what makes inbound marketing team2

I Know I Need to Change But…

Many marketing departments are trying to evolve their marketing mix toward inbound marketing. But many people don’t know what kind of skills they need to build an effective team.

The truth is that the skills you need for an inbound marketing team are very different than what a traditional marketing team requires.

Here is my take on what kind of people and skills you need for a great inbound marketing team.

You Need a Journalist

The foundation of effective inbound marketing is consistent, quality content production.

To get that, you really need to have a journalist-type on staff. You don’t need a old-fashioned, hardcore Bob Woodward-type, but you do need someone who can research a topic and create content about it. Consistently and regularly.

They need to know how to write for the web. Not newspapers, not novels, not screenplays. The web is a different medium that requires a different writing style.

They should understand what the inverted pyramid is, how to conduct an interview and the process of fact checking.

Besides traditional article creation, they’ll create email campaigns and write landing page copy as well. They’ll also need to understand the value of business blogging.

You Need a Social Community Manager

Just because you create great content, doesn’t mean anyone will find it.

Promoting your quality content is just as important as creating it. And one of the primary tools to do that is social media.

You need someone who understands all the major social media platforms and how best to grow an audience using them. They need to understand how each platform differs and if they’re appropriate for your target market. They should be a Hootsuite power user and should be able to introduce regular ideas for how to increase your reach and improve engagement on social.

You Need a Visual Content Specialist

My original title for this section was “You Need a Graphic Designer”. But this term doesn’t quite describe the position. The title “Visual Content Specialist” seems to work better.

These days, most content that gets people’s attention is visual. Yes, text is still pervasive but that’s changing rapidly.

So your inbound marketing team needs someone with solid graphic design skills but they also need to have the ability to translate complex concepts into a visual form. This is crucial if you want to catch people’s attention.

You may call on this person to perform a variety of content visualization tasks:

  • Create an explainer video using Powtoon or VideoScribe
  • Put together an infographic using Illustrator or Pictochart
  • Design a Call to Action graphic
  • Design a Cover Page for your new Facebook Page or Twitter Page
  • Create an eBook with InDesign
  • Design a banner advertisement for a new Google Display campaign
  • Put together a Gallery or Slideshow
  • Put together a video intro for your industry interviews with Camtasia

You Need a Testing & Analytics Specialist

When you start generating traffic and behavior from your inbound marketing efforts, you start generating data. Lots of it. You need someone who can interpret this data and make recommendations from it.

They should be highly analytical and be able to convert disparate data into meaningful recommendations. They should be an Excel whiz.

They should also be able to run A/B Tests on landing pages and other marketing assets and be able to report on them regularly.

They should be able to answer the question, “Is this campaign working?” And back it up with data, not unsubstantiated opinion.

You Need a Strategic Manager

Your team will need a more senior and knowledgeable manager who understands inbound marketing, who can manage people and deliver campaigns on a deadline.

This person should also understand inbound marketing strategy:

  • What campaigns are you launching this month or quarter?
  • What target market are you going after?
  • What mix of earned and paid attention are you going to use?
  • What kind of content will best generate leads?
  • How do we manage the leads that come in? How do I know if the leads are “sales ready”?

But What About SEO?

Some of you might be asking if an SEO (search engine optimization) specialist is needed. SEO has changed a lot in just the last couple years. To even talk about SEO the way it was commonly used two years ago is misleading and confusing.

Without getting into a lot of detail about the role of content or social sharing or the demise of links the latest Google Panda or Penguin updates, suffice it to say that getting found through search is absolutely important to your Inbound Marketing program. But how you achieve that may have changed somewhat.

  • Do you still need to understand how to properly use keywords in your content and to research what keywords you should use? Yes
  • Do you still need to optimize your pages properly so you’re not making Google guess what the page is about? Absolutely
  • Do you still need to understand what local SEO is and how that might apply to your business locally. If your business has local customers, you betcha.
  • Do you still need to understand how to reach out to publications and bloggers to establish relationships and earn links? Yes, mam.

But do you need a full time SEO specialist to do this? Increasingly, I think the answer to this question is no. Getting found online is now become less the responsibility of any one technical specialist and more of the overall goal of the entire inbound marketing team. Rand Fishkin of SEOMoz pointed this out in a classic Whiteboard Friday over a year ago.

In other words, getting found through search these days requires ALL of the skills that I’ve described in this article. Getting found means doing inbound marketing.


Inbound Marketing requires a wide variety of different skill sets. And building a team to execute an inbound marketing program is challenging on several levels. You need new skill sets, a change of company culture and a different mentality of marketing.

But if you realize how technology is fundamentally changing the way we discover and buy products and services, you’ll understand how necessary it is to invest in inbound marketing now…instead of waiting until your competitors do.

If you would like to know more about Inbound Marketing in general or how Go Time Marketing can assist your business develop a strategy to get found online and begin developing leads, feel free to contact us by phone, (855) 468-4631, by email ([email protected]) or simply by clicking here.

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