Roles and responsibilities to organize B2B content marketing
In B2B content marketing the production of sufficient, appealing high quality content has been one of the biggest challenges. Additionally, the best content is in the heads of different employees, and not everyone is keen to start writing blogs, participating in webinars and taking part on social media. Facilitating the organization is of great importance. And when the decision is made to outsource the creation of content, the message and tone of voice need to be on target.
The production of content and the management of a content marketing process requires new skills and competencies from the organization. The content marketing process shares parallels with a publishing company, but most organizations are not (yet) publishers. The different skills are contained in silos. As such, different people or departments are responsible for SEO, PR, social media, product marketing and the customer magazine. This chapter delves into the roles and functions required for content marketing, forming multidisciplinary teams and the question of outsourcing.
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Roles and positions in B2B content marketing
The roles that need to be filled in an extensive content marketing organization can be linked to the seven steps of B2B content marketing discussed in this e-book. This paragraph describes the various roles that are assembled based on the setup recommended by the Content Marketing Institute. It’s a vision of the marketing department of 2025.
Each role need not be a position. In practice, various roles will be carried out by one person or undertaken by existing people in other positions. In small organizations, all the roles can be taken on by one content marketer. He or she will never be short on work!
Chief content officer (CCO)
The position of chief content officer has gained ground as a result of strategic choices made by more and more organizations in terms of content marketing. The position is also known as content strategist or VP of content. This is the person who is ultimately responsible for content marketing within the organization.
The responsibilities and roles for the CCO include:
- Drafting a modern content marketing strategy
- Translating the mission and strategy into corporate stories or “the big story”
- Making strategic choices in the concept development, content formats and media channels
- Defining and steering KPIs
- Developing, recruiting, employing and directing the content marketing team
- Ensuring a good technical infrastructure for content marketing
The chief content officer doesn’t create content himself/herself but an affinity with content creation is a must in for the role. Thinking in terms of content or its creation is in this person’s DNA. The CCO is comparable to a publisher. He is the gatekeeper of the corporate story, the ambassador of all the content. The CCO guarantees that locally created content from different silos of the organization is consistent with editorial guidelines and aligned with the audience. Not only does he or she have a pulse on the market but they provide support in the content strategy within the organization.
The managing editor is essentially the editor-in-chief. This person is responsible for the production of the content according to the ideas, editorial guidelines and strategy developed with the CCO. The managing editor is the project manager that, on behalf of the CCO, steers and manages the editorial calendar. He or she directs the content creation team, which can consist of editors, designers and producers. The setup of the team depends on the content formats and the size of the organization. Roles and responsibilities of the managing editor include:
- content production
- content planning
- search engine optimization
- content design and layout
- content presentation
Where the CCO focuses on the strategy, the managing editor deals with the execution. In smaller organizations, the position of managing editor and CCO are generally carried out by the same person.
Content creation team
The managing editors are generally content creators themselves but, depending on the amount of content, the type of content and the format, they will need to involve other people in the process. This can be their own editorial team but valuable contributions generally come from the so-called subject matter experts within the company. These could be consultants, product managers, innovation managers, C-level managers or analysts. These content creators needn’t be born writers; it’s up to the managing editor to translate these stories into content. They have their feet firmly rooted in the organization and can share knowledge, expertise and experience in the most relevant and transparent way via working with ghostwriters, conducting interviews or editing existing pieces.
Content doesn’t merely consist of copy. Depending on the medium and format, content needs to be made as appealing as possible through the design and visuals. For the various formats, this can involve different roles with different purposes, such as:
- Events: conference producer, conference logistics, chairman, program board
- Visual: photographer, designer, illustrator
- Moving media: producer, director, sound technician, camera man, editor, animation designer
- Virtual event: moderator, director, studio technician
The content curator searches online for news, trends and developments that are relevant to the target audience. The curator is generally not a standalone position but a role adopted in the content creation or social media team. Relevant input is brought to their attention via social media channels or from the content creation team. Curation can be used effectively to enrich your own content, remain current and increase cohesion between existing content items.
Chief listening officer (CLO) or social media coordinator
The social media coordinator is the roaming gatekeeper between the (social) media channels and the organization. This person follows and participates in the conversation on social media on behalf of the organization and involves the relevant departments for specific questions and discussion points.
For the content marketing team, this person is an important source for new information regarding what engages the target group so the marketing team can respond accordingly and continue to produce relevant content.
The audience manager is responsible for monitoring and honing in on the target groups, the decision-making units and the buyer personas. The core of content marketing is anticipating demand, questions, needs and dreams of the target audience. So, it’s important to continue to guarantee this and anticipate new triggers in time. The audience manager is closely involved with segmenting and increasing the database.
The investment in high-quality content is big, but small adjustments in the title, management summary or visuals can significantly affect responsiveness. The appeal to share messages via social media can be strongly influenced by adding just the right twist. The first responder puts the content under the microscope before it’s published and optimizes it for maximum effect. A lot of content can be reused in different channels and each channel has its own set of characteristics. The first responder works closely with the channel marketer to optimize content for each channel.
Content reaches a target group via different channels – the owned, earned and paid media. This can include your own online channels, social media, apps, magazine or events. Each channel has its own set of characteristics, content specifications and promotion possibilities. Channels can also differ in the timing of use or popularity among the buyer personas. The channel marketer is responsible for channel optimization.
For stimulating messaging and reach of specific or new target groups, paid media remains an important part of the communication mix. The media buyer/planner is responsible for the purchase and optimization of paid media.
Where the curator is responsible for gathering external content, the syndicator ensures that self-developed content is shared on third-party channels as much as possible. The content syndicator is responsible for generating maximum exposure via earned media by ensuring that what he is sharing is straightforward and appealing. This person can be responsible for a subset of the content or all its assets.
Beside maintaining media contacts, the traditional PR officer increasingly focuses on maintaining contact with influencers. This person takes care of a network of relevant contacts with media, thought leaders, subject matter experts and recognized trendsetters.
The gap between marketing and sales is reduced by organizing a process to transfer marketing-ready leads to the sales team at the right moment. The lead manager is responsible for the qualification and nurturing of the marketing leads and the comprehensive transfer to the sales division.
The analytics expert takes care of substantive reporting of KPIs and interprets the results. This expert keeps a watchful eye on achieving the set objectives and analyses discrepancies.
Supplier relationship manager
Not only will the content production be done by the organization itself but, as content marketing activities grow, outsourcing to third parties will increase. Freelancers can be called upon to write content on specific topics to carry out specialist work, such as the creation of animations. Agencies will also come into play to set up and execute content marketing campaigns or to advise. The supplier relationship manager is responsible for recruiting this network of specialists and forming the organizational processes that require collaboration.
Training and coaching lead
The adoption of content marketing requires the development of new competencies within the whole organization. In-depth expertise of content marketing can be expected from the content marketing team, but the requirements extend further. From subject matter experts to product managers and C-level employees, substantial contribution is expected for content to tell the story and distribute the messages of the organization. And employees can be expected to engage their network via social media and share content in a personal way. But this has to be according to the guidelines of the organization. The training and coaching lead takes care of the development of competencies of the organization.
The employees are the core for every service-providing company and the embodiment of the story and the messaging. And as every employee presents a channel in itself, it’s important in content marketing that the thinking is propagated by the HR organization. The HR liaison takes care of HR policy and the requirement for employees to communicate and behave consistently and transparently within the organization.
Technology plays an increasingly important role in the content marketing process, from online marketing tooling – such as content management systems, email marketing tools or marketing automation software – to various internal systems. The chief technologist is responsible for the technical infrastructure and its development. Internally, the team of the chief technologist can include a webmaster and a software developer who work on customized solutions. Externally, this person also steers the external service providers.
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