By Warren Hersch, ASBPE immediate past president

What factors should you consider when designing your ideal position? How do you make yourself invaluable as a B2B editor at your company? Why must you become a subject matter expert?

Track metrics that show your success, advised YLS winner Travis Stanton.

Answers to these questions, among many others, were forthcoming during ASBPE’s Aug. 29 webcast, “How to Succeed in the B2B Publishing Business While Actually Trying.” The event’s two co-presenters, both ASBPE Young Leadership Scholarship Winners — Chuck Bowen, editor and associate publisher of Lawn & Landscape magazine, and Travis Stanton editor of EXHIBITOR Magazine — touched on a range of best practices that have proved crucial to their own career advancement as B2B editors.

Among them: building a portfolio to help secure a promotion. If you want to move up the editorial ranks, said Stanton, then you have to keep track of — and tout — your successes, including metrics. Stanton advised webcast participants to regularly update their resumes and to look for ways to promote their successes, such as via

  • interoffice newsletters,
  • all-staff meetings,
  • companywide e-blasts and
  • press releases.

For his part, Bowen counseled webcast participants to ease their superiors’ jobs by volunteering to take on extra work, most especially tasks of editorial positions they aspire to. Bowen also urged attendees to build up a network of people, including individuals from both within and outside their companies (such as alumni), who can serve as mentors and references.

Develop skills that don’t exist elsewhere in your organization, said Chuck Bowen of Lawn & Landscape.

Both speakers also discussed the importance of developing and honing career-enhancing skills. If, noted Bowen, you aspire to a managerial type position, such as editorial director or publisher, then it’s critical that you learn how to interpret company balance sheets, magazine budgets, circulation data and other financial data. If, however, you’re angling for a greater role in producing online content, then learning how to use HTML 5, various social media platforms or video editing may be your path to advancement.

Stanton added that B2B editors should also develop “new and unique skills” that don’t exist elsewhere within their publishing organizations. These may include, for example, an ability to curate and promote webcasts for niche audiences, such as those served by an in-house custom-publishing arm. Getting a leg up may, alternatively, entail developing speaking and presentation skills so you can represent your publication at trade shows and other brand-building events.

Whatever your career aspirations, the co-presenters said, now is the time to begin realizing them. If you have a certain editorial position in mind, determine what skills you’ll need to fill the role, who will decide whether to promote you and obstacles (such as in-house competitors for the position) that you’ll have to overcome.

When an existing position does open up (or, alternatively, the opportunity presents itself to create a new one), customize your pitch to fit the hiring agent’s priorities, emphasizing your unique qualities and ability to meet the job — as you envision it.

“You want to sell yourself for the position not as it currently is, but for the position it can be,” said Stanton. “Explain how you can grow the position, and the brand along with it.

“Focus less on yourself and what you’ve done in the past and more on what you’ll do,” he added. “Describe what your plan is for the magazine’s future.”

Warren Hersch is the immediate past president of ASBPE and the chair of the national Education Committee.