How to Structure Your Creative Team

Having a creative role on an enterprise content team doesn’t mean you don’t need structure, processes, and workflows to produce. While creativity isn’t synonymous with effective operations, it should be! When your creative team organizational structure aligns with your strategy and output goals, you’ll hit the latter more efficiently.

Structure doesn’t mean putting creative people in a cage. Rather, it provides guardrails that can actually improve their production. So, how do you do this? And what tools do you need to sustain consistency?

Do Creative Teams Need a Hierarchy?

The answer to this question often depends on your size. Enterprise teams have more members and more brands. According to CMI (Content Marketing Institute), large companies often have both a centralized marketing group and sub-departments for each brand or product.

Unfortunately, this type of structure can lead to confusion and duplication of efforts. Additionally, you may outsource some of your creative needs if you don’t have some capabilities in-house. In the same study noted above, 75% of large organizations outsource some content marketing activities.

With so many individual contributors, your creative team needs a hierarchical structure. That often ties to specific creative segments, such as:

  • Content writers
  • Designers (graphics, video, website, etc.)
  • Programmers
  • Editors
  • Strategists (SEO, social media, marketing ops)

Each group should have a director if there are multiple resources, both in-house or outsourced. The delivery of project assignments and tracking performance to ensure deadlines should come from the top.

Even if there’s a hierarchy, it doesn’t mean everything will be seamless. To craft the right structure, you’ll need to avoid these common pitfalls.

The Challenges of Creative Team Organizational Structures

Even with roles and responsibilities defined and leadership in place, you’ll still face issues in achieving goals. Here are some common ones that might sound familiar.

Silos prevent content collaboration and consistency.

Infographic via Bloomfire

Enterprises are notorious for having silos. That’s especially true if you have multiple creative teams. Regardless of if these teams only work on certain products or lines of business, knock down the silos to cultivate content collaboration.

Get all groups on the same page because workflows, quality standards, and overall objectives are the same for all. Teams can learn from each other by sharing content analytics and additional information. It can also ensure consistency across all efforts.

Full visibility of projects is often murky.

Does your creative team see the big picture of campaigns and projects? If not, they have a narrow view. Visibility across an enterprise can be challenging, but not when you have a dynamic content calendar.

Such a tool allows anyone in the organization to see all projects, their tasks, status, and more. It brings greater awareness to each creative role of what the enterprise is doing to achieve marketing goals. It also provides the added benefit of reducing the need for status needs or email updates.

Creators go off-script without accountability.

Even if you have all the “right” marketing operations pieces in place, creators can go rogue. Not in a nefarious way. Rather, they may not understand the advantages of having some structure as defined by your content strategy. The creator may be well-intentioned but off the mark, so that requires strategy awareness and adoption.

Structure Starts with Strategy

Your content strategy is your compass when it comes to campaigns and output. It should also include marketing operations aspects. Content creation, publication, and distribution use a team of creative resources, marketing ops specialists, and those outside your team, like SMEs (subject matter experts).

As such, your strategy should define roles and responsibilities. That’s the first level of your structure, ensuring that creative members understand their deliverables. From there, you’ll need to construct workflows.

Content Workflows Define Creative Team Organizational Structure

Content workflows are the map for your content strategy compass. A content workflow breaks out a project into each task. The more complex the format, the more tasks and contributors. So, the first question to ask yourself if you’re revamping your structure is, “Are workflows working?”

That often depends on how consistently users follow them, and if the creative team is even aware of them. The latter seems like it couldn’t happen, but it does, especially in large companies.

How can you improve workflows? Here are some best practices.

How to Improve Content Workflows and Ensure Teams Follow Them

Audit current workflows to determine gaps by looking at the steps and determining if they include everything. Talk to those that are the task owners to understand if there are disconnects.

  • Determine the roadblocks in the workflows that cause the most delays in the creative aspect. Is it a lack of resources? Are timelines too short? Are those tasked with the items, not the right assignees?
  • Revamp workflows based on findings and get sign-off from all parties.
  • Use technology, like a content marketing platform, to implement and facilitate workflows. This is essential to scaling, so if your tools aren’t a good fit, get a new one.
  • Measure the performance of creative team members in completing tasks, which is a feature of content marketing software. This data will provide you with insights to continue to refine workflows.

More Tips for Creative Team Structure

In addition to strategy alignment and effective content workflows, here are a few more tips.

  • Foster an environment where creative team members can share ideas that could improve processes.
  • Audit workflows quarterly to determine effectiveness.
  • Train new members thoroughly on the structures in place.
  • Balance workloads so creators aren’t drowning by adding headcount or outsourcing.

Manage Team Structure, Workflows, and Performance with the Right Technology

As noted, technology plays an essential role in structure. You need something beyond standard project management software. A content marketing platform like ours is purpose-built for creative teams. It has the features and tools you need to be a solid foundation. See how it works and why so many companies trust it today.