Forming Your Content Marketing Team: The Essential Roles

Today’s article is an excerpt from the Audience Ops Playbook, our training program for assembling a content marketing system in your company. 

The key to sustaining your content marketing plan for the long term is to think strategically about how you’ll actually execute all of the work, week in, week out, over a sustained period of time.

Typically, this is where founders fall short. They start out creating some content themselves, but fail to stick with it because they have to do so many other things in the business.

This is where your content team comes into play. Assemble the right people in the right roles and you’ll build a content system that can run like a machine, with or without the founder’s direct input on a day-to-day level.

As you’re probably aware, content marketing requires a mix of different skillsets and talents. The following roles will need to be covered one way or another:

  • Content Strategist
  • Writer
  • Designer
  • Production Assistant
  • Promotion Assistant
  • Analyst

It’s entirely possible for a person to wear several hats. Maybe that person is you! You might build your team with a mix of in-house staff, outside contractors (freelancers), or a service/agency.

Whichever mix you go with, it pays to understand what’s involved in each role.

1. Content Strategist

This is the architect of the strategy. He performs the audience research, SEO research, blog structure (content channels, categories, etc.), and creates the editorial calendar. This person may serve as a project manager, directing the other players on the team.

If you create content for clients, the content strategist may double as the account manager, who would have the majority of the contact with those clients. The writer will need to be included in some discussions, but it’s best for the client to have a single point of contact as much as possible.

The average annual salary for a content marketing strategist in the United States is $61,000/year ( Oftentimes, this role is either handled in-house by the business owner or handled by a more experienced writer.

2. Writer

Your writer, naturally, writes the content. She’s given an editorial calendar with topics, notes, and any comments from the content strategist and the client. She makes sure to direct the content at the audience personas.

The average annual salary for a professional writer based in the United States is $42,000/year ( Freelance writers rates vary depending on experience and their location. Highly technical or specialized writers can cost more. Freelance writers may charge on an hourly, per word, or per article basis.

3. Editor

Your editor is a fail-safe role that ensures your content is top-notch and error-free. Generally, your writer is too close to the content to edit it themselves. You need an additional set of eyes.

This person receives drafts from the writer and edits them for substance and mechanics. He or she will perform any basic edits and confer with the writer if any substantial changes need to be made before passing the article to the production assistant.

Compensation for editors are on par with writers. In many cases, this role is performed by the content strategist or another writer.

4. Designer

Your designer creates any visual assets your content requires. You could slap any ol’ image you like into your blog post, but an original image created by your designer will help your blog stand out. A designer can also create custom and branded imagery.

Pro tip: The images your designer creates for your content should also be carried into your social media posts.

Rates and salaries for designers can vary wildly based on experience, location, and technical skill. Unless you already have in-house design talent, a freelance designer working on an hourly rate should suffice for this role.

5. Production Assistant

The production assistant is the person who puts all of your assets together and publishes your content. The assistant doesn’t require years of experience, but he needs to understand different technologies, web apps, and be able to follow directions precisely.

Here are some tasks your assistant might manage:

  • Import content (writing and imagery) into your website’s content management tool.
  • Set up content upgrades.
  • Set up and schedule newsletters and email courses.
  • Set up and schedule social media posts.
  • Notify you when content is ready for your review.

Note: Some of these items, such as newsletters and social media, may fall under the “promotion” category. However, these can (and should) be scheduled ahead of time, so these can be done by the production assistant who sets up your content for publishing. Our Audience Ops Calendar software is specifically designed to automate and pre-schedule things like social media posts and email outreach.

Ideally your production assistant would follow a very specific process for each piece of content so everything is exactly the same.

6. Promotion Assistant

You might have the same assistant who handles your production tasks also handle your promotional tasks. But depending on which promotional tactics you use, you may split this role out to multiple people.

Promoting your content is just as important as creating it. The promotion assistant is responsible for finding opportunities to share your content.

This may include:

  • Email outreach to influencers
  • Outreach on social media
  • Outreach within niche communities

It’s not uncommon for the assistant role to be filled by a “Virtual Assistant” or VA based in a country with a lower pay rate. The Philippines is a popular destination for highly skilled virtual assistants. Typical rates for virtual assistants in the Philippines can be around $3-5/hour, or more if they have more technical experience.

There are plenty of US-based assistants as well, and their average freelance rate would fall somewhere in the $15-$20/hour range.

7. Analyst

We’ve said it a few times, but it’s worth mentioning again. The difference between content marketing and plain content is focusing on measurable goals.

Your content analyst’s job is to measure your content’s performance, gather intelligence, and relate that information to your business goals. She should identify trends in your content that lead to better results. For instance, she might learn that your audience loves posts that are formatted into lists. You would be wise to follow her advice and create the content she recommends.

It’s common for the same person who handles content strategy to also handle analysis. But you may decide your analyst should be someone who’s more comfortable diving into data and drilling down by page to gather the best information. They also create smart A/B testing experiments to optimize your content. A content marketing analyst’s salary or freelance rate would be on par with that of a content strategist.

Did you enjoy this excerpt? Check out the Audience Ops Playbook for more actionable steps to create and implement your own content marketing strategy. Learn more here.