How To Create A Thriving Odyssey Team
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How To Create A Thriving Odyssey Team

Tips and tricks for Editors-in-Chief.

How To Create A Thriving Odyssey Team

As an Editor-in-Chief, you have accepted the task of managing a team of writers and editors. You instill morale and accountability within your team. It’s not as easy as it sounds, though, is it? Writers aren’t submitting on time. Your team is small and feels like it just won’t get any bigger. Communication is non-existent — your team doesn’t really feel like it’s a team. However, I’m here to tell you that it is possible to transform your Odyssey community. When I became Editor-in-Chief of my, we had 17 writers. Five writers submitted articles my first week. Today, we have almost 40 writers, and I am proud to say that we have, on average, 20 articles published each week. While it took patience and persistence, it wasn’t as hard as it sounds. This article will help you leap over those hurdles and thrive as a collective.

The most important objectives that you must accomplish as an Editor-in-Chief are creating a sense of community and onboarding new writers. While these flow together, it is important to start by focusing on the team you currently have.

Consider your channel of communication

Because Odyssey is a virtual community, it can be hard to make sure everyone is on the same page. You need to monopolize on all forms of communication. But beware: each channel should be used differently. Do not give your team too many channels of communication. For example, my team only uses GroupMe, text, mass email updates and a monthly in-person meeting. Each channel is used differently, and I do not use all platforms to relay the same messages. GroupMe is for daily group information – common grammar mistakes, shout-outs for awesome articles, article ideas, headline help, etc. It is multidimensional communication (writers to writers, writers to editors, editors to writers). Text is two-way communication (personal information and questions between editor and a writer). Weekly update emails are one-way communication (Editor sends out information but shouldn’t expect a response). Monthly meetings are multi-dimensional (writers to writers, writers to editors, editors to writers).


Use GroupMe (or Slack if your team prefers) for your primary communication. If you are reminding the entire team that their articles are due, say it in GroupMe. If it is a personal question or comment, use text. You should never call anyone out in a group chat, but you should give them a shout-out for an awesome article. Rely mainly on your GroupMe, and tell your writers to do the same.

Email updates

I send out weekly email updates every Sunday/Monday regarding common errors I noticed while editing, shout-outs and any other important information. Use the community tab in Muse to access your full team list with their emails. Make the emails simple, short and visually appealing.

Monthly meetings

Once a month my team gets together to discuss important information. Because our conference rooms at my school have HDMI cords to adapt computers to the screens, these meetings are typically for times when I need to walk writers through steps in Muse or the Content Creator Handbook. I also provide stats for the month, take questions and most of the time, I bring candy or baked goods. These laid-back meetings are the perfect way for your team members to get to know each other and you! You edit their writing week after week, but you may not know what they look like. Put the face to the name, and get to know your writers!

The best way to set it up is to create a Doodle Poll to find out when to have the meeting. Start by putting in the times that work for you. Then send it out in the GroupMe and weekly email multiple times. This must be done at least one week before the meetings could be. If someone doesn't fill it out, text them personally with the link asking them to fill it out.

Communicate frequently

Explain the importance of communication while interviewing/onboarding writers. Train them from the beginning to understand how important it is to communicate with you and other team members. For example, every Thursday, my team is required to write what they are writing about in our GroupMe chat – and it's what started our conversations. Now, our writers go to the GroupMe for ideas, headline suggestions and content help.

However, communication goes both ways. The Editor-in-Chief should communicate to team members once or twice each day. Remind them of deadlines. Ask them to share their article for the week in the group chat so you can all read it. Show writers an example of a great article. If you don’t want to talk about Odyssey, you don’t have to. Ask writers to send in pictures of your pets. Ask them if they have any good news. Create that productive atmosphere, but also give your writers an outlet where they can share cool things. You never know what will inspire an article – it may just be someone else’s good news.

Perseverance and patience are all you need to be an Editor-in-Chief. That, and an in-depth understanding of the English language, a knack for editing and excellent leadership and organizational skills. Chances are, you had those skills by the time you became the Editor-in-Chief. The toughest part of being a leader is finding the balance to propel your team forward. To make your team thrive, communication is key.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.

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