To create quality content, whether it’s with your clients or your own in-house team, you need to assemble a content delivery team to bring particular skills and experience together.
In this post I’ll define the core roles of a typical content team, outline the skills required and state the responsibilities that each of those roles are accountable for.
If you’re working in-house, you’ll need to find people within the organisation that match these roles, maybe they already exist, perhaps you have to crew up for the project, and in some cases you may outsource a particular requirement such as copywriting.
If you’re working at an agency on client website redesign projects, you’ll have to work with the client’s project lead to find the best people for the job and may even offer some of the skills as their supplier too.
The core content team roles
Typical roles within a content team include:
- Content Strategist
- Senior Editor
- Subject Matter Expert(s)
- CMS Editor
There are a few things to keep in mind when thinking about these roles:
- You may know them by another name or job title but semantics aside, they should still be familiar (e.g. a Content Manager)
- Somebody may fill more than one role, copywriter and editor for example, multiple hats are fine so long as they don’t create bottlenecks
- There may not be a dedicated content strategist but there may be a Project Manager who does some content strategy work, again, roles can be blurred but focusing on the ‘typical’ roles offers a good overview of the skills needed among the content team
- Don’t forget to consider what resource you need post-launch, it’s likely to be less intensive but the content will still need to be maintained
Let’s take a closer look at what skills and responsibilities each of these roles requires:
1. Content Strategist
- Research experience
- Accomplished writer
- Able to find insights in data
- Project management experience
- Complete content inventory and audit
- Undertake audience research
- Develop content style guide
- Plan and optimise content
- Message development
- Establish workflow
- Content creation
These lists could go on and on. It wouldn’t be surprising to see taxonomy, SEO, content migration, modelling, metadata and competitor analysis on these lists. But the key responsibilities and skills are covered. They may even be spread across the following roles, either way, make sure someone on your team can offer them. If it is one person, consider that a big win.
- Writing for the web experience
- Ability to apply style guide
- Subject knowledge (ideally)
- Research and consult Subject Expert
- Draft and revise quality content
- Source relevant media and populate content templates
Copywriters may be existing staff, from your agency, or a third party. You may need to add copywriters to the team depending on the content requirement and then scale back post-launch.
If your writer is someone on your existing team, be careful if they have a day job to do and have been tasked with writing, as opposed to being a dedicated copywriter.
If you’re hiring third party copywriters, ensure they are briefed effectively and make them aware of any relevant content style guides they need to follow (this is something you can do within GatherContent!).
3. Senior Editor
- Significant digital communication experience
- Intimate with the project objectives
- Subject knowledge (ideal)
- Relationship with Subject Experts
- Review all content
- Own and enforce the style guide
- Own the content production process with the Project Managers
- Approval of content
The Senior Editor is responsible for the content and consistency and are the overall enforcer and champion for the content.
They should have an intimate understanding of the site’s content along with any user research. They are a central point in the project and may need to intervene with subject matter experts if things get fraught or they need to get the team out of a perpetual feedback loop.
The Senior Editor is someone who can continue to have this insight post-launch. They have been so involved in the project from start to finish, that you don’t want that knowledge to walk out the door once the site is live.
4. Subject Matter Expert
- The authoritative subject voice
- Access to accurate information
- Values communicating the subject
- Willing partner in the project
- Available for research consultation
- Provide content to the Copywriter
- Review content for accuracy
- Ongoing ownership of content after launch (ideal)
Subject Experts are likely to be spread across the organisation. They have access to the most accurate information. You may need to work harder to engage some subject experts, others may want to communicate everything. If you experience the latter, make sure what they want to say is valid for your user needs.
Effective collaboration with the subject matter experts is essential (we’ve written about this prevously). You could introduce tasks like pair-writing to really get them on-board and involved in the content creation process. The subject experts should also having an on-going ownership of content after launch
5. CMS Editor
- Confident with the CMS
- Experienced at populating page templates
- Build page structures from sitemap
- Import content into CMS
- Add links, images and files
- Apply metadata such as taxonomy labels, and search content
- Format content to work online
The CMS Editor is the person with the ongoing responsibility for maintaining and updating the site’s content, having cut their teeth on the CMS during the project.
Wrapped around all of these roles and responsibilities is workflow. Getting the content from brief to published efficiently is no mean feat but assembling the best content team you can will give you the best chance possible. Other benefits to getting your content team in place are:
- Accountability – knowing who is responsible for what (no more guessing)
- Defining a clear workflow – getting what you need when you need it (saves time on back and forth too!)
- Ability to get all project stakeholders on board and involved
- Effective collaboration
However you find and fill those roles, ensuring your project will be able to deliver all of the above will have a positive impact on the content produced.
You can use GatherContent to get all of your team and content in one place. Define your workflow, collaborate easily and say goodbye to content chaos. Get started today by signing up to a free trial. You can also join our next webinar to learn more about using GatherContent for website redesign projects.