A content operation is a hungry beast with myriad moving parts. Getting it off the ground requires a SWAT team of star players who can hone your message and execute your strategy. But first up, you’ll need to know what that message is, and what strategy you’ll use to get it out there.
You’ll also need to make sure there’s appetite from the executive to keep feeding the beast you’re about to create.
So before you start recruiting, or blow your budget on agencies to deliver content, begin by developing a sophisticated content marketing strategy that maps content to business outcomes. Because when you’re talking business outcomes, that’s when you get executive buy-in.
The difference between winning and wasting money is precision and strategy. That means finding the nexus of commercial outcomes, customer needs and competitive opportunity. It’s this brand experience map (as we call it) that’s fundamental to the success of any content operation.
You also need to analyse where you sit on your content maturity. If you don’t know what is or isn’t working, how are you going to fix it? Once you clearly map your current capability and the end state you want to achieve, you can work out how to get there.
True content marketing is building, targeting and nurturing a discrete target audience, and monetising it. So now you know what you want to do and how you want to do it, it’s time to put together your dream team who are going to make it happen.
The key content marketing players
Whether you’re looking to join the big league or start building in-house capability, there’s a wishlist of recruits you’ll need onside to scale your content maturity and effectiveness.
Regardless of whether they’re in-house or outsourced, these are your key players:
In the beginning: creation theory
If you can have only one staffer, start with a content strategist – ideally with a background in journalism – to head your operation. This person should have an innate storytelling ability they can marry up with a detailed understanding of how to deliver commercial objectives.
But it’s not just about being strategic; it’s having the ability to execute, handle change, and secure executive support. And that means having a razor-sharp focus on the end game: commercial returns.
The next cab off the rank is a content editor (for a lot of smaller organisations the strategist and editor would be one and the same, and that’s a tough job). The editor brings your strategy to life. Using intent data, they will ideate, brief and produce content, across multiple mediums and channels, that lands with the target audience. They’re also in charge of editorial guidelines, tone of voice and governance.
This is not a one-off; customer intent should be mapped at every stage of the journey, with data and insights informing the strategy and content.
Where the magic happens: the content hub
A journo has a sixth sense for a story. Not just something the business wants to say, but a way of getting to the heart of an issue and connecting with the audience in a meaningful way. Combine this with a targeted, data-led approach and you have the perfect marriage of consumer needs and commercial objectives.
These were conversations Australian Super wanted to own and lead, given that they would positively impact members — existing and new — and extend and strengthen the brand’s purpose.
Then there’s a performance marketing specialist. Someone to determine how you are going to distribute your content and look at third-party tools that might not typically sit within social. This person helps choose digital distribution channels that will resonate with the audience and enhance the user experience, which underpins monetising content.
Next up are a videographer and sound engineer. Together they can film, record and edit multiple iterations of content across various platforms to broaden and deepen conversations with customers.
Research shows people are more likely to engage with a video than any other form of content. The growing popularity of podcasts also presents an opportunity to engage deeply with customers. Statistics tell us the average Aussie listener spends around 1 hour 54 minutes per week listening to podcasts. Now that’s some serious time in your clients’ ears.
A designer with the ability to create visually engaging, snackable content is worth their weight in gold. This skillset can lift content and bring it to life with animated videos, infographics, social tiles and so much more.
Finally, every content operation needs access to a trained sub-editor. Someone with a command of the English language, an eye for detail, fact-checking skills and the ability elevate content. Sub-editing is an essential part of any editorial process. No content should ever have only one set of eyes over it, let alone data-led, highly targeted articles designed to hook your audience’s attention. Don’t blow that opportunity on a typo.
Reaching content nirvana
That’s the core nucleus of your team. A decent headcount – but remember this is a hybrid operation. If you work within a big company you might also have in-house access to some skillsets on a shared basis. For example, there might be a digital content producer who can build the CMS, or an SEO guru on staff who can get deep in the data.
In an ideal world the PR team would also be looking at the owned media and how it can be amplified and distributed, and you’d also be connected to the performance marketing team, the broader marketing team and the sales team.
And there you have it. Break down the silos of your business and work in an interconnected way – and you’ve reached content marketing nirvana.