If you grew up watching television back in the 1980′s, you couldn’t miss the popular show “The A-Team.”

It included a motley cast of characters who were branded as outlaws but who always fought to protect the innocent, fight the bad guys and generally create havoc wherever they went.

George Peppard played their leader and always ended every show with the line “I love it when a plan comes together.”

I was reminded of this last week when thinking about building the perfect content marketing A-team.

So here I will explain my view on the cast of characters it takes to make sure your content strategy plans always come together…

Content Strategist

This is the leader, the person accountable to the organization for making sure your business is creating, curating and syndicating the content your buyers are looking for in all the channels where they are looking. This person needs to develop the content strategy, and have some authority over the content process, but needs to be a true collaborator as not all the content production resources will be under their control.

Content is everyone’s job in businesses today as brands continue to embrace the need to become publishers. And the strategist is helping define the new content marketing terms for your business, creating new inbound marketing content destinations and filling the gaps to better meet the needs of your buyers.

Editor

This is a new role within many organizations. There may have been website editors and even blog editors. But the new editor is not just someone with a journalistic background. It is someone who understands the nature of dynamic content – the kind of content that generates comments and social shares.

It is also someone who increasingly has their own social influence and not just publishes content but also shares it and helps get the conversation going.

Content Curator

This is the person who finds the best stuff out of the millions of blogs and website articles published every day. They find great authors. They find great content. And then they distill it down to a format that meets the unique needs of their target audience.

But the Curator is more than just someone who has mastered Google alerts. The curator is also a collaborator and a writer who knows how to work with other content producers and to find ways to help them gain exposure.

Channel Manager

The Channel Manager is ultimately responsible for sharing the site content in as many channels of distribution as possible. This person also needs to be analytical as they report out on the success of your content marketing efforts in general and also identifies the content that drives the highest reach, engagement and conversion.

Additionally, they serve as the main response manager for inbound inquiries, requests and issues. The channel mananger’s role may seem tactical but between the reach it enables and the insights generated with their reporting, this role has serious strategic implications for your content strategy.

Social Writer

The social writer is a new breed of journalist, content creator or blogger: they not only create the content, they are also able to gain reach all on their own due to a nurtured base of fans and followers.

The social writer is not confined to any single channel but creates engagement across many types of channels such as websites, blogs, social communities and even offline events.

Designer

Last but not least, the designer is the person or team whose sole mission is to ensure your content and channels are maximized to provide the most positive customer experience.

They understand the multi-channel, multi-format needs of today’s busy buyer or consumer and designs content and channels that deliver information quickly, visually, easily and in formats that work for the web and the mobile devices that are becoming larger and larger sources of traffic for much of our content.

So what do you think? Did I miss anyone? Who is on your content marketing A-team? And please “pity the fool” who wrote this since I am just figuring all this out. (Sorry, I had to find some way to work that line in!)

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About Michael Brenner

Michael Brenner is the Head of Strategy for the leading content marketing platform, NewsCred. He is also the author of B2B Marketing Insider, a contributor to Forbes and a frequent speaker at industry events covering topics such as marketing strategy, social business, content marketing, digital marketing, social media and personal branding.  Follow Michael on Twitter (@BrennerMichael)LinkedInFacebook and Google+ and Subscribe to B2B Marketing Insider by Email

17 Comments

  1. Lisa Angelastro said…

    BRILLIANT! You didn’t miss a thing. I would be interested in hearing your perspective on how to do this effectively in a large, complex, multi-cultural environment.

  2. Anneliz Hannan said…

    Micheal, I can certainly see you in the lead strategist role as George Peppard but lest we forget another critical member….Mr.T!

    With all the gold dripping from his chest perhaps he would best serve as our measurement, analytics and ROI guy. Who else could better serve to protect the assets and keep the team from going down the wrong path ;)

  3. Nan Dawkins said…

    Michael, thanks for a terrific piece — You helped me pinpoint what my organization is missing internally in terms of roles!

    • Michael Brenner said…

      Thanks Nan and happy that the post helped you. I edited out the other bit as probably inappropriate place for making that kind of request. ;-)

  4. Eric Wittlake said…

    Michael, good stuff. This would be a great content organization.

    I would add two points.

    First, functionally, your writers and editors need to drive sourcing as well as distribution. They need to be established in their industry and connected in ways that keep them ahead of the curve. Someone with a journalism background will likely assume this reading your post, but as marketers without journalism experience move into content marketing, it is something that is being missed.

    Second, and my personal bias coming through, I would add advertising and paid media to THIS team, particularly in B2B. As content drives advertising, you need more media and advertising folks that are steeped in content. Planting them in this team versus keeping them separate would be a great first step.

    Great stuff as always!

    Eric

    • Michael Brenner said…

      Thanks Eric and good points. I especially like your second point. One idea it sparked for me was the campaign manager who might look to do things to create buzz. An example I am thinking about is the AMEX Open Forum Small Business Saturdays. It’s more like a campaign but totally sought to drive traffic, engagement and conversion on their site. Nice one!

  5. Julie Schwartz said…

    This is a great list. There are perhaps two people missing form you’re A-team. The first is the idea development coordinator or Subject Matter Expert Liaison. (SMEL??? not great), responsible for:
    • Identifying internal and external subject matter experts (SMEs)
    • Educating executives and SMEs about the importance of thought leadership and content creation (otherwise busy executives and experts may not see the value of spending their limited time on content creation)
    • Leading the team that vets ideas and determine which ideas are worthy of further investment
    • Managing collaborative platforms to share and develop content ideas among SMEs
    • Tapping into external sources to contribute to content development
    • Monitor competitors’ content

    The other person that belongs on the team is the Researcher. With research, content becomes fact based and therefore much more credible.

    Julie

    • Michael Brenner said…

      Julie,

      You are absolutely right on both points. I love your suggestions. Researcher and Though Leadership Program manager.. Great additions.

  6. Barrett Rossie said…

    Nice post **and** comments! It’s nice to see what a fully staffed organization might look like. Especially when you’re a staff of one.

    This is my first time here, Michael. Looking forward to reading more.

    • Michael Brenner said…

      Hi Barrett, I have been there professionally and just recently started staffing up so I am thrilled. But also used to being the strategist, author, editor, curator, channel manager, etc. here on my personal blog. Thanks for the comment and for stopping by!

  7. Michael Higashi said…

    Great analogy! Sends me back in time! The only thing I might add (and you may already have that covered as the duty of the Content Strategist) is the ‘executive producer’ – the one who defines and ensures a consistent voice and face across all content creation.

    We’re pinched a little bit here with carving out those duties without creating a bottleneck of delays.

    Michael

  8. Chuck Kent said…

    I would add “creative agitator.” The team you describe will create and run a well-oiled content machine, but where is the spark, the unexpected, the “aha!” that will separate the team’s content from the ever-growing glut of me-too formats and voices? So call her/him/them what you like, but add in creative souls who will be constructively disruptive enough to help create a content-driven brand experience as diverse, serendipitous and unpredictable as the human experience.

    • Michael Brenner said…

      Hi Chuck, I think that’s the job of the leader in the vision that gets set. The content has to stand apart and there absolutely needs to be creative and design-thinking experts who can execute on that vision. This requires bold vision so the team can celebrate when “the plan comes together.”

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