What to Cover at Editorial Meetings

In working with several clients over the last few years, I’ve started to see a pattern develop about what should be covered in nonprofit editorial meetings, and who should be in what meeting.

Of course, every organization puts their own personal spin on it, and exactly who is in what meeting varies based on the size of the organization, how many layers of management are in between the executive director and the content creators, who’s empowered to make what decisions, and how fluid the editorial calendar really is.

Here’s how it usually sorts out . . .

Quarterly Editorial Meeting

What:  Look at the Big Picture Communications Timeline for the following quarter. Make any addition, edits, or deletions.  Get management buy-in on major messaging and call to action priorities for each month in the quarter. Have management share any new issues that may be on the horizon.  While this meeting should stay fairly high level, everyone should leave with an understanding of what the communications priorities for the quarter will be.

When: Do this meeting 6-8 weeks before the beginning of the quarter you are discussing. So if you are looking at April – June, you’d have that meeting sometime in early-mid February.

Who:  This is where senior managers who are not involved in day-to-day communications decisions, especially program managers, get to provide input. It’s essential that you have executive management, programs/services, fundraising, and communications represented in this meeting.

Monthly Editorial Meeting

What:  Review and flesh out the editorial calendar for the following month. This is where you plan what goes out in each specific communications channel on what day to ensure that the major messaging and calls to action agreed up on in the quarterly meeting are addressed properly. Identify any issues or conflicts or decisions that need to be taken back up the management chain for a decision. Make assignments to content creators, with deadlines.

When:  Do this meeting mid-month for the following month.

Who:  The communications team and immediate supervisors.


Weekly Editorial Meeting

What:  This is a tactical meeting where you review everything that is going out in the next week and make any last-minute adjustments. You’ll often spend this meeting merging in the content you couldn’t plan for (e.g. breaking news related to your cause, crisis communications, putting out internal “fires,” etc.) and filling gaps for content that wasn’t completed for whatever reason.  It’s also a good idea to look back over the last week to ensure that everything was completed, and if tasks are left-over, to reschedule them or delete them.

When: Usually on Monday, but can also be done late in the week for the following week (i.e. meet on Friday to discuss the following week).

Who:  The communications team, and often immediate supervisors, but not always. That depends on the level of delegation and autonomy in the team.


What about a Daily Meeting?

Most organizations don’t need a daily meeting, but very large organizations and those that are very responsive to breaking news will often do a very quick 10-15 minute meeting that includes senior staff and the people managing the various communications channels, just to make sure everyone is in sync for the day. In smaller organizations, these conversations happen naturally throughout the day.


What Do Your Editorial Meetings Look Like?

What do the different editorial meetings in your office look like? I’d love to hear about them in the comments!