Content marketing is fast becoming the most important strategy for companies these days.
Companies of all sizes – from one-man startups to sprawling MNCs – are tapping on the power of customer-centric content to generate brand awareness, attract leads and drive sales.
However, content marketing isn’t easy.
For a start, content marketing is more than just publishing lots of articles on your blog, or pushing up infographics to be shared in the hope that they’ll “go viral”.
Rather, it is an integrated and holistic approach to marketing incorporating market and customer research, data analytics, Search Engine Optimisation (SEO), social media marketing, email marketing, web development, design and more. And if you really want to amp up your content marketing game, you may need other skills like video production, app development, and marketing automation too.
Here are some of the roles needed to drive and lead a full-fledged content marketing function. Some of them are mostly found inhouse, while others could be outsourced functions.
#1 Director of Content Marketing
Also known as the Chief Content Officer, he or she is responsible for the strategy, processes, and staff development for content marketing activities in your organisation. Overseeing the content marketing function and personnel, he is probably an experienced senior manager who may have two or three areas of expertise (eg SEO, Social, PPC) over and above his responsibilities in content.
Typically, his role would cover the following:
- Strategic planning to grow organisation’s content capabilities, competitive advantages, and assets
- Coaching and mentoring of all content staff
- Budgeting and planning for content activities
- Hiring of content and digital talent
- Outsource management of specialist service providers (eg production houses, photographers)
This role is mostly inhouse, although smaller companies may wish to outsource it.
#2 Content Strategist
Supporting the Director of Content Marketing, the Content Strategist acts as a content marketing consultant. She is in charge of creating and documenting the organisation’s content strategy, and helps to synthesize and integrate what she has learned along the way.
Typically, a good content strategist would be a T-shaped officer who has in-depth knowledge and expertise in content creation. She is likely to have some artistic flair coupled with serious marketing chops.
A competent content strategist would also possess working knowledge of related aspects of digital marketing such as data analytics, Pay Per Click (PPC) advertising, remarketing, and search marketing.
#3 Production/ Campaign Manager
This critical role helps to grease the wheels of the content organisation churning. He is akin to the “Traffic Manager” in traditional advertising agencies, and helps to manage the budgets, resources, and timelines for the different content activities.
Highly strung at times (because he is constantly reminded of timelines and deadlines), the Production Manager is adept at multi-tasking and managing multiple stakeholders. Usually inhouse.
#4 Editor/ Editor-in-Chief
You know what an editor does right? A word smith and storyteller par excellence, her role is to manage the creation and approval of content.
Given the authority to sign off on individual content pieces, an editor has a keen eye for quality.
Meticulous to a fault, she knows both the art and science of writing, editing, publishing and scheduling content on a regular basis. Could be both inhouse or outsourced, depending on the size and scope of the company.
Internal within the team or outsourced, the content writer is a vital role. Without his ability to create beautiful words that strike a chord in your prospect’s heart, your efforts in building a content organisation would come to naught.
The best writers in a content role are a mixture of journalist, blogger, and book author rolled into one. Oh yes, he would also need to be able to switch between long-form (eBooks, White Papers, Long Blog Posts) and short-form (Facebook updates, Tweets, Short Blog Posts) content.
This role is usually outsourced in smaller companies.
#5 Web Developer
Content alone doesn’t work if it isn’t housed in the right online home. This is where the web developer comes in.
An expert in the technical architecture, User Experience (UX), and programming, the web developer dives deep into the world of code when the Content Management System (CMS) is insufficient. Sometimes, she may help to create mini apps to enhance usability on the website, or create enhancements to user experience.
This role is usually outsourced, although it is possible to have a technical person inhouse if the organisation has several digital properties.
#6 Pay Per Click (PPC) Advertising Specialist
These days, you can’t just rely on organic traffic alone.
With Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter’s algorithm favouring advertisers, it makes sense for you to ensure that the right eyes could see the attractive pieces of content you’ve created through paid ads.
One of the most important developments in this space is the rise in native advertising. Through the skillful blend of native ads on Facebook, LinkedIn, and media websites, as well as the use of remarketing and retargeting techniques, the PPC specialist could amplify and magnify your content marketing efforts.
#7 Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) Expert
At the rate in which Google changes its algorithm, it helps to have an SEO expert on board your team. He is acquainted with both onsite and offsite SEO – from keyword research, tagging, site architecture, to backlink building, and Conversion Rate Optimisation (CRO). His role is to help your website and other pieces of content to rank better on the Search Engines.
Often, the SEO expert has to interface with the web developer (for technical SEO areas) and the writer (to ensure that the right keywords and topics are used). This role is usually outsourced.
#8 Analytics / Data Cruncher
The ‘scientist’ or analyst in the team, she has a good appetite for data and can crunch the relevant numbers on a daily, weekly or monthly basis.
Depending on your organisation’s needs, she would look at search, social media, email responses, app downloads, and other sources of data to make intelligent guesses. From these insights, she would then create an analytics report and recommend which content types did well and which sucked.
Sometimes, the analytics person is also an SEO expert. If that happens, you’re in luck!
#9 Online/Creative Designer
The growth in visual content marketing and storytelling makes it increasingly important to have a designer on your team. Often, great visual content supersedes text in its ability to generate links, clicks and shares!
Responsible for producing website and blog illustrations, quotes, infographics, eBooks, guides, Slideshare presentations and more, the designer plays a vital role in capturing the eyeballs of your target audiences. Can be inhouse or outsourced.
#10 Video Producer/ Photographer
With the explosive growth in video traffic, it makes a lot of sense to work with video producers to create short videos detailing what you do, how you serve customers, or what your brand story is.
Great photographs also help your content to stand out in a sea of clutter. Often, the most viral and widely shared pieces of online content are visually stunning photographs and videos that tell an enchanting story.
Both roles are normally outsourced, although inhouse videographers and photographers are possible in large organisations.
#11 Community Manager
The Community Manager is the nerve centre for your online channels. She plays a vital role in running and managing your social channels – Facebook pages, Twitter accounts, Pinterest boards, YouTube channels, Instagram accounts, and others.
Working hand-in-hand with your production manager, content strategist, and writer, she helps to curate and post fresh content on social media, makes new connections, answers fan/ user questions, and notifies your internal subject matter experts on queries or opportunities. She is also responsible for making sure that your blogs are up to date (and optimised for SEO), newsletters are sent on schedule, and customers are happy.
Most community managers are inhouse positions.
#12 PR Manager/ Influencer Marketing Pro
Last, but certainly not least, we have the Public Relations (PR) or Corp Comms Manager.
This important member helps to add gasoline to the impact of your content marketing efforts. He establishes contacts with both mainstream and alternative media channels, befriends bloggers and other social media influencers, and helps to organise events to increase the likelihood of your website and social channels being noticed.
Could be inhouse or outsourced.