How to Build an Agile Content Marketing Team

How to Build an Agile Content Marketing Team

Reader Comments (24)

  1. You know what they say, two heads are better than one. Even if you’re not the go-to writer on your team you can still help your content marketing campaign in other ways. Keep track of ideas and be on the lookout for guest blogging opportunities; help promote and share the content within your own social network, follow up on replies/responses are more. This gives your writer more time to create more content.

    • In this proposed system, is the SME the only one who actually writes content and then another team member edits it before publishing? What if your strategy demands more content (more writers), but you only have one available SME?

      • I believe that the SME needs to own the content, but that they can get many helpers. These helpers can even write drafts, but the SME MUST make it their own, which involves a lot more than just editing the writing of others. They have to plan on rewriting it. Note, however, that the fact that other people come up with the topics, do the raw research, create drafts to look at, is a HUGE help.

  2. That last point is critical and will deflate the best laid content marketing plans. Lifeless content–no matter how factual–won’t draw an audience. You’ll just have a wiki entry. Look at some like Avinish Kaushik. He’s not the greatest writer but his passion for web analytics (a sleeper topic for sure) is infectious. Same for people like Rand Fishkin and Gary Vaynerchuk (though most of his content was video).

    Now, get a great writer who is passionate about the topic and your content will sing. I’d rather give a SME writing lessons than hire a writer to write about a neutral topic. But if you have someone in your ranks who can write and his passionate about the topic–let him loose. Nothing says that the CEO needs to be the voice of the company. Hubspot is a classic example. So is Best Buy (who lets about 3,000 employees tweet).

    • Agree with you. The passion is something very big in Internet marketing in general and content marketing in particular. Without passion, we can still make good things, but not long and solid great things. And the next important is teamwork. This is a hard part, since working with people always requires the common goal and sympathize among each other in group.

  3. Hi Eric,
    This article is GOLD for do-it-yourself bloggers like me who do everything on their site. The advice about delegation is wonderful! It’s never been one of my strong suits for sure.

    Thanks a lot for the great ideas!! Much appreciated!!!!

    Best Regards,

  4. As a content marketing consultant this is extremely useful for helping a client understand how I can support their team and just how much work there is actually to be done. Unfortunately too many people think writing and managing social media/content should be “easy” – they have no concept of the time actually required. Re #9 – my clients are excellent SMEs but not the best writers. I have them write the draft and and I edit it, preserving their voice and passion but making it accessible and effective.

  5. I agree that it’s better and easier to find an SME who is an actual expert and passionate about a topic.
    However, if someone is a good writer/marketer, I also think it’s possible to discover what makes other people passionate, put yourself in their shoes, and let it come through in the content.

    What’s more important expertise and passion or writing skills and an understanding of the audience? Obviously all four would be best – but if you had to choose…

  6. What qualifies a person to be an SME? If you are not currently an SME how do you manage to become an expert?

    • Excellent question. I look at this as a make or buy. If you don’t have an SME you need to plan on getting one. Can you have some learn enough to become an SME? The web is a wonderfully rich source of information if you have the right person invest time into it.

      Or, can you rent or buy one? Bring one on as an advisor (rent)? Hire one?

      It is my belief that you must solve the problem of having an SME or else a serious content marketing strategy is not in the cards for you.

  7. The big Catch-22 of getting content out of Subject Matter Experts (SME) is that they did not usually become SMEs by spending time developing other skills such as writing (unless that’s their area of expertise). And, because of their status as the organization’s SME, they are usually swamped in the matter of their expertise.
    We built a company out of the need to extract content from SMEs in an efficient manner. Yes, I said extract. If you can get the SME to give you an hour to develop a year’s worth of topics (we have a free exercise for this) and then commit to a single hour-long recording session each month, you can use a professional radio broadcaster to record top-quality interviews on those topics and turn them into written (and podcast) content for your web site. It works very well and makes everyone happy.

  8. Eric, good article, but you may want to comment on the tools a content team needs to look at to keep organized, e.g. Hootsuite, content curation tools, managing drafts, edits, and metrics/conversion dashboards. Thanks.

  9. This is one superb article! SME’s are a must. I believe that inorder for one to write good content, he/she must be very much interested in the topic he/she is writing about. Your post will inspire content marketing teams to organize their team structure and produce better and more stunning contents.

  10. Honestly, sometimes it feels like it takes too much effort. Sometimes I feel like I’m the only one working, and that I wish there were about 30 more hours in the day for me to get everything done that I need.

  11. I can’t figure if I think this article is great or irrelevant. Lots of great tips in here, mixed with lots of stuff that seems either excessively specific or unnecessary to the overall effort. It’s also odd because it’s about creating a team, but most of the focus is on steps rather than people. Might have been better organized around the people on the team, rather than the steps on the content marketing effort.

    In case, the gems outweigh the odd elements. 🙂

    • Hi Frank – appreciate the thoughtful comment. The main reasons I did not specifically define the people on the team is that a key step is to figure out which of the above activities the SME will value. Each SME is different, and if they don’t want someone to do something for them, that activity will never succeed. Building a team requires an understanding of the types of opportunities as defined above, having the SME decide where they would like the help, trying it, and then evolving the process as you learn more. It ends up being a very personal thing!

  12. Great article and a great framework. I often work with much smaller teams so its helpful to think through the different roles, both to secure more resources, but also to think through the actual process. Thanks! Another spin on this article is how to use the same framework for micro-teams, or individuals. For example, proper networking could help with task delegation.

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