It’s always valuable to look at how other organizations within your industry get things done every day. And It’s particularly valuable to look at how an organization you admire, or aspire to emulate, has nailed what they do.
When we read in 2016 that BuzzFeed was changing the entire way its content creation team was structured, it made us curious about how we were creating our own content. Were we dedicating enough resources to video content? Was our social media strategy as built out?
HubSpot doesn’t operate at nearly the same scale as BuzzFeed, and we aren't a strictly media company, but it made me wonder how our industry peers are getting the job done. So I asked some of my friends in the B2B marketing space, "How do you create content every day?"
In this post, we’ll discuss how different content teams are structured -- and what wisdom you can take away for staffing your own team.
How 4 Content Marketing Shops Staff Their Content Teams
TrackMaven is a marketing attribution analytics software company, and I asked Senior Director of Marketing, Kara Burney, about her team's unique approach to structuring the content marketing team of "mavens."
Over the past year and a half, we flipped our content creation hierarchy from an exclusively in-house model to a primarily freelance-based model. The impetus was to divide and define the responsibilities of content creation, content distribution, and content reporting.
While we still oversee social media and advertising in-house, we now manage a consistent cadre of freelancers: four to five writers, one to two videographers, and two to three designers. As a result, our team is able to focus on the distribution and ROI of each content asset, while benefiting from the expertise of specialized freelancers."
Takeaway for Marketers: TrackMaven structured its team to best prioritize everyone's time according to their strengths. TrackMaven consists of experts in content distribution and proving ROI, so its content team focuses on those parts of the content creation process -- and leaves the actual creation to freelancers to free up time and energy.
And according to our research, this is a smart move: The 2017 State of Inbound report revealed that some of marketers' top priorities include proving marketing ROI and content distribution/amplification.
Buffer is a social media scheduling app that creates a ton of useful content and research on its different blogs, so I asked its Director of Marketing, Kevan Lee, how the content team is assembled to produce so much.
We have nine people in total on our marketing team: one director, one content writer, one blog editor, one community builder, one loyalty marketer, one PR marketer, one bottom of the funnel marketer, one digital strategist and social media producer, and one product marketer.
We all create content in some way, at some time. We've built the team based on the marketing channels that we've been able to validate. So, at first, when our team was one or two people, we went after a wide range of marketing channels to see what worked. Content marketing yielded some huge results, so we hired a content writer to go deep on that channel.
As channels get validated, we try to move people into those roles so they can maximize the impact we can have on that channel. In our case, blogging has been highly validated as a strong referral source for us, so we have multiple people working on content marketing. Video is showing lots of potential, and we're definitely doing more there -- it just hasn't quite reached the peak validation of content marketing for us yet."
Takeaway for Marketers: Buffer's marketing team waits for channels to start to drive meaningful results before dedicating staff members to leading the charge, which makes a lot of sense. In this way, Buffer can use ROI to make intentional and impactful choices about where to dedicate resources to get results -- and fast. Buffer has consistently seen blogging move the needle for its outcomes, so it built out the blogging team to constantly keep the content engines running.
Moz doesn't actually have a single full-time content creator. We do have a content team of four members. One marketer is in charge of our content experience, ensuring we're addressing the needs of our audiences and offering them the right paths (and the right stops on those paths) to get the value they need. We also have our blog manager, though her purview extends to strategy for all of our educational content. Our video wizard -- with expertise in both video strategy and production -- helps teams throughout Moz make the most of a complicated medium. And I manage the team and set overarching strategy.
We also, though, have a handful of other Mozzers who devote some of their time to creating content, including several Moz Associates -- industry experts with whom we have ongoing contractual relationships.
Our team is structured in a way that encourages each individual to contribute in their most meaningful ways, working as much as possible with our wonderful community of contributors. We divide the creation and editing responsibilities among several people instead of retaining full-time writers, and that gives us two important benefits. For one thing, it affords us great flexibility. We don't have to wait on a bottleneck or get stuck because someone is on vacation, and it allows us to play off each writer's individual skills for different content needs. This works out well, as Moz's priorities are in a near-constant state of flux. It also ensures that work never gets too monotonous for anyone on the team. Some people enjoy writing things all day every day, but those folks are few and far between. Splitting the creative work among several people encourages coordination and allows us all to spend some time on other things."
Takeaway for Marketers: Moz's approach to content creation is smart -- it maximizes and takes advantage of employees' strengths and talents, and it makes the entire publication process a collective team effort. And by training the whole team to fulfill writing, editing, and publishing roles, the team is more nimble and adaptable to institutional or industry change that might drastically alter priorities and goals.
Here at HubSpot, our content creation is spread over many different teams -- in fact, we like to say that everyone at HubSpot creates. Within our “strictly” content team, outside of the HubSpot blogs, where we have four full-time writers creating daily content, we have a team of three multimedia content creators, a researcher, two podcast producers, and two social media and video content producers. Additionally, we have a team that creates co-marketing content with our partner organizations, a team that creates ebooks and content offers designed to generate leads, and specific blogs and dedicated to recruiting prospective employees and providing valuable insights to our partner marketing agencies and our various clients’ verticals.
In short, the official content engine is made up of nearly 20 employees, but everyone at our organization has the expertise and ability to create content -- whether it’s a blog post, a Facebook Live broadcast, or a podcast recording.
Takeaway for Marketers: We recommend creating opportunities for all employees to be a part of the content team -- team members in other departments have valuable insights and data that can be adapted into relevant content for your audience, so don’t be afraid to grow its size to meet your traffic goals.
How is your company’s content team structured? Share with us in the comments below.