Rita Jane Gabbett: Bridging the Digital Skills Training Gap
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Rita Jane Gabbett: Bridging the Digital Skills Training Gap



Slide presentation from ASBPE's June 3, 2010 webinar. Rita Jane Gabbet, executive editor of Meatingplace.com, tells how she and her staff got the skills that helped turn Meatingplace.com into a ...

Slide presentation from ASBPE's June 3, 2010 webinar. Rita Jane Gabbet, executive editor of Meatingplace.com, tells how she and her staff got the skills that helped turn Meatingplace.com into a successful site.



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  • Faster is better – reprogrammed our software to email News alerts when big news falls between our Midnight and 2:00 p.m. newsletters Headline writing – click-throughs from headlines to stories decreasing as handheld use is increasing. -- had to write more teaser headlines than informative ones -- by doing so, have regained the click-throughs. -- fine line – provocative headline, but if disappointed by story – will lose them over the long haul. Understanding our Web profit model -- advertised against buying influences -- had to resist the temptation to play to all readers vs buying influences as self-identified when they registered. -- This discipline hones our content
  • Technology -- We write and edit in word docs, then cut and paste into our own content management system. We choose from a list of about eight codes so the system can pair advertisers with preferred subject matter. We add photos when applicable, by using Adobe Photo Shop to resize and compress. Training – Informal. Each staff member has trained others from our strengths. I taught the wire service reporting/writing style. Our managing editor taught us all how to manipulate and post photos. Our IT head taught us how to use the content management system. The coding protocols we got from our sales staff. Lessons Learned – NEXT SLIDE
  • It’s a jungle out there – a lot of competition for breaking news and we can’t compete just on being first, so we’ve focused on the B2B angle and context We pick the top 4 to 5 stories for every news cycle, because our readers don’t have time read everything. Information is power -- We track every story in terms of buying influence reader hits, roll those up into a weekly report which we analyze as a group and constantly evolve our content choices
  • a.Tricky – feeding the beast – without sucking the life out of the staff or at the expense of the magazine. b. One editor owns online and makes assignments. Another owns magazine and makes assignments. Everyone writes for Web. Everyone writes for magazine. c.Each day: i. One person Tweets ii. One person manually post blogs iii. One person posts the two newsletters each day (each person owns particular day of the week and swaps out when traveling or on vacation) d. Culture of easy back and forth and backing each other up. OK to say: I need a day off daily news to write my magazine article. e. Culture of pride in online news coverage had to be developed over time. Makes a big difference. Online is no long the poor cousin of print. It has gone form an annoyance to a point of pride when we break a story online.
  • Technology: proprietary content management system that needs a bit of html coding to, for example, add hyperlinks. Training: h. We have tip sheets for the html coding (that I still use religiously) We have worked with our IT group to evolve the software to make it more user-friendly Lessons learned: NEXT SLIDE
  • Everything can’t be priority 1 every day. Some days daily news has to take a backseat to a magazine deadline. Other days a breaking story has to get priority. NOT EVERYONE CAN OR SHOULD CONTRIBUTE EQUALLY TO BOTH ONLINE AND MAGAZINE The door swings both ways: Realizing how well Web news and Magazine reporting and source development can each feed each other and each improve the other, makes it much less divisive and onerous to feed the beast of producing Web news every day – because all that daily reporting pays off when it’s time to write a more analytical magazine piece.
  • We have 7 industry expert bloggers I trained them on how to write a blog with tip sheets, one on one training with me and two months of practice blogs. They email their blogs as Word documents and include URLS they want inserted as hyperlinks I post them Technology: Our IT department created our blog architecture, so editorial had input on what we wanted it to be able to do, including: Cutting and pasting edited blogs from Word Hyperlinking Posting edited blogs ahead of time and scheduling them for specific release dates This enables us to control their release and attach advertising c. Training: I learned how to craft a blog from reading a couple books and some online articles on business blogging. I learned how to post blogs through informal training from our IT department Lesson we learned : NEXT SLIDE.
  • Care and Feeding: They are unpaid so feedback, collaboration and helping them achieve their own goals are important.

Rita Jane Gabbett: Bridging the Digital Skills Training Gap Presentation Transcript

  • 1. Janie Gabbett, Executive Editor
  • 2. What editors said was important
    • 86% said writing and editing Web content
    • 83% said managing work flow between Web and print
    • 62% said writing/posting/managing blogs
  • 3. Digital news offering on www.meatingplace.com
    • Two daily (yes, twice daily) spot news e-newsletters
    • Emailed newsbreaks as warranted
    • Daily blogs (7 industry expert bloggers)
    • Daily tweets (typically 2 per day)
    • Online technical articles
    • Online photo essays
    • (same staff produces monthly magazine)
  • 4. Writing and Editing Web Content
    • Less is more
      • Just the facts
      • Prettier prose in print
    • Faster is better
      • Tweaking our technology
      • Adding B2B context to breaking news
    • Headline writing
      • Welcome to handheld hell
    • Understanding our Web $$ model
      • Tracking readership daily
      • Readers vs buying influences
    Feeding the beast
  • 5. Writing and Editing Web Content
    • Technology
    • Training
    • Lessons learned
    Feeding the beast
  • 6. Writing and Editing Web Content
    • It’s a jungle out there
      • Playing to our strengths with story choice and context
      • Respecting our readers’ time
    • Information is power
      • Tracking click-throughs and adjusting content
    Lessons learned
  • 7. Managing workflow/workload between Web and print
    • Ownership
    • Flexibility
    • Discipline
    Playing nice
  • 8. Managing workflow/workload between Web and print
    • Technology
    • Training
    • Lessons learned
    Playing nice
  • 9. Managing workflow/workload between Web and print
    • Everyone must be able to do everything…but must NOT do everything every day.
    • Division of labor is a moving target
    • The door swings both ways
    Lessons learned
  • 10. Launching and posting blogs
    • Technology
    • Training
    • Lessons learned
    Letting the horses out of the barn
  • 11. Launching and posting blogs
    • The more time we spend on the front end teaching bloggers how to blog for our Web audience, the less time we need to spend over the long haul.
    • But there is still care and feeding involved
    Lessons learned
  • 12. Learning as we go
    • 90% of our training has been informal
    • We have relied on:
      • Each other
      • Our IT colleagues
      • Our own research
      • Trial and error
      • Webinars like this one!
    A little help from our friends