The Key to a Lean, Mean Content Marketing Team

The Key to a Lean, Mean Content Marketing Team

Image courtesy of snow0810

Note: This post is a preview of our upcoming free webinar, “Build Your Content Marketing Dream Team,” taking place Wednesday, December 18th at 2pm EST. Register now.

One of my favorite questions that we get asked a lot here at OpenView is, “How big is your content team?” Our answer often comes as a surprise, and for me that’s a big indication we’re doing something right.

If you’re a regular reader or a newsletter subscriber, you’re familiar with the amount of content we produce. It’s not insignificant. In fact, I think it’s not a stretch to say we’re fairly prolific (though still not as prolific as some). Our standard content rhythm consists of:

Content Rhythm

That’s not to mention all of our distribution and community building efforts. And we do it all with three people on staff.

What’s our secret? A lot of credit goes to our streamlined processes and a heavy emphasis on staying laser focused and super organized. But if you really want to know how we do it all, the truth is we don’t. Like any smart marketer or manager, we take full stock of all the internal and external resources at our disposal, and we leverage them to do the majority of the heavy lifting for us.

Leveraging Internal & External Resources to Do More with Less

If you really want your content marketing to gain traction you simply can’t stay bogged down in the day-to-day operations. So much more goes into it than content creation and distribution — you need to be able to establish your goals, plan your strategy, launch new initiates, analyze your performance, constantly adjust your heading, and steer the boat. If you’re trying to do it all, chances are the majority of your time is spent just struggling to stay afloat.

Here are three resources I encourage you to leverage regularly. Doing so (and learning to do so effectively) takes work up front, but it more than pays off in the long run. With the exception of hiring more full-time, internal help, this really is the best way to scale your lean content marketing team’s production and impact.

1) Leveraging Freelancers

hired gun

 Image courtesy of William Clifford

What they can do: Sometimes it pays to go with hired guns. Freelancers can help you on a variety fronts — writing, proofreading, video work, graphic design, SEO, etc. Not only can they help free you up to focus on higher priorities, they can also deliver better, more professional results. That’s especially true for one-off or specialized work that requires a high level of expertise. For example, don’t make the mistake of thinking a few hours learning Final Cut Pro is a good use of your time (and the company’s money). Reel it in and farm it out.

What to look for: It can vary depending on the project, but knowledge of your industry is generally a big plus (especially for writers). That said, someone who has demonstrated the ability to adapt their approach/voice to resonate with a variety of specific audiences can be just as (and sometimes even more) effective. You should also concentrate on finding freelancers who have a proven track record of not only results, but also being reliable and delivering on time.

Where to find them: There are several online vendor-matching sites and agencies (Elance, Creative Circle, etc.), but as with any hire, the best results often come from word-of-mouth and referrals.

2) Leveraging Influencers


Image courtesy of David Hilowitz

What they can do: Developing productive relationships with industry influencers can be an invaluable way to amplify your reach by introducing you to broader or more specialized audiences that you otherwise wouldn’t reach. Not only can they help you with distribution, they can be major contributors to content generation (via guest posts, quotes, video/webinar appearances, etc.), as well.

What to look for: As a starting point, you should hone in on influencers who have a following that is very similar to your target audience. In general, the more active they are the better, but make sure you get a good sense of their authority and reputation.

Where to find them: There are a variety of tools you can use to help you find and connect with influencers in your niche (Followerwonk is a great one).

3) Leveraging Co-Workers


Image courtesy of Ally Schmaling

What they can do: If you’re working in tech, chances are you’re working alongside a cast of extremely smart, lovely, and talented colleagues who (with the right incentive) can help you out and play a big role in your content marketing efforts. Whether it’s asking your company’s executives to get on the phone and do a “brain dump” with a writer, gleaning customer insights and brainstorming potential content topics with one of your sales reps, or simply running a headline by your colleague in marketing, there are plenty of ways for you to leverage the folks down the hall.

What to look for: Keep in mind not everyone will be able to help out in the same way. Leverage individuals’ strengths and interests, and make contributing as easy as possible. You probably have a good idea already who would be willing and able to do what, but keep an open mind and don’t be afraid to (tactfully) make requests — your colleagues just may surprise you.

Where to find them: I guess if they really don’t want to deal with your nagging blogging requests this could be a problem, but maybe a better thing to focus on is…

How to incentivize them: Different companies handle this differently, but a couple of suggestions include applying gamification methods (ex: organizing contests around blogging/sharing/sign-ups/downloads, etc.) and making contributions and the positive results of those contributions public within the company.

Free Webinar: Build Your Content Marketing Dream Team

Content Marketing Dream TeamIf you liked these tips and want to learn more about how to create and accomplish more with less, sign up for our free webinar taking place at 2pm EST on Wednesday, December 18th.

We’ll be sharing even more secrets behind our success building out the content marketing team here at OpenView, including:

  • The 3 primary content marketing roles you should hire for
  • How to build and manage a reliable stable of freelancers
  • The 3 keys to aligning your team

Register now!

Title: Build Your Content Marketing Dream Team

When: Wednesday, 12/18 at 2pm EST

Registration link:

Jonathan Crowe
Jonathan Crowe
Senior Content Manager

Jonathan Crowe is Senior Content Manager at Barkly. He was previously the Managing Editor of OpenView Labs.
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