becoming very easy for businesses to reach their customers directly (think RSS equipped blogs or product focused webinars). There are some companies out there (HubSpot, for example) leading the way in educating the B2B marketplace on the importance of content creation, but I believe we still have a long way to go before most businesses start to take this seriously. Before they start to craft jobs geared towards writers/editors and map out a high level strategy for their content generation efforts.
So, if I were a journalist I would be excited about the forthcoming boom in content creation that will come from companies themselves rather than media properties. I would define my niche and make sure I understood the way the web worked in order to be ready for the opportunities that will eventually be out there in the job market. If I were a company looking to generate targeted web traffic and qualified leads (are there any that aren’t?) through more effective and cost efficient methods then I would be looking to scoop up these folks before my competitors did.
Maybe it would be a little silly for companies to one day have 2 CEO’s though, so I’m open to title suggestions for this new breed. How about CPO’s (Chief Publishing Officers)?