content marketing team

Why you must document your content marketing team roles

In Content Strategy by Rob JohnsonLeave a Comment

Content teams can grow quickly without much thought for your content marketing team roles. Often it happens as you’ve been asked to produce more and more content. You respond immediately rather than strategically. And while you may have your processes and your editorial calendar worked out and written down, few people do the same for your content team structure.

And that can be a bigger problem than you realise.

When good employees go …

We had a BDM working on projects who was our dream employee. He turned up at work at seven in the morning and left at 7 in the evening. He spent his time at work productively. Those first two hours of the day were spent writing props, sending emails, and sourcing new leads. Then from 9 till five, he was working the phone like a demon. He was individually responsible for half the company’s phone bill. The last two hours of the day he spent analysing competitor data and projecting upcoming issues.

He was also a nice guy to have around, surpassed all his sales targets, never got stressed, and never asked for a pay rise.

Then one day, he left.

It was nothing personal. He had stuff to do, and places to go. But as the weeks passed by and his memory (and forward bookings) faded, we realised how deep a hole he had left. No-one was as connected to our market as he was. When he disappeared, it was like his work turned to smoke in the eyes of leads, and slowly drifted away.

Spelling out the content marketing team roles

Replace the term ‘business development manager’ or ‘content officer’ or ‘communications manager’. We all know someone like that. They are a champion of your content strategy. Losing them would be a disaster, which is exactly why you should plan for it to happen.

It took us ages to work our way back from the point where that guy left. The stress of getting back to where we were could have been avoided if we had a documented content strategy which spelled out the content marketing team roles.

Include the ‘who’ with the ‘what’, ‘when’ and ‘why’

When people talk about content strategy, they often focus just on the content itself. There’s nothing wrong with that. But Part of documenting the strategy is identifying who should be doing what, and who takes care of roles around the production and distribution of content. Who is responsible for uploading posts? Or puts together the newsletter? Which team member does the first edit of the posts on website, or of the article in the company magazine? Who is checking the legal stuff?

If all of those roles are documented it makes it much easier to see the impact of losing a key team member. It also creates a resource for any new team members to understand where they fit in if they are replacing someone else.

And if you’re the one responsible for your organisation’s content plan, it makes it easy for you to show your boss how indispensable you are.

Go with the workflow

Once you’ve documented who does what, you will also quickly see the need for a production workflow. The content you produce will be at different stages of the production process at different times. You need to keep track of what you’ve got and where it’s at. That way, if someone in a key position leaves, you can know immediately by looking at the production workflow what holes you need to plug.

It’s not tricky to do, and your Finder window will do most of the work for you.

Just create a folder for every stage of the production process, and number them. The fact that the folders are numbered will order them correctly. You can follow your content through the folders until it is distributed.

Above is a screen grab of the production workflow we use on our print magazines, but we use similar ones for websites and newsletters. You can see, it starts from the early Administration of the magazine. Then comes a place to put copy and images when they arrive. Next are folders that are ‘owned’ by individuals who need to grant approval before publication. By implementing this, or a similar, workflow, you save yourself the hassle of keeping track of what everyone is doing.

In the end

Creating a safety net is a sensible part of any plan. That’s the lesson here, really—if you know what can go wrong, you can plan to be ready if it does go wrong.

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