When I Google “Who do you need on your content marketing team?” the top results are fine, but most of them list six, seven — even nine roles you need for a “core” marketing team.
That’s all well and good if you have a business making millions and can support a team that size.
But what if you have a small business or are even a solo entrepreneur — then who do you need on your content marketing team?
Content marketing team roles in a small business
Chances are, if you’re thinking about outsourcing some or all of your content marketing or hiring a content marketing team, you’ve probably been doing it all yourself up to now — so it can be tricky to envision who you need for your content marketing team, and maybe more importantly, who you need first.
In a small business, you may have one person doing multiple jobs — and you may be filling some of these team roles yourself. That’s OK. We’ll talk below about how to prioritize who to hire first.
So let’s start by defining some common content marketing team roles in a small business:
A content strategist is someone who will help you come up with a strategic content marketing plan for your business. Sometimes people specialize under this category, so you might find someone who does strategy only for social media, or even more niched like someone who only does strategy for TikTok.
For a small business, this role is generally a short term, contract (or even a one-time) position. You engage them for a set period of time and a set deliverable.
For example, I offer half VIP days in which we create your content marketing plan for the next six months, and I deliver it to you in an editorial calendar. We accomplish this in about 3 hours, and while someone can come back to me every six months if they choose, there’s no contract or requirement to do so.
The content creator is the person who actually creates the meat and potatoes of the content.
For many small business owners, this person is you! You are writing the articles or emails, recording the podcast, or starring in the videos.
Of course, you can also hire someone to help you actually create the content. The easiest type of content to outsource is written content. (Obviously, you can’t pay someone to look or sound like you in audio or video! Though you certainly could hire an actor or spokesperson if you choose.)
For example, our agency has a team of fantastic content writers who can create blog posts and emails, with your thought leadership and in your voice, that you can then distribute anywhere you like.
This role is usually an ongoing role, and can be a contractor or a part or full time role.
The content editor is someone who takes raw content from the content creator — whether written, audio, or video — and edits it into a polished piece ready for publication.
You’ll have specialists that fall under this category including:
- Copy editor
- Podcast editor
- Video editor
This role is important when you want to put forth the most polished version of your content. It’s usually an ongoing role and can be a contractor or an employee.
When I say content designer, we’re typically referring to a graphic artist, though you might have a sound designer or a video graphics designer depending on the type of content you want to produce.
A content designer / graphic artist will produce the images that accompany your content. This might include:
- social media graphics
- blog post image
- email header images
- podcast promotion graphics
- video thumbnail stills
And so on.
This role is important for maintaining brand consistency and having a wonderful visual brand and you can hire a designer either as a contractor or have someone on your team full or part time.
This role might have many different names depending on exactly what they do in your business. It might be someone who schedules and posts content to your social media channels, schedules and sends out email newsletters, formats and publishes your blog posts, uploads videos or podcasts, and so on.
This role might be called:
- virtual assistant
- social media manager
- technical virtual assistant
and so on, depending on what they do and how much experience they have.
For example, I would expect a social media manager to do more than just schedule the posts; I would expect them to manage comments, drive engagement, etc. A technical virtual assistant might have more technical knowledge than a standard virtual assistant, and so on.
This is definitely an ongoing position, and usually a contract one, though you could grow to a point where you need this person part or full time.
Who do you need on your content marketing team?
As I mentioned above, it’s likely you’re not ready to hire for all these content marketing team roles right now — so how do you decide who you need now and who to hire first?
I always recommend that my clients ask themselves two questions:
- What do I like to do and what do I hate to do for my content marketing?
- And where am I the bottleneck?
Answering these questions should give you a good idea where you want to start building a content marketing team.
For example, if you love recording your podcast every week, but hate creating all the graphics and uploading it and that’s where you become the bottleneck, then your first hires should probably include a content designer for the graphics and an assistant to upload it.
If you have tons of ideas for content, but no time to create it, hiring a content creator can be a good first step.
Another important thing to remember is that, unlike with large corporations, your content marketing team’s roles don’t necessarily need to be siloed into these roles as I’ve defined them. One person might be able to handle multiple roles.
For example, I definitely know of podcast editors who offer a package that includes things like show notes, graphic design, and uploading the podcast — so that the client only has to show up to record.
You might find a virtual assistant who can create simple social media graphics for you with a tool like Canva and schedule your social media posts, effectively filling two roles.
Finally, I often recommend a “one to many” content model for small business owners: essentially, you as the content creator are responsible for creating content for one channel, which I call your Power Platform, and then your team creates the content necessary to distribute it to your other platforms. For example, you record a podcast and then your team creates the social media posts to promote it, writes the show notes to publish on your blog, and sends out an email to your list about the new episode.
Tips for building a content marketing team for your small business
When you’re ready to start building your content marketing team for your small business, keep these things in mind:
You will remain the chief marketing officer — for now.
Even if you hire a social media manager or content creator, or even a content strategist, you will remain the person at the top, making the big decisions for now.
There are people who function as fractional chief marketing officers or chief content officers for small businesses (fractional meaning they work part time for several businesses), but your business may or may not be at a point that you can support that kind of role at this point.
But here’s a key point to remember: whether the CMO is you or someone you hire, the CMO’s job is not to produce the content. So you can still step out of the day-to-day if that’s your goal.
Content creation without promotion is useless.
In our agency over the years, I’ve seen a few clients who come to us to have us write their content — and then never do anything with it. Or, they just post it to their website or blog, and then complain that it’s not “getting any results.”
Content creation — whether you’re creating written blog posts, podcasts, or videos — does not stand alone. You must have a promotion or distribution process associated with your content in order to see results.
So if you don’t have a discovery channel for your content, I would prioritize getting some content strategy and a content promoter and keep content creation on your to-do list first.
Having a content marketing team means more management.
If you’ve been doing your content marketing yourself up to now, you probably fall into one of two camps:
- Either you’re reluctant to give up control of your content marketing so you want to check and approve everything
- Or you’re so ready to outsource you want to be completely hands off.
Neither of these things is likely to get you the results you want.
Our best clients are those who can co-create the vision and mission of the marketing with us — and then step back and let us do our thing.
You don’t want to fall into the trap of having to check, read through, and approve every single little thing that goes out…
But you also don’t want to just hand over your marketing and shout, “Your problem now!!!”
You’ve got to find a balance.
- A content calendar (see step 4 above!)
- A brand voice style guide
- And a clear content workflow and standard operating procedure
I help business owners get these pieces put into place in our full VIP day — so that they have a strategically created content calendar, a solid brand voice style guide, and a master workflow to make their content team more autonomous without all the agony.
Hire our content creation team
If you’re ready to build your content marketing team, we can help!
We have options to help at every price point, and for every stage of business.
- If you’re struggling to figure out how to create a digital content strategy for your small business and want some help, a VIP half-day could be a perfect fit. Let me help create your strategy, come up with the topics you should talk about, and organize them into a content calendar for you.
- If you’ve got loads of ideas but don’t have the time or capacity to create quality written articles, blog posts, or emails, let my outstanding team write incredible content for you with a content retainer.
- And if you’ve got a marketing team (or are ready to hire), a full VIP day, in which we create your content calendar, your brand voice style guide, and your content workflow SOPs might be exactly the thing your team needs to be more autonomous without all the agony.