Sales and marketing content is vital for communicating your value to potential customers. However, creating it can be arduous: and, bad content is worse than no content, so it has to be good.
When I first started inbound marketing, I was trying to create everything by myself. I quickly realized that was inefficient and expensive. That may sound counter-intuitive: how can it be MORE expensive to do it yourself vs. hiring someone? That's easy - if I'm doing jobs that I'm really not skilled for, it takes me longer and doesn't turn out as well, so I don't get the best results over time.
Luckily, I found a couple of people that compliment my skills and help me improve the quality of the content I create. Here are 4 skill sets that your content creation team should possess to ensure you get a solid return on investment.
1. Strategic Planner
First and foremost you have to create content that your audience will find valuable. A misguided strategy will quickly lead you astray and leave you wondering why you're spending all kinds of resources creating content that isn't getting any results. It might be the most awesome content ever, but if it's mismatched with your audience and offering, it's a wasted effort.
You need someone on your team that can outline your buyer journey and evaluate over time the information that your prospects need to progress through each stage. The strategist should be completely in-tune with the sales process and what is happening in the field. They should be adept at analyzing essential marketing metrics to ensure that the content you invest in is getting results.
2. Content Writer
Creating content for online viewing is not the same as creating content for print or direct mail. The content writer should have experience creating blogs, email newsletters, ebooks, videos, Slideshare presentations and other types of online content. Each type of content has its own unique methodology.
If you're using an outside resource, they should be expert interviewers to get relevant info from the knowledge source. (For example, the content writer might interview a salesperson about a specific topic, and write the article on their behalf.) Most importantly, the content writer should be able to avoid inconsequential fluff, hone in on what the reader will find most valuable, and make it ultra-easy to read online.
3. Graphic Designer
The graphic designer's job is to add visual interest to the content. They should be able to graphically represent what the words say. The graphic designer is in some ways a content writer too - they should work with the content writer in developing compelling titles and content themes to capture people's interest. And last but not least, the graphic designer should create high quality, professional graphics that align with the branding guidelines.
4. Website Specialist / Programmer
Yes, it's true that most website content management systems out there make it easy to upload your own content to the website. However, in many cases, the online medium needs tweaking to maintain a relevant and fresh look.
There are always technical aspects of making content work correctly online - the web page has to look right, the hyperlinks have to work right, you may want to add special features like a pop-up to get more downloads. The list goes on and on. Having a specialist on your team that knows the ins-and-outs of your branding guidelines, online lead generation strategies, and website technology is critical.
Creating a Cohesive Team
All of these people need to work as a cohesive team. One does not stand alone. And it's almost impossible for one person to have all of these skill sets. You can work with your internal resources, outside resources, or a combination to coordinate such a team.
Either way, if content creation is a new process for you, keep in mind that it will take a little time to get the kinks worked out and the machine to run smoothly. The more experienced the team members, the faster you'll get off the ground.
If you're looking for ways to start communicating with your online audience using content, start thinking about how you'll pull together your content creation team today.