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Is Your Content Marketing Team Really Working for You?

If you outsource your content marketing services, I’m going to ask you to ask yourself one crucial question:

“Are you not experiencing real ROI (leads, sales, Google rankings) from your outsourced content marketing services?”

You could be losing out if you’re buying content marketing services from an agency.

Let me clarify.

If you’re outsourcing completely hands-off to a content marketing agency that you haven’t done research on or gained a good client referral from already, you may actually be doing the opposite of saving money or cutting costs.

For example: A well-known, leading industry agency (we won’t name any names) charges anywhere from $5,000 to $200k for full-service content marketing.

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And that’s just the start. A more accurate average for these services can run upwards of $50k, not to mention the ongoing expense of keeping them running.

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Screenshots and info via Clutch

The hefty price tag might not be your only worry, though.

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If you don’t outsource, you have other problems taking up your time.

You ALSO could be spinning your wheels if your content marketing team isn’t efficiently and fully trained on content strategy, which drives content marketing.

Do the team members (potential total strangers) in your outsourced content marketing firm know all of these 13 skillsets involved, for instance?

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When it comes to content strategy, there is a lot to know.

There are oodles of processes, workflows, and concepts to understand for content strategy to work as it should.

Unfortunately, it is not simple to know and understand how to set up and deliver working content marketing.

But, it’s the only REAL way to achieve CM success.

No shortcuts.

Content without strategy is like a cake without the baking or rising process in the oven, or, without all the right ingredients to begin with. It won’t taste good, it won’t delight your customers, and it won’t bring people back for more.

So, if your content marketing team is shaky on strategy, and you’re not seeing results, maybe it’s time to shift to a different solution.

This isn’t to alienate the content marketing agency that is doing these tasks right: by all means, continue working with them if you’ve found that gem.

This is to ask yourself one question:

If I’m not seeing results from the content marketing outsourced solution I’m using, should I try another way?

It’s going to take some work, but, you could focus on building up a content marketing team internally that runs like clockwork to produce quantifiable results.

Before we get into how and why, ask yourself another set of questions:

What is content marketing knowledge worth to you? To your clients? To the revenue of your business?

$1,000? $100,000? $1,000,000?

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What Is Content Marketing Knowledge Worth to You?

Gaining content marketing knowledge equals serious ROI.

But, the worth of that knowledge can’t really be quantified.

Here’s why.

It’s invaluable because you and your team can use this set of skills over and over and over again to keep bringing in $$$.

Some of my fave recent industry facts showcase what content marketing – and the knowledge of how to implement it – is truly worth:

  • Content marketing is booming – it will be worth $412 billion by 2021!
  • 91% of all B2Bs now celebrate and incorporate content marketing. Everyone can see its power and potential.

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  • Leads from content marketing/blogging are SO valuable compared to outbound leads. SEO leads have a 14.6% close rate!

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Content marketing = an incredible form of marketing.

Content marketing knowledge = an invaluable set of skills.

Now that we have those two facts established, we can get back to the solution we were talking about earlier:

The solution to paying too much for outsourcing content marketing, or spinning your wheels with an under-educated or under-staffed content marketing team.

Can you guess what it is?

Hint: We underlined its importance earlier.

It’s knowledge.

How do you get that key knowledge to make content marketing work?

Build a solid content marketing team structure, and educate them.

How to Build a Content Marketing Team That Works

What is a content team?

It’s a group of content marketing professionals who actively work toward implementing a content strategy. Each person in the group has a defined role and specific job that contributes to the whole.

Note that the key component that ties it all together is the strategy. When you start building a content team, you start there.

1. Start with a Content Strategy

The content strategy is the driving force behind content marketing, and it’s also the driving force behind your content marketing team.

Before you can start hiring anybody, you need a clearly defined strategy. This is because:

  • The strategy maps out your trajectory for ROI
  • It defines the audience(s) you will target
  • It helps you understand the types of content you need to create
  • It shows you where/when you need to publish content
  • It helps you measure your content’s success (or failure)

And, most importantly for your team:

  • It shows you the content roles you need to fill to implement all the pieces

According to Meghan Casey for CMI, without the necessary people and processes in place to support it, a content strategy can’t happen.

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Content provides the substance and structure of a content strategy, but people provide the workflow and governance.

2. Define Your Content Strategy Team Structure

First comes strategy, then comes digital content team structure.

This can vary widely based on your needs and the size of your operation. Small agencies and companies may have the funds for 2-3 people on a content team, while large operations will need staff at every level of content marketing: creation, editing, promotion, SEO, and measurement.

You can create roles based on the content marketing skillsets we already discussed. You can hire staff for each skill, or you can lump similar skills together and create roles that way.

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Take note: As your operation grows and changes, your team and team roles might, too.

Another tip: Don’t be afraid to switch up roles and ditch others if they aren’t working. Do what’s right for your strategy, your content marketing, and your team.

3. Hire the Right Person for Each Content Team Role

Hiring the right people for your content marketing team roles is essential to the health and success of your content.

For instance:

  • Managing editors/content managers oversee all the planning, content standards, and workflows for content creation.
    • They need to be nimble, have exceptional attention to detail, and be strong leaders for the direction of the content strategy.
  • Writers/content producers, on the other hand, should be able to produce compelling stories, write persuasive copy, or craft content that speaks to audiences on a personal level.
    • You should read samples of their work demonstrating at least one of these skills. However, they also need to be consistent, dependable, and respectful of deadlines.

Make sure you choose people who have the essential skills to do their role justice, but, most of all, add people to the team who are willing to learn, train, and educate themselves continually.

4. Make Sure Everyone Understands Content Strategy, Including How They Contribute to It

Here’s a piece that many miss when it comes to putting together a content marketing team:

Does each team member have the same content strategy base knowledge to build on?

More specifically:

  • Do they understand their role in the framework of the content strategy?
  • Do they know why and how their actions contribute to it?
  • Do they understand how the strategy governs their roles and lays out common goals for the whole team?
  • Do they get why the other team members’ roles are integral, and how all the roles mesh together?

At their root, the above questions are all about successful teamwork and the right knowledge. They’re what you need to implement ANY content marketing strategy.

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How to Educate Your Content Marketing Team for Better Results

What does a content marketing team do?

They work together under the overarching guidance of a content strategy.

Without base knowledge of how and why that strategy works, the team can’t come together for the common goal of the company/agency/clients.

Without each team member understanding their specific role in the strategy, including methods, tactics, and workflows, the strategy can’t come together and successfully result in mighty content marketing.

Education is KEY.

How can you educate your content marketing team so they’re stronger and smarter content marketers (separately AND together)?

The Practical Content Strategy & Marketing Course is a one-way ticket to that priceless knowledge.

This extensive, 6-week educational journey is hands-on, in-depth, and comprehensive.

You and your team will learn EVERYTHING you need to know to create, fine-tune, and implement a nimble content strategy. Each piece of the content marketing puzzle is covered:

  • Content strategy fundamentals
  • Audience discovery and sales mapping
  • SEO and keywords
  • Building your online authority
  • Content creation and guest blogging
  • Content promotion, budgeting, and maintenance

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Take your content marketing from just “okay” to a seamless, incredible band of content marketing superheroes with these tips.

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Need support? Enroll in the Practical Content Strategy & Marketing Course today and make it happen for the success of your business. Not sure it’s right for you? Click to view my B.S.-free masterclass below to learn more and get a 60-minute sneak peek into the real behind-the-scenes of successful businesses putting content strategy and content marketing to work.