From the Trenches

Who Should Lead Your Content Marketing Program?

Mike Sweeney | December 6, 2012

“Who do I need to manage this content marketing program?”

This was the question posed by a prospective client this week, and it’s a question that more organizations should be asking themselves.

Job boards are littered with template job descriptions for roles like VP of Marketing, Marketing Manager, or Field Marketing Specialist. Look a bit deeper, and you might even encounter some new software-inspired titles like Inbound Marketing Associate.

If you’re looking for a content marketing leader, though, don’t spend too much time looking for a template. Very few exist.

As someone who spends an inordinate amount of time delivering content marketing planning and execution services,  I can provide a starting point.

Find someone that can fill the following roles, and your content marketing program should be in good hands.


Look for a 99th percentile editor. Don’t assume a great proofreader, or copyeditor, is your leadership solution. Find a superstar concept editor, or someone that can help writers turn decent content into exceptional content, and build from there.


Ditto on looking for a writer. If you can’t write well, you probably don’t understand what goes into conceptualizing and producing great writing, and therefore you can’t manage a staff of writers that is expected to create 99th percentile content.

Some say that a CEO should be the best salesperson in a company. Along the same lines, your content marketing leader ought to be your best writer, even if he or she isn’t called upon to write frequently.


Remember, the discipline is called content marketing. Content creation strategists are a dime a dozen. Content marketing strategists? They’re a rare breed.

Don’t let that scare you though. If you find someone with a strategic mindset—someone with a passion for a strategy before tactics, messaging before communications approach—you can figure out how to apply that mindset to content marketing.


Great journalists have a nose for the story. They ask questions. Then they ask more questions. Then they ask even more questions. And then, they find and present the most compelling story possible using words, imagery, audio, and video.

As I said in July, “Tools come and go, but what stays consistent is that in order to tell a good story, you need to listen to a lot of good stories. And without a good story or set of stories, designed for a particular audience, any content marketing effort will fall flat.”



Acronyms, in and of themselves, are not important.

The use of technology in marketing, however, is essential.

Your content marketing leader must, absolutely must, have a passion for and a natural curiosity about using technology to make marketing programs more effective and efficient.

Talent Scout

The top magazines, newspapers, and television networks look for the best talent that money can buy.

Same equation, different era, different discipline.

Your content marketing leader has to be able to recruit and sell his or her vision to writers, editors, designers, developers, video producers, and more.

The Final Word

Be wary of the trend chasers that reshape their resumes to make it appear that they have been in content marketing for decades. You know the type – five years ago they changed their LinkedIn headline to “Digital Marketing Maven” and two years ago they suddenly became a “Social Media Guru.”

Instead, ignore the noise, throw away the templates, pay attention to the factors above, and then, like any good marketer, start experimenting.



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