THE KEY POINTS
- It takes expert talent in many disciplines working in sync to create truly impactful things.
- Determine your actual commitment to great content. Commitment meaning it’s being properly staffed and budgeted.
- Think carefully before you try to bring all creative in house.
- If you’re lucky enough to have truly talented people, let them be who they are.
Think about an orchestra.
There’s the conductor. There are different sections like the woodwinds, brass, and percussion.
Within each of those sections there are artists playing different instruments. For some instruments, there’s probably more than one musician. There might be 4 flautists (you caught me, I just wanted to use the word “flautist”).
You might think that’s where it stops. Hardly. There are people who repair the instruments, people who set up the stage, design the attire, run the lights, and make sure the sound is right. What about the people who marketed the show, and the accountant who makes it possible for the orchestra to travel and perform?
The first thing to grapple with is who is going to be your content lead. Please don’t make content part of their job.
If today’s corporate brand marketers had to write a job post and create a crowd pleasing, successful orchestra, the ad would go something like this:
“Tremendous opportunity for a real go-getter! We are hiring for the position of ‘Orchestra Specialist.’ Must be able to play all instruments expertly at once while at the same time overseeing the overall audience experience. Must know how to repair all instruments. Ability to build each instrument from scratch a plus but not required. Candidates with experience in theatrical lighting and a complementary degree in Acoustic Engineering will be given special consideration. Requirements include 5+ years in event marketing, proficiency with QuickBooks, and a commercial truck driving license.”
You get my point. It takes expert talent in a myriad of specific disciplines, all working in sync to execute the clear, inspired vision of a leader to create something truly impactful. Guess how many people it took to make ‘Iron Man 3.’ 3,310. Over the past two decades, the top films each had an average three and a half writers, seven producers, 55 people in the art department, 32 in sound, 55 in camera/electrical and 156 in visual effects. But you’re going to run a brand publishing house and video production company with three in-house full-time kids fresh out of college. Right.
I realize you’re not making anything on the scale of Iron Man 3, although that would be insanely cool. But making content the public wants and loves is hard. The first thing to grapple with is who in your org is going to be the content lead? Please don’t make content part of their job…it’s a job, a big one, an important one. Here’s what that job post might look like:
“Director of Branded Content to run the production and creation of ongoing engaging, informative content for a variety of media outlets presented by our brand. Must be experienced in managing and contracting creative professionals with personal creative abilities preferred. A prolific idea-person ready to generate hits for our fans and customers.”
If the canary that went into the coal mine died, why in the world are so many brands rushing into that same mine?
Then you’re going to decide what your commitment to content is. How large of an in-house operation are you prepared to run? And by prepared, I mean what kind of in-house operation are you going to budget for?
As of this writing, the trend is for brands to try and staff up almost entirely in-house for content and creative. Mistake. For many reasons:
- The best creative talent doesn’t want to work full time on one brand and for that to be their whole life.
- The perceived advantage (they’ll know our product so thoroughly!) is lost because turnover will be high.
- You can’t afford everybody and every talent this takes.
- The content and ideas become insular, repetitive, uninspired, and the whole thing goes echo-chamber quickly.
- Worst of all, the content gets confined and resigned to strictly pleasing internal stakeholders…pleasing the audience never makes it to the top of the priority list.
In-house agency leaders like Intel have already learned the lesson and abandoned the effort. If the canary that went into the coal mine died, why in the world are so many brands rushing into that same mine?
Positions and job titles that fall under content marketing.
Maybe you’ll have a content lead, then as many on-staff brand “producers” as it takes to efficiently lead the external resources needed to generate great content that makes a difference. Beyond that, if you really want to go for it, these are just some of the positions and job titles that fall under content marketing:
- Head of Content Marketing
- Director, Content Strategy
- Content Strategist
- Content Marketing Manager
- Content Writer
- Digital Brand Manager
- Digital Marketing Manager
- Director of Digital Marketing
- Internet Marketing Coordinator
- Internet Marketing Director
- Internet Marketing Specialist
- SEO Manager
- SEM Manager
- Social Media Marketing Analyst
- Social Media Marketing Coordinator
- Social Media Community Manager
- Social Media Marketing Manager
- Paid Social Media Specialist
- Content Marketing Specialist
- Marketing Content Writer
- Social Media Marketing Intern(s)
- Web Content Marketing Specialist
- Online Marketing Assistant
- Content Marketing Coordinator
- Marketing Assistant
- Digital Content Specialist
- Marketing Content Assistant
- Content Marketing Intern(s)
- Taxonomy Manager
- CMS Manager
- Got all that? Great! Now here’s some of what you’ll need for the actual content production side.
- Associate Producers
- Coordinating Producer
- Lighting Directors
- Sound Designers
- Set Designers
- Prop Masters
- Production Assistants
- Production Paymaster
- Music Directors
- Make-up Artists
- Hair Stylists
- Wardrobe Designers
- Special Effects Artists
- Audio Engineers
- Voice Over Artists
- Storyboard Artists
- Location Scouts
- Craft Services
- Graphic Designers/Artists
- Layout Designers
- Public Speakers
- Live Event Hosts
- On-camera Hosts
It really is possible to establish a content operating system that generates smart and effective content marketing.
It can be…intimidating. But while every org is different and every internal staffing and structure setup is going to be different, it really is possible to establish a content operating system that generates smart and effective content marketing.
One final note on the creative side, if you’re lucky enough to find truly talented people, give them room to run. Yield to what they instinctively know. These are thinkers and dreamers. As I spelled out in the “How to Find Writers that Make a Real Difference” post of the Content Marketing for the Very Busy series, ideas come to them as easily as most people breathe. They’re fueled by being able to express those ideas. They can get a human emotional reaction out of your audience.
Yeah, they’re a little different and gravitate toward each other. No, they don’t love bureaucracies or pointless meetings. Let them be who they are, give them applause when warranted, and you’ll reap big rewards.
Once you’ve gone through the series and feel like you’re ready to talk about what sensible next steps can be taken, we’d love to talk shop with you, no commitment. Just fill out the easy form, or email Stiles, or we hear sometimes people still actually use the phone! Feel free to do that to.