Assembling Your Content Marketing Dream Team

June 1, 2011 •

During early stage editorial meetings, we often advise our clients to think, plan and act like publishers. That word – publisher – can be misleading. When people hear that word, they think magazines.

And what does a magazine org chart look like? Editors, managing editors, assistant managing editors and deputy editors. Art directors, photography directors, photographers and designers. Staff writers, senior writers, contributing writers and writer-reporters. Chief of reporters, reporters, special contributors and research assistants.

Pretty scary for a Chief Marketing Officer or VP of Marketing to start thinking like a publisher if it means hiring those people, right?

The good news is that most web-based content marketing efforts can start, grow and flourish with a far smaller team.  While the blueprint for every company is different, most content marketing efforts can get off the ground with contributions from the following types:

1. Executive/Strategist

Depending on the size and makeup of the organization, this may be a Chief Marketing Officer, a VP or Director of Marketing, sometimes even a Manager-level marketer. What’s important here is that this person not only guides the strategy and assembles the team, but that he or she becomes an evangelist for content marketing within the organization.

Junta42 recently asked the marketing community to come up with a job description for a Chief Content Officer; the resulting description is very thorough.

2. Project Manager/Director

While high-level project management may come from the executive/strategist above, make no mistake on this one: you need a project manager or multiple project managers to execute a content marketing program. Some companies attempt to combine project management and editorial roles into one position – I am not convinced that is the most effective solution for any long-term content marketing program.

3. Editor

While the traditional publishing world certainly understands this, it is sometimes difficult to get digital types to recognize that writing and editing are very different functions. Editors on a content marketing team need to possess a hunch for what makes a good read, but also the technical/hands-on skills to make sure all content is as polished as possible.

4. Writer(s)

These are the workhorses of your content marketing team. Without great writers, and specifically writers who can produce content that is both engaging and topic-relevant, your content marketing effort will fall short of expectations.

Remember, some of these writers should come from your own ranks. That creates a set of challenges in and of itself – see 5 Ways to Get Your Non-Marketing Employees to Create Content for some tips and tricks on motivating employees and managing this situation.

5. Optimization/Distribution Specialist

Optimization and distribution are two of the most critical functions of an effective content marketing program. Without these two components, your brilliant strategy and engaging content won’t mean much.

Unless you are creating and distributing dozens of pieces of content daily, these two functions can be rolled up into one position. You’ll want someone who pays attention to detail, and isn’t afraid to put on their research hat for stretches of hours.

6. Data Analyst

If you’re doing content marketing the right way, you will have lots of data. At the top of the funnel, you’ll have data on page views, time on site, bounce rate, and some other early engagement metrics. As you progress into the funnel, you’ll have data on visit-to-lead conversion rates, lead-to-opportunity conversion rates, and even opportunity-to-customer conversion rates.  You’re going to need someone to not just corral all this data, but to interpret it and suggest changes based on this interpretation.

7. Social Media Manager (Optional)

Social media manager, listed as optional? What world am I living in, right?

Settle down people. Social media is listed as optional because your optimization/distribution person will be handling the content marketing aspects of social media, and depending on the nature of your organization, you may or may not not need someone to manage social media outside of content marketing.

Just remember – content marketing should drive social media marketing, and not vice versa.

Fill these 7 roles with competent, knowledgeable, coachable people, and your content marketing program will be off to a great start.

 

About the Author

As managing partner and chief strategy officer for Right Source, Mike Sweeney is responsible for all content marketing initiatives, including growing the company’s content marketing practice, guiding all client content marketing strategy, and recruiting and growing a team of modern marketers. Mike received a bachelor’s degree in business administration with a major in marketing from the University of Notre Dame. You can find Mike on Twitter and Google+, connect with him on LinkedIn, or read his other posts.

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