Danielle Bullen Love, ’05, M.A. ‘06, is a communications specialist at Trion Group, a corporate employee benefits provider. She is also a freelance writer and former managing editor of Merion Matters, a parent company of ADVANCE Healthcare Network.
I always give reasoning because I always like to receive reasoning myself. I might frame it as more of a suggestion than a command by saying something like, “Have you thought about this?” It’s about being open and being encouraging, to make sure the writer knows you’re on their side. It’s not the editor against the writer. It’s the editor and the writer working together as a team. A big part of being an editor is being a diplomat, knowing what to say, when to say it, and knowing how to say it. If you’re the editor, ultimately it’s your responsibility for the quality of the project that goes out, so sometimes you have to put your foot down, and you have to say “These are my changes.”
What about fact-checking? Is that part of your process?
As a freelancer, I fact-check. One of my old companies had kind of an unusual policy of letting sources review the articles before we published them. It’s my understanding that not a lot of people do that. Anyone who was quoted in a story read an advanced copy for an accuracy check. If anything got lost in translation between when the writers interviewed them and when we did the finished product, they would have the opportunity to look at it. I recommend fact-checking if your company does this. See if you can get a second verified source to follow up with. Especially in healthcare, you’re going to be dealing with a lot of numbers and stats, so you want to make sure they’re accurate.
What makes good web content, and how do you measure whether or not a piece is doing well?
What makes good content is the same for print and web. Is it valuable and is it interesting? “Is it valuable” means “is it valuable to the target audience?” Different audiences value different content. As long as you keep the reader and who you’re trying to reach in mind and make the content valuable and interesting for them, it really doesn’t matter whether it’s web or print. Success can be measured in lots of ways. It can be measured in page views and hits, and we use Google Analytics for that. We also track through social media, likes and shares, so we can see how popular an article is, following how it travels.
What advice would you give to new writers and editors?
When you’re looking for freelance or full-time work, reach out to your network. Let everyone know you’re looking, even people who aren’t in the field. Another tip is to have an online portfolio and list it on your LinkedIn profile and email signature. It’s an easy way to direct people to your writing.
—Amanda Rebuck, ’17