Managing your marketing team with clearly defined roles

by Kat

Welcome to part 2 of the Content Marketing Agency Playbook where we’ll do a deep dive on how to run content for clients at scale.

Picture this scenario: Your client has requested a small change to a piece of content that you produced. You tell the client you’ll get it taken care of immediately, and then pass that note along to your team.

You assume that change will get made quickly. But, one day later, you realize that the task is still left unfinished.

Why? Well, because nobody on your team was certain about who was actually responsible for making that tweak. The writer assumed that the editor would do it. But, the editor assumed that the technical assistant would handle it. The assistant? He thought this sort of thing would fall onto the project manager’s plate.

Sure, you had a lot of cooks in the kitchen—but, none of them were actually cooking anything.

A situation like this one isn’t the fault of your team. Instead, it’s an indication that you don’t have roles that are clearly defined. There’s far too much overlap and gray area between the different positions on your team—meaning nobody ever feels confident about what is and isn’t their job.

Whether you’re producing content for clients like the above example or simply want to streamline things for your own in-house marketing team, being explicitly clear about who does what is critical.

Let’s dive into everything you need to know to better manage your marketing team with clearly defined roles.

This is part 2 in our playbook for agencies. Download the entire eBook here. Or dive into specific sections:

The Danger of “Jacks of All Trades”

Your team is packed full with talented people. “They can handle anything I throw at them,” you tell yourself.

That’s probably true. But, just because your marketing team members can perform certain tasks, doesn’t necessarily mean that they should.

Every single person on your team has a specific skillset. Yes, they might be passable at a lot of things—but, without a doubt, there’s that one area where they excel far more than others.

For example, your writers are great at researching topics and authoring content. Does that mean they couldn’t upload an article to WordPress if required? Absolutely not. But, ask yourself this: Why would you want to trouble them with doing that?

When you pile people’s plates high with those tasks that aren’t their bread and butter, you’re taking their time, energy, and resources away from those duties that they’re total rockstars at.

Not only does that frustrate your team, but it also leads to confusing processes, muddled responsibilities, and crossed wires.

A much smarter strategy is to have clearly defined roles on your marketing team—where writers write, editors edit, and assistants take care of those technical details.

Want a breakdown of what roles and responsibilities we have on our marketing team? Grab this!

Who’s Who on Your Marketing Team

The importance of having distinct roles is clear. But, now there’s one major question that needs to be answered: What types of roles do you need on your team?

This can vary greatly depending on what sort of content you’re creating and what types of marketing activities you’re responsible for.

However, the most organized and strategic way to think about what shoes you need to fill is to think through your standard production process:

  • What specific steps do you go through to bring a piece of content from inception to completion?
  • What types of roles would fit into that process?
  • What types of responsibilities should those roles handle?

Not only does this approach prevent you from hiring people just for the sake of hiring people, but it also ensures that you build a team that supports your production process—rather than confuses it.

Define roles for your marketing team by walking through your production process. Click To Tweet

At our own content marketing agency, Audience Ops, we have roles that fall into the following buckets:

Client Management

When you’re creating content for clients, you’ll need someone to interface directly with them—to collect feedback, get approval, and ultimately keep the relationship running smoothly.

In our experience, it’s best if you pick just one point person to be a client’s main contact. It keeps things streamlined and easy for your team and for the client, while also preventing any miscommunications or entirely missed messages.

Before a client actually signs on for your marketing service, this main point of contact should be the salesperson. But, once that client has officially signed on the dotted line, you should transfer their account to a designated manager.

Potential Roles in This Category:

  • Project Manager or Account Manager
  • Salesperson

Topic Planning and Content Strategy

Before you can get started cranking out content for a client, you need to have a solid game plan in place. This step involves plenty of research—of the client, their audience, their goals, and their competitors.

You might have quite a few team members involved in this step of your production process, and that’s OK! Extra brainpower is always helpful here.

Maybe you’ll have writers handle the topics research and groundwork for your clients and then have a content strategist review and provide feedback on the initial editorial calendar. Or, perhaps you want to flip that and have the content strategist lay the foundation, while the writer expands on it. Find what works best for you and your team.

After the content strategy is laid out, you’ll also want to bring a project manager into the mix to send to the client.

Potential Roles in This Category:

  • Writer
  • Content Strategist
  • Project Manager

Chances are, your client and their stakeholders will also still be highly involved at this point in the process by giving necessary notes and input on the overall strategy.

Fortunately, Ops Calendar makes it easy for all of these different roles to collaborate on your editorial calendar—without a tangled mess of emails.

Content Production

This step of the process makes up the bulk of what you do—actually creating content for yourself or for your clients.

Depending on what type of content you plan to create, the roles that fall within this category can vary. Your needs will be far different if you plan to create videos as opposed to blog posts, for example.

If you produce blog content for clients, you’ll need a writer and an editor. Those roles will be responsible for getting the piece written, polished, and pulled together. You might also consider working with a designer who can create custom graphics and illustrations to bring some life to blog posts.

What if you aren’t just producing blog content? Perhaps this phase will involve a social media manager who creates engaging social content and promotions. Or, maybe you’ll work with a videographer and video editor to put together video content for clients.

Again, walk through the production process for whatever specific types of content you create. That will help you zone in on the roles you need on your own team.

Potential Roles in This Category:

  • Writer
  • Editor
  • Designer
  • Social Media Manager
  • On-Camera or Audio Host
  • Videographer
  • Video Editor
  • Podcast Audio Editor

Content Setup

As mentioned previously, having clearly defined roles means we don’t trouble our writers with needing to upload their work to our clients’ sites.

Instead, it’s best to leave those technical tasks to assistants on your team who can handle everything from adding articles to client websites to queuing up social media posts.

Potential Roles in This Category:

  • Technical Assistant
  • Virtual Assistant
  • Intern

Content Promotion

By now, you know that content isn’t a “build it and they will come” sort of thing. If you want to get it in front of the right eyeballs, you need to actively promote it.

On your team, perhaps this involves plenty of social media posts to get your content out there. In that case, you could work with a social media specialist who can promote the content to your audience. Or, you could use existing team members by having a writer draft relevant social media posts and using your technical assistant to schedule them.

There are other promotional opportunities you could explore as well. Perhaps you want to dedicate an entire role to influencer outreach or networking in online forums like Quora and Reddit. Or, maybe you think it’d be helpful to hire someone to run PPC campaigns to promote your own or your client’s content to a wider audience.

Potential Roles in This Category:

  • Writer
  • Technical Assistant
  • Social Media Specialist
  • PPC Specialist
  • Influencer Outreach Specialist

Performance Reporting

You and your clients want to know that the content that’s being created is effective. For that reason, performance reporting is the all-important final step of any sort of marketing activity.

You need to have a defined process in place to ensure that this gets done. At Audience Ops, our assistants used to be responsible for putting together the reports, and the project manager would send that information to the client.

However, now we’ve completely removed any manual work from this step by automating it using Ops Calendar’s integration with Google Analytics for post-by-post reporting.

Potential Roles in This Category:

  • Technical Assistant
  • Project Manager or Account Manager
  • Or, ahem, you could just use Ops Calendar!

You’ll notice that—even with the production process split into pieces like this—there are still numerous team members that are involved in various parts of the process.

It’s important to note that having clearly defined roles doesn’t mean your team members should only be involved at one point in your process. They absolutely can have a hand in that piece of content from start to finish—they just need to be clear on what their specific responsibilities are.

Dive into the details of what each member of our marketing team is responsible for with this download.

Over to You

It can be difficult to resist the siren song of packing your team full with “jacks of all trades.” But, ultimately, those muddled roles only lead to mixed messages and important tasks falling through the cracks.

It’s much better for each person on your marketing team to be keenly aware of what specifically they’re responsible for—as well as what they aren’t responsible for. It keeps things streamlined and organized, without anybody worrying about stepping on another’s toes.

Fortunately, defining what specific roles you need on your marketing team doesn’t need to be an overwhelming undertaking. You just need to turn your attention to your production process and determine what key tasks need to be handled.

Do that first, and you’ll build a team that actually meets your needs.

Don’t forget to grab this free resource to help you streamline your own marketing team:

What does each member of our team do? Find out here.