Why Brands Need an Editorial Strategy (And How We Created One for SmartPassiveIncome.com)

In the online content world the term “editorial calendar” gets thrown around a lot. But do you even know what that term means or where it comes from? Does it matter? 

Here at Winning Edits, we answer these questions with a resounding YES! The best and most successful content creators online develop a plan and they stick to that plan. An “editorial calendar” is merely a tool that helps content creators execute a well-crafted, strategic six-to-twelve-month plan. 

When we talk about long-term planning, people often balk at the idea of having their editorial calendars planned out for six months or a year. But we barely know what we are doing next week, they say, how are we supposed to know what to do in a month or two, let alone in a year from now? 

That is exactly what strategy is all about: you have to plan to plan. If you plan your editorial content three months at a time, then you only need to do it once a quarter. So put an appointment on your calendar four times for 2017: Once in January, once in April, once in July, and once in October, and you will already be one step closer toward rocking your very own editorial calendar. 

Why Strategic Planning Matters

In the online world you may not think that planning so far in advance is necessary. After all, you can write a blog post tonight and publish it tomorrow, right? While this is true, planing gives you three key advantages.

  1. Higher quality. When you plan ahead, you can give yourself plenty of time to develop more robust content, whether that be a blog post, podcast episode, or web TV episode. You can research, draft, revise, edit, finalize, and get your content queued up to publish in advance of its publish date. All those steps require time, and the only way you have time to thoroughly complete those different phases of production is if you plan for it.
  2. Regular consistency. If you are in the practice of throwing together blog posts the night before you publish them, what happens (heaven forbid) when one night you don’t have any ideas for what to write about? Do you skip that post? Maybe skipping a post once in a while isn’t that detrimental. But advance strategic planning ensures that you always know what you’re going to write about when you sit down to work on that next blog post.
  3. Channel alignment. Perhaps the most vital for content creators with multiple publishing channels, channel alignment is the more advanced phase of strategic planning. When you have multiple channels such as a blog and podcast, or blog, podcast, and web TV series, planning allows you to think strategically about how the different forms of content can complement each other. For example, let’s say you’re a food blogger who would like to get into podcasting or web TV. Your web TV show can become the place where you do cooking demos, and you direct people back to your blog where they can find the full recipe that you’re talking about in the video. Now that we are talking about producing two different types of content that support each other, one video that needs to point to a specific blog post, the planning becomes even more essential to ensure that both are ready to go on time.

Content that is higher quality, more consistent, and aligned across channels is content that will attract an engaged audience, and will keep them coming back for more because they know what to expect from you. And, trust us, your audience will notice. 

The Luxury of Banking Content 

Strategic planning also allows you to do something called “banking content,” something I discussed on CoSchedule’s new podcast, Actionable Content Marketing. Imagine what it would be like if, at the beginning of a month, all your content for the month was prepped and ready to go, in the queue scheduled for its publish date—all your content for the month is in the bank. 

What would this do for you and your brand? You’d be able to focus more on marketing and promotions. You’d be able to think about content ideas for two or three months down the road. You’d be able to give your attention to other important aspects of your business, all because you are not scrambling at the last minute to get a blog post up or a podcast episode released. 

Perhaps more importantly, banking content allows you to have more flexibility with your editorial plan. Let’s say you have four blog posts queued up and ready to go for the month: one post scheduled for every Wednesday. The post for the second Wednesday of the month is announcing the release of a new product that you’re planning to launch. Except, as it happens sometimes with launches, the product isn’t going to be ready in time to announce it on that second Wednesday. No problem. You’ve got plenty of wiggle room. You can push that announcement post out to the third or fourth Wednesday and move the other posts up—because they are all ready to go, it doesn’t matter when they publish. 

Imagine what that scenario would be like if on the Monday of the week you were supposed to announce the launch of your product, and the launch had to get pushed back a week or two, but you didn’t have the rest of your blog posts queued up and ready to go because you didn’t plan ahead. There you would be, not only stressed about the launch getting pushed back, but now you’d also be scrambling to get a post ready in two days to replace the launch announcement post that had to get pushed back. No fun!

Just as you need a strategy for chess, you need a strategy for your editorial efforts!

Just as you need a strategy for chess, you need a strategy for your editorial efforts!

Editorial Strategy in Action for SmartPassiveIncome.com

Here at Winning Edits, we manage editorial strategy for clients like Pat Flynn of SmartPassiveIncome.com (SPI) and I stepped in as the team’s managing editor in the summer of 2015. SPI is a site with several publishing channels: blog, two podcasts, and a web TV series. We are publishing some form of content daily, and our weekly frequency looks like this:

When I came onboard as the team’s managing editor in the summer of 2015, the podcasts were being produced one week in advance, blog posts were being written a few days before publishing and were not published consistently, and the team did not handle production on the TV episodes. 

Right away I knew that the goal for managing this much content was to get it banked a minimum of one month in advance of the publish date. That meant in August we started producing content for October, so that come October 1 all of the blog posts, podcast episodes, and TV episodes were queued up and ready to go. To give you a general idea of how that works, Pat writes blog post drafts and records podcast episodes two months in advance (in August he’s writing and recording for October), so that the team is in production on all of that content one month in advance (in September, we are producing all of October’s content). 

The first thing I did to implement this strategy was look at the last three months of the year: October, November, December. The team had recently wrapped up a huge audience survey which revealed the top three topics that people wanted more information on: email marketing, affiliate marketing, and information products. So we decided to focus on each of these topics for one month. 

  • October = Email Marketing
  • November = Affiliate Marketing
  • December = Information Products 

With monthly focuses in place, it becomes much easier to determine specific blog post and podcast topics. Here’s a snapshot of what October’s plan looked like, with the month’s focus on email marketing: 

The Results of Strategic Editorial Planning

Quality, consistency, and alignment are all well and good, but what do these things actually do for you? For Pat and SPI, we saw immediate results in October 2015, which was the first month of publishing content from our strategic editorial plan. Pat wrote about these results in his October 2015 Income Report, and here’s part of what he said: 

“I’m happy to say that October was a smashing success. Every week in October, a blog post, podcast episode and episode of SPI TV was published, in addition to the five AskPat episodes that come out each week—all without a hitch. Beyond that, most of the content for the rest of the year has already been written or recorded, most are edited, and just ready to fire away when the time is right. As a result of this, October saw a record month of traffic, and page-views, each increasing at a rate of about 15 percent.”

Not only did site traffic increase, but also Pat’s email subscribers in October 2015 increased by 34 percent from the previous month. And, on top of those amazing numbers, Pat’s audience noticed and commented on the consistency and quality of his content, more than once. 

Our team has since continued to manage and implement strategic editorial planning for SPI and other clients. We maintain our strategic plans a minimum of six months in advance, and even sometimes have a full twelve months planned out. We begin by outlining six to twelve monthly focuses, and then every three months we outline weekly blog post and podcast episodes within those monthly themes. Breaking down the strategic planning into these more manageable steps keeps the planning from getting too overwhelming. Don’t worry—you never have to sit down and come up with fifty-two blog posts in one planning session!

Tools for Strategic Editorial Planning

If you’re wondering how you even get started with setting up your strategic editorial plan, don’t fret! You can get started quickly and easily with a simple spreadsheet set up with a column for each one of your publishing channels, and rows for each week of the month. A basic three-month template would look something like this:

We recommend managing a spreadsheet like this using Google Sheets, which allows for easy sharing and collaboration with team members.

Here at Winning Edits, we also use a tool called CoSchedule, which we love and highly recommend for brands with multiple publishing and social media channels. We use the spreadsheet for planning, and we use CoSchedule for production, where we keep track of deadlines and production tasks like editing, image creation, and QA. It’s a robust tool that integrates a calendar with task management, which makes it easy to assign tasks to different team members and give each task a unique deadline that is dynamically related to the publish date of the post.

So, Why Does Your Brand Need an Editorial Strategy?

Well, that's simple. For all of the above stated reasons! Building an editorial strategy, complete with editorial calendar and extensive planning, will benefit your brand immensely. It's not only easier on you, but it's better for your audience too. Win-win!

And, remember, brands don't just include companies. Brands also apply to you, the author. As an author, you are a brand. How you present yourself online, with blogging, podcasting, etc., will serve to support your brand, and ultimately enhance your book promotion and marketing efforts. 

What are you waiting for? Get started on that editorial strategy! :D Oh, and if you need help, we can joyfully assist. Just let us know!

Your turn, readers! Have you created an editorial strategy before? How did it help your brand? Share your story in the comments below!


How to Ask Your Community for Feedback (and Why You Need It)

Regardless of what type of business you have or the types of content you create, those who buy your products, sign up for your services, and read what you write are important. Here at Winning Edits, we see everyone who interacts with your business in any way as a valuable member of your community.

Building and nurturing a community is largely based on how you can help your target audience, but asking your community for feedback is a great way to not only understand their needs and better serve them, but also to keep that audience engaged in your process.

Data Collection

Sometimes you simply want to know how many people have used a product, where a customer heard about your work, or what your audience wants to see next from you. It’s incredibly important to check in occasionally to see how your community interacts with your work.

The Set-Up: If you’re looking to collect data for analytical purposes, we highly recommend Typeform (check out ours here) due to its beautiful and easy to use interface. With Typeform, you can set up simple or complex surveys, analyze that data as it comes in, and create reports that can help you move your business forward.

The Ask: When it comes to requesting this type of feedback, we always recommend using every medium at your disposal. If you’ve got social media accounts set up, be sure to push your survey out to those community members. Email newsletter lists are full of community members who have opted in to your work and are a perfect place to let your audience know you want to hear from them. You can also integrate Typeform surveys directly into your website!

Constructive Feedback

Reviews and testimonials are powerful. Positive reviews can be used to help with marketing your products or services, and are crucial when it comes to understanding what your community loves about your work. Believe it or not, negative reviews are also helpful! A bad review can help you understand where improvement might be needed. Additionally, the community member sharing a negative review is offering you an opportunity to make it right through stellar customer service.

The Set-Up: You can absolutely include space for reviews or testimonials in the Typeform survey discussed above, but oftentimes reviews are part of a third-party website like Amazon, iTunes, Yelp, and so on. It’s easy to feel as though you don’t have control over reviews on those third-party websites, but we always like to think about how those tools can work for us, rather than against us. Most of the larger third-party review sites run on algorithms that help the user (your community member in this case) find related items or content they will enjoy. When your community leaves reviews on these websites, they are telling the algorithms that your business or content is noteworthy!

The Ask: If the goal is to include your request for testimonials or reviews in the Typeform survey mentioned above, simply send the full survey out through all of your marketing channels. However, if you’d like to ask you community to leave a review or testimonial on a third-party website, we always recommend asking them to do so at the end of some sort of transaction. For example, if you’re recording a podcast episode, make sure you ask your listeners to leave a review on iTunes. If your new ebook is on Amazon, don’t forget to include a link in the back matter that will lead readers to a review page.

Peripheral Engagement

While getting feedback in an effort to improve your business is critical, we also advocate for engaging your audience in ways that don’t directly relate to your bottom line. Asking your community members questions about things that relate—in a peripheral sense—to whatever it is you do is a great way to get to know your audience on another level.

The Set-Up: While social media can often feel like a waste of time, platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram are perfect for this type of engagement. The good news is that you don’t have to have trillions of followers to start engaging with your community in this way. Even one in-depth comment thread with a client, reader, or customer is valuable when it comes to building and maintaining a solid community.

The Ask: This can be the tricky part. You want to make sure you’re asking questions that make sense for your specific audience. For example, if you have an online shop that sells tennis shoes, it wouldn’t necessarily make sense to ask whether your community members have a favorite ride at Disneyland. However, it might be fun to show off those tennis shoes in the wild and ask the community to share their favorite running or walking trails where they live. This type of engagement lets your community know you care about how, why, when, and where they might use your product and who knows—you might gain valuable insight that you can use to further your work!

From brick and mortar businesses and ecommerce sites to service-based businesses and personal brands, every successful entrepreneur takes the time to understand those who purchase or interact with their work. Collecting information and engaging your community is just one way to make sure you’re meeting the needs of those who support your work, creating the goods or services your audience is looking for, and positioning your business as a brand that cares.

Now it’s our turn to ask for feedback: what are your favorite ways to collect feedback from your community and engage your audience members? Let’s chat about it in the comment section below! 

William Golding on the Writing Process

Born on this day in 1911, William Golding, author of Lord of the Flies, said this about the writing process:

The writer probably knows what he meant when he wrote a book, but he should immediately forget what he meant when he's written it.

How do you interpret this quote from Golding? The ever-changing nature of the writing process? The ebb and flow of ideas? The power (and positivity) of allowing things to sit, ponderously, musingly, creatively?

What do you think? Please leave us your thoughts in the comments below!

7 Essential Editorial Tools for Writers and Editors

When it comes to creating winning solutions for authors and brands, we believe strongly in taking advantage of tools that enable us to be more efficient, effective, and unequaled in our efforts. It's why we created our Resources page, which is a full list of our favorite resources. This list are the seven most essential, and some of our personal favorites for writers and editors.

As much as we'd like to think we could do our jobs alone, we really can't. Just as we rely on each other in a relational sense, we also rely on each other's outputs, which includes some of the amazing tools we (you, developers, Transformers, etc.) create. Tools that make our jobs easier are the tools we love. These tools make it so we can do the things we want to do, but also do things we couldn't imagine ever doing. It's really quite a beautiful, collaborative relationship if you think about it.

We're going to give you a moment here to think about it, and if you need a peaceful serenade that most certainly indicates our age range, enjoy this killer Enya tune:

Okay, have you thought about how tools can make your life better, or have you fallen asleep? If the first, good on you. If the second, how dare you. ENYA IS MAGIC. And also, quite serendipitously, another tool we can use as writers and editors. Not Enya as a human, but the music she creates could very well qualify as an essential tool that allows you to focus, which is an integral component to our success that we can take for granted. But enough about Enya (not really; we love you, Enya!). Let's jump into our seven favorite editorial tools that make life as a writer/editor hum!

7 Essential Editorial Tools for Writers and Editors

Essential Editorial Tool #1: Google Docs

For a dark time in our content production history, Microsoft Word held the crown. But thanks to the emergence of Google Docs in 2012, we were all saved from the headache-inducing formatting and "oh crap, I forgot to save that document" moments that seemed to be so prevalent in Word. With Google Docs, formatting isn't an issue and it auto-saves so you don't have to remember to click save every minute or so. The best part of all is that we, as a team, can work on a Google Doc simultaneously without worrying about undoing what someone else wrote or edited.

When it comes to sharing your Google Doc, you can in a number of unique ways, including adding specific people to your document with either a) full editing capability; b) the ability to comment but not edit; and c) viewing access only. You can also just create a shareable link, and share that link with the people you want to collaborate with. As a team that works on a wide variety of content across multiple industries for various clients, using Google Docs over any other option simply makes good sense.

If you're not yet using Google Docs, get on that. Your writing and editing future is bright! Don't believe us? Check out the real time collaborative power of Google Docs in this pretty nifty demo:


Essential Editorial Tool #2: Scrivener

If you want something a bit more sophisticated than Google Docs, Scrivener is for you. Scrivener is designed to set structure for your book, not just any general content.  It's designed specifically for authors, which makes it a great tool if you're serious about your writing or editing project, and you're looking for a more focused, organized approach. You can break down your book project into scenes and even sub-scenes with corresponding metadata, such as title, mode (draft or revised), and target word count. Google Docs will give you the capability to add an outline, but not in the fastidious way Scrivener allows. So if you dig that structure, we recommend it!

One other great thing about Scrivener is that, if you're writing a book about the migration of Hoth's Tauntaun population, it allows you to import any research materials that you have, including but not limited to the time you may have served the Rebel Alliance.

If you're curious about Scrivener but feel a bit intimidated, check out Learn Scrivener Fast for a quick rundown of the product. This Scrivener demo from Karen Prince is also pretty useful:


Essential Editorial Tool #3: OmmWriter

If you're anything like us—and we're going to assume that you are at least similar—you have forty-seven browser tabs open while you exchange adorable puppy gifs with a friend on Twitter, nerd out over grammar intricacies masterfully relayed by Grammar Girl, and do countless other things that distract you just enough to keep your book project going Ad Infinitum. While that may be a bit of hyperbole, it captures the essence of the type of distraction zones we're always fighting against as editorial sorts. The good news is that there are a bunch of amazing tools out there that can help us battle those distractions, one of which is OmmWriter.

With OmmWriter, you can swiftly say goodbye to all of the distraction (yes, even the puppies) and combat your yearning for multi-tasking yourself into a less effective frenzy. It was designed to help you "re-connect with your old friends Concentration and Creativity," two friends who are the backbone of every successful writer. It accomplishes this by giving you a private work studio with backgrounds to hold your attention and set your mood, audio tracks to focus your mind, and keystroke sounds to get you in the right rhythm.

Here's a screenshot example of the serene, distraction-free environment of OmmWriter:

Essential Editorial Tool #4: CoSchedule

As a fully distributed/remote team (meet the team here and here!), it's especially important that we stay on top of our tasks. Otherwise, it can be madness. Thankfully we have CoSchedule, which is the tool we use to schedule our editorial calendar and assign tasks around client projects we work on. Our managing editor, Janna, created the editorial strategy for Pat Flynn or SmartPassiveIncome.com, and recently spoke with Pat about the wonders of CoSchedule and how you can keep up with your editorial calendar.

Even if you're not a full-time writer or editor, CoSchedule can be an immense help by making it easy for you to create separate calendars for your writing projects, editing tasks, and personal to-dos. You can plan and schedule all of your social media posts, integrate it seamlessly with your WordPress blog and Google Docs, and basically manage all of the content you create and edit in one place. It really does make life so much easier for us. We wouldn't be able to do what we do without it (or Janna).

You can register for a free CoSchedule demo here.

Essential Editorial Tool #5: ConvertKit

Email marketing shouldn't be complex. But a lot of email marketing tools make it that way. Not ConvertKit. ConvertKit is our favorite email marketing tool because it allows us to reach our audience—or, rather, assist authors and brands in reaching their audience—in the most streamlined and simple way possible. We want a tool that enables us to focus on the audience and the relationships we build with the audience. ConvertKit makes it easy to create that 1-to-1 connection with your audience on a large scale without the added complexity of imposed algorithms and add-ons.

As a writer or editor, you should be spending your time, you know, writing and editing (and sometimes balancing those things with cat snuggles). But not building needlessly elaborate email marketing campaigns that are less about that human-to-human relationship and more about salesy poppycock. With ConvertKit, you have the time to write and edit to your heart's content, plus still have time to connect with your audience through email.

Oh, and they put together a pretty awesome Guide to Email Marketing you can get for free here (or by clicking the logo below).


Essential Editorial Tool #6: Claim Your Throne

It would be the understatement of the century to say that Winning Edits loves books. But we're going to do that anyhow. We. Love. Books. We're bibliophiles. Book nerds. Nose-stuck-in-a-book types. We love the books that we work on as a team to produce (Will It Fly?, Level Up Your Life, and Virtual Freedom to name a few), and we love the books that we read on our own. Most recently, we're loving The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss, Heavy by J.J. Anselmi, and, You Look Like That Girl by Lisa Jakub. Books make us happy, which is especially so when we have a team member write one!

That's right. Our editor, the aforementioned Janna, wrote Claim Your Throne: How to Manage Your Online Content & Rule Your Corner of the Internet. Whether you're an author or a brand, Claim Your Throne is a tremendously helpful guide on the basics of editorial management, building an editorial calendar, the whole editorial process, and some useful tools and resources to get you from blank page to publishing.

Okay, we're biased clearly. But it really is that good.

Essential Editorial Tool #7: WordPress

The platform we love and recommend the most for those in the editorial field is WordPress. Unless you're living under a rock (or even under the Rock), you've certainly heard of WordPress. Many of your favorite websites are run on WordPress, including Boing Boing, TED, and TechCrunch. It's easy to use, very inexpensive (free for the basic plan!), and can integrate with boatloads of apps, plugins, and other software, including, as we mentioned before, CoSchedule. Combine the power of CoSchedule with the power of WordPress and you have a pretty fetching combination of editorial umph!

Sure, you'll also get access to hundreds of cool themes, stellar customer support, built-in social sharing, and plenty of space for customization to help your author or brand website serve your audience the way you want. So, with WordPress, it's a win-win-win-win.

Well, that about does it from us on a few of our favorite editorial tools! How about you? Do you have any favorite tools that help you do your job better? Leave your favorites in the comments below or share with us on Twitter @WinningEdits!

And if you're still thirsty for more amazing tools, check out our full list on our Resources page!

Happy creative-doing, folks.

Meet the Winning Edits Team: Part 2

Welcome to Part 2 of the Meet the Winning Edits Team blog posts! In Part 1, we met Non (likes to dance like Kevin Bacon from Footloose), Jennifer (would love to be a soaring bird), and Janna (the biggest teleportation aficionado we know). In this post, you'll meet the rest of the team, Mindy (ask her about cats), and Matt, CEO and Founder of Winning Edits!

We hope you love getting to know us. I mean, we like us, so there's no way you can't share the same sentiment! If you share any interests, have any questions about what makes us tick, or simply want to say hello, please leave us a comment below!

And you can connect with us (and send us puppy gifs) on Twitter @WinningEdits and sign up for the Winning Edits Dispatch, our monthly newsletter replete with author tips, book publishing news, literary fun, and insight for the author-entrepreneur! 

Mindy Holahan

Of course, Aunt Lucy, I'd love to look after this bear.

Of course, Aunt Lucy, I'd love to look after this bear.

What role do you serve at Winning Edits?

I'm a Senior Content Producer. My speciality is working with development teams, which we do for our larger clients. It's accurate to describe my role as the team translator, helping our content team to communicate effectively with outside development teams (web and app development). I make sure that everyone has a shared vision for what we are creating. I love this role because I get the fun of thinking structurally (like a developer) while still getting to tell stories (like a writer). 

I also take on data-driven projects for our clients, such as developing and analyzing audience surveys and conducting content audits. On a day-to-day basis, I also edit podcasts, assist with copywriting, and handle the final quality control on editorial content.

Before joining Winning Edits, what did you do?

My background is in hospitality. I spent seven years with The Hub, a group of meeting and event centers in Philadelphia. At The Hub, I worked first with the sales team and then later with the administration team, where a big part of my job dealt with compiling and analyzing sales data. This is where I learned that data can tell stories: stories about what our customers liked and what we could do to serve them better.

While I was with The Hub, I received a valuable education in customer service. My coworkers were absolute masters at making a customer feel special. Here too, I had the opportunity to use two sets of skills: the hard skills of data analysis and the soft skills of customer happiness.

What does your ideal day look like?

I'm hosting a party! My fiancé John and I love to throw parties, especially themed events (I'm currently writing an escape room party). We love to use parties as an opportunity to perfect new recipes, build a fire, and break out some records. Our household motto is "good food and good friends." My hostess superpower is that I can build a menu to accommodate any combination of food allergies and sensitivities—and you'll never even notice. If it's my ideal day, then I've spent a lot of time planning this shindig; I've prepped ahead and I have an easy-to-follow timeline so that I can concentrate on having fun with my guests.

Also, there are cats! John and I have three cats (read: so many cats). In my never-ending quest to help them self-actualize, they have become another outlet for creativity. I make them blanket forts and build them cardboard castles. It's pretty ridiculous.

What is currently inspiring you?

Thanks to my YouTube Red subscription, I spend a lot of time watching Crash Course videos to plug the holes in my knowledge about philosophy and history. YouTube Red is THE BEST if you spend any time on YouTube at all. I rely heavily on the "University of YouTube" for learning new skills—from mastering recipes to repairing my own electronics. As I mentioned above, I'm currently writing an escape room party, and I'm using the opportunity to learn Arduino so that I can build fancy props.

I'm in the home stretch for wedding planning, and so I spend a lot of time listening to this wonderfully profane Aussie wedding podcaster.

What's your guilty pleasure?

I find object-oriented reality television oddly motivating. When I need to clean, I pull up videos of British cleaning shows like How Clean Is Your House? and Obsessive Compulsive Cleaners. When I'm struggling to get my work done, I put Tabatha's Salon Takeover on and I pretend she's yelling at me to work smarter. That said, I intensely hate reality television that relies on interpersonal drama. Housewives? Rich socialites? Not interested. Watching someone clean their house while I clean mine? Very interested.

Matt Gartland

And finally, it's time for our founder, Matt Gartland!

What role do you serve at Winning Edits?

I serve as CEO, which means that a big part of my job is business development: making sure Winning Edits is working with great clients and that we are serving them well. To serve our clients well, we have to be keenly aware of how the landscape of publishing is evolving; the platforms, tools, and techniques authors are using to be successful. I love studying this and making sure we keep our clients on the cutting edge.

In terms of editorial direction, my job is to set the rest of team—who I'm thrilled you've gotten to meet—for success. I look at the larger business context for each project and to help the team incorporate it as we develop a project roadmap. We work on a variety of projects, from assisting authors with both the editorial and visual direction (covers, page layouts) for books to providing strategic planning for web page design. I provide the editorial vision, and then I help the team by removing any barriers they're facing so that they can get their work done.

Before starting the Winning Edits team, what did you do?

I come from a corporate software development background—not as an engineer, but in product management.  My role operated between the IT function and different business units, and it gave me an interesting perspective on how to use technology to solve business problems. This background helped me see the opportunity that emerging technologies are creating for the self-published author.

This background in systems thinking and software governance directly applies to developing editorial plans, where the goal is to deliver valuable content consistently over time. It's been an interesting, fun journey to bring this experience to the table of editorial content, digital content, and publishing.

What does your ideal day look like?

My ideal day begins by waking up without an alarm—just when my body tells me to wake up, although it will still be early. I have a relaxing breakfast with a cup of coffee and spend some time journaling. It's something I don't get to do nearly enough these days, and it really helps to unleash my creative juices.

I'd get to read a new good book. Midday or early afternoon I'd get out of the house for something physical: go for a run, go to the gym, or go hiking. After that, I'd have dinner with close friends, and then go to bed at a reasonable hour.

What is currently inspiring you?

The team inspires me—both the Winning Edits team and the team at my other company that I co-own/co-run, Rocket Code. Being someone who is a high producing individual, to now get comfortable delegating the work that I have always enjoyed doing but can't responsibly tackle alone, I'm so inspired by all members of the teams—watching them step up and make commitments that help to keep me from working insane hours. I am so grateful and humbled by watching our teams support our clients and make their visions a reality.

Who is your favorite superhero?

While I love many superheroes, Batman is my favorite. He's mortal and he's borne from an adversity that he uses as his motivation to good, hard work for the benefit of others. He doesn't seek recognition; he's a silent guardian, a watchful protector. While I don't go around beating people up after midnight, I self-identify with the internal motivation to be far better than you would be without making some sacrifices. This has helped motivate me to use the benefits and opportunities I've had to pay it forward with business that can provide careers and lifestyles for the people I care about—my team members.

Thanks again for reading, and meeting the Winning Edits team! We'd love to get to know you more. If you'd like to learn more about the team, come say hello to us on Twitter @WinningEdits!

And don't forget to check out our new Resources page, which has some of our favorite editorial tools, calendar software, publishing books, and resources for brands and authors. Check it out!