Even though it’s a cheesy analogy, a business can be compared to a well-functioning clock. Do you remember the Pixar film The Incredibles? In this superhero film, between all the action scenes, there is one part that is 100% applicable to businesses everywhere. Gilbert Huph, the grumpy boss in the film describes how a business is “like an enormous clock…it only works if all the little cogs mesh together.”
This analogy is especially applicable to start-up and entrepreneur businesses. There is the same ‘clock’ and moving pieces as in big businesses, just on a smaller scale. Everything needs to work together. Every employee needs to be on the same page, contributing to their part of the machine.
Or maybe the clock analogy is too much of a cliché. How about a three-legged-race? But instead of two people, you’re tied to all of your employees. If one person is slacking, you’re all going to go down.
Hard. Probably face-planting into the grass.
So let’s get into the nitty gritty work of how to structure (and maintain) a content team. And the best way, we think is to break down the team into each individual job, analyze their roles, and recommend what characteristics to look for in a person to hire into that part:
Within your team of editors, writers, designers, videographers, researchers, etc., you need someone to take charge and be a leader. This responsibility falls upon the content strategist.
Content strategists will: strategize content delivery and promotion, set guidelines for the voice and style of all produced content (think: Style Guide), create and follow editorial strategy, measure analytics to see what works and what doesn’t from a marketing standpoint, etc.
In simpler terms, the strategist will write out the business’ Style Guide and constantly check to make sure everyone is following the rules they’ve set up. In addition to managing the team, a good content strategist will be constantly improving content marketing ideas for the business.
If you’re a smaller or entrepreneurial business, a content strategist would most likely do all the pre-production research and editorial tasks before each project. There is a lot of work to be done in the beginning of each project, but the work can ebb and flow as time goes on.
So, depending on the workload your business takes on, a content strategist could be someone to hire as a consultant, part-time, or full-time. It all depends on your business and goals. When hiring, look for characteristics of a ‘player coach’ (one who can execute/manage/work well with others) instead of one who micromanages.
A good designer will truly make all the difference for your company. Their job is to take the content produced by your business and make it, well, visually appealing.
Users online will spend a lot more time looking at design work than a chunk of text–no matter how well the copy is written. It’s just the truth. Did you know that 65% of people are visual learners? Don’t underestimate the importance of visual content; it may be what interests your clients most!
When hiring a designer, look closely at their portfolio to see if they have a style that matches your brand. Going further, ask what programs they are comfortable working with. Knowing how to design an infographic in Adobe Illustrator is great, but do they know how to manage InDesign to create a pamphlet that grabs your attention?
The more skills a designer has, the more (and variety of) content your team is able to produce.
Also known as a Web Designer, a developer manages anything and everything to do with your website. Let’s start at the beginning: do you have a website for your business? If not, then in the minds of consumers, you don’t exist. Sorry.
Or maybe you have a website, but it’s outdated, difficult-to-navigate, and slow to load. You know those site that still use 90’s Clipart and Comic Sans font? Don’t be that website. No users will spend time on any site that is badly structured or difficult to use.
I repeat: no user will spend time on any site that is badly structured or difficult to use.
As your business grows and content increases, you need to spend time and money upgrading your business online. A Developer can create personalized landing pages, interactive sections on your website, change the layout of your website and pages, and so much more.
When hiring a designer, look at the online work they’ve done for other businesses. Ask them if they are able to take certain ideas and make them a reality. Or, try asking them what ideas they have for improving your website. Hire a person that strives to constantly improve and who isn’t afraid to insert their ideas into your website.
Writers play a key, foundational role in any company. Everything you produce involves words, so it’s important for them to send the right message.
Blog articles, website copy, scripts, emails…it all tells viewers about who you are as a company.
Writers, while being an important part to any company, are also a fun addition because they often play the creative role in a content team. These are the people who brainstorm creative ideas to captivate your audience, while conveying the right information in the brand’s voice (as outlined in the Style Guide by the Content Strategist).
As you’re hiring, look for a writer that is familiar with your business. This will make writing easier for them, as they are already comfortable with and knowledgeable about your market. Take the time to look at their qualifications, but pay special attention to their writing samples. Quality work should come before quantity qualifications.
Writers are often busy enough producing content that they shouldn’t edit their own work. But more than simply relieving pressure, editors give written content the final approval before the work is sent out. This task is crucial, since writers may miss small errors or forget to write in the right style.
Editors can be broken up into two categories: developmental editors and copy editors. Developmental editors focus on taking an in-progress piece and morphing it into a better style. Copy editors are more common, as they spruce up a written piece by fixing typos, grammar mistakes, and smoothing out inconsistent tones.
Most editors can do both, but if you find yourself between choosing between the two, hire a copy editor. Copy editors are more important for smaller businesses, as small mistakes can make potential clients hesitant to hire your business.
Over the past few years, video has been taking over the internet. And it’s not slowing down anytime soon! In fact, it’s been estimated that video will make up 80% of all internet traffic by 2019. Can you imagine that?
Video is beneficial to any business because it stands out more than any other type of content on social media, especially on Facebook. It’s the best form of media to share visual information quickly while keeping the audience engaged. If you can find the room in your budget to hire a part-time videographer, your business will benefit greatly.
As you hire a videographer, look at their portfolios, and ask about their efficiency. A demo reel may be professional-quality, but it could have taken them a month to put it together. Ask about quality vs time restraints to see if they can produce the content you request by your deadline.
Social Media Strategist
A Social Media Strategist is so much more than a person who ‘loves social media’ and has a few hundred followers on their personal accounts.
Instead, strategists take the time to analyze… everything. They analyze each post’s numbers, engagement rates, and what demographic it appealed to. Going further, they experiment with different engagement tactics to find out how to target your audience best. This requires constantly monitoring social media channels and making adjustments as the audience’s focus changes—daily or throughout the year.
Not as simple as you might have thought, huh?
Everything posted by your business, through a strategist brings brand awareness and drives traffic to your site all while making your company more personable.
Because social media is regarded as a new addition to marketing, be careful to hire someone with proven experience. Ask their methods of tracking success, managing multiple pages, and engaging with an audience. How they portray your brand and business is critical.
Once you know how many people you need, and from what departments, you can then start successfully structuring your business. As you expand your team, carefully define each job role. Don’t have a lot of overlap or leave assumptions in job roles, as blurred responsibilities can cause projects to fall apart. But most of all, make sure each person performs their duty efficiently while portraying the right image of the brand. This is your team—take charge!