Although the title of this post is a total cliché, I didn’t have time to come up with a more clever way of describing this. It’s a conversation that I regularly have with folks looking for content marketing advice. The question that comes up very often is: What does a world-class content marketing team look like? The answer is much less complicated than you might think, and based upon the last few years of a tremendous amount of trial and error.
Let me start by saying that in 2014 if you are serious about content and don’t have dedicated headcount or budget, you are likely going to be disappointed with your results and continue to miss opportunities. I’m not saying you need a Red Bull-sized budget, but you do need something in place.
Here’s how I think of the structure and process for a truly agile, cutting edge content marketing machine for the modern marketer. I am not a fan of placing all of my eggs in one basket, as I have found out that agencies are usually great at one or two things so it’s essential to mix it up.
Here’s my formula for success:
1. SEO Consultant/ Agency (The Pilot) – You absolutely need to lay the foundation for your content strategy based on SEO best practices and keyword research. Even though Hummingbird has made us less reliant on exact match keywords, it’s still an important part of knowing the type of content to create and where you can make an impact.
2. Creative Agency (The Faceman) – Finding the right agency for conceptualizing, designing and repurposing (Think Turkey Analogy) your content is essential. An agency that understands the “Big Rock” content strategy and repurposing content for fueling social and demand generation channels is key here.
3. Writers – (The Muscle) – I recommend having two writers. One for eBook content, and one for very high level strategic guest posts. The eBook writer will work closely with the design agency mentioned above and the strategic writer will be key for creating guest posts that are geared towards very specific audience.
4. Visual Content Agency – (Special Ops) – When you have very specific data that you need visualized for the biggest impact, you need to bring in the big guns. Agencies that specialize in visual content can take data visualization to the next level. It’s a very specific skill, but an essential part of any overall content marketing strategy moving forward.
5. Content Marketing Manager (The Leader) – And finally, you need someone who understands how all of these agencies and writers work together in order to fuel a full on integrated marketing strategy. I call this the multi-dimensional modern marketer and they are quite in demand at the moment.
The leader of this content marketing band of misfits does not need to be an expert in any one of the needs mentioned above, but it is essential that they understand how all these moving parts can work together with the same goals in mind. Also keep in mind, it doesn’t have to cost a fortune, and doesn’t have to be running full time in the back ground. As Content Marketing Expert Doug Kessler says, “aim for one homerun per quarter”. This was my focus and the exact formula I used to create the Sophisticated Marketer’s Guide to Linkedin and what I will continue to use moving forward. I love it when a plan comes together.
If you need recommendations, let me know as I have worked with some amazing folks over the past few years. How are you building your content marketing A-team? Please join the conversation in the comment section below.