It has long been said that content marketing is the way forward, especially in the B2B space.
According to research from The CMO Council and Netline, 88% of B2B buyers said online content plays a major to moderate role in vendor selection. But instead of inundating you with unactionable statistics, here you will find exactly how to build a content-driven marketing department from an organizational standpoint, including who to hire and what skillsets they should possess.
The first point to note is that you see a flat hierarchy. Instead of having subteams, which would be very typical and easy to construct, everyone reports directly to the marketing team leader. This is important to ensure there are no intra-departmental silos and that collaboration and shared thinking isn’t only encouraged, but expected. After all, many of these disciplines intersect with one another, and the overall content marketing process should be tightly integrated.
Secondly, you see each job function classified under creation and distribution. This is not to silo roles. Again, it cannot be stressed enough how important it is to have an open structure. But this is meant to highlight the content marketing process. As we know, it’s a two-tiered process. To erect and have quality content discovered, creation and distribution need to move in unison.
Lastly, three job functions are classified as a “bridge.” These are extremely important roles as they are the marketing team’s connection to other departments within the organization. As we know, to be successful in marketing, we not only have to closely collaborate within our own teams, but also with other departments. We’ll dive deeper into this within the individual breakdown of roles.
Note that the number of employees performing the roles themselves can be augmented based on the setup and circumstances of your organization.
1. Team lead: Whether this person is CMO, VP, director, or head, it doesn’t matter. This person must have a strategic vision with the big picture always in mind, and this person should ideally come from a content marketing background. The number one priority for the team lead is to put everyone in the best possible position to succeed. This includes keeping the wheels moving in the right direction and seeing through projects from inception to completion. As long as everyone stays on course, the team lead should get out of the way and allow each employee to perform his or her job. In other words, this person is the glue that holds everything together.
2. Development: This is a function that is often “borrowed” from another department and not always seen as an important component to have in house, but can really allow your content to stand out. If you’ve loaned this resource from your tech/dev department, your projects will never be prioritized and will often be left on the back burner for a slow day at the office. If you hire on external resources on a project basis, it can be very expensive and inefficient.
Moving forward, dynamic content and rich media are big time differentiators in the content game. So if you can create content such as interactive infographics, video, and dynamic HTML Web pages, you’ll increase engagement and time spent interacting with your content.
Ideally, this person will have Web development skills and will be able to work in HTML, CSS, and a variety of other languages. It's a huge plus if this person also has design abilities, as that could possibly eliminate the need to hire a separate graphic designer--and it's also a bonus if the person has the ability to edit and produce video.
3. Data analysis: This is a person that is often shared or borrowed from another department, but again, you’ll run into the same issue; the person will likely be too busy with other projects to dedicate enough time to content marketing initiatives.
This person is one of our “bridges,” as he or she is your connection to the business intelligence, analytics, or possibly campaign/account management team depending on how your organization is constructed. When it comes to producing content from primary information, it’s imperative to have this type of close collaboration. Curated content and second- and third-party data is great, but first-party research is even better and the kind of content that garners a lot of press.
This person is of course data-driven and inquisitive by nature, but ideally should also be able to translate data into easy-to-understand information for the rest of the team, so this person should be a good communicator. This person creates the foundation in which you build the rest of your content on. You not only want this person to be able to mine for information he or she is told to find, but also to have the understanding and ambition to find valuable tidbits on his or her own, finding new opportunities.
4. Graphic design: As previously alluded to, the best-case scenario would be to find a designer who also has Web development skills, but even more importantly, you need a talented graphic designer who understands your industry and can translate complex ideas into simple imagery.
This person should be an expert in branding and help you flesh out a strong corporate identity, or if you already have one, be able to offer up ways to improve and have the ability to work within it, in order to maintain brand consistency. This person will of course work in close collaboration with your copywriter and developer to unlock the power of visual storytelling.
5. Copywriter: This person obviously needs to hail from a strong writing background and doesn’t necessarily need a marketing background, but that would be strongly preferred. It’d be great if this person understands the industry you’re in and comes from a similar background, but what’s even more important is this person isn’t just a grammatical wizard, but also understands how to develop digital content: how people consume content, as well as SEO writing and what attracts an audience.
If this person doesn’t come from your industry or have an innate understanding of it--which would be ideal--this person needs to quickly get up to speed and learn all the various nuances of your industry. All too often, we see marketing copy that just looks too much like marketing jargon, showing a lack of understanding of the product/industry.
6. Product marketing: This is probably your most important organizational bridge. Your product marketing employee will link marketing and your tech/product, which is where we often see a major disconnect in many organizations.
Not only should your product marketer know the ins and outs of your own organization, but he or she should be a big-picture thinker with a holistic view of the industry and have insight into future market developments. This person will play a crucial role in the ideation process when you brainstorm what content to build that will satisfy your audience. This person will also be tasked with making sure your story and strategy remain aligned by ensuring your content meshes well with the products you’re selling.
7. Digital marketing: This is a very crucial--and sometimes overlooked--role. This is a person that needs to wear multiple hats and excel in a number of areas. This person should be able to maintain and build your social and Web/SEO presence and manage your digital advertising campaigns as well as email campaigns and oversee lead generation. Your digital marketer should have a multichannel mindset and be tech-savvy, knowing the latest and best technologies to distribute your content.
This person also plays the key role of being the liaison between marketing and sales. It’s absolutely a must to have sales and marketing aligned to ensure your story has consistency and fluidity.
Here’s another area where there will be variance depending on the size and scope of your organization. Given the large range of skills and tasks of a digital marketer, this could be broken into multiple roles, such as: SEO specialist, social media manager, email marketing manager, and inbound marketer.
8. PR: This will be your go-to person when it comes to obtaining earned media. This person must be well connected within your industry and leverage strategic partnerships to land premium placement of your content.
This top-line networker should also be able to extend opportunities to the paid media realm and work closely with your events manager to secure additional platforms to tell your story.
Although your PR person’s primary role will be distribution, the person should also have expertise in brand positioning and story building to provide strategic insights and work closely with the copywriter to create content. Your PR person will know what is most interesting for journalists and bloggers to cover and what types of topics they are looking for.
9. Events: This person needs to be well connected on the outside and closely integrated with everyone on the inside. This person obviously needs to be well organized and a great project manager, having the ability to juggle multiple tasks.
Not only will this person work closely with PR to land additional platforms for your content elsewhere, but will also be in charge of organizing internal events that need to be closely aligned with your story to further cement your brand positioning and forge thought leadership.
Event strategy should extend beyond brick and mortar initiatives to include webinars, podcasts, video series, and live feeds. Therefore, your events manager should have a digital understanding as well.
This sums up the various working parts you’ll need for your content marketing machine. When constructing and maintaining your team, there are three keys to success: hire multiskilled, digital, and tech-savvy talent, ensure close integration and collaboration, and align your story and strategy. After that, allow the story to unfold right before your eyes.