5 People You Need on Your Content Marketing Team
So, you’re a startup or medium-sized business and trying to build brand recognition. How do you build your content marketing team? Who do you need on it, what marketing technology will they need, and how could automation make them more efficient? These are all excellent questions. And we’ll address them today. Let’s talk marketing efficacy and the 5 people you need on your content marketing team.
1. Content Director
If you can afford it, it’s wonderful to have a strategy manager, a creative director, a production manager and a chief data analyst all onboard. Most ad agencies, and large corporations with sizeable marketing departments, separate these roles and make them direct reports to a marketing director or VP.
But what about smaller businesses that don’t have the budget to staff 4 middle managers? Can you streamline those functions under one aegis? Mostly (we’ll talk about analytics in a moment). In the meantime, behold: the content director. The content director’s role is a hybrid of most or all of the aforementioned marketing functions.
In a larger agency or marketing department, the strategy and analytics leads will develop a content plan, then pass it off to the creative team, a content director typically develops the strategy and manages creatives.
What do you gain in streamlining? Cost management. And, if your content director’s really on the ball, you can minimize inertia because strategy, creative, production and deployment are all aligned from the get-go.
What do you lose? Potentially nothing, depending on how diverse your content director’s skill set is, how well he or she manages projects and the talent level on the lower rungs of the creative team.
Realistically? You’re probably substituting away from impactful, art-driven content, toward function-driven, utilitarian content.
It would behoove you, if you want to build a strong brand voice, not to allow too much functionalism to creep into your company’s marketing process. Remember, the goal here is to convey your brand’s story and build a following, not to engage in superficial, cyclical advertising. Above all, make sure that the content director you hire is an excellent storyteller.
2. Analytics Expert
In today’s data-driven marketplace, you really can’t get around having a dedicated analytics lead on your marketing team. There are several reasons for this.
First and foremost, most people aren’t experts at statistics and content direction. Your content director probably won’t be, either. Allow him or her to focus on curating and shaping your brand’s stories and reserve functions like SEO optimization, keyword analysis and channel integration for a true data scientist.
Second, for your brand stories to be effective, your marketing department needs to have an excellent sense of who it’s telling stories to. That requires data — lots of it — constantly flowing and consistently analyzed.
Think of your marketing in terms of construction: whereas your content manager is your master architect, your analytics expert is your structural engineer.
To construct a building, you need to know the composition of the bedrock and soil at the site, and you need to know the tolerances of the materials you’ll be working with before the architect can even begin drawing. You can’t just start building something wherever, with whatever, on instinct and a dream; it would be disastrous.
A dedicated analytics expert is also necessary to accomplish your marketing team’s most important goal: learning. He or she will measure results, report them back to creative, and help you to build a better strategy. Don't skimp — build a robust data infrastructure, and hire yourself an expert who knows how to read, interpret and translate it for your creatives.
If you’re a small business owner, let’s straighten something out: you’re not going to be able to write all your own copy. Really. You might be a good writer, but you’re no match for the skill and capacity that can be found in an experienced copywriter good.
In all seriousness, though, writing is the creative function that many organizations try to pay the least for, that arguably is the skill they need to be most polished in.
Digital marketing is completely dependent on the written word. Immaculately composed stills, skillfully rendered layouts and beautiful cinematography are easily negated if the words that accompany them underwhelm. An entire ad script can be ruined if the tone is a fraction off in even one little spot.
And even if a campaign is intricate and flawless in its overall construction, remember that all that creative mojo can be completely negated by one wimpy CTA at the bottom of the funnel.
We know that effective marketing focuses on brand storytelling. Don’t trust your brand’s story to an unproven commodity. Hire an experienced copywriter. If you can’t afford one, make sure you only hire those new grads who can wow you with writing samples.
Most companies today understand that they need a great designer on the creative team, but many companies don’t know what exactly makes for great design.
Your brand’s voice and visuals need to work hand-in-hand. They’re completely inseparable. Consider a simple infographic: who’s really taking the lead there? The pictures are critical, but the words convey the actual meaning. Or is it the other way around?
Your content must not only draw the consumer’s attention, but hold it. It must convey the rational and the emotive at a stroke. It must gracefully lead the consumer from one concept to the next, building desire to engage with your brand, and inspire him or her to click on that beautiful call-to-action.
Design, from a brand storytelling perspective, cannot be pedestrian. It must be arresting. Hire a designer who consistently demonstrates that visual branding is not simple illustration.
5. Developer or Coder
The evolution rate of marketing technology long ago surpassed the evolution rate of the market itself; in fact, it could be argued that changes in technology are now the primary drivers of demand.
Even if your content director and your creatives are staying well-informed about new marketing technologies, and you’re continually investing to stay ahead of the tech curve, you need a team member who can optimize, customize and fully leverage your systems.
To that end, developers and coders are now mission-critical for the modern marketing team.
They’ll ensure your content displays flawlessly, regardless of which platform or channel the consumer uses to access it. They’ll optimize your content for scale. They’ll secure your consumers’ data secure and protect your company’s reputation. They’ll work with your analytics manager to fill in data sinks and iron out bugs in processes. They’ll automate work where possible and free up the rest of your marketing team to concentrate on developing amazing content.
Lastly, they’ll help your creatives learn how to use technology in unforeseen, innovative ways, helping you to take control of your brand’s narrative and keep it relevant.
Make sure you have these 5 members on your content marketing team.
In a marketplace that demands thoughtful, emotive, engaged branding, these are the essential players. If you’re a small business, don’t try to go it alone — outsource to a reputable agency, if you have to.
And, when you’ve grown to the point that you can afford to bring your content development in-house, don’t skimp. Identify talent, attract it with excellent pay and benefits, and promote a retention-focused culture. These are the brains behind your brand. Keep them interested; their career-long happiness will translate into long-term consumer engagement.