Thanks to the low cost of entry, content marketing is an extremely competitive niche. Hundreds, perhaps even thousands of sites, are fighting it out for the same keywords. To succeed, you need to create great content on your site, then support that with a guest posting strategy that will help you build links to your core content.

To increase the chance of success in such a competitive market involves getting together a team of experts who can support your content marketing goals. In this article, I’ll walk you through how to grow and manage large content teams, including the strategy I use to get my content to rank on Google.

Here’s how to build a content marketing team that creates high-quality content for your business. 

Create a Content Marketing Strategy

According to Forbes magazine, around 63% of businesses don’t have anything that resembles a content strategy. If your business already has one, you’re ahead of the pack. However, having a content strategy that does not align with your business goals might be even worse than not having one at all. 

A content marketing strategy is more than just an editorial calendar. You need to determine your goals, such as increased traffic, more leads, and higher conversion, and translate them into KPIs. Generally, this involves creating content that aligns with the customer journey.

Once you have established what you want to achieve, you can then go into more detailed planning, like audience segmentation, content curation, and content repurposing. For more information on the topic, here is a comprehensive guide on how to create a content marketing strategy.

Establish a System for Management

Next, you’ll want to nail down how to manage everything. I recommend using an online project management tool to do this. I use Trello, but you should use a tool that provides a user interface that you and your content team feel most comfortable with.

The project management boards you use needs to be accessible to anyone in your team. The boards you create should include the following:

  • Onboarding guides: Your guides will have all the information a new staff member could need to get started. It will include things like website access information, editorial guidelines, etc.
  • A work board: This is where you provide an overview of the content you are producing. It’s essentially a work breakdown.

The content management system you create should have all the information you need and be simple to navigate. Here’s an example board I use for my writers:

You can see that I have various columns. These columns provide me with an instant overview of how things are progressing. The columns I use are:

  • General: Onboarding information for the staff member
  • To Do: Content that needs to be written
  • Doing: Blog posts that are being written
  • Review: Articles that need to be reviewed by the editor
  • Submitted: Content that has been submitted to an online publication 

As you can see, it’s a pretty simple system. Putting a system in place will help you manage your workload and that of the team.

List Writer Guidelines

There are a lot of essential parts to onboarding. One that is especially important for a content team that I’d like to highlight is your writer guidelines.

Nothing confuses readers more than tone that changes from one article to another. When you’re looking to hire more than one writer to produce content for your business, you need to institute some guidelines. These ensure that the quality and tone of your articles stay consistent. 

If you already have experienced writers on your team, you can brainstorm with them to come up with a style guide. They are also in a good position to document your content creation processes.

For example, BenchmarkONE has a three-page editorial guide for guest posts on the site. It contains exactly the kind of information you’d want from an editorial style guide.

As your team grows, they should be able to make additions or changes to your process documents and answer questions from new members. That way, you can ensure that the content your team produces does not suffer from a drop-off in quality, even if it’s written by a new member of your team.

Hire Good Writers

Hiring a good writer is difficult. You ideally want to have writers on your team who could easily create work for the top publications within your niche. Ideally, they also need to be able to write long-form content consistently. 

When hiring writers, you have a choice of either looking for a full-time staff member, or a freelancer. Once you’ve defined your budget and needs, it’s time to put out a job ad. I use one of the following two platforms to find staff:

  • Gumtree for finding part-time staff
  • Indeed for finding full-time staff

Below is an example job description for a content writer.

It’s essential to subject potential writers to a test. Ask them to write an article on a topic that’s related to your field following the writing guidelines and processes that you’ve already set. This will measure their ability to follow procedures and stick to deadlines. You will also get to see the kind of content they can produce.

The insights I gain from a test are more important than what I learn from reviewing a CV. In fact, I only review the CV of a candidate after they have completed the test. This way, my natural prejudices don’t get in the way of hiring the best candidate.

Hire a Skilled Editor 

Since we’re now on the topic of adding new people, you need to hire an excellent editor. 

I cannot stress enough the importance of choosing a good editor to manage the writers. A good editor is the nerve center of the entire operation. You need someone who pays close attention to detail, sticks to deadlines, and manages their time and resources well. It’s also helpful if they are a people person, as they will be working closely, and providing feedback to your writers.

I’ve found the best editors are also good writers, which is why I prefer to recruit editorial positions internally when possible. An editor who is also a copywriter can suggest ways to improve articles your writers are producing, instead of just tearing them down. This helps build up the capacity of your team.

The world of copywriting is full of horror stories about good content writers who left their jobs because they can’t stand their editors’ egos. Don’t let your organization become another one of those stories.

Enable a Certain Level of Autonomy

A content marketing strategy includes clear processes and writing style guides, which should eliminate the need for someone to micromanage your content producers while they work.

Autonomy is one of the building blocks of employee engagement. Autonomy is defined as: 

“The power to shape your work environment in ways that allow you to perform at your best.” 

Take this power away from your content producers, and they start feeling like they’re zombies, unable to decide what to do for themselves. This is one of the worst business mistakes you can make.

Here are some ways to enable autonomy within your team:

  • Keep calm, even when they make mistakes. A team that fears its management is one that constantly under-performs. 
  • Hire people who choose to be autonomous. Give them the time and resources they need to do their jobs, then trust them to deliver.
  • Provide clear guidelines and trust your team to follow them. Many people confuse the lack of guidance with autonomy. However, this results in employees who have to figure out their jobs by themselves, leading to stress and burnout.  
  • Stick to autonomy. If you hire naturally autonomous people, then choosing to tighten the leash later on risks losing your best staff.

Arrange Regular Meetings 

Employee check-ins and team meetings are important because they allow you to keep track of your goals. It’s easier for your team members to know what you expect of them when you check in with them regularly. 

In addition, regular meetings help sync employee actions with management goals and help prevent misunderstandings between team members. You should also have regular meetings between your sales and marketing team to keep them aligned on what content to create and to understand how things are going. 

While a lot of people think content marketing team members are intimidated by their editors or managers, the reverse should be true. Regular meetings will break the tension and help both parties provide honest, helpful feedback.

The top reason for holding periodic check-ins is motivation. When your team members know that they will be meeting with you this week or this month, they look forward to the opportunity to push their short-term goals. If you have a small team, weekly check-in meetings are practical. As your team becomes larger, you can have weekly team meetings then meet with your team individually once a month. 

How to Build a Content Marketing Team

A high-performing content marketing team is composed of more than just its members. A well-defined content marketing strategy should govern all the decisions that you make. From the moment you hire your editor and writers to your regular check-in meetings. 

Building and managing a content management team also requires that you keep an open mind about your team’s needs and concerns. Striking a balance between your strategy and your team’s individual motivations is the key to staying ahead of the competition and keeping your brand at the top of everyone’s minds.

Author Bio

Nico Prins is a SaaS Consultant and the founder of Launch Space. He’s worked with everyone from Fortune 500 companies to scale-ups, helping them develop content marketing strategies that align with their business goals.