Here’s the question asked in the headline at Nieman Lab: Is the email newsletter a business product or an editorial responsibility?

The subsequent post offers some good insights and thoughts, but in my own experience the answer is, of course, yes.

Think of email newsletters – or any other form content marketing may take – in the same way as any other output from the business. If you’re creating software, you need someone who can oversee its development and production, preferably someone with some specialized knowledge of software development and production. Same if you’re a tool manufacturer or frozen custard company.

Each aspect of that business requires its own oversight and management, and content marketing is no different.

It is, in short, a business product that requires editorial responsibility.

If you aren’t running each aspect of your content marketing program through an editorial filter, you’re engaging in some level of malpractice and not doing your employer or client any favors. Failure to do so means you’re not taking the needs and desires of the audience into account when you’re producing and distributing content.

Looking at it only as a business product means taking some of that consideration out of the equation.

Someone with an editorial mindset asks not only “does this have all the messaging we need to include” but also “is this the messaging our audience has expressed a desire for and will respond to.” That’s a very different thing.

The editor-in-chief of a content marketing program is the one who has the whole picture in mind, from the needs of the marketing team to the requirements of the technical team to the needs of the audience. They’re the ones who decide what to include, what to reject and what format the products are distributed in, at what time and to whom.

Email newsletters, blog posts, videos and more should all pass through this filter. They are responsible for both achieving corporate goals – whatever they may be – and caring for the audience.