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Why Many Hands Make Content Marketing Work Creating and distributing content means properly engaging with the audience to keep it growing and to strengthen the relationship.

By Alex Ionides

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For those new to the discipline of content marketing, it is easy to underestimate the effort required. A single article can take up to 12 hours of work, sometimes more, depending on the complexity of the topic, the length of the piece and the research needed. Plan to put out eight articles per month and you're already up to around 80 man-hours. And this is a basic level of content.

It's essential, therefore, to have a realistic grasp of your budget and resources and what you can expect to achieve with them. What in-house resources can you devote to content marketing? Are they full-time or part time? And what external resources (agency resources and freelancers) do you have access to?

To help get a clearer picture, I've highlighted some of the essential roles within any content marketing program. Note that more than one role can often fall to one person and that different companies will have different ways of defining duties, so this is just a high-level framework.

Head of Strategy: Duties include developing the framework for all the pillars of the publishing effort, including content creation, content distribution, marketing-to-sales integration and goal setting and analytics. Any content marketing program should include a strategist who builds and constantly evolves the overall framework. This person ideally has a background in both marketing and journalism. They can also act as project manager, overseeing and coordinating the day-to-day work of the whole team.

Project Manager (PM): If separate from Head of Strategy, this person will oversee the day-to-day work, coordinating all team members to deliver the best possible output. The PM is very much the coach who pushes everyone to work hard and fast. Among the PM's many tasks are the management of the content calendar, content idea generation workshops, recruitment and resource allocation, linking content creation to content distribution, developing the measurement and reporting framework and ensuring the marketing-to-sales link is constantly evolving to deliver better and better results.

Head of Content Creation: Responsible for driving all content output with the creative team. As your content marketing gathers steam, the head of content creation will be contributing more as an editor or creative director than as a content creator. Duties will include identifying the right mix of talent to help produce the content, then overseeing and guiding the team members through all phases of the content creation process, through to final edit and sign-off.

Content Creation Team: The production team can be a big and diversified mixture of talent. Although journalistic-style editorial will probably make up the majority of B2B content, you may have a requirement for graphics, video, podcasts, eBooks, white papers, how-to guides, surveys, tools such as ROI calculators and much more. Content diversity is fun, but it is resource- and budget-intensive and requires a lot of talent outsourcing.

Head of Distribution: "Content is king, but distribution is queen, and she wears the pants." So says Jonathan Perelman of BuzzFeed. Head of distribution is a big job, often requiring more than one person, as it includes overseeing distribution across a number of channels. From social media channel management to the email subscriber list to influencer and traditional media relations, distributing content means properly engaging with the audience to keep it growing and to strengthen the relationship.

Head of SEO/SEM: An effective search engine optimization (SEO) and search engine marketing (SEM) strategy has many touch points across your content marketing and, with Google's constantly evolving algorithm, the whole business can become very technical. Working with a consultant to help guide your search strategy is a good idea. They can advise on everything from topic selection, content optimisation, how to get the most from mobile, and much more.

Large-scale content marketing programmes will involve many more roles than those profiled above, but this list gives an idea of the essential resources. It also shows why so many companies are failing to properly drive their content marketing initiatives. It cannot be implemented effectively through a single hire– a shift of budgets towards content marketing and away from other marketing activities is what is needed, and that will no doubt continue to evolve in the years ahead.

Research shows that almost 60% of the B2B purchase decision is made before a single conversation is had with your company's sales reps, and 80% of business decision makers prefer to get company info in a series of articles as opposed to an ad. Content marketing has become an essential investment, so it's time to start building that team to create and distribute that valuable content.

Related: Think Like A Publisher: Five Must-Have Pieces For Your Content Marketing Mix

Alex Ionides

Managing Director, Silx

Alex Ionides is Managing Director of Silx, a Dubai-based digital marketing agency. Previously, Alex was General Manager of the Dubai office of global PR company Hill+Knowlton Strategies, and Managing Director of Munich-based marketing agency Threeview. He grew up in Vancouver, Canada, receiving a Bachelor of Applied Science in Mass Communication from Simon Fraser University. In addition to his career in marketing, Alex worked for many years as a journalist in the Middle East. He has lived and worked in the US, Germany, Hong Kong, Egypt, and now Dubai.

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