The Top 10 Brand Editors of 2014
When we think of talented editors, our minds probably jump to the overworked veterans who piece together our favorite consumer magazines. Those editors that are shooting for National Magazine Awards, living on coffee and takeout. Brand editors, on the other hand, despite having the power to make or break a brand’s content marketing efforts, often go unrecognized.
But as the quality of some corporate content has improved, it’s time to give brand editors their due. Here are 10 who got our attention in 2014.
Adam Aston — Editorial Director, T Brand Studio
The New York Times held out against native ads for a long time, but when they dipped their toes in, Adam Aston was at the forefront. As the editorial director of the Times‘ branded content studio, Aston helps coordinate writers, editors, designers, developers, and videographers for the website’s paid posts.
He’s worked on teams designing content for Netflix, Chevron, and Shell. A former Businessweek editor, Aston has put the newsroom at ease by making a commitment to content that doesn’t sacrifice quality just to appease sponsors.
Stacie Grissom — Editor-in-Chief, BarkPost
Subscribers of BarkBox, the monthly delivery service for doggy toys and treats, can’t get enough of their dogs. That may be why BarkPost, BarkBox’s blog, has 2 million readers each month. Or maybe it’s because of editor-in-chief Stacie Grissom, who leads the production of a steady stream—up to 20 posts a day—of shareable content, from heavily reported articles to light-hearted puppy pics and memes.
That’s what the Internet is for, right?
Tomas Kellner — Managing Editor, GE Reports
GE’s award-winning online magazine, GE Reports, succeeds by focusing on tech, business, and innovation—not on advertising. And Tomas Kellner, who holds master’s degrees in mechanical engineering and materials science, as well as a journalism degree from Columbia, has been a natural fit at the helm.
Prior to joining GE, he spent eight years writing about business and tech for Forbes and six years as a private investigator at risk consulting firm Kroll.
Dan Lyons — Marketing Fellow, HubSpot
Tech writer Dan Lyons, possibly best known as the creator of “The Secret Diary of Steve Jobs,” wears many hats. In 2013 and 2014, he was a marketing fellow at HubSpot, where he helped the software company hone their content strategy as it launched an impressive IPO. In addition, Lyons spent the summer working with Mike Judge writing the second season of HBO’s Silicon Valley. In 2015, the former Newsweek tech editor will be taking over as editor of Valleywag, Gawker Media’s controversial tech gossip site.
It’s a clichéd buzzword, but “disrupt” is what comes to mind when you think of what Lyons has accomplished in the ever-evolving media business.
Jay Moye — Senior Writer and Editor, Coca-Cola Journey
Jay Moye edits Coca-Cola Journey, a global digital magazine and corporate website that gets 1.3 million unique visitors each month. The site combines brand-focused stories and non-branded pieces, with an emphasis on lifestyle and culture topics like history, music, sustainability, and innovation.
Journey’s impressive storytelling makes sense given Moye’s journalism background: He graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with a B.A. in Journalism and Mass Communications. Prior to coming to Coca-Cola, Moye was president of PenPoint Communications, a consulting firm specializing in internal communications for brands like AT&T and General Electric.
Carrie Parker — Vice President of Content Innovation, American Express OPEN Forum
American Express’ OPEN Forum is an incredible resource for small business owners. It’s an interactive, advice-sharing platform where business owners can connect with one another while getting up to speed on relevant, timely business insights, resolve issues issues, find potential opportunities, and read profiles of small businesses.
Parker, who holds an M.B.A. from Columbia Business School, previously spent six years at marketing research firm Yankelovich, Inc., and has worked in other roles at American Express for six years as well.
Daniel Roth — Executive Editor, LinkedIn
LinkedIn’s content is so ubiquitous that it’s easy to forget there’s someone behind it all. That someone is Daniel Roth. As LinkedIn’s executive editor, Roth oversees the editorial team that works on LinkedIn Pulse’s editing and algorithms as well as LinkedIn Influencers, the program that offers original content from thought leaders, CEOs, VCs, NGO leaders, and politicians.
Roth earned a B.S. in Journalism, Economics, and Linguistics from Northwestern University. He has written and edited for Forbes, Fortune, WIRED, and Condé Nast Portfolio.
Robert Sperl — Editorial Director, The Red Bulletin
Red Bull Media House’s content marketing efforts—live music, video games, streaming events, an immersive app, an original video series—are widely considered among the best in the biz. The Red Bulletin, the brand’s popular print effort, is led by editorial director Robert Sperl, a 25-year veteran of the newspaper and magazine world.
A monthly lifestyle magazine covering sports, art, people, and culture, The Red Bulletin is available in four languages across 11 countries.
Steve Wiens — Managing Editor, Microsoft Stories
Microsoft Stories reads more like a magazine than a blog, complete with popping photographs and, more importantly, “engrossing, beautiful, longform narratives about the work going on inside the company.” Each post feels customized and unique, and each post is overseen by Steve Wiens, the lead and founding editor of Microsoft Stories.
An English major who learned the ropes as a newspaper reporter at The Bellingham Herald, he further honed his corporate storytelling skills at an advertising agency.
Ann Rubin — Vice President of Branded Content and Global Creative, IBM
IBM runs over 45 branded blogs and recently launched a series of commercials profiling its clients—and ignoring their connection to the company. No matter the medium, IBM’s focus is on making its content accessible—despite its technology’s complexity—through relevant, simplified, evergreen content.
Ann Rubin leads IBM’s robust, innovative content strategy, and has worked at IBM in various capacities since 1997. She holds a B.S. degree in Psychology and developed her marketing skills by spending more than a decade as an account director for two advertising firms.