How to Build a Content Team From Scratch: Tips, Tricks, & Common Mistakes

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content team

Content marketing is everywhere. That’s not really all that surprising. Content marketing works, when done correctly. The thing is, that’s easier said than done. There is a lot out there on how to do content marketing but there is less information about how to create the team that does it.

For that reason, today we’re going to look at building such a team. What you need, what you have to do, and the big mistakes that you’ve got to avoid. In that way, you’ll have a guide and a plan to build your team and you won’t find yourself wasting resources or putting out sub-part content because you’ve hired sub-par people.

content team

Step one: Create a strategy

You have to know what your goals are and how you plan to reach those goals before you take any further steps. This is not a superfluous activity. Why? Because your plan is your map that both tells you where you’re going and how you plan to get there.

There are a lot of articles about how to write a content marketing strategy guide out there. So, take the time to study up on those. In short, you’ll want to:

  1. Define your goal. If you have no goals then you can’t measure if your plan is working.
  2. Do your research. You have to understand your audience. The best way to do so is to create a buyer’s persona.
  3. Audit your content. See what you’ve done, what value it has and what you can create going forward.
  4. Create a content marketing system. If you have no system, people won’t know who to turn to and where to get the help they need.
  5. Create content ideas. Now you can create the overarching ideas that you want to produce.
  6. Decide how you want to present that content. Will it be podcasts, text, videos or infographics?

Step two: Choose a managing editor

This is possibly your most important decision. Your managing editor is hugely important, because if they’re good then you won’t have to pay too much attention to your content marketing team. If, on the other hand, they don’t know their ass from their face, then you’ll constantly have to intervene to make sure things run smoothly.

In fact, it goes further. People don’t like working for people who they can’t respect. And so, if you choose a bad managing editor, you’ll most likely end up with a bad content team, creating mediocre content and with little to no motivation.

The things you’ll want to look out for:

  1. Do they have good eye for detail? Your managing editor is the last line. They will decide what goes up and if they don’t spot the mistake, then your visitors get a chance to instead. And if they find it, that reflects badly on your company.
  2. Are they organized? They’ll be dealing with a lot of people – many of who are going to be late, deliver inferior content, or mess up in other ways. They have to be able to manage all that effectively.
  3. Can they write? Ultimately, your managing editor will decide what copy goes on the site. It helps if they can take the work of the writers and make it better, rather than destroy it.

Step three: Start filling in the rest of the team

Together with your managing editor, you can start looking for a designer, a marketing strategist, and writers. You’ll want to move quickly. Resist that impulse. Instead, a much better idea is to start off hiring freelancers and getting people onboard for project basis. This will often allow you to see if people are a good fit for your team and if they don’t just talk the talk.

There are a lot of people out there who are very good at pretending that they have the skills you need. The best way to find them out is to use them for one or two projects and see if they live up to expectation.

What’s more, by using external agents in this way you give yourself a great deal more flexibility to alter your plans and try different things. Then, when you’ve found the right way for your company to run its content marketing, you can start bringing in people full time.

Step four: Proactively search for writers

There are a lot of writers out there. Most of them aren’t very good. To help you find the best, you have to keep reaching out and keep trying new writers: whether they be individual writers who you discover online or people you find through writing services.

Your best bet is to simply find writers whose style fits with what you need. Remember, they don’t actually have to be experts about your specific niche. That kind of stuff can be learned relatively quickly with all the information that’s online right now.

Instead, what you’re after is high-quality writing that really speaks to your audience. That is something that isn’t as easily learned from reading blogs and watching youtube videos. So, focus on that and you’re much more likely to find the talent you need.

Something to note, what you like and what your audience likes aren’t necessarily the same thing. For that reason, track the numbers. Which writers attract more attention and who manages to convert more? That’s the writer you want to use.

Step five: Have a good promotion and reward system in place

The best talent doesn’t want to sit still or go about their work unrecognized. They’re interested in getting new opportunities, learning new skills and finding new jobs. So, make sure besides an unofficial recognition system, your company actually has something official in place. Otherwise, sooner or later they’ll move on and leave you behind. That’s incredibly frustrating, as then you’ll have to start the search for talent all over again.

There are a lot of ways to reward talented people. You can:

  1. Offer them full-time positions.
  2. Give them the hone their skills further. Through workshops, classes and courses.
  3. Promote them to better positions.
  4. Praise their abilities in public and private.

That alone might not be enough. It is also important for talented people that the business they are in will continue to grow in importance. So, in order to make sure that you keep the staff enthused by mapping out ways in which the content marketing team will grow in importance.

If this is not enough, then offer them the opportunity to work with other customers as well. After all, having the best staff work for you some of the time is better than not having them work for you at all.

Step six, conclusive: Scale slowly

The most important recipe for a successful content marketing team is to not try to do things too fast. Though it might be appealing to get everything up and running quickly, chances are you won’t have a good foundation in place when that’s how you do things.

A better strategy is to make sure that every step you’ve taken has been carefully considered and weighed and only then take the next one. Of course, this means that your content marketing team and hence your content marketing will proceed slowly. So, it might be a good idea to retain your former ways of marketing as well. That will give you the space to execute your plans effectively.

What tips do you have for building a content team? Let us know in the comments below!


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James Daily

About the author: James Daily is a professional writer and content marketer. When he is not involved in career-related tasks, he follows his other many interests, including astronomy, psychology, and cinema. Feel free to contact him via email: or his personal blog
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Category: Content Marketing
Tags: building your team, content editor, content marketing, content skills, content team, content writers, Strategy, teamwork, writers
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