Make room in the c-suite for another CEO: the chief editorial officer

After a stint working with cable networks in the US, Dan Ilic realised Aussie brands were failing to embrace the most essential CEO on the block: the chief editorial officer.

It’s time for Aussie brands to take digital seriously, knock up a corner office and add some lines in the budget for implementing compelling content as a core strategy for communication.

In the future, every company will have a second CEO. A chief editorial officer.

Over the last few years, I’ve worked in digital media publishing and cable television in the USA simultaneously. And I’ve noticed a pattern.

The two places I worked at had similar narratives to tell.

Sometimes the related television shows I would work on would have fewer viewers thank my twitter account.

Al Jazeera America (R.I.P 2014-2016) topped out at about 34,000 viewers on cable, whereas AJ+, Al Jazeera’s millennial-focused digital publisher, did 2.2 billion video views in 2016.

Fusion TV maxed out at 15,000 on cable whereas the Fusion.net’s Facebook properties had a reach of over 200 million.

Two takeaways from this:

1) Digital reach IS the main game, and

2) Cable TV in America is a giant Ponzi scheme, but that’s another story.

Content marketing isn’t new, but it baffles me as to why major brands in Australia are so reluctant to employ it as a core strategy.

They’re ceding social media territory/audience to fledgling brands on the rise.

Every brand can find a way to take charge of the tools to make their own media, and START telling their story, start helping out their customers, start making interesting stuff their audience can use.

Brands should be educating and entertaining on a full-time basis, they should have newsrooms and teams of creators helping them build out their audience. It’s no longer hard to do. The barriers to entry are so low, all you need is good talent and a mobile phone. The only barrier for brands is commitment.

Take your mission statement public, in everyday compelling content.

When I got back from the US, I had a great meeting with an organisation who present talks for a cultural community in Sydney.

When I asked them how they’re leveraging their stage programming to make digital content for their digital audience—it drew a blank.

They showed me some shaky cell phone footage from one of their latest gigs on their facebook page.

This brand has the ambition to get 100,000 digital engagements in 2018, I asked them why not 100,000,000. They laughed. I was deadly serious. They aren’t a media brand—yet. With the right content, they could outrate any broadcaster in Australia.

At the end of the meeting, they said that “would dabble” in content.

Dabbling in content is a failing strategy.

Committing to delivering regular good content is the only way to build an audience.

A chief editorial officer with a budget, space and the tools to execute great content for their audience will deliver loyalty, cut-through and lure folks to the top of the funnel.

Dan Ilic is a comedian, director and executive producer at Downwind Media. This piece first appeared on his LinkedIn. 


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