The scandal in the editorial - hellish time eater. The author yells that he is a genius and will write as he wants. The editor shouts that he is in charge here and knows better how it should be. The work is worth it. Money is dripping. Customers are leaving. Let's see how to prevent scandals and what to do if they have already begun.
- Four types of projects
- How do high-level projects differ from low-level ones?
- Random and regular authors
- Claims to the author: creativity and discipline
- How to inform the author about the termination of cooperation
- Criticism of the texts
- Two approaches to editing
- Hard approach
- Perfect approach
- How to criticize an article
- Little things
- Criticize the text, not the author
- Avoid ratings
- Do not be malicious
- Do not criticize publicly
- Number of improvements
- Texts with and without a signature
- If the author asks, answer
- How to estimate the cost of the text
- How to understand that it is time for the author to raise the fee
- Who should reply to comments
- Share responsibility
- Be careful with Google Docs
- Should I introduce an editorial policy
- Should I be friends with the authors
- Finally. Why do we need to reckon with the feelings of the authors?
What does the customer
Artemy Lebedev’s Section “Arhitheum” contains § 181. “On Creative Instruments”. I will quote it in its entirety, since it’s a short one: “The designer has a Photoshop tool, and the art director has a designer tool.”
In the creation of texts, everything works the same. The customer or editor tool is the authors. And the work of the editor ... I do not know the name of your position: maybe the content manager or project manager, or something else, but if you work with texts and authors, I will call you an editor.
So, the duties of the editor by 80% percent consist of working with the authors and only 20 - from editing the text. Therefore, the ability to organize the work of copywriters is more important than anything else.
Four types of projects
First, decide what type your project belongs to.
How do high-level projects differ from low-level ones?
The requirements for quality content.
At low-level projects, attention is drawn mainly to the technical characteristics of the text: uniqueness, water content, spamming. The author is required to have an idea of how SEO works, to be able to work with the services of uniqueness checking, SEO analysis and literacy testing.
With high-level projects, everything is much more complicated. Here in the first place is the author's ability to think, search and structure information, literally process his texts, etc. The set of requirements may differ depending on the goals of the project.
Random and regular authors
The higher the level of the project, the more it depends on the authors. Therefore, the upper left square, a high-level project with random authors, does not exist in its pure form. You will not find such a number of authors capable of producing content of the desired quality. If you look at a project that positions itself as a platform in this category, you can see what the circle of the same people writes for it.
On the low-level project to find the author easier. But even there it is more convenient to work with regular authors than with random ones. They:
- predictable in the field of behavior and quality of texts
- know your requirements
- already understand everything and facilitate the work of the editor.
It is difficult to work with random authors: they are unpredictable. On the other hand, if you never see this person, it makes no sense to build relationships. Hard to bend a random copywriter is bad for karma, but normal for business.
Therefore, in this article I do not consider relationships with random authors. Everything that I write applies only to situations where you are interested in creating a permanent team and establishing relations with this particular author.
Claims to the author: creativity and discipline
All claims against the authors are divided into creative and disciplinary.
The author is the same employee as everyone else. He is obliged to follow corporate discipline, observe deadlines, and not let down customers and members of his team.
Being tough in the field of discipline is normal and useful. Here you can come up with clear, unambiguous and easily explainable rules. Why not break deadline? Because we will let the reader down, break the plans of the layout designer and designer, and generally increase the entropy of the universe. This is a clear and explainable ban, he does not cause indignation of the author.
But it is hard to criticize the work of the author - it is an unjustified and senseless cruelty.
Firstly, it is just a shame. In fact, authors often consider texts as part of themselves. So, to tell a person that he writes poorly is almost the same thing as calling him fat in the face or walking by his nationality and gender. You will not do that?
Secondly, if it is critical to criticize the work of the author, he may burn out. The author should have an incentive to grow and develop professionally. If he ceases to be interested in the result of his work, he will cease to invest a hundred percent in the work. And from this the quality of the texts will fall even more.
It may seem that I protect the authors and declare them saints. No, it is not. If the author does not appreciate your good attitude, does not respect you and violates agreements, then you can and should break off relations with him.
Konstantin Rudov, editor-in-chief of the Texterra blog, cites such reasons for breaking the relationship with the author:
- The author writes off an article from some source and hides this fact.
- Rudely violates the agreement without warning.
- Frankly rude in correspondence.
- From time to time trying to brazenly advertise their services in the text.
- Publicly dismissively speaks about the publication where it is published, or about the people who work there.
- Uses referral links and makes money on referrals.
- Constantly bargaining. But usually it is enough to say once that either the price I charge or you do not publish it at all.
- Discloses confidential information, talks about his fees, or merges somewhere personal correspondence with the editor.
You may have other criteria, but when you stop working out, be guided not by emotions, but by rational arguments. If the author’s benefit is much less than the problems he creates, then cooperation should be discontinued.
Remember that you can even dismiss a key employee. So, for example, recently entered the portal "Meduza", who dismissed his key reporter because of disagreements with the editor. In addition to a big scandal, nothing particularly terrible happened.
How to inform the author about the termination of cooperation
Konstantin Rudov: "Whatever the circumstances may lead to this, even if everything is terrible and you are on emotions, the message about the termination of cooperation should be as constructive as possible.
It is permissible to report in writing: it is not necessary to call or, especially, to meet for this.
This is also important because the author has a lot of leverage for revenge: he can give you notoriety as a customer. It can merge confidential information, write outraged type feedback on behalf of the user, or communicate with users on behalf of the administration. And a lot more. Therefore, it is necessary to diverge amicably, no matter what happens between you.
Plus, over time, the author can grow and understand what was wrong, and will already want to return with new baggage. You should not burn bridges. "
Criticism of the texts
By the way, is it necessary to criticize? Maybe you should not find fault with the author, who you like, even if he wrote a bad article?
No, it is necessary to criticize, especially if you are not just a customer, but an editor. The authors expect from the editor that he will be a benevolent, but attentive and professional reader who will always point out mistakes missed by the author, advise and prompt. So be it.
Two approaches to editing
The editor strictly controls all texts. He decides what the article should be: which structure to use, what information to write and which not, which arguments to choose, how to construct sentences, which words to choose. The role of the author is minimal - he only does what he is told.
This approach is usually used when writing small, but rigidly structured texts: news notes or product descriptions for online stores.
It is extremely difficult to use this approach when writing texts in more complex genres: essays, essays, interviews, manuals.
Most often, this approach uses a huge editorial policy, which describes all the requirements for the text, including the smallest ones. It facilitates the work of the editor, but annoys the authors.
- You can create a high-level project with novice authors.
- All texts in the publication are uniform.
- Each of them meets the tastes of the editor.
- The author gives such an approach to rise from a novice to a high-level specialist.
- The editor needs to invest a tremendous amount of strength and energy to think things through.
- Professional authors with their own established style are unlikely to go to the project.
- There is a high risk of frequent conflicts with authors due to excessive control of their work.
- All texts in the publication lie on the conscience of the editor, so he is required to be a top-class professional.
- The authors' freedom in the project is minimal, so many either burn out and leave, or begin to experience severe stress. It depends on the character. Many people like to work on a pattern, rather than trying to invent something of their own.
- The harsh approach and a huge number of requirements must be compensated by something, otherwise the authors will not have an incentive to work with you. Compensation may be the possibility of training, high fees or the prestige of your site.
With a creative approach, the editor relies more on authors. If earlier it was about a vertical structure: the editor orders, and the author submits, here it is a question of joint creative work.
The editor corrects minor errors of the author and points him to large ones. But he diligently avoids the tastes and allows the author to have his own opinion and his own style, if they do not go against the editorial standards and do not contradict the rules of the Russian language.
- Allows you to build a good relationship with the authors.
- This approach is good to use in working with professionals.
- The authors are pleased to see that the site contains their own work, and not those that were half corrected by the editor.
- Articles on the site differ in level and style (this is plus and minus at the same time).
- With newbies will not work. Inevitably have to rigidly edit their texts.
- Again, articles will vary in level and style.
- Some texts may not like the editor.
Ideal to be flexible. Hard approach kills professionals, but newbies on the contrary raises above their level. So before you start working, objectively evaluate the level of the author.
How to criticize an article
Note. Below I give the methods that VelikaPlaza uses in their work with the authors. They are not universal or all-encompassing and do not claim to be the title of ultimate truth. We just do that. These techniques will give the maximum effect if you have a high-level project, you are set up to create a permanent team and use the creative text editing method.
Remember that the task of the editor is to create a good text with the author, and not to deprive him of his creative freedom. Therefore, give the author the right to their own opinion and own style.
The opinion of the author can only be deleted and changed if it is inappropriate in the article, and not if you disagree with it. For example, the story about the political position of the author in the article on marketing is hardly appropriate. Here you can ask him to remove the odious passage.
If the opinion seems controversial to you, ask the author to confirm it. Perhaps he has strong evidence. Careful with such things.
Trivia is grammatical errors, syntax, incorrect design, etc. In most cases, it is meaningless to report such things to the author. He did not specifically made a typo, and the knowledge of this will not help him: the next time he will be sealed again.
Yes, editors work on correcting errors is very annoying. But the authors are strongly offended by such things:
When to report small bugs effectively
- The author often makes mistakes in the same place. It is evident that he does not know how to correct.
- A lot of mistakes. The author is not familiar with the rules of the Russian language, but the meaning of his articles is good.
When the error is obviously made by inattention.
How to deal with errors painlessly
- Describe some common mistakes in your blog or editorial policy without giving examples of who made them.
- Oblige authors to use literacy systems. For example "Orthogram" or "ORFO".
Criticize the text, not the author
Report important things without becoming personal. Global mistakes are important: the article is not about what was required, false facts and unreliable sources, lack of important information. All that requires serious processing of the material. Indeed, such things should be ruled by the author himself.
To criticize the text is better not in the form of an error message, but in the form of constructive suggestions.
“This paragraph turned out badly. There are too many unreliable statements, and in general it is not convincing,” is not worth saying.
"Add a link to the source of information," - so better.
When to criticize effectively
When you see a serious mistake and want to help the author to correct it.
When to criticize is ineffective
The text does not suit you at all. It is evident that the criticism is meaningless. In this case, the simplest and most humane is to refuse the author without any modifications at all. But this should be done only when the article is too superficial.
How to criticize painlessly
It is best to criticize concisely. The effectiveness of criticism decreases when you fall into excessive verbosity. Instead of trying to correct an error, the author takes offense at the form of a statement and you get a scandal from scratch.
Many believe that the author must first be praised in order to reduce the sharpness of criticism. Well I do not know. You will feel better if you hear something in the spirit of: “I see that you have done a great job and appreciate it, but it turned out that it sucks, so redo everything”?
Just tell the author what to fix in the article - this is the most effective approach.
The phrase "text for C grade" and "best text I have seen" can equally lead to scandal.
Negative assessment will offend the author. Positive is a time bomb. It will work when you need to criticize the author. He is very offended. How so, always praised, and now you scold? The biggest scandals arise precisely in this place.
Note. Konstantin Rudov: "I consider it permissible to express my personal emotional impression of the article. For example, I can say that the article is cool, without specifics. But sometimes it can be specified to indicate the author to his strengths, if there is a suspicion that he has them does not know".
Do not be malicious
Echidism is a squared criticism, a good way to make it as offensive as possible. If possible, keep your wits with you, and criticize other people's texts correctly.
Do not criticize publicly
Public criticism is a good deposit for a scandal. Listening to the comments in the presence of someone else is doubly insulting. In addition, you may not know what kind of relationship exists between the members of your editorial board. Suddenly they hate each other? Then the public analysis of the article will be someone salt on the wound, and someone - a reason for gloating.
I once worked in the editorial office, where once a week, on Fridays, the whole team discussed the materials published in the last seven days. They were dismantled, evaluated, criticized. Three months later, the experiment had to be stopped: it ended with two dismissals, one broken nose and twenty-four scandals.
When to publicly criticize effectively
When you have a training project and it is important not only to get good texts, but also to make out mistakes in order to teach all members of the editorial board.
In all other cases.
How to do it painlessly
Do not indicate who the author of the text being criticized. Anonymity removes all the flaws of public criticism.
Number of improvements
Do not send the text for revision more than two or three times. It's not just that the authors are angry at this. Although it is also important. They just lose their economic sense to work with you.
Even if you pay several thousand for the article, but you mutezh the author for two weeks with modifications, then the cost of an hour of his work drops dramatically.
It is more profitable for him to write some small and cheap texts for a less demanding customer than to continue working with you.
If even after three improvements the text does not suit you, then it’s pointless to continue working with the author.
Texts with and without a signature
This is a very important point. Unsigned texts are wholly owned by you. But the texts signed by the author remain his responsibility. They affect his reputation and we do not know in what circumstances they can emerge. Например, когда Светлана Алексиевич получила Нобелевскую премию по литературе, ей припомнили статью, написанную сорок лет назад.
But it’s one thing to be responsible for what you really wrote, and another thing for the initiative of the editor.
If you want to add something to the article with a signature or significantly reduce it - ask permission.
The same applies to serious reductions - by 20 percent or more. They seriously distort the meaning of the text. In principle, to save time, the text can be slightly reduced without permission. But if time suffers, ask. So you do not have to sort things out further.
If the author asks, answer
Even if he has a lot of questions, take time to answer. Even if the questions are stupid, still answer calmly. Elementary questions do not always mean that the author is a beginner and does not understand anything in his business. Maybe he just responsibly refers to his work.
How to estimate the cost of the text
Novice editors often have problems calculating the cost of an article. I suggest three possible methods, but the last one seems to me the most effective.
- You agree to the price of the author. Everything is clear and without insults.
- You pay the standard price for the article. This is a very simple method, but it does not take into account the size of the text, nor the depth of the material. The author has no incentive to write more and better.
- You individually calculate the price of each text. This is the most difficult, but also the most fair method. Here you can encourage the author for a detailed and high-quality material. If you want to introduce such a method, set a certain amount for the number of characters and make a surcharge if the author has written a detailed and high-quality text. It is not as difficult as it seems.
Another important criterion for distinguishing a high-level project from a low-level project is the budget. I don’t know of a single case in which someone could make a high-level project with a small budget. This is possible only if you either write articles yourself, or do some kind of socially significant project where people write as volunteers, or you have a popular project where you can write for PR.
If the author is paid the same amount as a qualified specialist in his region earns, then this will stimulate him to treat writing texts as a profession, to strive for professional growth and improvement of the quality of work.
How to understand that it is time for the author to raise the fee
There are two types of factors: ethical and economic.
The main economic factor is inflation. Do not forget to periodically index fees.
Another economic factor is the author's KPI. The editorial boards of major publications sometimes use such a system for evaluating the effectiveness of authors (it is rather conditional - we are talking about creativity).
- The number of materials per unit of time. The more an author can write without losing quality, the better.
- Views, reposts and comments is an important, but not the only factor. Remember that provocative articles, articles-lists, ridiculous articles and materials of several more types, by definition, will be more popular than deep analytical materials. If you focus only on this, then soon slide to the level of the yellow press.
- Duration of editing. The smaller article you need to edit after the work of the author, the better.
- Number of author outstanding articles. Deep, well developed, rising above the general level.
- The number of low-quality articles. The smaller, the better, of course.
- Deadlines If the author periodically breaks them, remove the score.
- Erudition and education of the author. Let's just say that if an author is able to write both manuals and analytical articles, then he clearly deserves an extra point.
- Ability to select topics. If the author has become an expert in the topic about which he is writing, and can pick up a deep and non-banal topic himself, then add him more points.
- Actual errors. If the author checks the information well and does not make serious factual errors, then he deserves an additional score.
Determine the number of points for each item independently, depending on what you think is most important.
You can be guided by ethical considerations. If you like the way the author writes, and you are not ready to part with him, then increase his payment if he asks.
Who should reply to comments
If commenting is available on your blog, then someone should communicate with readers. Best of all, if it is the author of the text. He knows better than anyone what he wrote about, and can communicate with readers. Discuss this question with the author. It is best to immediately warn him that communication with readers is part of his duties.
And still someone should carry out function of the moderator and protect the author from trolls. If you do not, then the blog will soon turn into a trash. You can give such rights to the author himself, but it is better if this is someone from the regular editorial staff: the author may overly impulsively react to criticism, and then readers will have to be protected from him.
And do not connect to the comment of those employees whose work is not related to communication with customers. Even if it seems that the programmer is better to answer the question about programming, and the illustrator - about the illustration. Do not do this. This is not their responsibility. Do not stop people from working. Programmers code, illustrators paint, marketers and copywriters tweak languages on the Internet.
Responsibility for errors in the text prior to publication lies with the author. After - on you. So if you notice an error after the text has been published, then do not blame the author - this is your flaw.
Be careful with Google Docs
Close the author access at the time of editing or make a copy of the document and make changes to it. Do not turn editing into reality shows.
Authors may take painfully to the fact that you rule the text that cost them such an effort. And may not be taken. Depends on the person.
But editing is an intimate process. You should not interfere in it with anyone. Especially the author.
It is better to do everything in turn. The author writes - you make comments - the author rules the text - you read it again. No one bothers anyone and the number of conflicts tends to a minimum.
Of course, it may be that the author will hold on and will not look at the edit. But you shouldn’t count on this: he will need willpower, like a Shaolin monk.
Should I introduce an editorial policy
Worth it. This document greatly facilitates the work of the editor. But do not immediately lay on her too many expectations.
Most likely, the authors will immediately be hard to remember a huge document. And a large number of requirements sharply discourages their motivation to work.
Why does the red policy work well for Maxim Ilyakhov? Because working with him is very prestigious, and he pays a lot. The authors are determined to achieve publication at any cost, even if they have to endure a lot of improvements and study dozens of pages of rules.
Why does it work badly for everyone else? Because nothing prevents the author from spitting on your requirements and finding a place where they pay more and find fault with less.
On the other hand, the redpolitik greatly facilitates the work of the editor. You can not explain one hundred times the same thing, but simply send the author to read the document. So decide for yourself. If you want to introduce redpolitiku, then start with a small document that is easy to read and remember, and list in it only the most important requirements.
For rules on drafting editorial policy, see the article "How to keep authors in check or 59 questions for editorial policy."
Should I be friends with the authors
Complex issue. On the one hand, it’s easier to work with friends. You have complete love and understanding. You understand each other well and value your friendship.
On the other hand, have you ever had to fire your friend? Yell at him, demanding the performance of work? Tell him about budget cuts? I do not recommend - the most unpleasant occupation.
It is best to communicate in a friendly way, but only about work. Gently fold any discussions of family, hobbies and all that.
Questions about whether to go with the author on a date, how changes affect the taste of borscht and who will get the children after refusing to publish, in this article we will not consider.
Finally. Why do we need to reckon with the feelings of the authors?
It saves time, oddly enough. Correct and respectful attitude to the author allows you to focus on work and maintain good relations in any situation, rather than being constantly distracted by solving minor household conflicts.
This article is not about constantly worn with the authors. Not about indulging all their desires. Not that all authors are very vulnerable. It is about how to be an effective editor, to maintain the content of the site at the proper level and to maintain good relations in a team.