Marketing Best Practices

Anatomy of a Modern Content Marketing Team

Jon Gelberg By Jon Gelberg June 8, 2015

If you’re reading this, content is probably already a key component of your overall marketing strategy. Content marketing establishes thought leadership, engages and serves your target audience, and creates a bond that turns content consumers into customers.

However, in order to achieve content marketing success, you have to have the right team in place to execute your plan. There are a number of critical roles you’ll need your content team to fill. Depending on the size of your company and your budget, one person may be called upon to take on a few or even all of these roles.

In this article, we’ll explore the 9 key roles that contribute to content marketing success.

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Role 1: Chief Content Officer

You may be wondering: Is Chief Content Officer really a thing? Yep. Just look at the number of people who have the title of Chief Content Officer or Chief Content Strategist on LinkedIn—there are over 9,000. There’s even a Chief Content Officer Magazine out there.

In a large company, your Chief Content Officer (CCO) has the luxury of focusing on content strategy and managing content marketing efforts. The CCO will be deeply involved in budgeting, approving technologies, and serving as the editor-in-chief for your content team.

In a small company, a CCO does everything from writing blog posts to tweeting to creating email copy.

At his or her core, the CCO is an editorial person who leads the development of all content marketing initiatives across all channels. Unlike a traditional editor or journalist, though, a CCO must be extremely well-versed in the digital world, understanding not just written content but also audio content, video content, social media, interactive storytelling, and user interface/user experience best practices.

To get an idea of the many talents required, the Content Marketing Institute has created a job description for a Chief Content Officer. The description is more of a wish list than a rational expectation for one human being, but it’s interesting to see what the ideal attributes of a CCO are according to some of the top content creators out there.

Role 2: Content Creator

Since content marketing is at heart storytelling, you’re going to need people who know how to tell stories. At the very least, you’ll need a copywriter with either an editorial or journalistic background. Since the key to modern content marketing is creating quality content, you have to invest in someone who can write clearly and in an entertaining manner. This is not a job for an amateur.

The position demands creativity, attention to detail, marketing knowledge, and the ability to translate ideas and messages for various channels and audiences.

Due to the decline of traditional publishing, there are plenty of quality writers who are taking editorial or content jobs at brands.

Role 3: Creative Director or Marketing Designer

Not long ago, static PDF eBooks were the height of creativity when it came to content marketing. With so much written content being produced today, businesses are under a lot of pressure to make content that stands out in terms of writing and design.

A creative director is responsible for the design of all content marketing collateral. Using sophisticated design tools, the creative director or designer can take raw content and turn it into something magical. Using beautiful fonts, styles, graphics, animations, and video, this creative mastermind will ensure that  your content that not only gets the reader’s attention, but keeps their attention.

Role 4: Videographer

Videos are one of the most engaging ways to convey information in the digital world.  There’s a reason YouTube is the #2 search engine in the world behind Google: People love video content.

Videos can humanize your brand, educate your audience, and even provide entertainment. They can be used for marketing, sales, customer training, and media outreach efforts.

A strong videographer is essential if you want to have a solid video program. The good news is that there are plenty of them out there. The even better news is that there are a host of inexpensive or even free video editing programs out there, so you can create highly professional videos on a modest budget.

Role 5: Social Media / Community Manager

You can’t get involved in content marketing without a strong commitment to your social media efforts. Social media can be used to:

  1. Distribute longer content pieces you’ve created.

  2. Create original content for your brand.

  3. Engage in a dialog with your target audience.

  4. Develop user-generated content for your business.

Your social media specialist must possess a deep understanding of how to create posts that resonate with your followers on each channel, how to engage your audience in conversation, and how to respond to customer service inquiries and complaints in a graceful manner.

This person must also possess a deep understanding of how people interact with brands on social media. Social media marketing requires a deft touch. When people feel like they’re being sold to on social media, they aren’t just turned off—they’re pissed off. Your social media person must focus on informing and entertaining your followers with great content.

Role 6: Media and Public Relations Manager

Content marketing is a great prospect and customer engagement tool, but it can also be a powerful hook for traditional media folks and online influencers.

Creating content that demonstrates thought leadership and expertise is great, but knowing how to get that content into the hands of press, bloggers, and industry experts can greatly elevate your brand’s profile.

Your media or PR manager can take your content and use it in many ways. Thought leadership content can be used to:

  1. pitch publications to feature you as a contributing columnist.

  2. secure additional press coverage, especially around proprietary data or research.

  3. provide readymade quotes for reporters looking for insights or commentary.

  4. secure television, radio, or podcast appearances.

Role 7: SEO Specialist

A decade ago, SEO experts made a living by learning how to trick Google and other search engines into giving high rankings using keyword stuffing, backlinking phishing, and other tactics designed to game search engine algorithms. Today, search ranking factors have much more to do with the quality of your content than checking a bunch of boxes.

Your SEO specialist and content creators will work hand in hand to leverage keywords and topics your audience cares about in new content you’re creating. He or she should work with your content team to optimize your on-page and off-page ranking factors so that your content receives the maximum amount of organic traffic.

Role 8: Email Marketing / CRM Specialist

One of the most important content distribution channels you have is email. For this reason, your email marketing or CRM specialist plays a key role in your content team. This person should:

  1. Be well-versed in email best practices around length, structure, images, send times, aliases, and calls to action.

  2. Know which factors to A/B test and when.

  3. Track key metrics (opens, click throughs, purchases) that will inform future content development.

Role 9: Metrics and Analytics Guru

The more data you can get around the performance of your content, the better. Your content team needs need someone who knows how to implement tracking technologies, monitor results, and analyze your data in a meaningful way that will help you assess and improve your content program.

The Bottom Line

As we’ve seen, content marketing relies on a mix of creative and analytical skills. Sometimes, a single person can bring most or all of these skills to the table; often, a team of people is needed to develop, implement, distribute, and track your content. Whether you’re a team of one or a member of a large content team, it’s important to understand all of the moving parts and how they work together to generate great content for your business.

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