With the power that content holds, there is no time like the present to learn how to manage your own content marketing team and become an empathic leader.
Now, don’t assume that the cost of building a content marketing team isn’t worth it. More often than not, it will be great for your bottom line.
It has been shown that content marketing efforts can cost as much as 62% less than traditional marketing efforts while also delivering as many as three times the leads.
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7 Tips to Empower and How to Manage a Content Marketing Team
If you have decided that building a content marketing team makes sense for your brand, here are a few tips to help get the process started and ensure you manage your team effectively.
#1: Develop a Team’s Structure
One of the first things you need to do in order to properly manage your content marketing team is to create a structure for your team.
This will ensure that there are various goals assigned to the members of your team, thereby informing different team members’ roles and responsibilities.
Determine which team members will report to which leader or manager. It is important that this team structure is clear. Further, you want to avoid responsibilities overlapping, as this can be confusing to the team.
It is often recommended to use a t-shaped model to get started in the development of your team’s structure. You can choose to start from the top or bottom, but it is often easier to start from the top.
Determine who is at the top of the company, and then you can identify who will report to that person. This person tends to be the backbone of the entire team.
Once you have identified that first person and who will report to him or her, you can start to make your way down the line, creating a clear roadmap for the entire team.
Depending on the size of your team, you may only have one leader/manager that the entire team reports. Whatever the case may be, make certain that your team is clear on who they should report to.
#2: Have the Right Tools in Place
Properly managing a team of any kind means you need to have access to the most appropriate tools that will help get the job done quickly and efficiently.
Content management systems like WordPress can be used for your editors and writers. Adobe and other graphic creation tools can be used by your designers.
There are even productivity tools like Asana, Slack, and Trello to help you manage the communication between the entire team, manage your content calendar, and see the progress of each project.
A content marketing tool bundle like the Content Cloud can also come in handy to centralize all things content and assist in the creation of a well-rounded strategy.
When content marketing managers are equipped with the right tools, they will be able to manage their own responsibilities better, produce enhanced reports, and lead the team more effectively.
#3: Set Clear Performance Expectations
Communication is always key when it comes to managing a content marketing team. In fact, this is true for any kind of team that is being managed. If all members of a team, including the manager, are not on the same page, it will be difficult to yield positive results.
With that being said, you must set clear expectations in terms of performance, branding, content style, etc.
If you have yet to properly communicate with your team, you may find that they simply aren’t producing content up to your standards. However, do they understand what your standards are?
Schedule a team meeting and lay out what you expect of each team member. Allow employees to take part in the conversation.
When employees are able to share their opinions and expectations, the entire team’s productivity can be increased significantly.
By requesting their input, you are conveying to them that you care about them as employees as well as their thoughts.
Further, by bringing them into the conversation, you can learn about and address potential issues before they have a chance to arise or get out of control.
#4: Incorporate Frequent Feedback
Giving your employees feedback is probably by far the most important (or nearly so) when it comes to how to manage a content marketing team. Frequent feedback can help the team feel more informed, engaged, and connected.
In order to properly deliver feedback frequently, it is important to have regular meetings. These regular meetings, or check-ins, can help ensure everyone is on the same page. Problems can be brought up and addressed by both managers and employees, often preventing significant issues later down the road.
Managers should not only critique their feedback, but they should also let employees know when they’ve done an excellent job. Employees like to be recognized in many ways, including instant feedback, team appreciation, and peer recognition. With that being said, positive feedback can help promote better productivity.
Don’t forget to also ask your team for feedback. This will help you take the right steps to keep your employees happy, engaged and foster better relationships.
#5: Pay Attention to Individual Interests
Because your content marketing team is the backbone of your brand’s overall strategy, it is essential that you recognize them based on their work and as individuals.
Each person has their own unique skill set, and it is crucial for managers to be familiar with what each team member has to offer.
Of course, you need to ensure your employees know they can share their interests. More often than not, this can help expand the reach of your team.
For instance, team members can write content about something their passionate about (within the parameters of the content marketing strategy that has been outlined).
This passion often shines through the work, making it more interesting and engaging for the audience.
Another example is if you have a team member who works on one thing but is interested in another as well. For instance, an employee who focuses on web design but has an interest in writing can help the writing department out by taking on some smaller projects.
This improves productivity while providing your employees with the opportunity to explore other interests.
You will also have employees who are more passionate about specific topics, and when those topics come up for content creation, you can push those tasks to them.
The same is true about the type of content being produced. Some people don’t like writing eBooks, while others may prefer it.
By becoming familiar with the individual interests of your team, you can not only keep them happier, but you can manage a far more productive team overall.
#6: Give Team Members Room to Grow
As previously mentioned, it is so important to recognize the interests of each employee, as these are essentially their strengths. Based on this information, you should help them in identifying a potential career path within the company.
Although you always want the best talent on your content marketing team, some of your best employees continuously seek a challenge.
When you fail to provide them with new assignments that align with their long-term goals, they may become frustrated and less productive.
Further, these flustered employees could start looking for a new place of employment that provides them with the career path they seek.
Employees who wish to grow and climb the ladder within a company want to know they can do so, whether this is as a leader, manager, or another title.
When you’re able to show them that this career path is accessible, they are more likely to stay put, work hard, and strive for that growth potential.
#7: Craft Your Content Marketing Playbook
We have discussed that everyone on the team needs to be on the same page, which is where communication plays such as important role.
However, you also need to ensure that you have a content marketing playbook that specifically outlines what each piece of content should entail in terms of appearance and voice.
You can start with the development of a style guide. This will inform your team how the content should be presented while staying on point with the brand.
For instance, you may want to consider including how the team should use the brand’s logo, what color scheme is acceptable, and formatting requirements.
Your team will likely consist of multiple writers, but it is important that all content has the same voice. Ensure your team knows whether they should be formal or more casual in the content and whether a little bit of it is okay or unacceptable.
A content marketing playbook should also consist of a guide for content distribution. Distribution is how your audience will see your content, so it is imperative that the right information be included.
This guide should clearly outline how content should be circulated, whether it is a social media advertisement, an eBook, or a blog post.
Your distribution guide should include at the bare minimum the type of content, an example of said content, channels the content will be distributed on, and the date for publication.
Extra Tip: Outsource Operational Roles
We know that it can be hard to find the right people for in-house operational roles and figure out how to manage a content marketing team. This is why you may benefit from outsourcing these roles to individuals who work outside of your company.
Outsourcing operational roles can help facilitate the management of your content marketing team. Why? You’ll have access to many industry professionals who you might otherwise never encounter during the hiring process.
Companies use outsourcing when they need the expertise of businesses or individuals outside of their offices. Maybe your marketing team doesn’t have its own writers. That’s not a problem; you can simply look for writers who have experience in your industry and hire them to work with your team on an outsourced basis.
What about designers? Maybe you want a designer to tackle the layout of a new webpage but don’t need to employ a designer in the long term. In this situation, hiring a freelance designer is the perfect solution. They work for you in the short term, and you get the results that you desire.
The outsourcing of operational roles has a number of benefits to keep in mind, and they extend far beyond hiring a designer or writer. Outsourcing can do the following:
By outsourcing, you make your company more efficient. You don’t waste time on training or delay projects as newcomers “get up to speed.” You can hire industry professionals at the top of their fields and get started on projects immediately.
Offer Better Operational Management
Why struggle with in-house projects when you can get them moving along smoothly by outsourcing to a third-party vendor? It’s easier to scale up and get more done when you have vendors to rely on.
Reduce Your Business Expenses
Instead of paying hourly, you can pay by the project. Third-party contractors pay for their own technology, equipment, materials, utilities, and office space, so you don’t have to spend as much money on these things.
Improve the Quality of Your Work
While your in-office team might do its best to handle all aspects of running a content marketing team, it’s simply the truth that experts will always be able to handle their specialties best.
A veteran writer will always have more experience than a person who only works on design, and a content strategist knows more about building a content strategy than an SEO specialist. While these roles can overlap, it’s often better to work with the pros.
WriterAccess Has the Right Freelancers for Your Roles
If improved productivity and overall results for your bottom line are what you’re looking for, the aforementioned steps can get you started down the right path.
You’ll be ready to empower and manage your content marketing team — leaders and team members. This will ultimately help you realize your content marketing goals and so much more.
Are you ready to leverage the power of outsourcing and take your business to the next level? It’s time to turn to the experts.
Sign up for WriterAccess and get direct access to 5,000 skilled writers, content strategists, editors, and others for hire today. Start with a 14-day free trial so you can meet our freelancers, try out projects, and see the power of investing in an external team.