Behind every great business, whatever its size, is a team of talented staff; people who go above and beyond, and strive to deliver exceptional results, time and time again.
But finding the right mix of employees; people with the right skills, as well as a strong work ethic, is not always easy. Many argue that cultural fit is more important than skill-set. After all, it is easier to teach the right person the skills necessary to do a great job, than to work with someone with the talent, but the wrong attitude.
Putting your personality to the test
Understanding different personality types, and identifying what motivates them, is key when building a team. There are many free personality tests available online, but perhaps the most famous is the one created by Carl Jung and Kathryn Briggs and her daughter Isabel Myers. This test classifies people into 16 different personality types on the basis of four dichotomies: Introversion-Extroversions, Sensing-Intuition, Thinking-Feeling and Judging-Perceiving.
The results from this test give a fascinating insight into how different people think, feel and react, not just at work but in their personal lives too.
After all, the world would be a boring place if we were all the same; so, by recognising the strengths and weaknesses of different personalities, and using these differences to your advantage, can help you create the perfect workforce for your business.
Finding the right new recruits
We all know job interviews can be nerve-wracking experiences for the applicants, as well as time-consuming for the interviewers, but interviews – if carried out correctly – are vital for determining whether the company and the candidate will make the make the perfect partnership.
It is, therefore, important to make sure an interview is a two-way conversation, to enable you both to determine whether the candidate is a good fit, not just for the job but also for the team they will be working in/with.
Candidates who ask questions, have clearly done their homework - not just about the company but also the role they are applying for - will always stand out. But interviewers be warned, don’t take a paint-by-number approach and plough through a list of pre-prepared questions, ticking off a list of job requirements; instead focus on finding out about the person behind the CV/ interview façade.
Questions such as: ‘What do you do for fun?’ Or my particular favourite; ‘What is the most newsworthy thing that has ever happened to you?’ give a valuable insight into a person’s life, including how they think and relate to others.
All of which is useful to understand before you make them a job offer.
At Zazzle Media, we have worked hard to get our interview process correct, to help us build the perfect digital content team; a team made up of different personalities and skills but all with 6 things in common – passion, creativity, innovation, empowerment, insight and expertise.
These are the Zazzle principles; the personality traits we look for in every interview to make sure we employ people who love what they do and constantly come up with fresh, new content ideas that will set us apart from our competitors.
Thanks to this approach, the structure of our digital content team is perfect and runs like a well-oiled machine, uniting to deliver the best results possible.
So, what, or should I say who, it this team made up of?
The perfect digital content team: The foolproof guide
When people love their job, it shows in their work. And when it comes to content, you want people who are really passionate about what they do, to ensure they are delivering the best content possible.
Below are the key roles you should consider for your own digital content team structure.
The content strategists
Creative and highly organised, the content strategist sits at the heart of the content team creating the strategies which inform what content needs to be created and why. (Is it to build links, brand awareness or increase traffic, for example?)
One of the first things they should do is investigate the current on and off page content being produced by you, and your competitors, and determine which content is working well and which isn’t; reviewing the number (and quality) of placements achieved off page, as well as the level of engagement and/or shares of any on page content.
They also make sure every piece of content produced speaks to the right people, by understanding and identifying the audience they wish to talk to, whether that’s by using a business’s own customer data or by other tools such as Facebook Audience Insights and YouGov Profiler.
All this information is then used to help shape the ideas in the brainstorms to come up with the right mix of content types that will speak to the right people at the right time.
The content creators
In my opinion, few people know how to write better than a print journalist; the NCTJ training they are given and the experience garnered on-the-job, means they are adept at researching a wide variety of, often, quite complicated topics and relaying them back in a language everyone can understand.
At Zazzle, all our senior content editors are former newspaper or magazine journalists, so understand better than anyone how to write content journalists will be interested in and, perhaps even more importantly, like so much, they can, if they wish, literally cut and paste it into their publication and/or websites.
From short guest post articles to longer in depth features – which involve interviews and case studies - blog posts to e-books, white papers and infographic content, our team of content creators can turn their hand to any writing task on any subject; and it is always top quality.
These individuals have the ability to juggle a vast array of work, and make sure that each piece of content flows well, is free of spelling and grammatical errors and speaks to the audience it is targeting.
They understand that any on page, content needs to be written in the right tone of voice, follows brand guidelines and incorporates the right keywords for SEO. They also know the value in creating great off page content to achieve the best placements possible – whether that is on other media sites or on relevant blogger sites.
The content distributors
These are the people responsible for ensuring the world-class content that has been created gets in front of as many people as possible.
This team needs to be made up of confident, amiable people who are good at building relationships with others (particularly journalists, site owners, bloggers and other influencers).
Their job is to pitch the content ideas to a range of potential placement sites to get feedback that is then shared with the writers to content is tailored to a specific publication and achieves the objectives/metrics of success.
With a contacts book bursting with names, email addresses and phone numbers, these individuals know exactly who will be interested in a piece of content and why. They basically stalk influencers by reading content they have already written or published elsewhere and then make sure the writers create content on a similar theme.
All of this is what is known as ‘Earned Marketing’ – or PR – and the placements achieved are free. Although we all strive to get influencers to write about us or link to our content organically, there are times when you also need to pay and this is where content amplification comes in.
The content promoters
There are many ways in which you can ensure the content you have created gets in front of as many eyeballs as possible.
Yes, you can pay for an old-fashioned print, TV or radio advert – but these are not particularly targeted.
One of the best ways is through social channels – your own as well as paid – so your content amplifiers needs to understand all things social; but in particular Facebook & Twitter advertising.
There are more than 1.4 billion people on Facebook; and when you run a Facebook advert you can choose the audience that sees it by not just location but also age and interest sets too; this means they are much more likely to be interested in the content your promoting, engage with it and even better share it with others.
Twitter in the perfect platform for providing quick, simple updates. And its because of this accessibility that Twitter Ads are becoming a valuable online advertising option; that your content amplifiers need to master.
There are many other advertising channels out there - including Outbrain, Taboola, Bing and Google Adwords, to name just a few, so your content amplifiers need to be experts in understanding which platform should be used for which content type and why.
These people also need to keep on top of industry trends and news to make sure they can take advantage of every option available, to spread the word to the people who are really interested in it; hopefully then converting them into new customers.
Building your own (whatever your size)
So these are the roles that make up the perfect digital content team, but not every business has the luxury of employing people to take on the clear defined positions.
But do not fear, there is a way in which you can amalgamate these roles and build your own perfect digital content team, whatever your company size.
Small but perfectly formed
If you are a small business with three staff or less – and can’t afford to go down the agency route – we would suggest employing an all-rounder. Someone who can write well, is confident on the phone and understands social media.
This person needs to have the ability to bring the content on your website to life, as well as writing press releases to pitch into the media to increase your brand awareness. Knowledge of how to promote on page content through your business’s social media channels is also essential, helping to get your message out to as many existing customers as possible; in the hope that they will share it with others - potential customers of the future.
It is also imperative to keep track of each campaign and clearly plan out what you want to achieve; making sure you take advantage of every avenue to build an online presence that will set you a part from your competitors.
Setting up a content calendar with key seasonal or industry events you should take advantage of, will help. Along with a campaign plan detailing what content you will be producing when and the ways in which you will promote it – whether that’s through owned, earned or paid channels.
This person will report into the MD/founder of the company, working closely with them to understand the business focuses, customers and tone of voice.
The happy medium
Medium-sized businesses of around 6-10 people should have the ability to split the roles between content creators and content distributors.
You need a writer who has the talent to galvanise your on page content, ensuring it is useful - answering the questions your audience is inputting into the search engines - as well as producing off page content that will be of interest to influencers, helping to build quality back links to your site.
The content distributor will be a confident professional, with the ability to build relationships with site owners and the media, as well as experience in promoting all the content marketing activity through the company’s social media channels, utilising both owned and paid means.
It is important that these creators and promoters work together to build an effective content marketing strategy, which speaks to your audience and takes advantage of seasonal opportunities, as well as jumping on to any trending subjects which relate to your industry.
In order to make sure this happens, a manager to oversee both roles is a must. This organised individual will, in essence, be a project manager. Someone to set work priorities and ensure all deadlines are met, as well as keeping the lines of communication open by organising regular meetings to ensure everyone is working together effectively to raise the company profile across the world wide web.
Playing in the big league
The bigger your business, the more opportunity there is to build a digital content team which consists of all the roles necessary to grow your online presence and ultimately your profits.
However, it is important to get the structure of the team right and ensure everyone’s role and the part they have to play is clear.
The digital content team players all need to communicate and work together as one, rather than in siloed groups. It is all too easy to get carried away doing your bit of the puzzle without considering the impact this may have on other people. At the end of the day, you are all working towards the same objectives; so make sure you set up regular meetings where you can collaborate and agree clear goals and outcomes.
Create a marketing campaign calendar, which managers own, to make sure each activity compliments one another, rather than working against one another, as can often happen. The bigger you are the easier it is to start working independently of one another; to maximise results you need a joined up approach.
As well as the specialist doers, it is also imperative that this team structure consists of managers, to prioritise the teams’ workload and ensure the communication channels are open and more importantly, effective between departments.
The content manager needs to lead the writing team to make sure the content they produce is world class and hits the objectives outlined in the content strategies. They need to supervise and ensure all deadlines are met and be the arbiter of best practices in grammar, messaging, writing and style, with the ability to think like an educator and intuitively understand what the audience needs and wants from the content being produced.
As well as being a PR professional who leads by example, securing placements for the content created, the distribution team manager also needs to be a problem solver – someone the team can turn to when they are struggling and help them come up with solutions. They need to have the ability to ‘think outside the box’, as well as amazing project management skills to ensure everyone is on top of their workload and consequently delivers.
And finally, a ‘Head Of’ to lead and inspire; deal with any people issues and speak with authority about different content types, and its value from an SEO and PR point of view.
This person will be responsible for iterating and improving the teams working practices, making sure they work smarter and efficiently with the ability to come up with new approaches to achieve objectives.
The head of needs to have the foresight and appreciation of business demands to flexible and change focuses and priorities as the need arises. They need to be proactive in dealing with the impact of additional work and the associated pressures on the teams, constantly hunting for new talent to grow the teams.
They will also be expected to ensure the digital content team keeps ahead of the game, to be leaders rather than followers, keeping abreast of industry news and trends.
The perfect digital content team is made up by a variety of different people with a range of talents. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, but variety really is the spice of life and we need all these people – experts in their fields – to pull together to help the business/brands they work for thrive.
The digital marketing world is a competitive one, but there is one thing that will help you stand out from the crowd: having a digital content team that understands each other's roles – and what they can bring - and is united in its approach to deliver and meet business objectives.
If you enjoyed this post and are interested in how exactly to construct the perfect organisational teams, find our guide to Building Your Content Distribution A-Team.
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