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Your content team forms the heart of your marketing operations. Learn how to build a crew for efficient, high-quality content production.
In terms of marketing, your content team is responsible for the production, publication and promotion of digital content.
Blog posts form a cornerstone of content marketing, so many teams focus on this area of production. However, content can include other types of digital content, including multimedia pieces.
Members of a content marketing team collaborate to create content and then put it to use to achieve a company’s marketing goals. This process unfolds through a series of tasks:
In some cases, each of these tasks is handled by a different member or members of the team. In other cases, individual members may be responsible for multiple tasks. This depends largely on the size of a company and its marketing budget.
Companies that have a content marketing team enjoy several distinct advantages over competitors. These include:
Content marketing is one of today’s most important lead-generation methods because of the increased amount of time audiences spend online. The internet accounts for more than half of advertising spending in the U.S., with Zenith, a Publicis Groupe ad-buying firm, estimating 53% of all ad expenditures will go toward online ads in 2020.
Among online promotional tactics, content marketing has come to occupy a prominent role. A Content Marketing Institute (CMI) survey found 71% of business-to-consumer (B2C) marketers use a content marketing strategy, and 3 in 4 report experiencing successful results.
A hallmark of top marketing performers is they use teams to get their content marketing done. Among top marketing performers, 44% employ a centralized content marketing model, illustrating the correlation between teamwork and content marketing success.
One reason teamwork improves content marketing results is expertise. Successful content marketing requires a large skill set, including market research, keyword research, writing, editing, graphic design and social media management. It’s difficult for one individual to master all these skills. By assembling a team, you can create a more qualified talent pool to pursue your marketing goals.
Having a team of experts improves your efficiency. Instead of relying on one individual to handle your entire content production, you can divide the workload among specialists. This allows you to produce quality content with the efficiency of an assembly line, speeding up productivity.
Using a team of experts also improves the effectiveness of your content. Since each member of your team knows the best practices that apply to their specialty, they can provide higher quality than one individual trying to handle the entire process. The result is purposeful content that generates more leads and sales conversions.
This increased efficiency and effectiveness translates into a better return on investment for your marketing dollar. These benefits are why successful companies invest in content marketing teams.
A digital content team’s structure can be discussed in terms of functions. Any content team must carry out certain functions, which broadly divide into planning, production, publication and distribution. On smaller teams, multiple functions may be handled by individual team members. With larger companies and budgets, functions tend to be divided among a larger number of specialists.
Some of the most common specialty roles are:
Any of these tasks can be handled by either in-house or outsourced workers.
What does a content manager do? You can think of a content manager as a combination of project strategist and project manager for content development. Also known as a content director, a content manager directs the general workflow of content production, publication and distribution.
Duties can include:
As these tasks indicate, a content manager’s responsibilities encompass the entire cycle of the content production workflow. This role is critical for successful content marketing.
The title of content strategist is sometimes used synonymously with content manager, but it can imply a more specialized role specifically focused on strategic planning and search engine optimization (SEO).
A content strategist with this type of role may also be called an SEO specialist. When used this way, a content strategist’s job is to implement marketing objectives by developing a plan for matching content to target markets. This can involve doing market research and keyword research to determine what type of content and keywords are of interest to the target audience.
This role also can involve developing content outlines to be handed off to writers for further development. A content strategist who specializes in SEO may also be responsible for measuring and tracking content performance. After evaluating performance, they can recommend strategic responses to improve results.
A content analyst can be another title for a content strategist, or it can refer to a more specialized function that focuses on using data analytics to evaluate and improve content performance.
An analyst with this specialty uses data analysis techniques and tools to track performance and make sure content is reaching the desired audience, covering target keywords and achieving marketing goals.
Based on their review, an analyst can recommend data-based strategic decisions to other members of the marketing team.
What is a content creator? Your content creator team includes everyone who directly produces content such as blog posts, memes or videos. This can include writers, graphic designers and videographers.
Content creators can be in-house employees or outside contractors.
A website content writer creates content such as blog posts, website pages, e-books and white papers. They may write copy from a detailed outline and resource list provided by a content manager or editor, or they may be assigned to create their own outline by doing research on a topic.
Writers also may be assigned to integrate keywords and links into written content for SEO purposes. Some companies have in-house content writers, but many employ freelance writers.
A copywriter specializes in writing ads or publicity pieces. A copywriter typically crafts copy for website sales pages, online ads or promotional emails.
Copywriters use a writing style that is more directly promotional than content writers. Many writers specialize as either content writers or copywriters, although some do both.
Graphic designers may be assigned to find or create images to accompany blog posts produced by writers. They also may assist with creating images for web pages, memes, infographics and other content.
Videographers shoot and edit videos for video content marketing. They may be primarily camera operators, or they may handle other duties such as developing scripts, directing scenes and adding soundtracks and special effects. Some specialize in areas such as animation.
Editors review content to ensure that it meets brand standards and achieves intended marketing objectives.
Editors may have input into content strategizing before content is assigned to a writer. In many cases, editors assist content managers with projects by assigning content and supervising production.
On small content teams, the content manager may double as the editor. In larger marketing departments or in workflows involving external clients, a team of several editors may review content.
Having a good content editor involved in the production process can promote workflow efficiency and enhance content quality. Editors also serve as the main point of contact between content creators and the rest of the content team, playing a critical role in communication and collaboration.
Editors who build long-term relationships with writers, graphic designers and videographers can help ensure that content teams always have an experienced talent pool of content creators to draw on. This promotes consistent quality production and can help avoid missed deadlines.
After content has been produced, it must be published and promoted. Social media and ad specialists assist with this task.
A social media specialist handles the promotion of content on platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. They manage tasks such as posting content, analyzing audience demographics and tracking audience engagement.
An ad specialist helps promote content and brands through advertising on search engines and social media. They may handle tasks such as keyword research, ad placement and ad campaign tracking.
Because content is often hosted on websites, content teams often include members responsible for web development.
Positions associated with web development fall into 2 major categories: web developers and web designers.
A web developer has expertise in computer programming as it applies to building and maintaining websites. They understand the technical aspects of websites that are responsible for site functionality. They can assist with tasks such as building the framework of a website, developing customized integrations with apps or improving site security.
A web designer has expertise in graphic design. They can assist with tasks such as selecting website colors and fonts, improving site layout and adding images to pages and posts.
Some web developers also have design skills, and some web designers may have development skills. However, it’s important to know the difference between a developer and a designer so that you know who to hire for a particular task.
In general, a website developer can help improve your site’s functionality, while a website designer can help improve your site’s look. Also, keep in mind a designer can help with finding or creating images that match site content such as blog posts.
Under the supervision of the content manager, the members of a content team pool their talent by collaborating to create and promote quality content.
Team content collaboration unfolds through 5 general phases:
During each phase of this process, the respective members of the content team each contribute their own unique skills to advance the workflow.
Effective marketing depends on a winning content creation strategy. Before any content is produced, team members decide on what strategic goals the content will serve such as:
In addition to deciding on which goals to pursue, strategizing also involves defining the target audience and keyword targets for the content to be produced. This can entail market research, keyword research and social media research.
Content strategy discussions may also establish key performance indicators (KPIs) to measure the success of content campaigns. For instance, a team may decide to track how much traffic gets generated by individual content pieces. This enables teams to measure the effectiveness of content and make more informed decisions when planning future campaigns.
Digital marketing strategy planning is usually conducted by content managers and strategists. Input also may come from other team members such as SEO specialists, social media specialists and writers. The SEO component of strategizing may be handled by members of the content marketing team itself or from a separate team such as a company's information technology team or outsourcing partner.
When a separate team is involved, it's critical for them to coordinate closely with the content team. This can be done through meetings, dashboards and reports.
The content strategy phase concludes when a content concept is approved for production. At that point, the content manager, content strategist or editor responsible for the content assigns it to a content creator. Assignment instructions are delivered and deadlines are set. Communication and collaboration normally flow through an online project management portal.
Which content creators are involved in content production depends on the nature of the content. For example, if the content is a blog post, a writer will be assigned. A graphic designer also may be assigned to add an image.
Once the first draft of a content piece is completed, the copy goes to the editor, who may approve a piece, request changes or reject it. Some pieces may take multiple rounds of editing before approval is made.
Approval may also be required from multiple editors in some cases. For instance, if a marketing agency is creating content for an external client, the agency’s in-house editor as well as the client’s editor may both need to approve a piece.
Once the content has been approved, the next step is publication. This is usually handled by the content manager or delegated to other team members. Depending on where the content is destined to live, publication may involve:
Content may be published immediately after approval. Alternatively, it may be scheduled for publication at a future date according to a predetermined schedule. For efficiency, software can be used to automate publication scheduling.
After content has been published, its audience range can be expanded by promoting it through various digital channels. This can include promoting it through:
Depending on how content is being promoted, promotion may be handled by the content manager, social media specialists or other team members. It also may be coordinated with other marketing personnel outside the content marketing team.
A final step is tracking how well a piece of content performs in achieving its intended purpose. This can be done using whatever KPIs were established during the strategizing phase.
For instance, if the purpose of a blog was to attract organic search engine traffic, a content team might track how many unique visitors view the piece over time.
When hiring content team members, you have a few options to consider:
The completely in-house approach is characteristic of solopreneurs and of companies with large marketing departments and budgets. The main draw? It gives you complete control over content. Its disadvantages include requiring extensive in-house expertise and consuming labor, time and costs.
Because of these disadvantages, many companies of all sizes choose to outsource at least part of their content production to a digital marketing agency or independent contractors. Nearly two-thirds of B2B companies outsource some or all of their marketing to agencies, according to research by Sagefrog. Partnering with a marketing agency allows you to tap into outside expertise while saving time and cutting costs.
For companies that want more input into the content production process, a happy medium is to hire an in-house content manager to work with outsourcing partners from a digital marketing agency. This gives your brand oversight of the overall content production process while still allowing you to enjoy the advantages of tapping into outside talent.