Astounded Twice in One Day

Rock Star Online Editors Wanted: Must Know Your Subject, Write Well and Not Be Afraid to Sell Your Company’s Products. Knowledge of the Rebel King a Plus.

It has gotten much easier to find great online editors to run new Mequoda Systems each year and 2009 is off to a great start. With 21 systems up and running – and six more launching in the first six months of 2009, I spend a lot of time interviewing, testing and training new recruits.

Last week I was astounded twice in one day by the same online editor candidate.

Mequoda Online Editors Must Know Their Subjects Cold

For starters she was articulate, experienced and holds a PhD directly related to the topics that will be covered by this new B2B healthcare website. This did not astound me, as we get a lot of very talented folks who want to run their own online publishing and marketing system. Most are print editors who are getting out of print to move into the world of online publishing. Many made the move to online a few years ago and are now ready to run their own show.

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Knowing How Things Work on the Web is Helpful

The candidate first astounded me in the interview with her familiarity with Jon Kleinberg’s Hubs and Authorities Theory, which was groundbreaking, by putting web pages and websites into two classes: Authority pages, sites or pages which are rich in content, and Hubs, which hyper-link to many Authorities and other Hubs.

The Mequoda System Theory is a related derivation, which uses 3 Authority and 6 Hub webpage templates to build websites that are both Hubs and Authorities in their subject area and thus do very well in the search engine rankings.

Or put simply, Mequoda System Theory allows us to build websites that rank better in Google than websites 10 or even 100 times their size in terms of web pages.

A knowledge of Kleinberg’s HITS algorithm, Google PageRank and other principles that underlie how we build media websites and how the web functions is a plus in an online editor candidate that we don’t often see on anything but high-tech website launches. We know that online editors need to know their subject matter cold and it’s best if the readers in the subject area also know them.

“To know and be known is a must for any start-up,” a VC once said to me. Hence, I was astounded when I asked the candidate if she was familiar with Kleinberg’s theory… and she said, “sure”. We proceeded to discuss its implications for internal and external link building within a Mequoda System.

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The Second in a Class of Two

Soon she was off to take the writing test we give every prospective online editor candidate. I’ve administered the test for sites we own and for dozens of clients over the past 10 or so years. She is the second of two to ace the test. And thus I was happily astounded for the second time in one day.

Online Editors, Publishers and Marketers Welcome!

If you’d like to learn more about the secrets of great media website architecture, online content development, link building, plus hiring and training rock star editors to make your media website soar, join me and the Mequoda Research Team at the next Mequoda Summit. There will be in-depth presentations about getting the job done, lively discussions of winning and losing tactics we’ve tried and perhaps a chance to be astounded once or even twice.

Register for the Mequoda Summit now >>>

May the source be with you!


    Hi Camille:

    I think she will be great… congrats on a fine addition to your team!



    Hi Rob:

    The writing test is pretty simple:

    1. Pick 3 posts, or articles, that have worked well for you in the past (or for a new Mequoda System, pick three that you believe will do well once you launch). The posts should always include valuable content and a transition that introduces a paid product that interested readers might buy. Provide the candidate the 3 sample tips, along with copies of the paid products and/or links to the sales letter landing pages that describe those products.

    2. Now have the candidate write 3 alternate paid products (in this case they were 3 sample issues of a best selling paid newsletter).

    3. Ask the candidate to write 3 posts tied to the 3 sample products using the posts you supplied as a style guide to be copied as closely as possible.

    The candidate is given 2 hours to write the 3 posts.

    Acing the test means completing all 3 new posts and mocking the style exactly, while demonstrating an understanding of the topic and the ability to write good copy that is clear and directive.

    Thanks for asking!

    I hope you have fun with it. 🙂


    Camille H.

    Glad to see that your visit last week provided you the inspiration for this blog. It provided even further confirmation that we just acquired a Superstar!

    We are looking forward to the journey ahead…




    Fascinating daily blog today.

    I notice in your comments that you mention a writing test you give to editors.

    Is that something you’d be interested in sharing? Did you develop it or is it something you got somewhere else?

    That would be a great topic for one of your daily emails. (how you developed it; how you recognized the need; how well it predicts success; how to administer it; etc…)

    You’ve probably thought of this, of course, but you ought to charge something for it! (and if you hadn’t thought of it, you can start after sharing it with me, if that’s possible, of course).


    Rob Lawson
    Credit Today LLC


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