Create a team
Create a publication team. The roles may overlap, depending on the size of the project and your staff members’ particular skills.
The publishing coordinator tracks the lifecycle of the content and is ultimately responsible for its accuracy and publication. The publishing coordinator will:
- create a publication plan and timeline
- identify or nominate the content owner, the author, and the person with final sign off duties
- liaise with the Office of Marketing and Communications
- organise a review by users, peers or experts, including people outside the department
- if more than one writer has contributed copy, check the tone is consistent
- sign off on the page after the writer and content owner are satisfied with it
- organise the content’s entry in to the CMS (if it’s a webpage), or publication (if it’s a print document)
- check the finished product.
This is the person who knows the most about the topic. The content owner:
- defines the purpose of the publication
- ensures the content isn’t replicated elsewhere
- identifies exactly what content the writer should include and what can be omitted
- gives the writer all the resources they need
- tells the publishing coordinator who to speak to for extra information
- checks the publication after the writer has finished and ensures it is accurate.
Senior sign off
The final person to sign off on the content should be the most senior person available.
As the writer, your eyes will become so familiar with the text that it will become difficult to see typos and errors. It is ideal to have someone else edit and yet someone else again proofread. If this is not possible, print out the document and see the proofreading guide for tips and tricks.
The author writes the content, or edits existing content. The content owner and the writer may be the same person. The writer:
- writes the content
- organises internal peer reviews
- ensures the style adheres to Monash standards.
An editor will:
- check the content for sense, ambiguity, style, punctuation and accuracy
- ensure the style adheres to this guide.
A proofreader will:
- ensure the style adheres to Monash standards
If it’s your job to proofread, read this proofreading guide.
Build good working relationships with everyone in the team. Don’t be surprised if there is disagreement, particularly between content owners and writers. Content owners will sometimes want to include more information than the writer thinks is necessary, or feel like the writer is trying to dumb down the content. If this happens, make sure you both agree on the publication’s users — you are writing to them.
Embrace criticism as a way to learn better writing or editing skills. It’s easy to become precious, but even the best writers need editors. See objections as challenges and rise to meet them.