MarketingProfs and the Content Marketing Institute share yearly research about best-in-class B2B content marketing organizations versus everyone else. Know what the cream-of-the-crop does? The most successful marketers document their B2B content marketing strategy. So why isn’t everyone taking the vital step of documenting? The number one barrier is small content marketing team size (reported by 67 percent of respondents).
If your team is small — or consists of only you, you are probably nodding your head in agreement. You’ve got no other team members to help you do the work, so how can you even find time to document a strategy?
There is a way to make creating content more efficient and give you a little more time to act as a content strategist and managing editor.
How to Build a Successful Small Content Marketing Team
Appoint someone (yourself, your manager, or an executive) to the content marketing leadership role.
Identify an individual who will provide editorial guidance to the team.
Work with other departments to get help with researching topics for your content marketing plan.
Look inside your organization for content contributors, and be prepared to hire freelance writers or a content marketing agency for additional help. Think about inviting industry or customer guest contributors, too.
Fill content distribution and promotion roles with outside help or use marketing automation software to lighten your load.
Assign measurement and analysis responsibilities. If you don’t have time and you don’t have a direct report, look into automation tools or outside help.
Let’s dig a little deeper into each of these important functions to help you learn how to build a small content marketing team.
Content Marketing Leadership
The content marketing leadership function requires someone who can spearhead strategy development, manage the budget, ensure team members are held accountable, and monitor content efforts to make sure they support overall business goals.
If you are the content leader (and do almost everything else content related), this can be a daunting role to take. It’s the reason why those documented strategies aren’t getting created. Instead of going it alone, work with a content agency who can help you develop a customer-focused content strategy to generate leads and drive more sales. You provide brand leadership while your agency provides online marketing know-how. Together you can get that B2B content marketing strategy documented.
The editorial guidance role requires more than proofreading material created by your small content marketing team. This function keeps content creators on schedule with the editorial calendar. The person who fills these shoes performs quality assurance to makes sure content meets brand guidelines and quality standards and speaks to the appropriate personas. For small teams, this person may even be responsible for optimizing the content for search engines and online engagement.
If this function falls on your shoulders, don’t worry. Here are some tips for creating an editorial team.
You ensure the final content product is appropriate for your industry/niche and business goals.
Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) evaluate for accuracy from a subject matter point of view (technical, vertical/industry, etc.)
Agency experts provide the polish and shine and even some SEO expertise, if needed, to help get your content found.
While you are the final approver when it comes to the editorial function, but you don’t have to do it all alone.
Remember those people we identified above who can help you with editing. Those same people (and maybe a few others) can help you with research, too.
You: research topics based on reports and reading you do about your industry. Check with trade associations and trade news sites for trends you can write about.
SMEs: informally poll your SMEs to learn what they’re reading or encountering as they do their jobs. Developers may have a perspective you never considered. Customer service reps have a different specialized knowledge and insight that you can use. Who else can spark new content angles?
Agency: ask your agency partner to collaborate with you on research and brainstorming content ideas, too.
Content Creation & Production
You may carry the heaviest burden when it comes to creating content, but that doesn’t mean you can’t tap colleagues, executives, and outside resources for help. Lighten the load by:
Inviting employee contributors (for the reluctant writers, just ask for a list of bullet points you can turn into a post)
Seeking guest posts from industry influencers
Outsourcing some or all content creation to a content marketing agency
Working with freelance designers or an agency resource on visuals and multimedia
If you can rely on other employees and guest contributors for routine content, you can prioritize your high-effort, high-value asset creation for your agency.
Content Promotion & Distribution
Distributing and promoting your content on social media, email, and elsewhere can be a pain. However, it doesn’t have to be. There are plenty of martech tools to help you streamline this process.
Many email and marketing automation platforms allow you to create RSS-based newsletters — boom! Quick and easy weekly roundup newsletter from your blog.
Social media platforms and marketing automation software can help you distribute your content automatically. There are tools that will even keep your campaign going for up to a year for evergreen content. Some solutions will even help you pick the right time to share.
Employee advocacy initiatives can help your reach go farther via your employee’s social efforts.
Email signatures also help you get your latest content in front of people both inside and outside your company.
Measurement and Analysis
Would it be nice if your content team included a data scientist who helps you understand every little bit of value your tracked data holds? Um. YEAH. But that probably isn’t going to happen since you’re already running a one-or-two person show.
Instead of worrying about who is going to do this, look for tools to help you do it yourself. There are plenty of training tools online to prepare you to get the most out of Google Analytics. You can also give Google Data Studio a shot for creating some slick reports and dashboards. And don’t forget about your marketing automation solution.
If you want to go a step beyond just monitoring traffic and KPIs, work with your agency to review the data. Your partner can help you pull out insights and trends to capitalize on in your next round of content strategy planning.
Small Content Marketing Team Functions Matrix
We’ve put together this handy matrix to help you think about ways to fill all of your small content marketing team roles even when you don’t have the headcount.
Will this approach to beefing up the structure for small content teams work for you? Share your struggles and solutions in the comments section below.