Web Editor: Job Description

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Web editor job description

This is a suggested template for a web editor job description. We have deliberately set the bar high as we want to encourage posts and groups to bring in greater digital expertise. You will need to tailor the job spec to meet your needs (see specifically text in bold).

Job title

Web editor / Digital producer / Digital diplomacy officer / Web manager

Outline

This exciting position requires you to lead, develop and implement all aspects of our digital communication. You will work as part of our communications team with colleagues across the embassy and our global organisation.

The ideal candidate would have excellent editorial skills, with fluent English and LANGUAGE (both spoken and written). You should have experience of managing a web presence and carrying out communications work in a busy, fast-paced environment. You should have experience of running communication campaigns using digital media. Proven ability to motivate others and contribute effectively to team objectives are also essential.

Main responsibilities

  • Manage the English and LANGUAGE versions of the embassy website developing content to a high standard
  • Design and deliver web campaigns to achieve embassy objectives, including using interactive web spaces
  • Evaluate the success of web work, including setting key performance indicators, monitoring visitor statistics, feedback and participation
  • Develop excellent working relationships with colleagues at all levels across the embassy who provide website content, with external partners and with HUB who maintain the centralised content management system and templates
  • Take photographs and record videos of events for use on the website / the FCO’s Youtube and Flickr channels
  • Contribute to the successful delivery of embassy-wide public diplomacy projects and advise colleagues on the best use of online communications
  • Manage X assistant web editors and ensure back-up web editors are trained

Essential skills and experience

Language skills

  • Fluent LANGUAGE and English
  • Excellent editorial skills. Ability to write engagingly and convincingly for the web [in both languages].

Web and IT skills

  • Excellent editorial skills with a sound understanding of writing for the web and engaging online audiences
  • Solid experience managing dynamic websites (please give examples of web addresses where you were the sole or main web editor)
  • Ability to design, deliver and evaluate online campaigns using a range of online media, including interactive spaces
  • Knowledge of digital trends
  • Excellent knowledge of a range of applications and software including social media platforms, content management systems, image-editing software, MS Windows.

Other skills

  • Strong interpersonal and communication skills
  • Proven experience in project and time management
  • Ability to respond flexibly to changing priorities

Desirable skills and experience

  • Experience or knowledge of external and internal communications in an international context.
  • Awareness of the work of the British Embassy in CITY and the wider Foreign and Commonwealth Office.
  • Interest in the UK.

Web editors write, commission, edit and update content across one website or a range of websites.

Other job titles for web editors include online content manager, web manager and web editorial officer.

What web editors do

  • work with content management systems to publish or update online content
  • take responsibility for certain websites
  • set the overall tone of a website
  • generate ideas for content
  • commission work from freelance writers and other contributors
  • manage blogs, forums, wikis and other forms of user-generated content
  • liaise with SEO/SEM specialists, designers and web developers
  • understand issues surrounding user experience, accessibility and information architecture
  • may control budgets
  • edit content to desired length
  • check articles for tone and style.

Key skills for web editors

  • detailed knowledge of their market and audience
  • attention to detail
  • communication skills
  • excellent writing skills
  • good grasp of grammar, punctuation and spelling
  • decision-making
  • technical knowledge of web publishing (HTML, CSS, etc)
  • ability to work under pressure
  • interpersonal skills
  • ability to meet deadlines.

Training to be a web editor

Training is usually on the job, supplemented by short courses run by professional-training organisations. Most web editors start their careers as online editorial assistants.

A Day in the life of a Web Editor

A Web editor develops the content or editorial plan of a Web site, working with a team that may include a creative director, a writer, a designer, and an information architect. Web editors at different types of companies have varying responsibilities. Someone at iVillage.com, for instance, deals with major amounts of content and updates it on a daily basis. An editor at an online magazine could be brought in to match the site’s particular style or to provide an original voice. But if you work for a Web developer that produces original content for different companies, your work will be more project-oriented. You will develop material for a range of clients, as well as ensure that the information is accurate and conveys the true voice and tone for the site. The editor’s work encompasses a broad spectrum of writing and can run the gamut from writing a short article or product description copy to creating a script. Copyediting and proofreading may also be part of an editor’s job. An editor in the Web world has a very different job than one in a traditional print position. The online world is one of interactivity, which may involve creating single-loop feedbacks, such as real-time polls, or developing community-oriented content-information that is taken from people responding to a site. While print media is geared toward the masses, interactive content relies on an understanding of the one-to-one nature of the Web. “In most traditional media, once you’ve written a piece, it’s done,” notes writer Amy Gahran. However, many online writing projects are never really finished, especially when it comes to Website content. “Expect to update, revise, expand, or tweak existing written materials not just occasionally, but continuously.” “Editing and project-management skills are helpful for any writer, but having a background as an editor or managing editor can prove especially lucrative. Many online publishing venues lack experienced editorial talent. Being an editor as well as a writer is likely to open more doors for you in online media than it would in print media,” observes Gahran.

Paying Your Dues

As an editor, it’s important to familiarize yourself with HTML and a variety of page design programs like Dreamweaverª and Cyberstudioª. An editor should have an understanding of certain back-end technologies; for instance, if you are writing copy for an e-commerce site, it’s helpful to understand the functionality of how an online store works and how it operates before you actually write material for it. Gaining some HTML knowledge will help you understand the possibilities and limitations of online media much better than someone who only writes, and you can easily teach yourself basic HTML and basic Web design from a good book. Web editors require a combination of editorial common sense and good writing skills. They must also embrace the technology. “If someone is out to write his novel and wants to pick up some interesting work on the side, this is a harder road,” cautions one Web editor. “People who really have a curiosity about the medium and are jazzed by learning about it tend to flourish more.” Junior writing and proofreading positions exist for recent college grads, who can also enter the field in a support role to gain some experience. “We’re at the point now where we’re looking for people with Web experience,” says one senior editor, “but people who have had some copywriting or print work experience and who can demonstrate a penchant for the medium can earn a junior staff writing position.” Strong original writing will open the door, along with the ability to write on a variety of topics in different styles. There is a lot of work right now for editors, and it’s not too tough to break into the field.

Associated Careers

A lot of people enter the field from a direct marketing background because that type of one-to-one interaction is the basis for online business. Web editors with strong conceptual skills can move up to associate and senior creative director positions. Others who want to leave the field can take their skills back into the print world to magazines, ad agencies, or any other arena in need of original writing.

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