The Three Skills You Need: Deputy Website Editor

3rd July 2023
5 min read
3rd July 2023

As part of our careers in publishing series, we spoke to Heenali Odedra, Deputy Website Editor at Bloomsbury, and the three skills she needs for her job.

Heenali Odedra

1. Can you tell us how you came to be in your current role?

I found a temporary six month role in the Bloomsbury Education team for a Digital Project Assistant. Around the time the contract was ending, another temporary Web Content Assistant role came up, so I applied and managed to secure the job just before the COVID lockdown. Fast forward three years and I’m still with the web team as Deputy Website Editor!

2. Could you take us through the sort of responsibilities that you manage in your role?

The main responsibility of my role is being, in a way, a guardian for content on across five countries; UK, Australia, India, US and Canada. I get to work with colleagues from all over the company, including Editorial, Marketing, Design, Communications and more. We work collaboratively on new webpages and digital projects throughout the year, from Academic and Children’s content to our corporate pages.

When I joined the web team, we launched the new version of the website which went through a huge makeover, bringing a fresh look with exciting new content and space for lots more of our brilliant books! During this time, I absorbed everything to do with our Content Management System (CMS), which is where all of the site content is built, managed and published. This now allows me to help colleagues with any queries they may have about the CMS and train them up so they feel confident building their own content.

As well as content, I need to be knowledgeable on reporting and optimising copy. This involves some Google Analytics work where I can track the performance of our pages and campaigns to then report back to marketers. Another part of my role is Search Engine Optimisation (SEO), a key aspect to helping our webpages get more visibility on Google and ensuring all of our content is engaging and clear, whilst conveying the right tone for different audiences.

There’s also a bit of technical work where sometimes we need to figure out why a book might not be feeding into the website or making sure new titles are showing properly. This normally involves investigating our Biblio database which stores our all of our book metadata and making sure the information is correct. A large part of my role also requires testing different areas of the site, such as new templates and pages. I have to make sure any technical bugs are checked, raised and reviewed so that they can be fixed by developers.

As you can see, there are lots of responsibilities in a digital role! Although they may seem quite different, each area has a part to play in not only managing the content on a website, but providing a good user experience for our customers.

3. What is the first skill you need for your role? 

The first skill would have to be clear communication. It’s a big part of the job as I have to liaise with people from all over the company, both senior levels and new colleagues who have just joined. I also have to communicate daily with external stakeholders who help the site run smoothly.

A big project I needed this skill for was our newly designed Harry Potter section of the site. There were lots of teams and deadlines involved, so I had to make sure I was certain I knew how each page needed to look. I worked closely with our Harry Potter team, meeting regularly to discuss suitable modules and checking the new templates had been developed correctly. It also had to go through lots of sign-off stages because of the enormous fan base and to keep it as user-friendly as possible. We’re still growing this area by keeping our best pages, like the magical Name Generator and a new Hogwarts House quiz to test your knowledge!

4. What is the second skill you need?

Being organised! There are lots of things that crop up in a week, so it’s good to keep an eye on deadlines and what’s coming up in the schedule. I’ll have my recurring content pieces such as ‘Books of the Week’ or checking over news items and small tweaks to pages. However, in between those moments, I can receive emails from colleagues who need help with their page or need something built urgently, like a competition. I like to begin mini projects early to get ahead so that there’s time to edit and have a play around with designs and layouts. One example would be the adorable Big Bright Feelings series which I had lots of fun building!

I also have to make sure enough content is being created, whether it’s seasonal (for example, Mother’s Day) or reaching out to marketers and publicists for author interviews. This also requires some initiative in deciding what content is feasible and when.

5. Finally, what is the third skill you need?

The third skill would be patience. A brilliant content idea could be pitched to you, or you may have your own plans with an exact timeline of when pages will be published. But sometimes, things don’t always go to plan. You could be building a page and a bug could cause an issue, which means referring it to the developers and waiting for them to add a fix before you can return to your task. You might realise that a page is not working as you’d hoped, so you need a break from it and return back to it later.

Another part that requires patience and reassurance is when I need to help people with training or explain a workaround if someone thinks they’ve done something wrong, but there’s always a solution!

6. What advice do you have for publishing hopefuls looking to develop these skills?

Don’t be disheartened if you don’t get where you want to be in publishing straight away. All of these skills are transferrable and can be easily applied to any role. I had tutored and completed a marketing internship before getting into Bloomsbury, both of which helped me gain the necessary skills I needed to understand the Education and web team roles. Without these experiences, I wouldn’t have developed these skills as much prior to applying.

7. Do you have any advice for people who are specifically applying to digital roles within publishing? 

Be willing to learn, as there is so much out there to keep up with. Google is always changing rules on best practices for content and SEO so it’s good to read around these subjects. You can even get a demo version of Google Analytics to test out.

If you’ve never used a CMS, you could start a blog on WordPress to familiarise yourself with how it works. Once you’ve used one CMS, it’s handy for getting to grips with others.

Find content marketing courses to help you gain knowledge for copywriting and adapting your writing for web.

Heenali Odedra is a fellow Londoner, who studied English Literature at Queen Mary University. She’s always on the lookout for new food places and activities to do in the city, loves to dance, bake and spend time in nature. Her favourite genre of books to read are thrillers and gothic novels, but she also loves a good self-help book.

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