No two content marketing teams look the same.
Some have dozens of writers and editors, while others only have one writer and an editor/publisher/outreach specialist.
Some have a team of technical SEO specialists, while others rely on a single web developer to do back-end SEO.
In some organizations, the content department exists of a single marketing manager who works with an outside digital marketing agency to build content for their website.
But if you’re building a content marketing team, there are a handful of roles you should consider hiring for. In smaller companies, one person may be able to handle several of these jobs, but larger companies usually have at least one person in each of these roles.
Chief Content Officer
The chief content officer (CCO) is the head honcho, the person in charge of all content marketing efforts for their company. They oversee every step of the content marketing process, from planning, budgeting, and strategy to editing, publication, and promotion.
Ultimately, the CCO’s job is to identify the department’s goals (both large and small-scale), then to figure out how to use their resources (money and talent) to achieve those goals.
Depending on the size of their company, the CCO may not interact directly with content or content creators. Instead, they work with the directors and managers who oversee content production and have a more hands-on relationship with actual marketing materials.
As an executive, the chief content officer usually acts as a liaison between their department and the rest of the company. For instance, they might represent the content marketing department in company-wide budget meetings or meet with stakeholders to discuss the company’s content strategy for the upcoming quarter.
What’s the Difference Between a Chief Content Officer and a Chief Marketing Officer?
A marketing department’s main goal is to find ways to convert leads into paying (and hopefully recurring) customers. The chief marketing officer (CMO) is the captain of that ship.
Content marketing departments have broader goals.
Yes, one of those goals is to drive sales, but content marketers also want to:
- Establish their company (and some of the company’s executives) as a thought leader in the industry
- Grow public awareness of their company
- Communicate the company’s mission and values to the public
So, although the CMO’s goal is to create value and drive revenue for their employer, their department produces more than ads.
On any given day, a content marketing department might be collaborating with influencers on a series of YouTube tutorials, recording a podcast about news in their industry, or writing job descriptions that communicate the company’s mission to potential employees.
Content Marketing Manager
A content marketing manager is like the managing editor of a newspaper. They manage the day-to-day operations of a company’s marketing department, directing content creators and overseeing marketing campaigns.
Using input from the team’s strategists, the manager develops the department’s editorial calendar, outlining:
- The content the team will create
- Which creators will handle each project and task
- Deadlines for each project
- Micro and macro-goals for each piece of content
They also develop workflows for the department, mapping out the content pipeline from ideation through publication and promotion.
Sometimes the content marketing manager plays a role in the editing process, reviewing each piece of content before publication to ensure that it adheres to the department’s quality standards and style guide.
(Speaking of style guides, the content marketing manager is usually the person that develops it and updates it as necessary.)
Also, the manager is usually responsible for tracking the success of each piece of content according to various metrics and reviewing published content periodically to find opportunities.
In some organizations, there are several content managers in each department, with each manager in charge of a few clients or campaigns.
In other organizations, there is only one manager who also fulfills the duties of the chief content officer. This is typically the case in companies that don’t have a designated content department, where the content team exists as part of the general marketing team.
Content Strategy Specialist
The content strategist is responsible for developing the content team’s “course of action” — the content that needs to be created, the form it will take, and where it is to be published.
This person analyzes several types of data to build their content strategies:
- Audience data: What type of content is the audience looking for?
- Market data: What type of content is missing from the current landscape?
- Competitor data: What works well (and what doesn’t work) for competitors?
- Current performance data: What is currently working and not working for the strategist’s company/client?
The content strategist often plays a key role in the SEO process, identifying opportunities to rank high on search engine results pages (SERPs).
Targeting the right keywords helps the company or client to attract qualified leads and build brand awareness with the target audience.
The strategist either communicates directly with the team’s content creators, who use the strategy to guide their work, or with the content marketing manager, who relays it to their content creators.
Creators are the backbone of any content marketing strategy. They write the words, draw the infographics, and shoot the videos that your audience sees.
Depending on your strategy, your content production team might consist of:
- Graphic designers
- Video producers
… and a range of other creative talent, who make content that aligns with the plans outlined by the CCO, marketing manager, and strategist.
Some companies hire an in-house content creation team, but other companies work exclusively with outside contractors.
Related: How to Hire a Content Marketing Writer
Content editors review each piece of content before it goes live to ensure that the piece is:
- Meeting the company or agency’s quality standards
- Free of technical errors
- Created in the “voice” of the brand it represents
The editing process looks different for different mediums. Editing a blog, for example, involves proofreading for spelling and grammar issues, making structural changes for better flow, and replacing words to clarify the message. It might also involve some SEO — finding opportunities to incorporate keywords that tell search engines what the article is about.
For podcast content, editing involves engineering audio tracks, splicing recordings together, and cutting out dead air.
Either way, all content editors share the same goal — to make sure that every piece of content reflects the brand in the best possible way.
Publishers are responsible for making content visible to the public. When the content is fully edited and all stakeholders have approved of the finalized version, the publisher is the person that uploads it to WordPress (or Shopify, YouTube, Apple Music, etc.).
When loading the content into the content management system (CMS), the publisher edits the piece’s meta tags (title, description, etc.) to let potential viewers and search engines know what the piece is about.
When loading blog content, publishers add internal and external links to the article that help search engines understand the topic of the blog (so they know which searches to include it in). They also edit the alt text of each image, which describes the content of each image for visually impaired people.
Social Media Specialists
Social media specialists are necessary for promoting content. After all, producing a piece of content takes a lot of work, so you want to make sure people see it.
The social media people on your team might also be responsible for producing their own micro-content, or content meant to be consumed in just a few seconds. They might make seasonal or holiday posts on the company’s Facebook page or promote your deals and specials on Twitter and Instagram.
A good social media specialist should also know how to track and measure the performance of social media posts. By analyzing clickthrough rates and other forms of engagement, they’ll understand what types of content are working best and which need improvement.
In smaller companies, the social media person or team responds to comments and complaints on the organization’s profiles. Larger companies usually have a customer service department for this, although members of the content team might be called in to draft replies if a PR crisis arises.
Not all of the content your team creates is intended for publication on your own website or social media pages. It might end up as a guest blog on someone else’s site or as an article in an online magazine.
In fact, publishing work outside of your own platforms is very good for your business. It lends credibility to your brand and gets you in front of new audiences.
Not to mention, if you’re concerned about search engine optimization, it can help you earn backlinks.
It helps to have outreach specialists on your team who can identify and secure outside publishing opportunities for you. The right people can handle the process from beginning to end, not only finding outlets for your work but communicating with the publisher on your behalf.
Tech skills are very helpful in the world of digital marketing because we rely on technology to do our jobs. If your WordPress site is down, it doesn’t matter how good the content writers’ work is because no one’s going to be able to read it!
Technical specialists play an important role on any content team, ensuring that all computers, websites, and software run smoothly.
In large companies, technical specialists usually have their own department. In smaller agencies (like ours), we rely on the talented folks in our web development department for tech help.
If you don’t have someone on board (or at least a freelancer who can help you at a moment’s notice when tech problems arise), start looking for someone as soon as possible.
Where to Hire Content Marketing Team Members
There are pretty much three options for building a content team:
- Hiring in-house employees
- Contracting freelancers
- Collaborating on content with a digital marketing agency (with their own staff)
You can also mix-and-match the options above, hiring some full-time employees to manage campaigns and some freelancers or agency help for specialized tasks.
Both in-house employees and freelancers are easy to find. LinkedIn is full of talented creatives and marketing experts who’d love a full-time gig with a company like yours. And on Upwork, you can hire a freelance specialist to help you with any task you need done.
Don’t have the resources or need to hire a full-time content team? Consider outsourcing your content efforts to a digital marketing agency. You’ll get access to all of the content marketing talent on their team without having to hire a whole staff.
Again, it’s important to remember that every team is different. Some companies have dozens of content writers on staff, and others only need one (and maybe that person is also the SEO strategist).
As your client base grows, you’ll need to grow your team to meet demand. But don’t feel like you need to hire a Chief Content Officer (for an average of $95k per year) just because other companies have one.
When you get to the point of needing a CCO to manage your content department, you’ll know. But until then, it’s okay to handle those tasks yourself.
And if you ever want access to a full content team without having to hire in-house staff to fill all of the roles, contact us. From keyword research and competitor analysis to writing, editing, and promotion, our team does it all.