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Content Collaboration: Building a Formidable Content Team

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11 B2B Content Ideas to Fuel your Marketing (with Examples)

There’s almost never a one-size-fits all approach to building or managing a content marketing team.

It’s part art, part science. So, just as there’s no “right way” to draw a picture, there’s no “right way” to build a content team. But there are some basic principles to follow that can boost your chances of success. 

These fundamental principles include filling key roles with the right people, using the right tools, and baking best practices into your team’s approach. 

Let’s take a closer look.

Key roles your content team should have

In this section, we’ll cover the roles that will serve as the foundation for your content marketing team. 

1. Content Marketing Manager 

This person will be the leader of your team in many ways, overseeing the development and execution of your content marketing strategy. A content marketing manager is typically tasked with: 

  • Building out the content calendar

  • Managing writers and other content creators

  • Developing workflows and processes for creating and delivering content

  • Ensuring the team produces quality content that meets your business goals (e.g. boosting sales, engaging loyal customers, driving traffic)

For example, Jenna MJ Thomas is the content marketing manager for the software company, OneTrust. In this role, Thomas builds her company’s content strategy, plans the editorial calendar, and oversees the implementation of multichannel, integrated content campaigns.

2. Subject Matter Expert(s) 

The next key role to fill on your content marketing team is that of the subject matter expert, also known as an SME. Depending on the size and scope of your content strategy, you may actually need multiple SMEs with different areas of expertise. 

Subject matter experts are important because their expertise lends an air of authority to your content, establishing your brand as an industry leader. You can use SMEs to enhance your content in a number of ways: 

  • Podcast interviews

  • Guest blog posts

  • Developing content strategy

  • Reviewing content ideas and topics

  • Fact checking technical content before it’s published

  • Contributing quotes to lend credibility to your content

  • Working with ghostwriters to produce content

  • Hosting webinars or special events

For example, Welcome’s CEO Shafqat Islam recently contributed a guest post on our blog after Gartner released its 2022 Magic Quadrant for Content Marketing Platforms, naming Welcome the leader for the fifth year in a row. (More on this later!)   

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Featuring an authoritative figure like a company CEO in a blog post adds credibility to your content. It can also attract a different audience than other blog posts, drawing in those who are interested in the CEO’s perspective as opposed to other topics. 

Another example comes from Koupon Media’s podcast, How Convenient. Many episodes feature relevant subject matter experts from within the company. In the episode about gamification, for example, Koupon interviewed their own VP of Engineering, Brian Reinhart. 

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3. Content Creators 

As you might guess, content creators are the people on your team who create the content itself — writers, designers, videographers, and more. Finding the right content creators is important because they directly affect the quality of your content. 

In fact, the Content Marketing Institute (CMI) advises that when hiring a writer, the quality of the person’s work should outweigh their background and qualifications. CMI also posits that a highly skilled writer is often more valuable than an average writer with in-depth knowledge about a particular subject. 

Here are some tips to find the best content creators: 

4. Managing Editor 

Next up is the managing editor. This person oversees the day-to-day activities of your content marketing operation, making sure deadlines are met in a timely manner and that your content is up to par. 

The managing editor is often responsible for strategic tasks in addition to technical ones, including: 

  • Developing content ideas

  • Managing the content calendar

  • Collaborating with writers and designers

  • Assigning content to writers and other content creators

  • Ensuring content meets quality standards

  • Fact checking and proofreading

  • Making sure content has the right tone and brand voice

  • Approving graphics and layout

For example, Rohma Abbas is the managing editor at OpenView, a venture capital and private equity firm in the Boston area.

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As OpenView’s managing editor, Abbas oversees all content production on their blog. She works closely with contributing writers, freelancers, and internal experts to help them find just the right words to tell their story and provide the best possible reader experience for OpenView’s audience. 

When hiring a managing editor, it’s a good idea to look for someone who’s highly organized, pays attention to detail, and has experience as a writer. 

It’s also important to find someone who’s adept at both giving and receiving constructive criticism, since a large part of their job is giving feedback and working through revisions with other staff members. 

5. Proofreader(s) 

In addition to the managing editor, you’ll need at least one proofreader on your team — especially if you have a large content operation. 

A proofreader typically has a much narrower set of tasks compared to an editor, focused entirely on the superficial aspects of writing like spelling, grammar, and punctuation. This keeps your content clean and frees up the managing editor to focus on strategic issues like tone and quality. 

Proofreaders go over each piece of content with a fine-toothed comb, checking each piece of content for the following:

When hiring a proofreader, look for someone who is extremely detail-oriented and has expert-level knowledge of the structural elements of writing. 

6. Distribution Specialist(s) 

Once your content is created, you need someone to publish it in all the right places — also known as content distribution. If you’re not too familiar with this concept, content distribution is the overall process of publishing, sharing, and promoting your content through various channels.  

These include owned channels (like your website), shared channels (social media), paid channels (ads) and earned channels (similar to publicity). And while the actual distribution happens after your content is created, it’s important to understand where a piece is going to be distributed before it’s created. 

This is where a distribution specialist comes into play. Not only will they publish your content, but they’ll also guide your strategy from the beginning to make sure your content is optimized for each channel. (Hint: If you can find a distribution specialist who also does SEO, that’s even better!)

7. Analytics Manager

If you’re churning out content without paying attention to how it’s performing, you could be wasting serious time on the wrong stuff. Enter the analytics manager. 

This person keeps an eye on all of your metrics and key performance indicators (KPIs), letting your team know what’s working and what’s not. This allows you to adjust your strategy accordingly. 

Here are some typical tasks for an analytics manager: 

  • Create and maintain a reporting system to deliver daily, weekly, and monthly insights on content analytics and traffic trends

  • Identify and interpret patterns in consumption behavior

  • Identify new opportunities and best practices based on emerging trends

When hiring an analytics manager, look for someone who is proficient in all things technical, from content tagging and measurement to the management of large, complex data sets. You’ll also want someone who is a proven collaborator, with the ability to present insights in a compelling, easy-to-understand manner. 

How to build a formidable content team

Now that you know all about the roles you need to fill for your content team, here are six steps to help you put it all together. 

1. Select your team members

The first step in building a formidable content team is choosing the right players — both individually and collectively. 

If you’re assembling a team from within an existing department, who would be a good fit for each role? Jot down a list of names and then consider whether this group would work well together. 

If you’re assembling a brand-new team, create job descriptions for each role and post them on the appropriate forums. LinkedIn is a good place to start, along with writer’s groups and industry associations. 

It’s generally a good idea to hire your content marketing manager and managing editor first so they can participate in assembling the rest of the team. It’s also a good idea to have a solid strategy in place so you have a general idea of how many content creators you’ll need. 

Jill Phillips of Buildfire suggests, “Before you start looking for writers, you need to create an effective content strategy that will help you decide on the type and number of writers you need to hire. The strategy will also help you stay focused on your long-term goals and not just on producing content.”

2. Get your content team focused on key KPIs

Once you’ve assembled your team, let them know what success looks like by focusing them on key KPIs. Not only does this point everyone in the same direction, but having a content team who has mastered performance measurement will put you way ahead of the curve. 

Our 2022 State of Content Survey found that the ability to measure performance has the highest impact on a team’s success, yet it’s the most challenging and underdeveloped part of content operations. 

For example, only 9% of marketers rated their ability to demonstrate the impact of content as “excellent”. Breaking it down further, 44% had difficulty with holistic reporting, 43% with tracking performance across channels, and 39% with measuring KPIs. 

By focusing on KPIs from the start, your team will be better equipped to measure success in the future. 

3. Create an onboarding process

When assembling a new team, it’s important to have a clear onboarding process so that everyone knows exactly what they’re supposed to do — and what everyone else is supposed to do. 

As the Content Marketing Institute puts it: “To function efficiently, it’s important to have clearly defined job roles and a formal structure for your team. Without this, responsibilities get blurred and chaos usually ensues.”

In addition to defining roles, it’s a good idea to create a style guide to give new team members during the onboarding process. This creates consistency across all of your content and gives writers and other creators something to refer to when they have questions. 

4. Build your content calendar

Next up is creating your content calendar — a long-term timeline for planning and executing your overall strategy. This helps to keep your team on the same page. And on top of that, here are a few other benefits of a well-planned content calendar

  • Reduces the amount of time your team spends brainstorming and scheduling because it’s all done up front.

  • Makes it easier to handle change because you can see the big picture and move things around accordingly.

  • Improves collaboration within your marketing team, with management, with other departments in your company, and with outside stakeholders.

  • Provides the vantage point needed to repurpose existing or evergreen content and use your resources more efficiently.

  • Allows you to measure results based on your marketing objectives and change course when needed. 

5. Set up a workflow using project management software

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Once you’ve mapped out your content calendar, it’s time to set up a workflow so that the right people get the right tasks at the right time. When a writer finishes a draft, for example, who does it go to? When your managing editor signs off on a piece of content, how does it get published? 

Since there are so many moving parts with content marketing, most teams use some kind of project management software to keep things running smoothly — and automatically. 

Take Welcome’s software, for example. Our straightforward marketing workflow and task management system was purpose-built for marketers, ensuring alignment across the board. Here are a few things you get from our workflows: 

  • Never miss a deadline – All team members can track progress at a glance with activity history details for each task and project update.

  • Create a single point of truth – Grant access to all relevant information necessary to accomplish a task, user by user, so that each contributor can focus on the details most relevant to them.

  • Build alignment from the beginning – Manage all relevant details in one place, allowing users to focus on whether their contributions are meeting the expectations set during the initial planning stage

  • Set strict or flexible marketing workflows – Things change by the minute for marketers. Make your workflows as strict or as flexible as you need with your workflows with customizable task management.

6. Encourage courtesy among team members

This last point may not seem that important at first glance, but it’s absolutely critical. 

Content creation involves a lot of collaboration, revisions, feedback, and constructive criticism. If these things aren’t communicated in a positive way, it can lead to resentment and animosity among staff members — a poison pill that can quickly pull your team under. 

So, it’s important to foster an environment of courtesy and professionalism from the very beginning. 

For example, when giving feedback or suggestions for revisions, you should recognize the work that’s already been put into the project. Explain why you think the changes are necessary and encourage the writer or creator to provide their thoughts as well. 

Same goes for writers or creators responding to edits. They should be able to accept criticism and make changes without taking things personally. 

Must-have content collaboration tools for your team

Did you know only 16% of organizations have the right tech in place to manage their content operations? Sixteen percent! 

To make sure you’re part of this group, here’s a list of essential tools you need for your team to reach its full potential. 

1. Content marketing management software

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The first thing you need in your marketing technology (MarTech) stack is a good content marketing management software. This tool should be the backbone of your stack, connecting to your other solutions while also doubling as a project management tool. 

We’re a little biased, so we think Welcome’s software is the best choice here. But don’t just take it from us! As you can see above, Gartner has once again named Welcome the leader in the In the Magic Quadrant for Content Marketing Platforms, positioning us furthest to the right for Completeness of Vision and highest for Ability to Execute for the fifth consecutive year. 

Gartner also rated Welcome the #1 vendor across all three use cases — B2B Demand Generation, B2C Narrative Design, and Complex, Distributed Marketing.

2. Content management system (CMS)

Next up is a good content management system. This tool is a critical component in your MarTech stack because it handles all the things that go on behind the scenes of your website like assigning permissions and organizing content. 

There’s an endless variety of web content management software to choose from, each with its own set of features and benefits. Some software, for example, is ideally suited for ecommerce sites whereas others are tailored towards bloggers or service-based businesses. 

Which one is right for you mostly depends on what you need your website to do and how tech-savvy you are. 

3. Social media scheduling software

Social media will undoubtedly play a large role in your content distribution strategy. Oftentimes though, the time you’re available to post on social media isn’t the same as your audience’s most active time. 

This is where social media scheduling software comes into play. It allows you to align and schedule posts to multiple social platforms at different times to maximize your reach. 

This tool will be your Distribution Specialist’s best friend. Not only does this mean they don’t have to be live on social media at all hours of the day, but it also means they can take advantage of the optimal posting times for each platform. 

4. SEO software

Finally, you need a good SEO tool to make sure your content is found through organic search. After all, what good is it to put a ton of content out there if no one can find it? 

Plus, SEO software can do a lot more than just optimize for keywords. Here are some other things you can do with your SEO tool: 

  • Analyze your competitor’s SEO strategy

  • Save time and money on manual SEO audits

  • Find high-converting keywords to drive your content strategy 

  • Track SEO progress & KPIs

  • Visualize and conceptualize data

  • Communicate clear ROI to clients

FAQs on building a content team

How do you build a content development team? 

There are many different ways to build a content team. Here are six steps to get you started: 

  • Select your team members

  • Get your team focused on key KPIs

  • Create an onboarding process

  • Build your content calendar

  • Set up a workflow using project management software 

  • Encourage courtesy among team members

What are the rules for a content team?

There are no pre-set rules for a content marketing team — that’s one of the things that makes content marketing so unique. There are so many different ways to do it, and what works for one company may not work for the next. 

What is content collaboration?

Content collaboration is the process of involving multiple people in the creation of a piece of content. This usually involves strategists, writers, designers, editors, proofreaders, and subject matter experts. 

Why is content collaboration important?

First, it provides multiple points of view — a subject matter expert, for example, can provide insight that a writer couldn’t get on their own. Second, it ensures that you’re producing high-quality content by allowing people with different skill sets to perform different tasks. .

Conclusion

Building a top notch team is critical to content marketing success, and now you know what roles to fill, how to assemble a formidable team, and what tools you need to get the job done. Best of luck! 

Content Collaboration Building a Formidable Content Team


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Marketing Team Reorgs: Why So Many and How To Survive

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Marketing Team Reorgs: Why So Many and How To Survive

How long has it been since your marketing team got restructured? 

Wearing our magic mind-reading hat, we’d guess it was within the last two years. 

Impressed by the guess? Don’t be.  

Research from Marketing Week’s 2024 Career and Salary Survey finds that almost half of marketing teams restructured in the last 12 months. (And the other half probably did it the previous year.) 

Why do marketing teams restructure so often? Is this a new thing? Is it just something that comes with marketing? What does it all mean for now and the future? 

CMI chief strategy advisor Robert Rose offers his take in this video and the summary below. 

Marketing means frequent change 

Marketing Week’s 2024 Career and Salary Survey finds 46.5% of marketing teams restructured in the last year — a 5-percentage point increase over 2023 when 41.4% of teams changed their structure. 

But that’s markedly less than the 56.5% of marketing teams that restructured in 2022, which most likely reflected the impact of remote work, the fallout of the pandemic, and other digital marketing trends. 

Maybe the real story isn’t, “Holy smokes, 46% of businesses restructured their marketing last year.” The real story may be, “Holy smokes, only 46% of businesses restructured their marketing.” 

Put simply, marketing teams are now in the business of changing frequently. 

It raises two questions.  

First, why does marketing experience this change? You don’t see this happening in other parts of the business. Accounting teams rarely get restructured (usually only if something dramatic happens in the organization). The same goes for legal or operations. Does marketing change too frequently? Or do other functions in business not change enough? 

Second, you may ask, “Wait a minute, we haven’t reorganized our marketing teams in some time. Are we behind? Are we missing out? What are they organizing into? Or you may fall at the other end of the spectrum and ask, “Are we changing too fast? Do companies that don’t change so often do better? 

OK, that’s more than one question, but the second question boils down to this: Should you restructure your marketing organization? 

Reorganizing marketing 

Centralization emerged as the theme coming out of the pandemic. Gartner reports (registration required) a distinct move to a fully centralized model for marketing over the last few years: “(R)esponsibilities across the marketing organization have shifted. Marketing’s sole responsibilities for marketing operations, marketing strategy, and marketing-led innovation have increased.”  

According to a Gartner study, marketing assuming sole responsibility for marketing operations, marketing innovation, brand management, and digital rose by double-digit percentage points in 2022 compared to the previous year.  

What does all that mean for today in plainer language? 

Because teams are siloed, it’s increasingly tougher to create a collaborative environment. And marketing and content creation processes are complex (there are lots of people doing more small parts to creative, content, channel management, and measurement). So it’s a lot harder these days to get stuff done if you’re not working as one big, joined-up team. 

Honestly, it comes down to this question: How do you better communicate and coordinate your content? That’s innovation in modern marketing — an idea and content factory operating in a coordinated, consistent, and collaborative way. 

Let me give you an example. All 25 companies we worked with last year experienced restructuring fatigue. They were not eager creative, operations, analytics, media, and digital tech teams champing at the bit for more new roles, responsibilities, and operational changes. They were still trying to settle into the last restructuring.  

What worked was fine-tuning a mostly centralized model into a fully centralized operational model. It wasn’t a full restructuring, just a nudge to keep going. 

In most of those situations, the Gartner data rang true. Marketing has shifted to get a tighter and closer set of disparate teams working together to collaborate, produce, and measure more efficiently and effectively.  

As Gartner said in true Gartner-speak fashion: “Marginal losses of sole responsibility (in favor of shared and collaborative) were also reported across capabilities essential for digitally oriented growth, including digital media, digital commerce, and CX.” 

Companies gave up the idea of marketing owning one part of the customer experience, content type, or channel. Instead, they moved into more collaborative sharing of the customer experience, content type, or channel.  

Rethinking the marketing reorg 

This evolution can be productive. 

Almost 10 years ago, Carla Johnson and I wrote about this in our book Experiences: The 7th Era of Marketing. We talked about the idea of building to change: 

“Tomorrow’s marketing and communications teams succeed by learning to adapt — and by deploying systems of engagement that facilitate adaptation. By constantly building to change, the marketing department builds to succeed.” 

We surmised the marketing team of the future wouldn’t be asking what it was changing into but why it was changing. Marketing today is at the tipping point of that. 

The fact that half of all marketing teams restructure and change every two years might not be a reaction to shifting markets. It may just be how you should think of marketingas something fluid that you build and change into whatever it needs to be tomorrow, not something you must tear down and restructure every few years.  

The strength in that view comes not in knowing you need to change or what you will change into. The strength comes from the ability and capacity to do whatever marketing should. 

HANDPICKED RELATED CONTENT:  

Want more content marketing tips, insights, and examples? Subscribe to workday or weekly emails from CMI.

Cover image by Joseph Kalinowski/Content Marketing Institute 

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Boost Your Traffic in Google Discover

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Boost Your Traffic in Google Discover

2. Understand topical authority: Keywords vs. entities

Google has been talking about topical authority for a long time, and in Discover, it is completely relevant. Traditional SEO includes the use of keywords to position your web pages for a specific search, but the content strategy in Discover should be based on entities, i.e., concepts, characters, places, topics… everything that a Knowledge Panel can have. It is necessary to know in which topics Google considers we have more authority and relevance in order to talk about them.

3. Avoid clickbait in titles

“Use page titles that capture the essence of the content, but in a non-clickbait fashion.” This is the opening sentence that describes how headlines should be in Google’s documentation. I always say that it is not about using clickbait but a bit of creativity from the journalist. Generating a good H1 is also part of the job of content creation.

Google also adds:

“Avoid tactics to artificially inflate engagement by using misleading or exaggerated details in preview content (title, snippets, or images) to increase appeal, or by withholding crucial information required to understand what the content is about.”

“Avoid tactics that manipulate appeal by catering to morbid curiosity, titillation, or outrage.

Provide content that’s timely for current interests, tells a story well, or provides unique insights.”

Do you think this information fits with what you see every day on Google Discover? I would reckon there were many sites that did not comply with this and received a lot of traffic from Discover.

With the last core updates in 2023, Google was extremely hard on news sites and some niches with content focused on Discover, directly affecting E-E-A-T. The impact was so severe that many publishers shared drastic drops in Search Console with expert Lily Ray, who wrote an article with data from more than 150 publishers.

4. Images are important

They say that a picture is worth a thousand words. If you look at your Discover feed, you’ll see most of the images catch your attention. They are detailed shots of delicious food, close-ups of a person’s face showing emotions, or even images where the character in question does not appear, such as “the new manicure that will be a trend in 2024,” persuading you to click.

Google’s documentation recommends adding “high-quality images in your content, especially large images that are more likely to generate visits from Discover” and notes important technical requirements such as images needing to be “at least 1200 px wide and enabled by the max-image-preview:large setting.” You may also have found that media outlets create their own collages in order to have images that stand out from competitors.

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Everything You Need to Know About Google Search Essentials (formerly Google Webmaster Guidelines)

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Everything You Need to Know About Google Search Essentials (formerly Google Webmaster Guidelines)

One of the most important parts of having a website is making sure your audience can find your site (and find what they’re looking for).

The good news is that Google Search Essentials, formerly called Google Webmaster Guidelines, simplifies the process of optimizing your site for search performance.

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