Content Marketing for Associations: Who Do You Need on Your Team?
Content marketing is one of the most widely-used tactics in the digital age. It seems easy, but it calls for a host of creative and technical skills within your marketing team.
Having the right team in place is essential if you want to deliver an effective marketing strategy that gets results in the form of new members and increased engagement. Let’s take a look at who you’ll need on that team.
The 5 People You Need on Your Content Marketing Team
Your content marketing team should look something like this:
Senior Content Strategist
The team needs a leader who understands content marketing, inbound marketing and lead generation. They should understand how buyer personas and sales funnels work, and they should have extensive experience in using these tools.
Most importantly, the content strategist should be able to create content plans that are directly linked to the overall marketing strategy. This means coming up with ideas for the type of content that’s going to make an irresistible connection with leads as they travel along the buyer’s journey.
Senior Content Editor
Editors are more focused on the day-to-day operations side of content marketing. That means commissioning pieces, making sure they’re publishable, and getting them online according to the content plan.
This role requires excellent editorial skills, plus a great knowledge of content marketing strategy. Editors are ultimately responsible for ensuring that content meets the requirements of the strategy, and that it’s optimized for performance on social media and in search rankings.
The majority of content marketing for associations is text-based, so you’ll need a skilled writer on the staff. This should be someone who can write in the association’s voice, whether that’s formal or informal, and demonstrate subject matter expertise in their writing.
You can also look at other types of content, such as video, podcasts, images and interactive tools. If this kind of content gets a positive response, look at bringing additional creators onto the team.
Digital marketing expert
Ideally, you want content to get shared on social media platforms like Twitter and LinkedIn, to rank highly in Google search results, and to be linked to by reputable sites. A digital marketing expert can help you achieve these goals.
Your digital marketing person needs to work closely with the content strategist so that they can align their strategies for SEO and social media. With the right promotion, each piece of content has the potential to drive considerable traffic to your site.
The data expert is maybe the most important person on the content marketing team. They can take website analytics and data from your marketing automation platform and compile detailed reports on the efficacy of your marketing strategy.
These reports are vital. Not only do they tell you if your strategy is working, they also help to shape your personas and sales journeys, allowing you to further develop your content strategy. You can then zero in on the most promising opportunities and create content that leads to conversions.
How to Staff Your Content Marketing for Associations Team
These are the roles that you need to have on your content marketing team. As for how you fill them, that depends on the size of your organization and the type of resources you have available. It may not always be possible to bring in a brand-new content marketing for associations team, so you may have to look at other strategies.
One person can, in theory, occupy several of the roles above. For example, the content strategist and digital marketing expert are closely aligned, and therefore both jobs could be done by a single person.
Pros: Smaller team; lower costs
Cons: the individual performing both of these roles may struggle to keep up with demand; two heads can be better than one, and you could be missing out on a fresh perspective
Job share with other departments
A common example of this is the analytics expert. Many associations won’t hire a marketing analytics expert, and instead they’ll give the analytics work to someone from IT who has the know-how to generate reports. Roles can also be shared across the entire company. For instance, rather than hire a content writer, you may just ask people in the organization to write and submit articles and blog posts.
Pros: add expertise to the content marketing team without hiring new staff; people can bring their subject matter expertise to the content they produce
Cons: the individual won’t be entirely focused on the job; they may not have the marketing expertise to support the content marketing strategy
Upskill Your Marketing Staff
Experienced marketing teams may struggle with content marketing. It’s very data-driven, for one thing. Also, it’s not about creating persuasive sales copy – instead it’s about creating content that is, in itself, of value to readers. With the right training and support, however, your marketing team could get the hang of it.
Pros: work with existing resources; avail of in-house knowledge
Cons: it takes a long time to train staff, and time spent training reduces their productivity elsewhere
You could supplement your team with a freelancer. Or you could handover the entire content marketing operation to a third party. There are plenty of options on the market, including companies like HighRoad who specialize in association marketing.
Pros: bring in specialist expertise; major improvement to capabilities over time; increased accountability
Cons: doesn’t solve issues with skills gaps in your organization; some consultants may not specialize in content marketing for associations
Content Marketing vs. Your Culture
In a way, everyone is part of your content marketing team. Everyone in association management needs to get involved by contributing content, flagging errors if they notice them, and using content as a resource.
Which is why you need to take a look at the organizational culture and see if people are ready to support a content marketing strategy. That includes the main decision-makers, who need to be enthusiastic about the plans and ready to offer whatever support you need for success.
Before you tackle the rest of the team, make sure that everyone is on board and that you’ve got a culture that supports innovation.
About Aimee Pagano
Aimee joins HighRoad Solution with 15+ years of integrated marketing and communications experience, primarily in client-facing roles within the association and SaaS space. Her specialties include persona development, content strategy/management, lead gen and awareness campaign development, and website development/optimization.