What a Brand Editor Does
In the pursuit of my master’s degree in digital media, I came across an article in Campaign, a British publication, that defines brand journalism and what a brand editor does:
Brand editors take authentic content and find new platforms and avenues on which it can continue to expand.
Yep, that about sums it up. I’m fortunate to have a career that spans magazines, books, web content and scripts. I do a lot of copyediting too, including ad copy, newsletters, press releases, bios, social media, etc. I’m hired to help companies brand themselves through wordsmithing and graphics.
And sometimes of my work is cited on Wikipedia, as well.
For instance, I interviewed Cheryl Najafi, author of New York Times best-selling book You’re So Invited: Panic Less, Play More, and Get Your Party On! for Houston Lifestyles & Homes — and was cited on her Wiki page.
It was a fun assignment with a entrepreneur who has developed quite a brand! What a great example for someone who may be considering a career as a brand editor, or building their own enterprise.
Brand Editor and Journalism
According to the article in Campaign:
The rise of brand journalism signals an exciting time in media, and it shows no signs of slowing down: more and more brands are growing their editorial teams, and branching out into new forms of quality content.
I suppose covering any brand in magazine editorial is a form of brand journalism and falls under the tent of “brand editor.” Perhaps you’ll enjoy the entire article, posted below.
A Chat With Cheryl Najafi
By Melanie Saxton
Cheryl Najafi, a wife, mother and experienced hostess, already knew how to cook and entertain. “But it takes 50 other skills to run a business,” she noted. Equipped with a master’s degree in communications, a dream, and a team of 25 employees, her multimedia lifestyle company, CherylStyle, was launched in 2011.
Growing the Brand in Houston
Najafi lives in Arizona, but is no stranger to the Houston area. If you weren’t able to see her at The Woodlands Home and Garden Show in August, she’ll be appearing at the Sugar Land Home and Garden Show January 24 and 25.
Hailed by many as the “next Martha Stewart,” Najafi was named one of the 48 Most Intriguing Women of Arizona at their Centennial Celebration. She’s also a New York Times best-selling author of You’re So Invited: Panic Less, Play More, and Get Your Party On (2012), and the recently released cookbook Mother Daughter Dishes: Reinventing Loved Classics (2014). The latter is filled with downhome Missouri cooking straight from her mother’s kitchen.
Both books were influenced by Najafi’s Midwestern roots, her value system, and her mom. “I knew I had to have a brand that was fun, dependable, down to earth and wrapped in an essence of not taking life too seriously,” she says. In fact, her mother is one of her biggest role models and taught her to take risks. “If I failed, she and my daddy would be there to help me get back up again.”
The Early Years
After earning her degrees and marrying businessman Jahm Najafi, she settled into motherhood with twins (a boy and a girl), followed immediately by another daughter – three babies in a year. Her home became testing grounds for recipes galore, not to mention DIY craft projects. When her children neared junior high, she changed roles from stay-at-home mom to entrepreneur. It was time to share her ideas and inspiration with the world, and she seized the moment.
Life has changed drastically over the last four years. The pressure of starting a new company has been consuming, but Najafi now has better work/life balance. “You’ll often find me staying at home (and at the office). This is the way it is, until it isn’t!” She believes one skill an entrepreneur must have is the ability to adapt and redefine oneself at any minute. “I’ve had three major “redefinitions” in the past three years and too many little ones to count,” she adds.
Bite-Sized is Better
Najafi is good at many things… and listening is definitely one of them. During her first year in business, fans weighed in on her robust website filled with 200 pieces of content. But instead of the “A to Z’s” of parties (from invitations to favors), fans asked for “bite-sized” pieces of information.
Najafi responded by rethinking her business model and parking her mammoth website. With a smaller staff (and site) with a focus on developing easy meal ideas and crafting projects, CherylStyle.com metamorphosed into a highly interactive and wildly popular DIY online presence.
Today, CherylStyle’s mission is to make everyday meals that are affordable and easily “pull-off-able!” Najafi knows first-hand that nothing is more disappointing than trying a new recipe for your family, only to have it not turn out. Her team develops and tests hundreds of recipes to make them foolproof. “We do the work for you – altitude, temperature, etc. – and add those notes in the recipes,” she says.
Social Media Maven
A huge social media following awaits every new recipe. Najafi built her presence the good ol’ fashioned way. Much like a campaign, she spent time on the road giving demonstrations, speaking and sharing her ideas. She hires passionate people who share her vision and engage her audience every step of the way. “We read and answer every comment on Facebook and the website,” she says. “We want to know what you need help with, what you don’t understand or how everything turned out.”
Najafi feels it is an honor that someone not only gives her 10 minutes of their precious day to download a recipe, but then spends another 10 minutes to upload a picture or make a comment about how good it was! It’s those moments she lives for, and the whole team at CherylStyle feels the exact same way. “We are driven by the success of our community,” she notes. “And if we can make your day a little easier, we’ve done our job!”
Family, Fun, and the Future
The Najafi kiddos are at such fun ages — the twins 15 and their sister 14. “All are super curious about how history has shaped their lives today and can’t possibly imagine life without a cellular device, living anywhere outside Arizona where one would need a coat, or living in a house without pets,” says Najafi of their animal menagerie. Their two large Sulcato dessert tortoises have laid two clutches totaling 36 baby tortoises. Two smaller Herman’s tortoises, two bearded dragon lizards, a Corgie, Cava-poo and Golden-doodle also abide in the Najafi household. “I would have chickens too, for their fresh eggs, but my sweet husband has drawn the line — I guess I can’t blame him,” she adds.
Her immediate plans are to continue creating recipes that turn out right the first time, taste amazing and don’t take all day to prepare. She is also working on another loved classics book, as well as a gluten-free cookbook due to the volume of requests she’s received for gluten-free recipes.
For more inspiration at the dinner table, see the accompanying recipes, and visit CherylStyle.com and Facebook. You can also connect with Najafi and her staff on Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest and Google+.