We are more than halfway through 2018 and content marketing as an industry and practice is now a standard marketing method for companies, both B2B and B2C. As a matter of fact, according to the 2018 B2B Content Marketing Benchmarks, Budgets and Trends Report, 91% of the respondents surveyed indicated their organization uses content marketing as part of their marketing initiatives. Yet, when asked about the organizational structure of content, only 26% had a centralized marketing group that worked with multiple brands or product lines across the organization. While 53% shared that their content marketing team consisted of only one person or very small team to manage all of the content the organization produced.

Why do these numbers matter?

Because the most important aspect of all of your marketing efforts is the content you produce for your audience. There, I said it. And I will say it again. Content is the most important aspect of your entire marketing organization.

How can I make such a bold statement? Think about it. Ann Handley, Chief Content Officer for MarketingProfs says it best. “Everything the light touches is content.” The majority of your marketing efforts are on distributing and promoting the content that your company produces. Whether through email, inbound tactics, 3rd party influencer sites, etc…the main purpose for so much of your marketing efforts is to get your content out in front of the right person at the right time.

So why is that so many marketing teams still do not have a Content Manager or Content Strategist leading the content marketing efforts? As you get set to move into 4th quarter and set up budgets for 2019, I encourage to you consider adding what may be the most important next new hire on your marketing team: Content Strategist/Content Manager.

Content Is What Connects

It takes a village of marketing professionals to successfully implement the copious initiatives outlined in an annual marketing plan. But when you really break down all of the tactics that are set to deliver the intended results, there is one element that seems to be at the center of the majority of these initiatives: content. Your audience is seeking information about your product or service. Often, this starts with inbound tactics such as search(SEO) or paid media ads and if you are doing your job correctly, eventually through outbound tactics such as email marketing. When your audience does seek out information, they get their answers via content they find, is placed in front of them via a feed or pushed out directly to them. Content development needs to be an ongoing discussion and planning process for your marketing team. A Content Strategist leads this charge by ensuring not only is content being produced on a regular basis, but that it is being developed properly for the various tactics of distribution and promotion. Your Content Strategist understands that content is the connective tissue that attracts your target audience and subsequently gains their trust for further online and eventually offline conversations.

Archiving Content Should Be a Priority

When developing a solid content strategy, one of the first projects that must be completed is a content audit of all (or a good majority) current content produced by the company. If gathering all content from the company is close to an impossible ask, then at least all content produced for the purpose of marketing and sales. Too often, this project is so daunting, that either it never gets started or there are too many cooks in the kitchen and the entire process stalls. Your Content Strategist is the manager of the content audit project. He/She is your one point of contact that works throughout the organization to obtain, document and set up the archiving system for easier access by all who need to be aware of content produced by the company. The audit and archive process is critical to ensure old content is getting a refresh when necessary and duplication of content efforts are at a minimum or no longer happen at all. The archive of content is the first place to go to when content ideation begins. Too often companies look to new content development rather than having an archive in place to assess if content already exists. This is where your Content Strategist takes on more of a Content Manager role; a role that should be a priority for every marketing team.

Managing Process, People and Performance

Content development is one of the most challenging duties of the marketing team. It encompasses multiple functions to deliver successful outcomes: ideation and brainstorming on a regular basis, the process of content creation in multiple formats (text, video audio, image, etc…), overseeing both internal and external roles to get the content completed and ensuring that content developed aligns with business outcomes. Your Content Strategist is the person on your marketing team that will manage all of this, with some assistance. Having the one point of contact provides consistency, less confusion and increases the ability for improvement in all areas. This role can be a strong right hand to the Director or VP of Marketing. Please note: each of these areas should still have strong leadership for their individual function. Your Content Strategist ties it all together to assist everyone in becoming more efficient and ensures all areas are being heard and recognized.

The above points are just a sample of how a Content Strategist can be a great next new hire for your marketing team. This role is becoming more and more critical as content continues to be a key element that drives business objectives. Don’t wait another year to consider adding this role to your team. Take a look at that 2019 budget and make it happen.