How To Structure Your Marketing Team To Create The Best Content
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When people like doing something, it shows in their work.
Heck, CoSchedule built its entire team based on that idea:
And when it comes to your content, you want people who are passionate about it working on it—every step of the way. Building the ideal content marketing team structure means finding the right person for each step of the process.
So how can you get the best content from your marketing team by identifying what they want to do most?
Define Roles For Every Person Who Participates In Content Marketing
Each person in your content marketing team structure should have a role. Let's be clear: Roles aren't titles. People on your existing team can—and should—serve in these roles.
For smaller businesses, there may be one person with multiple roles, but when those content marketing roles are defined, the process will be smoother. Here are the primary roles in the content marketing team structure.
1. Content marketing strategists
Content marketing strategists set the stage for the entire content marketing operation.
Your strategists help the entire content marketing team understand your audience (most likely in the form of personas), the topics you'll cover (based on your content core) and how you'll measure success.
2. Content strategists
If content marketing strategists lay out a game plan, the content strategists are responsible for directing the team to execute the plan.
Content strategists focus on the audience and topics, and determine the best content, channels and overall ways to connect your content marketing with your customers.
3. Idea contributors
Do you know people who have a million ideas in their head, but may not have the time to create content or the desire to do so?
These folks have lots of great ideas when it comes to the topics that people might enjoy reading about. These are your ideal idea contributors.
The best part about idea contributors is that they don't have to be limited to people inside your content marketing team structure. Idea contributors are everyone from your customer support techs to your CEO.
Unless they express interest in creating content, you shouldn't pressure them to do so. Instead, just invite them to share their ideas for others to develop.
Make it easy for idea contributors by giving them access to a shared Google spreadsheet or letting them email a specific member in the content marketing team structure. Let them contribute as little information (such as a topic idea or content title) or as much information (topic idea plus outline or main points) as they want.
The simpler you make the process, the more ideas you can get for the content creators on your team.
4. Content writers
Content writers are the people who use their creativity and knowledge to develop various types of content.
With the support of idea contributors, content creators never have to fear the dreaded "writer's block" syndrome. And with the support of content editors, they don't have to focus on the technical aspects of writing—they can just let their ideas flow.
5. Content editors
Content editors are the people in your content marketing team structure who use their technical writing skills to refine content created by your content creators.
They are the people who may not have a steady stream of topic ideas or a willingness to write tons of content. But they can ensure that each piece of content flows well and is free of spelling and grammatical errors.
They also manage the editorial calendar to ensure that content is published on a regular basis.
6. Content promoters
Content promoters spread your content far and wide after it goes live.
Anyone in your company with a social media account can do the simple promotion of sharing your content with their network. In addition to simple content promoters, you should have someone who handles the full promotion of each piece of content.
Full promotion includes sharing content on the company's social networks, sending the content out to newsletter subscribers, reaching out to other blogs that might be interested in linking to the content, and so on.
7. Graphic Designers
Strong visual communicators are invaluable for content marketing. Sure, you can create graphics using a variety of free tools. However, they are not a replacement for a skilled graphic designer.
Content teams tend to have heavy visual design needs. That means designers carry a heavy load. Some of the assets they create include:
- Website images
- Blog post graphics
- Social media graphics (post images, cover photos, etc.)
- E-book covers
- Presentation slide graphics
- Print collateral (brochures, flyers, etc.)
That's just a short list of examples. A great designer will ensure your content maintains a consistent brand identity across all your content.
8. Community managers
Community managers help manage the engagement around your content, including comments and social media posts.
They will respond to comments, moderate spam and thank those who share your content. Having a dedicated community manager for your blog will help you grow a loyal community of readers and people who love to share your content.
9. Content analysts
There should be someone who takes the time to review the analytics for your content.
This person will look at traffic, social shares, engagement, search rankings and conversions to determine which pieces of content perform best for your business. They will use this data to suggest the best topics, optimal times to publish and strongest content creators.
10. Videographers / Video editors
You've probably heard the hype around video content marketing.
Believe it. The value and growth of video marketing is only set to increase. These folks will shoot and edit video for social media, blog posts, your website, YouTube (and other video hosting and sharing sites), and more. Shooting live video for social media is also an important skill.
Content Creators Are Linchpins In Your Content Marketing Team Structure
While every role is essential for a successful content marketing team structure, content creators take on a bulk of the workload.
There are tons of different types of content creators that you should have in your content marketing team structure. Here are a few ways to make sure each content creator is doing what they love.
Who's the best at creating certain content formats?
Not all content creators are writers, nor should they be. You will want to enlist the help of content creators who can handle different types of content including text, graphics (blog graphics and infographics), audio (podcasts) and video (screencasts and on-camera).
When you have content creators to cover all of the content formats your content strategist recommends you use, you can create robust pieces of content that include different formats to appeal to different learners.
For example, you could have a tutorial post that includes great screenshots and video screencasts. You could have videos with optional MP3 downloads. Think of ways to mix and match your content, and you'll appeal to those who prefer to read, listen and watch.
Focus on your marketing team's strengths.
Not all content creators are created equal. Some may have particular strengths, all of which are important to your content development.
Here are a few strengths to look for within your content creators:
Some people love data.
They love digging into analytics to identify specific trends that lead to specific results. They love hunting for convincing statistics.
They love conducting experiments. They love keeping tabs on your competitors to see what content topics perform best for them.
These people are the researchers on your team.
They can help you create in-depth content, such as reports, white papers and e-books. They can also boost the value of the content created by other team members by backing up advice with the data needed to convince readers to take action.
Storytelling is not a gift that every content creator has tucked away under their belt. But it's an important aspect that can help people relate to your content, even in a boring industry.
Those that love to teach will enjoy creating the educational content. Educational content includes how-to posts, guides and e-books.
Interviews make for great content because you can bring in viewpoints from outside your company.
In addition, you can generally rely on the interviewee to promote your content, exposing it to a new audience. Having someone with interviewing skills in your content marketing team structure is a definite plus!
Assign content creation based on your marketing team's interests.
While most people can write about several different topics, many have topics they are passionate about.
Those who write about the topics they love and know like the back of their hand are going to create superb content that your audience is going to love.
If you can find someone on your content creation team to cover each of the main topic areas for your blog and other content types, they will automatically become your company's "expert" on that topic.
Who on your marketing team knows your audience the best?
Do you have multiple personas defined for your content marketing strategy?
For example, maybe you have a great tool for businesses and thus write content geared towards CEOs, project managers and potential product users. If so, then you might want to know which of these audiences your content creators want to write for.
How To Find Out Your Marketing Team's Interests
Now that know what you need to identify from the members of your content marketing team, here's how to do it.
Google Forms is the perfect tool because it is free to use and will collect the data you need in one place. To get started, go to Google Drive, log in to your Google account, and click the "New" button. Select "Google Forms", which is sometimes under the "More" popout.
First, name your survey. Then you will add questions to help you classify what roles each person in your content marketing team would like to pursue, their strengths, their interests, their preferred content formats and their audience. Once completed, your form should look similar to this.
Once you finish, you will click the "Send Form" button.
Google Drive will give you the link to share your survey, along with the option to enter email addresses to send the survey to. When you visit Google Drive, you will see two files: "Your Survey" and "Your Survey (Responses)".
The responses file is a spreadsheet where survey answers are recorded.
This spreadsheet will be your go-to resource when you decide how to organize your content marketing team structure.
Once you receive all of the responses, you should know who wants to fill specific roles in your content marketing team, what type of content the content creators want to develop, and who will handle editing, promotion and analytics.
As you gain new employees, you can send the survey to them to see if they would be interested in being a part of your content marketing team as well.
Your Next Step: Structure Your Team To Create Better Content
By allowing your content marketing team to focus on the things they do best and the topics they are most passionate about, you will ensure that they are delivering the best content possible for your company.
Be sure to survey your content marketing team today to see if you are using everyone's strengths and see what a difference it makes!
How To Structure Internal And External Content Teams (From Our CEO, Garrett Moon)
In order to build the world's best all-in-one content marketing calendar (yep!), CoSchedule needs to understand how modern blogging teams work. So, the team called, emailed, and Googled its way to understanding. The results are valuable.
Content marketing and editorial teams are diverse, but CoSchedule's research concluded that there are really only two major types of team structures, and then two minor ones that branch off from there. Understanding the strengths and weaknesses of these teams makes a huge difference in how you manage and organize your own writing team.
Understanding these structures will help you improve team workflow and communication so that you can ultimately publish more content at a higher quality than ever before. Let's run through the major team structures, highlighting some of the unique needs that they all possess. You'll see how they tie into the way CoSchedule is being built to accommodate what has been discovered.
The Internal Team
The most familiar type of type of team is the internal team. Internal teams are usually defined by an internal self-contained team that handles the blogging process from top to bottom. There are usually several roles, including an editor (or two) and writers. The purpose of these kinds of team blogs is one of marketing or promotional purposes. They are message-driven, and not looking to make money specifically on the blog itself.
- Idea Generation / Brainstorming (team meeting)
- Editor Review (may lead back to step 3)
- Publishing / Scheduling
- Internal communication is important. Often these teams rely heavily on email, or they employ a wide variety of random tools to "make it happen."
- These teams are very process-driven, and can have difficulty adapting to new methods. Once it works, it works!
- Writers are often not writers at all, but rather professionals with the right topical knowledge for the job. This may require extra love and care from the editors.
- They need tools that can adapt to their unique workflow, and tend to resist processes enforced by others.
How CoSchedule Will Help:
Most tools make major assumptions about how teams should be organized and need to work. CoSchedule is making as few assumptions about this as we can, meaning we are hoping to make a flexible tool that can adapt to the unique situations that internal teams bring. We believe that you should be able to use CoSchedule to execute your current (or slightly modified) workflow instead of one that we created and forced on you.
The External Team
The external team is primarily composed of an internal editing staff with many external writers. Unlike the internal team where everything is handled in-house, the external team can be spread out. These teams are usually a "for-profit" venture, meaning they work to make money with their blog rather than simply promote an idea or concept.
- External Ideas / Pitch
- Internal Approval of Planning / Pitch
- External Write / Submission
- Internal Review / Approval
- Internal Edit / Write
- Publish / Schedule
- Communication is always at the top of the list for external teams. They are often spread out, and rarely working at the same time of day. This makes a central point of communication a necessity.
- External teams often have a wide variety of roles and unique permissions needs. They work to accommodate each external contributor in unique ways.
- Often they have a fast-paced workflow and tend to move quickly. Today matters most.
- Editors of external blogs are usually a bit more flexible when it comes to workflow. Because there are more variables, they tend to "roll with the punches" better than others.
- External blogs are run like a business, and usually quite focused on traffic and revenue.
- They have heavy social media needs. This is an important aspect of their business
How CoSchedule Will Help:
We plan to make CoSchedule the central point of communication for writing teams, meaning that everything about a specific post will be documented and collected in one place. Comments, tasks, and major status chances will be collected in one place for easy organization. Internal communication tools will also help facilitate a clean workflow for the team with a lot of variety.
The Agency Team
An agency team falls somewhere in-between the internal and external team. It usually contains a small group of internal and editors, but adds the external component of client review and editing. Often, clients behave in a somewhat "executive editor" role.
- Idea Generation (with client interaction)
- Assignments (internal)
- Editor Review / Approval
- Client Review / Approval
- Publish / Schedule
- There is a combined internal and external workflow with the addition of final client approval.
- Writing efforts are combined with additional client work, so the process may vary.
- Strategic planning and mapping is the key to this group. They tend to be more strategy-focused that other teams.
- The addition of clients will add many unique needs. Processes may vary!
How CoSchedule Will Help:
Agencies are often left out of the mix when it comes to online publishing tools. Their unique combination of internal/external teams makes permissions very important, and a huge need that most tools fail to make. CoSchedule will have cascading permissions that will scale for both internal and client needs.
The Solo Team
Not to be forgotten is the "solo" blogging team, usually comprised of one or two people with a less structured process. This team offers the greatest variety, and the greatest volatility. Many solo bloggers are in it for the fun, but may blog for self promotional purposes, or even some profit.
- Speed and efficiency are very important to this group. They need to get in and get out.
- Scheduling needs are fairly basic. They tend to use that calendar as a way to motivate themselves to write.
How CoSchedule Will Help:
The simple act of planning out your future can help you achieve it. For many solo bloggers, this will be one of the primary benefits of CoSchedule. By plotting a course and sticking to it, solo bloggers should become more successful bloggers. In reality, isn't this what we want for all of our users?
So, Where Do You Fit?
So, what kind of team are you? Is our description accurate? Maybe you have never really thought about what kind of team you are, but it is actually quite important. Once we understood some of the unique needs that our team had, we were able to diagnose and fix the problems. This makes for better teams, and better blogs, in the long run.
What does your content marketing team look like? Leave us a comment and let us know!
This post was originally published on Dec. 22, 2014. It was updated on Sept. 7, 2016.
September 7, 2016