Want to build your business without a million dollar marketing budget? Most small businesses do more than want that -- they need to do it.
If you want results without paying too much, two types of marketing rise to the top: search engine optimization (SEO) and content marketing. There’s been some confusion about whether or not content marketing and SEO compete with each other or if content marketing is going to usurp SEO because “SEO is dead.”
We’ve never seen it that way at Wasp Barcode. Some of our “content marketing people” are also our “SEO people.” They go to the same meetings and work on the same projects. The knowledge we get from our SEO work influences the content we create, and the content marketing goals we have shape what we look for in keyword research, which affects how we approach link building. The two disciplines are fused.
Because of this overlap, you should build your content marketing and SEO team at the same time.
Based on some recent research we did for the 2016 State of Small Business Report, we know small businesses are facing some challenges with hiring, and they also under spend on marketing. Combine those two issues, and you’ve got an underfunded marketing department that’s short on staff. That’s not good, but we can turn that around. Here’s how to hire smart to staff a content marketing department.
The average content marketing department.
Before we delve into job descriptions, let’s look at what’s “normal” for a content marketing staff. Most content marketing teams are pretty small – five people or less.
What’s most interesting here is that more than one in five of the companies Kapost surveyed has a one-person content marketing staff. One in ten has no full-time staff member -- it’s someone doing all the content marketing work part-time.
Because the one-person shop is so common, let’s look at some of the basic skills you’ll want in your solo hire.
The one-person content marketing department.
There’s some debate about who you should hire first – a content marketing manager or writer. The Kapost survey indicated 41 percent of companies bring in a writer first and add the manager position later on.
You can create a great one-person shop by hiring an experienced content marketing manager who has skills in writing, SEO, social media, websites, strategic planning and basic design. Bring in freelancers or agency help to assist with the overflow.
Think one person can’t do all that? Here are a few companies that have done it well:
Smarter Finance USA’s sole employee, Rob Misheloff, got a little help from an outside strategist and rapidly grew his small business finance services.
Climb Healthy is a great example of a solopreneur and coach who does her own content marketing.
Pet Relocation has a full-time content marketing specialist. The company uses lots of user-generated content to get traffic from social media. (See one of their Pinterest boards below.) They also leverage an Oracle system that serves up customized content based on users’ location.
A content marketing staff of two.
Your content marketing manager did a little writing and a lot of strategy, but your next hire should be an experienced writer who can focus exclusively on content creation.
You need great content that can stand out online and be worth reading and sharing, so your writer should be someone who intimately knows your niche and knows how to talk to your audience. Because niche is so important, some companies opt to hire a subject matter expert to do the writing and then bring in an editor to polish the material.
Related: The Top 4 Reasons SEO Is Dead
Your writer and/or editor should also some experience with SEO items such as keyword research and writing title tags and meta descriptions.
The rest of the team.
After you’ve got those two roles filled out, consider the next hires:
- Analytics and search engine optimization. This should be one job since SEO optimization is so intricately linked to tracking conversions and content marketing ROI.
- Social media manager / community manager. As your audience grows, the social media workload will grow, too.
- Designer/Developer. Somebody’s got to make all this content look good.
- Managing editor. This hire may become necessary if you manage a large publication that gets content from contributing writers.
Director of content marketing / Chief content officer. This individual may take over defining and planning the content marketing goals and strategy. As that happens, this role becomes more like a project manager.