Online Editor Profile

How to Become an Online Editor

Woman working on computer.
Cultura RM Exclusive/Stefano Gilera

What Does an Online Editor Do?

Online editors, also known as online producers or web producers, oversee the content on websites. An online editor functions, in some ways, as a magazine editor, blogger and journalist rolled into one. Because an online editor is overseeing content on a website, he or she may need to follow traffic patterns to glean what content draws more users to the site.

Because web traffic can be tracked in ways magazine readership cannot -- companies can track how many people receive a magazine but not what articles are the most popular within the magazine -- online editors are often expected to create content with a deeper eye to how it’s being consumed.

Online editors also need to have a deeper understanding of how a website works. (Many websites often rely on user-friendly web tools for entering content, but the extent to which an online editor needs to know other programs -- photo cropping software and HTML -- varies.)

How Do You Become an Online Editor?

The good thing about jobs in online editing and producing is that they’re plentiful. Online content creation is one of the growing areas in the media world because so many companies -- traditional print publications and non-traditional ones -- are eager to capture readers online. Interestingly it’s a relatively new field as well, so a lot of experimentation is going on.

To break into this field, you’ll need experience working online and creating online content. Employers want to see online editors who understand how readers are reading online, so you need to have experience working at a website.

In short, you need to be able to demonstrate you’ve written for the Web and know how to do that, so your clips should be from websites. Internships working for websites is also key. Additionally, experience blogging and knowledge of HTML will help.

What Skills Do You Need for the Job?

Online editors need to be comfortable with both writing and technology.

Because an online editor is crafting stories -- or editing the stories of other writers -- he or she needs strong writing and journalistic skills. But an online editor also needs to be interested in, and aware of, the technology which wraps around the story. Should a particular story include a video component? Where on the site should it be placed? If the story doesn’t include video, should it include pictures? An online editor might have to answer all those questions and then be able to use whatever tool is required to add the needed component, be it video or pictures.

An online editor may also need to be comfortable with gathering and analyzing a certain amount of data. Unlike writers and editors who work in print, an online editor might need to track what kinds of stories generate more traffic to inform the creation of future stories. In other words, an online editor needs to be comfortable paying attention to traffic stats and incorporating lessons learned from those stats in the content creation process.

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