I keep saying that Content Marketing is a team activity. Although many small businesses begin with a one-man content marketing team, it always comes to a point where you need to expand your team and scale your process. This is why some companies would outsource their content strategy to the experts, and why the industry has become more competitive than ever this 2015.
Some hard facts about the state of Content Marketing this year:
- 70% of B2B marketers are creating more content than they did one year ago. (CMI)
- 54% of the most effective marketers has a documented content marketing strategy. (CMI)
- 90% of all organizations use content in their marketing efforts? (Demandmetric)
- 91% B2B marketers and 86% B2C marketers use content marketing. (Demandmetric)
- 62% of companies outsource their content marketing. (CMI)
Content marketing is no longer just a buzz. It's at the core of every marketing strategy, and if you haven't thought about coming up with a documented and scalable strategy, then tell me.. what type of rock are you living under the past year? :)
Spiralytics has been providing content marketing services for only over two years, but we've tried and tested a couple of ways to efficiently scale our process, and to proof a strategy that's relevant and applicable to any niche or industry. I talked about part of that strategy here, and if you're following the Spiralytics blog, you've seen our Content Marketing team members share a couple of things about what we learn in the process.
And now that we've established how important having a Content Marketing strategy is, it goes without saying that you need a dedicated Content Marketing team made of leaders and doers who are in charge of very specific tasks.
Here's the Content Marketing team, in a nutshell:
Chief Content Officer
The CCO is a top-level executive who sees the whole process from all standpoints, both internal and external: customer service, client acquisition and retention, sales and marketing, business partnership, IT and human resources, budget allocations, performance analysis, among others. Not all companies have a CCO. More often than not, this is a role that is also played by the company's Managing Director, Chief Marketing Officer, VP for Marketing; or for small business, the owner or the CEO. This leader understands and believes in the power and potential of Content and mobilizes the entire company to support the strategy.
Someone has to do this job, really, because not everyone needs to see the big picture. What I'm trying to say is, the CCO takes care of the big picture things, so that the rest of the team can focus on the nitty-gritty of creating, publishing and distributing content.
Content Marketing Manager
Often another shared role, the Content Marketing Manager oversees the whole Content Process, from analyzing new clients and understanding their brand voice and tone, setting up performance metrics, to hiring and training people, delegating tasks, analyzing performance, and polishing the content strategy.
This role is often essential for B2B providers, specifically those who have various content marketing clients; in such case, s/he works closely with the CCO in matters relating to client acquisition, relations, and support. Often the Content Marketing Manager is also the Content Marketing Strategist. But sometimes, it also helps to have a dedicated person manning the creative strategy.
Where to find this person: Ideally, this person has a vast background doing Online Marketing in general, and has, at some points in his/her career, done SEO, PPC, Email, Affiliate Marketing, Social Media, and understand how all of these channels can be leveraged to publish and distribute content. Try looking at your network of Online Marketers, SEO Specialists, and Professional Bloggers. If he/she has 5 to 7 years of experience in the online industry, chances are, he/she is up to speed with the latest trends, and know that Content Marketing is an essential factor to any company's success
Content Marketing Strategist / Editor in Chief
The Content Marketing Strategist is like the conductor of the choir, the leader of the band, the wind beneath the team's wings, get the picture? He/she's in charge of coming up with content ideas based on specific industries, target readers, as well as the company's business goals. He/she's more of a creative person than technical, always quick to take advantage of creative opportunities.
This person manages the Content Editorial Calendar day in day out, coordinates tasks, proofreads content and edits them to fit the brand's tone and voice. Often he/she's also the one who publishes the content, making sure that it comes with the necessary illustration or visuals to make it more effective.
Where to find this person: He or she is a writer or a blogger himself and has years of experience creating, analyzing and understanding content. Most likely you'll find this person from PR or publishing industry (rather than online media), experienced in working out full editorial calendars, coordinating people, and widely exposed in popular cultures and mainstream media.
Let me just say that I have so much respect and admiration for writers. Really. Weaving words together is no easy task! In fact, writing is not just about putting words together; it's also about learning new trends, understanding different industries, and some hardcore research. That said, the writers are like your foot soldiers, the ones who go out there to the battlefield with their pens/keyboard (and their hearts!) as their weapon.
Needless to say, these are the people who are very good in grammar, have vast vocabulary, and have a lot of room in their brains for learning. You don't see them going out a lot or attending meetings. Most of the time, they're in their cubicles (or their home offices!) typing words away, stepping out only to get coffee or to walk or to breathe. And while this job can be brain draining
most times sometimes, they are writers because they love writing, and you know it because it shows in their craft.
Where to find them: Writers are everywhere, you just have to know where to look. They're bloggers, PR people, brand ambassadors, magazine editors who are looking for sideline gigs, moms. Case in point, check out what our mommy writers can say about Content Marketing:
- 4 Things my 4 Year Old Taught Me About Content Marketing
- How to be a Good Content Writer
- What Moms and Content Marketing Have in Common
- What Marriage and Content Marketing Have in Common
Like I said, you just have to know where to look. ;)
Last week I talked about how important visuals are in your Content Marketing strategy. I'm going to save myself some sentences for this one and just direct you over to that post. Done reading? The Graphic Designer is the one responsible for the visuals that go with your content, making sure that it follows the company's overall style and branding.
The illustrations you see in this post and the entire Spiralytics blog? Yup, that's our graphic designer. If you're starting a small content marketing team, at the bare minimum, make sure you have a writer and a graphic designer in there.
Where to find them: Great graphic designers are experienced in using Adobe creative suites, have great taste in typography, know the latest trends, have an eye for beauty. Truth is, it doesn't matter if he or she is a fresh graduate or has years of experience up his sleeves. Take a peek at their portfolios—you'll know talent when you see one. May I suggest you try browsing behance, craigslist or a list of Multimedia graduates.
Content Promotion Specialist
I'm using "promotion" loosely here. We like calling this process "content promotion" but it actually involves a lot more than that. In fact, his job title may also be "Community Manager" or "Social Media Specialist". This person brings the content in front of the right audiences, which means he's out there building relationships, getting to know influencers in specific niches, sharing content in social media, sending out emails, representing the brand in online forums, among others. If writers are the foot soldiers, the Content Promoters are the umalohokans. (Just a bit of ancient Filipino history there.)
On a side note, many marketers have debated about the 80/20 rule of content marketing: 80% Content Creation, 20% Content Promotion, they say. Others would argue it's supposed to be 20% Creation, 80% Promotion. If that's the case, then you need an army of Content Promoters!
I can never place more emphasis in how important Content Promotion is in the process, especially now that the field is saturated with too many players and competitors.
My stand on the 80/20 debate, however, is neutral (not that I'm playing safe). I say, as content marketers we always have to find the balance. The allocation of resources may vary depending on niche, business goals, and a myriad of other factors. Know your industry, know your competition, know your goals, and work the allocation of resources around that.
On a related note, EVERYONE is a Content Promoter. Everyone in the Content Marketing team, your PPC and SEO guys, your developers; everyone in your company, your top-level executives, your HR department, your customer service team. Everyone in your family, every single one of your best friends. If you're a Content Promotion Specialist, you know that you have to begin in your own network and see how to leverage on that.
On another related note, we're looking for talented people to join our Content Promotion team. Want to apply? ;)
Performance analysis is very important. You're missing out on a lot of opportunities if you're not tracking your performance. Although some small businesses can attest that they've found success with their undocumented, un-tracked content initiatives (and yes, it can happen), you are missing out on a lot of opportunities to improve and maximize your process.
The Content Performance Analysis is where the strategy begins, ends, and cycles. Pre-content marketing, we need to set the benchmark and keep a record of where we were and if we improved at all from there. We dig in periodically to identify which content initiatives worked and what we can do to continue the streak. We analyze which content didn't work and learn from our mistakes.
A Web Analyst is often a shared resource, fulfilling tasks for other marketing department like SEO or PPC. Without a dedicated analyst, this job falls in the hands of the Content Marketing Manager.