Building a Great Content Team
A post from a few years ago gives new meaning to today's challenges around content marketing.
The right talent makes all the difference in generating breakthrough ideas and then seeing them through execution. The following insights about content teams can apply to teams that are in house, outsourced to an agency or a hybrid of the two.
Know the end goal
Content teams often work alongside event marketing, social media and product marketing teams as well as many other business areas. It is important to know which stakeholders the team is ultimately reporting to and how effectiveness will be measured. A defined goal helps ensure a more structured process for content planning, which leads to team success. For example, prior to a product launch event for one client, we pinpoint the launch and event goals, then use them to define what content we want to capture; which channels we will use; and what formats will be ideal. We then assign the right mix of photographers, videographers and writers to the event.
Create channel-specific teams with a “big picture” vision
Many companies have distinct teams for web, digital, ecommerce, loyalty and other marketing channels. Content doesn’t stop in one place—it can be used across many screens, platforms and locations. To ensure content is really effectively leveraged, we recommend creating dedicated resources for each channel in which you plan to deploy content. Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and other social media platforms should each be considered a separate channel. On one of our client teams, we have dedicated channel managers for Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, which allows for a deep-dive understanding of the community and the expertise to respond uniquely within the channel. Each of those leads also needs to be fully aware of how the content fits within the larger strategy.
Use integrated team spaces for more integrated solutions
The nimbleness and collaboration required for content-heavy marketing make an integrated team space incredibly effective. For a smaller team, just having everyone in the same room will help. For a larger team, consider arranging seating by channel area. For example, a content strategist, designer and channel owner for Instagram sit next to one another, as opposed to having all designers sit in one corner.
Hire hybrid roles
The most basic roles we typically employ on a content team include the channel managers, who serve as strategists and community managers, and designers who create the content. But the most valuable channel managers are analytical, understand trends and data, write and edit posts in real time, are experts on the brand voice, and are willing to have a point of view on their channels. Great designers should have strong copywriting skills and be knowledgeable about social channels. Another primary role within our team is a content planner who analyzes content consumption to discover what content is taking off. This, in turn, informs content extensions, which can result in new content pillars.
Establish a direct line to channels beyond just social media
Breakthrough content created by the brand or by customers is often used far beyond social channels. For example, an image from social influencers might be used for an out-of-home billboard, and video assets produced for a content campaign may end up being used for traditional advertising. To identify these opportunities early, have a direct line of communication to leaders who manage PR, out-of-home, broadcast and other channels that might be able to further utilize great content. It is helpful to integrate paid media within the content team. At the very least, digital content should be amplified in the moment as it is trending. For longer-term media, we hold “stand-up” meetings each week with our media partners to report on opportunities to take content into traditional advertising channels.
Build teams with different response times
Planned content calendars are great for predictable content, but there will always be opportunities to create real-time content. We recommend having dedicated resources that are responsible for monitoring social discussion and trends, then producing real-time content when appropriate. These resources can support planned content when they have bandwidth but otherwise will ensure that other teams are not constantly in reactionary mode and pulled away from planned activities. We also recommend a dedicated trend spotter to monitor and alert the content planners and designers on the team.