When I first started working in content marketing, I did most things on my own. I wrote blog posts, promoted my work, created images for social media, and optimized everything for SEO. But the landscape of content marketing has changed a lot since then. Eventually, working as a jack-of-all-trades wasn’t cutting it, especially as I wanted to take on bigger projects.
As companies grow and marketing efforts scale up, many content marketers begin to crave support. We want help creating stuff that connects with our audience.
In order to accomplish our goals, we need dynamic teams that can work together. These teams can create content marketing that drives traffic, resonates with an audience, and helps get potential customers down the sales funnel.
In 2016, content marketers should build teams with the following 5 roles:
Whether you hire freelance content crafters or source in-house, the crafter is an essential part of your team. You want someone who can write clearly, has some experience writing for the web, and has a distinct voice that keeps the reader interested. Creativity is a bonus.
I’ve hired content crafters through various ‘content farm’ sites that help connect freelancers with companies in need of copy — and I don’t recommend it. I spent too much time re-writing and editing because the quality just wasn’t there. You’re much better off taking the time to find someone who really knows what they are doing. The cost will be higher, but it’ll be worth it.
My recommendation for finding great writers is pretty simple: go to some of the best sites in your industry and find articles that you like.
Then reach out to the writers of those articles and see if they’re interested in taking on more work. Often, they’ll be excited to hear from you, and you’ll have landed an amazing content crafter.
You can think of a promoter as a salesperson for your marketing efforts. They’re the ones who’ll connect with people, and convince them you’re worth talking about. Promoters are proud of what they do and where they work– and they naturally develop relationships with people in and outside of the company.
This insatiable urge to connect makes them great promoters of content, as promoters can figure out how to get your content in front of the right people.
When it comes to content, promoters can:
- Create PR strategies to get eyes on new content.
- Figure out innovative ways to share content on social media using organic and paid strategies.
- Nail down guest post opportunities on sites that share similar audiences.
- Build promotion processes and write outreach templates (social & email).
- Come up with new content promotion ideas to test.
- Send outreach emails to people & companies that were included in your latest blog posts.
- Connect with other companies for partnered content and promotional opportunities
- Make connections with press that would be interested in your resources.
Promoters can come in many forms. Sometimes, they’re content marketers with a knack for outreach. Other times, they’re social media experts committed to getting content out there. Those with an SEO background can be great promoters as well, as they understand the ins and outs of how to get found on the web.
Although many think of content marketing as a writer’s playground, how that content looks is extremely important. If you want your efforts shared, than you need to create blog posts, landing pages, and other content that is visually compelling. On top of that, you need to make sure content is conversion-centric.
You also want images to accompany your content when you share it on social media. According to data from Buffer, Tweets with images received 18% more clicks and 89% more favorites than Tweets without.
That’s why your team needs a designer. Many teams opt to hire a graphic or web designer to help with content marketing images, while other teams (often leaner ones) use image creation apps such as PicMonkey and Canva.
Whether you hire a designer or learn how to use Photoshop yourself, you need someone on your team who is responsible for creating content that is visually appealing.
When I think of optimization, I think of SEO. After all, that “O” stands for optimize.
The optimizer can go through old content and make it shine like new, simply by optimizing meta-tags, adding paragraphs, and revising titles and headlines. And, they can help you come up with ideas for new content, simply by checking out the landscape and finding opportunities. When you’ve developed a new piece, they can make recommendations and add the right tags to make sure your hard work gets found.
When hiring an optimizer, look for someone with an analytical SEO background with a track record of results. But experience isn’t the only thing to look for– you need someone who is scrappy that likes to take on a challenge.
Optimizers are also great for A/B testing different aspects of your blog or landing pages. They’re keen on making things better, so they can figure out the effects of changing up landing pages and email subscriber boxes to get more conversions.
Your optimizer should also be OBSESSED with data. They should be comfortable with scouring through Google Analytics, Facebook Analytics, and any other data you are collecting in order to find new opportunities and make recommendations on how to improve your content marketing strategy going forward.
Developers are integral to your team, especially as content marketers get more innovative. Many brands are doing more than creating blog posts and landing pages– they’re creating quizzes, interactive resources, and other forms of more epic content (take a look at this interactive team building games blog post from When I Work, for example).
You need developers to create these things to ensure that they function well– you need your social sharing buttons to work, you need to make sure the page can load quickly, and you need to ensure the user experience is good for the user.
I’ve found that the best developers are ones that communicate well and have ideas of their own. The right developer will have ideas about what content to create, and how to make it function well. A developer shouldn’t come in at the last minute of the project to create what you’ve spec’d out. Instead, they should accompany you on the journey.
Content Roles in 2016 and Beyond
In the short time that brands have committed to content marketing, we’ve seen a lot of changes. Writers now write for audiences, not for search engines, and teams are expanding as brands demand more from their content marketing efforts.
As 2016 draws near, it’s time for all of us to step back and assess whether we have a well-rounded content team that can get the job done. Remember that you don’t necessarily need a large team to cover all of these roles. Lean teams have one person that covers a few different ones.
No matter what, ask yourself if you have these five roles covered. If not, what can you do to make that happen? As content marketing changes, you want to be prepared.