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Why Editorial Voice is increasingly important, and what that entails

Brand IdentityBrand ValuesDigital ContentEditorialEditorial Voice+-
The Importance of Editorial Voice

The Key Importance of Editorial Voice

Why Every Stie should have its own Editorial Voice

Strategic Deployment of Editorial Voice

The root of several challenges for the Internet lies in over-supply really. For the majority of businesses are no longer just competing with companies in the same town, next town or region, not even really nationwide or same continent even - some of their competitors are likely way oversees and quite probably the other side of the world too.


Say you are sector news provider - the way news delivery works these days is through a pretty broad network of specialist journalists - many of which now work mostly form home. These journalists can be based anywhere and work in whatever languages and sectors they have core competencies in - they are a highly mobile workforce as such and can switch sides as such pretty easily. So it behoves the media organisations and publishers to value those frontline staff, as their outputs is what brings in the readers, advertisers and sponsors.


A huge trend over the last few years has been in YouTubers - essentially ’Video Columnists’ as such - some of whom can attract a truly enormous audience - in the millions. These characters and personalities have had to hone their online personas to resonate with such a large audience, and you can bet they have a certain style and way of delivering things.


Any news delivery organisation in the same way must polish up on their own identity and persona - it does not pay any longer for them to be too neutral or too anodyne - that formula is frankly way too easy to copy and won’t retain brand identity or personality if your editor-in-chief decides to move on. To that end, you need work on building up a distinct identity for your medium - one that can withstand a change in personnel, and one where personnel can still enhance the reputation of the business, but won’t overly negatively detract from it when and if they leave.




You really cannot avoid this becoming a branding exercise - your name and logo must carry with it the appropriate markers which resonate sufficiently with the target audience. Just because you’ve had the same brand for 100 years - it does not necessarily mean it serves you well in this digital age. By the same measure you should not throw the baby out with the bathwater either - you need to review and analyse - talk to your readers, sponsors and advertisers and figure out whether your brand does in fact fully serve your current purpose. If you look at companies like Apple, Coca-Cola and McDonalds even - these update and tweak their logos on a pretty regular basis - to ensure that they are still relevant, current / contemporaneous and strong.




My brother and I will always talk at length about the power of imagery in influencing opinion, underlining headlines and extending reading sessions. The world is increasingly a visual place - with fewer and fewer people actually reading literature while more and more read picture-led soundbytes and watch videos. Where imagery is used right, it becomes an ingredient of your editorial voice - a reflection of quality, consistency and attention to detail. There are lots of things that companies can do to establish a specific visual tone of their own - there are lots of Instagram filter-overlays available if you want to do it quick and easy - and for those who are a little more OCD like myself - there is everything that Photoshop contains. I am well aware that millions use the same royalty-free image libraries as me, and therefore I need to distinguish my image content via clever cropping, editing and retouching. Pretty much every image on has been fairly significantly adjusted.




This is kind of your house-style or signature, and needs to be maintained - pretty much regardless of who the editor-in-chief is. That does not mean you should not evolve to a degree - some slight change is always a necessity, but you must establish a unique tone of voice - how you name your content, how you objectively observe and report - to give yourself an edge over all the other competing news media. They might be able to steal away some of your personnel, but if your house style is strong and easily identifiable it should still elevate your position over those trying to get a slice off your business. It’s a touch funny really how little difference there is between the Daily Mail and The Sun for instance - they have almost identical content on many days with little to distinguish one from the other beyond the colour of their mast-head. One of those ’Newspapers’ also employs serial clickbaiter antagonist like Katie Hopkins - who seem to thrive off being as bigoted as his humanly possible without landing jail-time. I’m not saying you need to find a controversial clickbait personality - unless you are active in the tabloid sector. News organisations in more professional sectors still need to find relevant experts and voices to match with the brand values and mission statements of those various titles.




Once again beyond the tabloid sector where no real experience or expertise is necessary - particularly with ’opinion-leader’ types who are their to alternative rile and stir up the masses. With a professional publication though you need qualified experts with a track record and a very specific authority in their area. That authority must underline the same sense of authority that pervades the whole enterprise / publications. In professional sectors - the audience has to be able to recognise a qualified peer - with sufficient expertise and experience to pass on the right values within the content. That authority must come from market research and trending reports


Signature Event


Most magazines and professional publications have some form of award ceremony where they single out the 100 most influential this or that within their sector. Those evens and related issues are usually overwhelmingly the cash-cows for those media properties - so if you don’t have your own high level event - you’re most definitely missing out on some potentially very significant revenues. For some media properties - their flagship event - whatever form it takes - can shift as many issues as the rest of the year put together. People like being considered and nominated for awards - and will buy the programme - or related print product to commemorate that event - possibly getting copies for their colleagues, friends and family at the same time - so it’s not surprising really that these sorts of things are as successful as they are.


Final Thoughts


So it is important to be different while remaining entirely highly relevant and perceived to be high value too. You may think you are fairly safe within your space - but there is always an American, Chinese or Indian company waiting to unseat you and steal your readership, sponsors and advertisers. With the mass proliferation of the Internet - ’News’ in and of itself has become a very cheap commodity - you need to package it properly to be able to keep extracting value from it. And you need to make it like Coca-Cola or KFC - so that nobody can really copy your magic formula - yes you will always have contenders and copy-cats - but if you do it right - they will find it very hard to unseat you.

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