How to manage a startup content marketing team

How to manage a content team in a startup

A startup manager’s guide to your content plan

 

This is a guide to how to build and manage a content team in a startup. It comes from my experience as a SEO to drive rankings via content, working with startups to build their marketing teams and as a VC working with management teams to set up, run and manage their content production. This works for SaaS, ecommerce, B2B, B2C, whatever – the principals are all the same

 

Your high level content strategy is to teach Customer X how to do Job Y better. Everything we do in content marketing should flow from this. If you are unsure if something is the right thing to do, ask yourself “Is this showing someone how to do Job Y better?”

 

Make sure Quality is a priority

Generally it is better to spend more time producing really useful content rather than being stuck to a schedule of  e.g. 3 blog posts a week. No reader cares about your publishing schedules, they just want what they read to be useful to them

 

Assign a Content Budget

Content only works if the right people get to see it. Assign a specific budget to promoting each piece of content, even $25 can work. You want to promote it so that you get enough data back to understand how each piece performs

 

Who your marketing needs to talk to (fill this in)

 

Customer segments Keywords Top of the funnel content Bottom of the funnel content Promotion channels
Segment 1
Segment 2
Segment 3
Segment 4
Segment 5
Segment 6

 

The team you need to build to deliver this

A marketing team is normally made up of a creative person, a data person and a people person. The first core of your marketing team is your Creative Person and your Data Person, and later a People Person (the Founders or CEO normally fill in the role of the People Person initially)

 

Creative Person core competencies

A writer, someone who loves to write. A person that writes in their spare time and can show you many examples of what they have written. Able to put themselves in the position of the customer and understand what they need. Wants to learn more

 

Desirable Skills

  • Knows how to write for the web and add images, bullet points, headings and links
  • Some image manipulation skill and can resize and cut up images for blog posts
  • Able to learn how to make simple gifs or videos

 

Responsibilities

  • Create a structure for the creative process
  • Write blog posts that teach hotel staff how to run hotels better
  • Create other content that teaches hotel staff how to run hotels better
  • With the Data Person, measure and report on the effects of their writing
  • With the People Person, do interviews with prominent and educated people in the hotel space
  • Reach out to other blogs and websites to put Flexkeeping content there

 

Data Person core competencies

Detail oriented, meticulous and able to use numbers to find problems or prove points. Able to put themselves in the position of the customer and understand what they need.  Wants to learn more

 

Desirable Skills

  • Can keep the team on track through data
  • Can present results and tell a story with data

 

Responsibilities

  • Measures the traffic, engagement and leads to the site
  • Measures the main keywords that you want to rank for in SEO
  • Promotes the creative content  on the web
  • Brings  traffic from Google with PPC ads

 

People Person core competencies

Wants to speak to people. Loves getting up on stage or picking up the phone. Loves the idea of organising an event or attending them. Able to put themselves in the position of the customer and understand what they need.  Wants to learn more

 

Desirable Skills

  • Knows how to create a good slide deck
  • Can learn how to turn speaking engagements into leads

 

Responsibilities

  • Knows who everyone is in the space and has talked to them
  • Builds relationships and opens high level doors
  • Speaks at every opportunity and attends all the main events as a speaker if possible
  • Turns contacts into customers

 

Important

No one needs to know a specific tool or your industry. They just need to have the skills and attitudes to learn it

 

Content Production brief

It is important that this creative process has a structure that is linked to your business goals

 

  1. Which segment this post is aimed at
  2. What should the target segment know by the end of the post
  3. Keyword this post should rank for
  4. Put the keyword in Search Engine rank tracking software (can be by the Data Person)
  5. Title
  6. Section outlines
  7. Draft
  8. Visuals
  9. Formatting
  10. Internal linking to other blog posts
  11. Final version
  12. Publish
  13. Share (can be by the Data Person)
  14. Measure  (can be by the Data Person)

 

How I would manage this process

  1. Agree to the basic approach with the team
  2. Make sure that the process is being followed and the creative process is linked to your business goals
  3. Read the content – is it useful to your buyers? If not, then work on improving quality
  4. Follow just the important KPIs
    1. number of readers
    2. improvements in Search Engine ranking
    3. number of signups to leads

 

Tools you need

  • Google Analytics to track visits
  • Search Engine rank tracker to where you rank in search engines for your important keywords (like SEMrush)

 

If you want to chat about any of this, I am on twitter as @firstconversion or catch me on Linkedin where I talk mostly about SaaS Product Market Fit

Posted in SEO