Content marketing is about more than just writing content. In order to be effective, your content needs to start with a strong foundation, be executed with a degree of expertise, be syndicated correctly and to the widest possible audience, then be analyzed and revised for effectiveness. It’s a strategy that is easy to pick up, but is difficult to master, as there are many different skills that must be honed for different stages of the process.
Whether you have a team of content marketers working for your company, or you’re a one-man operation trying to cover everything yourself, there are seven distinct roles your content marketing team will need to perform in order to be successful:
1. The Visionary
The visionary is going to perform the first step of your content development process: creating the tone and overarching themes of the campaign. Working closely with the researcher, the visionary is going to take inventory of previous company knowledge and set goals and direction for the campaign. This includes identifying buyer personas, setting tone and voice for the content, establishing key content topics for the blog, and determining which types and formats of content to use throughout the campaign. The visionary will also be responsible for overseeing each additional step of the process, making sure each step aligns with this initial vision.
2. The Researcher
The researcher’s job is to find and harness information that can be used for the betterment of the campaign. In the earliest stages of development, the researcher will feed data to the visionary, working together to form conclusions about the future direction of the company’s content. In later stages, the researcher will be finding facts, gathering statistics, and ultimately providing fuel for the production of individual pieces. As the campaign develops, the researcher may also be responsible for uncovering other types of information along the way.
3. The Producer
The producer is the role most closely associated with today’s typical content “writer.” For the most part, the producer will spend his time coming up with titles and materials in line with the visionary’s initial plan, then writing up pieces of content that can then be put on the web. However, today’s producer is typically responsible for much more than just writing content. With an audience that demands multiple mediums of content including pictures, videos, and presentations, the producer is also responsible for developing alternate forms of content. In many cases, this means including multiple different producers, each an expert in a different realm, or outsourcing some of the work.
4. The Optimizer
The optimizer serves as a revisionist and a front-line editor, ensuring that each piece of produced content fits in well with the overall themes of the campaign. For example, the optimizer could tweak the titles of the produced work to fit previously targeted keyword phrases, or make design edits to an infographic to make sure the brand is more prominently displayed. The optimizer can also enhance different pieces of content by adding new features—for example, he could be responsible for sourcing and including relevant images for the body of written content.
5. The Editor
The editor’s role has two main functions. First, the editor is responsible for ensuring that there are no mistakes in the written work—including spelling grammar, syntax, and even fact checking to ensure accuracy. Second, he is responsible for publishing the material. Once the work is completed and the editor has signed off, it is his responsibility to post the material online. In most cases, this only requires familiarity with a CMS, so that the content can be published quickly to the web.
6. The Syndicator
The syndicator is responsible for ensuring the visibility of the published piece, which is one of the most important parts of the process. Once published, the syndicator will prepare the visionary’s selected channels, and schedule the post for distribution. This may include writing more concise headlines or teasing introductions, or it may include simply posting a link to the content. It could also include purchasing ad space or submitting published pieces to external sources for guest post consideration. Whatever the case, the syndicator’s core job is to maximize the visibility and accessibility of the piece.
7. The Analyst
The analyst has virtually no impact on the current campaign; instead, the analyst’s job is to measure the impact of the current campaign and use that information to make recommendations for subsequent campaigns. The analyst will determine the success of the content strategy at every level, measuring impact in terms of inbound traffic, post popularity, social signals, and other dimensions. The analyst will then make firm conclusions about the strengths and weaknesses of the campaign, as well as how each role performed in the team context. Once complete, the analyst will work with the visionary to convey this information and plan for the future, and the cycle will continue again.
These seven roles are critically important, but the best person for one role may not necessarily be the best for another. Do not make the mistake of assuming that one person can handle all these responsibilities; while it is possible for one person to develop all these skills over time, if you want the best possible results, you might want to consider partnering with an outside expert. If you can fulfill these roles with individual, niche experts, you’ll set yourself up for a meaningful, long-term campaign.
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