Content marketing is more competitive than ever. Now that most businesses understand the importance of producing their own digital media and the basics of content generation are second nature to most marketers, standing out takes more than simply knowing the process or having the budget to launch a few campaigns.
Successful content requires a team to push it to its highest level of quality. That team also needs to have a well-rounded skill set to handle whatever challenges stand in their way. This article will explore those necessary skills, explaining why they are beneficial and how they serve your overarching marketing goals.
Understanding Content Marketing Roles and Their Associated Skills
To understand the skills that a content team requires, we need to cover some basic content marketing roles. The specific job titles might vary depending on who you ask. But nearly every content marketing team covers these responsibilities in one way or another:
Content Strategy and Leadership
Every marketing team needs a leader. They may be called a content manager, chief content officer, or content marketing program director. Rest assured almost every case the role boils down to that of a seasoned marketing manager.
It’s the leader’s responsibility to think strategically about content generation and direct the efforts of the team. In order to be successful, they must possess the following skills:
- A grasp of the content creation process: Leaders should have a working knowledge of writing, designing, and editing content themselves. Although they won’t always take a direct role in the process, having some proficiency lets them relate with the team and understand their challenges better.
- Strong marketing instincts: To strategize, identify target audiences, and hone in on what kind of content the team should be creating, the leader needs to have a firm grasp of marketing concepts and an ability to connect a product or service to the target audiences at which they are aimed.
- A mind for analytics: In the modern marketing landscape, metrics and analysis play a large part in guiding the direction of a team. The team leader, therefore, should be capable of understanding what the data means and how to right the course based upon metrics, KPIs, etc.
- The ability to organize: A good marketing leader needs to delegate tasks to the team and run the show. He must also have the ability to stay organized and understand how the parts of a whole can work in unison.
Using these skills, content leaders will usually perform the following duties:
- Research topics of interest, compile keywords, create outlines, and handle other elements that set the stage for the team to create great content.
- Set the marketing goals for the team and measurements for success.
- Communicate responsibilities to the rest of the team.
- Help maintain consistency of brand and tone for all marketing content.
- Monitoring the stages of content production and managing the team where required.
A good leader is essential to the content creation process, but it’s not nearly as daunting as you might suspect. Just as crucial (and arguably more difficult) are the team’s content creation and quality assurance roles, which we’ll cover next.
Without content creators, your content marketing team produces nothing, so roles like content writer are almost always in constant demand.
While they may have some general marketing knowledge, SEO ability, and aptitude for devising keywords, that’s not their main focus. The writer’s job is exactly that — to produce amazing written content. Thus, they should possess these characteristics:
- High-level research skills: To go on at length about various topics, writers need to know how to properly track down information from reputable sources.
- Excellent command of the written word: Essentially, the writer must know how to write. This means, in addition to understanding how to string together interesting sentences, they can do so without making them overly complicated and still getting their point across.
- An ability to adapt for tone: Different audiences may require different writing styles. Good writers can adapt their words to match the expected tone of their audience.
The writer’s responsibilities are straightforward:
- Researching topics and finding a unique point of view.
- Creating written content that is easy for readers to navigate.
- Engaging readers by making topics simultaneously interesting and informative.
Writers may or may not be an official part of the team. In many cases, they’re brought in as freelancers and contract workers. Nevertheless, the role of writing is integral to content marketing efforts, so no matter who, someone has to do it.
Strong visuals often accompany the written elements of content marketing. Your designers are the ones who are responsible for their creation.
They may specialize in website creation, data visualizations, visual branding, or some other niche. In most cases, they’ll come with the following abilities:
- An eye for design: Per their roles, good designers will know both what’s aesthetically pleasing and what’s best at getting the point across. They’ll be able to balance both to create simple-yet-elegant imagery.
- A knack for design software: Most designers know how to use the programs in Adobe Creative Cloud for various purposes. Or they may even have a few of their free alternatives under their belt as well.
- An ability to work within brand constraints: As talented as they are, the best designers know how to reign in their imaginations and stick to what’s brand-appropriate when need be.
Throughout their duties, content designers will:
- Create visual assets for the team’s content marketing efforts.
- Update website and other digital platforms with visual assets.
- Keep visuals and imagery consistent with brand tone.
Like writers, designers may be in-house employees or outsourced additions to the team. The same isn’t usually typical for this next role, however, which is often closely tied with management and strategy.
While most content creators can do some self-editing, a well-rounded content marketing team needs individuals who are focused solely on making sure everything is up to the appropriate standard of quality. By and large, editors will have:
- Excellent grammar and spelling: Editors will need to review the work of your writers to make sure that spelling and grammar are in order.
- Knowledge of the content marketing team’s style guide: That style guide is what content will need to be checked against, so editors must know it inside and out.
- Competency within the industry: Editors need to make sure that content matches up with what’s true about the industry your team works within, so they should at least be knowledgeable about industry trends. In more advanced fields, it may be advantageous to hire someone with a level of technical competency as well.
You’ll want your editors to cover these core responsibilities:
- Ensuring content reads well and is factual.
- Editing content for grammar, logical consistency, and style.
- Optimizing content for your site and other digital platforms.
On many teams, the role of editor is sorely underutilized, yet it is integral to ensuring your content is of a high standard of quality. They’re also the final stop before content goes out the proverbial door, via this final content marketing role.
Your content promoters are there to make sure that the right audiences see your team’s hard work and effort. They’ll utilize social media platforms, essential for promoting digital commerce, and other outlets to spread the word, relying on their array of PR-focused skills:
- Ability to make connections: Promoters have to leverage their network to help your content proliferate, so they need to be skilled at making professional acquaintances.
- Adept at social media: Social networks are central to all manner of promotional activities now, so your content promoter will need to know their way around.
- Skilled at building hype: Your content will perform better when there’s excitement around the topics, so your promoter should have some skill at generating it.
Like the other members of your team, they’ll have a straightforward set of duties:
- Taking content and boosting its reach via promotional techniques.
- Creating hype surrounding upcoming pieces of content.
- Forging relationships with influencers and other key personalities who might help spread your content even further.
Remember that content promotion requires an ability to interact with others. So you might not want to seek out any introverts for this particular role.
Wrapping Up: Assembling Your Team, Training Skills, and Moving Forward
You must have all the essential content team roles covered. Otherwise you’ll run into a situation where your team is hampered, because only a few people are trying to cover the wide range of skills you need to function.
What’s more, a well-rounded and cohesive marketing team is key. To create the best content possible, nail your goals, and scale your content marketing campaigns. It’s not something you should overlook, if you want to achieve sustainable business growth.
You can and should recruit for the skills that your team is currently lacking, but keep in mind that hiring new employees isn’t your only option and that training your current team members is a great way to help them grow while meeting your team’s needs.
For example, you might have designers who are great when it comes to web work but need some brushing up on their video editing skills. In cases like these, getting them to take a few classes and building their skill set might be the best option.
Whatever you decide, remember that it won’t do you any good to skimp on talent. Make it a priority to assemble a team that can meet whatever challenges dot the road to great content creation.