There’s no such thing as an ideal content team, not universally anyway. There are too many variables; one company’s ideal team might be another company’s cast of misfits.
There are, however, content team-building tips that can make pretty much every program run more effectively. Here are my six favorite (and mostly universal) tips for building a content team that crushes in today’s marketplace.
(Unless otherwise noted, quotes are borrowed from CMI’s stellar collection of expert tips for building a well run content team.)
Building a Content Team that Covers All Your Bases
Make It a Point to Hire the Best Managing Editor
As Joe Pulizzi says, “The managing editor is the actual day-to-day storyteller for the organization. The managing editor makes the content compelling.”
Look for someone with a track record of helping content creators make their work better – someone who can provide objective criticism without letting ego enter the equation. Excellent copywriting and organizational skills are a must for this position.
Designate a Content Marketing Strategist
We’re all marketing strategists in one regard or another. That’s why it’s important to designate a chief content marketing strategist, who can ensure all those mini-strategies feed into the grand strategy.
Our team members are bound to disagree with each other. Mismatched visions are also quite common between executives and marketing leaders. This is why Contently’s Erin Nelson recommends finding a content marketing strategist with “strong communication skills to handle frequently conflicting demands of editorial and content leaders.”
Formalize Your Team’s Structure
Want to do casual Friday every day? Go for it, but your content team structure should remain formal at all times. If there’s no true leader when writers, designers, programmers, etc. come together on a project, responsibility will be unclear and things will likely get out of hand quickly.
Your team’s structure should also evolve with your approach. “The way you structure your team sends a strong message about what your team is prioritizing and de-prioritizing,” notes HubSpot’s Kipp Bodnar.
Most often, either the managing editor or the content strategist is tasked with keeping the team aligned and on track.
Assign an Attribution Leader
If your team is to make the vital transition to a multi-touch attribution model that more accurately proves value, you’ll want someone to spearhead the effort and keep things moving when the going gets tough, because it will get tough.
“With so many people set to benefit, it is essential to establish a single contact within the company who is responsible for driving implementation, adoption and ongoing education,” explains Visual IQ co-founder Manu Mathew. “Assigning and empowering an attribution leader can help ensure that attribution initiatives are prioritized and that the insights and recommendations it produces are incorporated across channels.”
Get More Aggressive When Seeking Creative Talent
Ultimately, we all use words and visuals in our content to draw people to our brands. If we all use words and visuals, then the clearest way to stand out is to hire superior wordsmiths and designers.
The best writers and designers are usually too booked to find you. You’ll have to find them. Here are a few tips for finding the ideal freelance writer for your content team.
Lessonly’s Kyle Lacy recommends seeking writers with journalistic backgrounds because journalists are natural storytellers who can make a point with fewer words. Lacy also notes that journalists aren’t as prone to marketing jargon.
Another good way to find talented writers and designers is to search the web for content that blows you away. Talented copywriters and designers can learn most any topic and apply their skills to it. Worry less about the subject matter your creatives are experienced in (unless yours is extremely intricate) and put more stock in the quality of the creative’s portfolio.
In some instances it may make more sense to build your content team out of amateurs and point them toward resources that teach the top content marketing skills for free. But if this training-up process hasn’t yet produced upper-echelon creatives, it’s time to go find them.
Few things suck the life out of a content team more than losing an ideal team member. The best way to prevent your best talent from leaving is to a) make sure team members have opportunities to grow and advance, and b) make sure team members clearly understand what those opportunities are.
Investing in team members’ growth and promoting from within are two practices that can engender feelings of loyalty from your talented team members.
Digitalmarketer CEO Ryan Deiss recommends promoting team members who document their processes because documentation is essential to the scaling of a marketing operation. “More often than not, if you create a culture of documentation, your promotions will be internal,” Deiss says. “As a process is created and the company grows, an employee will replace themselves and ascend the ladder to a higher position.”
In a nutshell, you want the best talent, supremely organized and highly motivated. For more advice on keeping your content team on track and on point, subscribe to the DivvyHQ blog.