(Of course, wine helps, but it’s not the answer to everything).
Dreaming of running the hottest content team around? First, you’re going to need some stellar ingredients (and I don’t just mean the team your hire).
After scaling a content team and running an agency that relied on my content team’s efficiency and capacity, I learned a thing or two about what goes into a good (great) content marketing team…
A strong leadership culture
Without strong leadership, content quickly becomes messy and hard to control. Financially, unruly content can be ruinous.
Leaders need to invest in content… and your content team needs to have strong leaders.
Without leadership, your content team won’t perform. It will flounder and fail before it gets a chance to flourish.
Top tip: delegate early on and hire a dedicated Content Manager and Content Leads to help you create a mentorship culture.
Creative energy (bags of it)
Creativity is the lifeblood of your content team. Creativity is linked to things like energy, people dynamics, freedom of expression etc.
An unhealthy place to work is unlikely to produce great creative work.
Creativity is an important resource that you need to learn how to harness in your content production, but first, you need to create a fertile breeding ground for creativity.
IMO, here are some things that work to spark creative work:
- Multicultural teams
- Global teams
- Pleasant working environment
- Freedom of expression
- Flexible working
- Workshops, ideation sessions
- Inspiring clients & projects.
The ability to take risks
Great content comes when people are open to risk.
In fact, great content is often inherently risky.
Make sure your team has at least one of these:
- Clients who take risks
- The ability to take risks as part of projects
- Creative outlets where boundaries don’t figure (this could be internal projects, side hustles, training projects etc.)
Great clients & projects
Even the best content team will struggle without any interesting clients and projects.
But remember, ‘boring’ clients and industries don’t necessarily mean uninteresting projects!
That is the beauty of content marketing: it has the ability to make (almost) anything interesting. For example, a B2B website brief can be full of playful and whimsical content elements.
I think all content teams need to have a balance of ‘bread and butter’ work and more creative outlets and projects.
Data & concrete goals
Understanding data is essential for great content. Your team is no different.
Make the most of tracking and project management tools to help you optimise content workflow (but don’t be unreasonable about productivity).
Set clear and concrete goals for how you want your team to progress and grow. Empower people to set their own goals too.
A clear strategy
As well as leadership, content teams need a clear strategy in order to function.
In fact, there will be multiple layers of strategy impacting your content team:
- Recruitment strategy
- Client acquisition/business development strategy
- Marketing/content strategy
- Social media strategy
- Internal comms/content strategy etc.
Make sure that your content team knows where and how they fit in.
Confusion and chaos will breed resentment when your content team is suddenly being pulled in all directions.
No content team can thrive if writers are constantly asked to be ‘on’.
Make sure to include and schedule in downtime and creative fallow periods where people can re-charge.
A day out, a long lunch, a walk: small things can make all the difference.
R&D (research & development) ethos
The best content teams are always pushing the boundaries of what is possible.
Even without big overheads and investment, smaller content teams have the ability to conduct R&D and test new platforms and methodologies.
Not sure where to start?
Explore a new platform or content format by getting your copywriters to do some research and present their findings to the team. Maybe somebody already has a hobby or side hustle you can all learn from?
Systems & framework
In order for content to get to its destination efficiently and safely (on-time and on-budget), you need a healthy system.
Processes and frameworks mean that you can output a consistent content product, whereas a well-functioning system means that you won’t get any gremlins messing with your final output.
An easy system like Google Docs (one of the resources I mention here) is a good place to start.
A good tech stack
Tech frustrations will slow your content team down. There is nothing worse than having your creative juices and energy sapped by unnecessary tech headaches.
Make sure your writers have few barriers, tech that works, and that the overall UX and UI of the systems you are using support their writing.
Camaraderie & team spirit
Camaraderie helps your team bond. Content marketing can be stressful, and the importance of banter and witticism cannot be underestimated.
Support and nurture your team as individuals. Writers may be very different from your marketers or tech support team members with entirely unique goals and desires.
They may not always want the ‘glory’ of public speaking or the rowdy pub, but the ability to think and act freely instead. Don’t assume. Ask.
Did I get it right? Do you agree with the content team elements I have chosen? Have you got any of your own to add to the list?