Content Marketing Institute shares yearly research about best-in-class B2B content marketing organizations versus everyone else. Know what the cream-of-the-crop does? The most successful marketers document their B2B content marketing strategy. So why isn’t everyone taking the vital step of documenting content strategy? The number one barrier in past reports has been content marketing team size. During the COVID-19 pandemic, 67 percent of respondents to the annual research report indicated that they have been asked to do more with the same number of resources. How can you build a content team when you don’t have enough people?

If your team is small – or consists of only you, you are probably nodding your head in agreement. You’ve got no other team members to help you do the work, so how can you even find time to document a content strategy?

There is a way to make creating content more efficient and give you a little more time to act as a content strategist and managing editor.

How to Build a Content Team for Success

  1. Appoint someone (yourself, your manager, or an executive) to the content marketing leadership role.
  2. Identify an individual who will provide editorial guidance to the team.
  3. Work with other departments to get help with researching topics for your content marketing strategy.
  4. Look inside your organization for content contributors, and be prepared to hire freelance writers or a content marketing agency for additional help with content production. Think about inviting industry or customer guest content creators, too.
  5. Fill content distribution and promotion roles with outside help or use marketing automation software to lighten your load.
  6. Assign measurement and analysis responsibilities. If you don’t have time and you don’t have a direct report, look into automation tools or outside help.

Let’s dig a little deeper into each of these important functions to help you learn how to build a small content marketing team.

small content marketing team

Perform Content Marketing Leadership

The content marketing leadership function requires someone who can be a content strategist, manage the budget, ensure team members are held accountable, and monitor content efforts to make sure they support overall business and growth marketing goals.

If you are the content leader/content strategist (and do almost everything else content-related), this can be a daunting role to take. It’s the reason why those documented strategies aren’t getting created. Instead of going it alone, work with a content agency that can help you develop a customer-focused content strategy to generate leads and drive more sales. You provide brand leadership while your agency provides online marketing know-how. Together you can get that B2B content marketing strategy documented.

Seek Editorial Guidance

managing editor content marketing

The editorial guidance role requires more than proofreading material created by your small content marketing team. For instance, this function keeps a content creator on schedule with the editorial calendar. The person who fills these shoes performs quality assurance to make sure content meets brand guidelines and quality standards and speaks to the appropriate personas. For small teams, this person may even be responsible for optimizing the content for search engines and online engagement.

If this function falls on your shoulders, don’t worry. Here are some tips for creating an editorial focus when you build a content team.

You ensure the final content product is appropriate for your industry/niche and business goals.

Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) evaluate for accuracy from a subject matter point of view (technical, vertical/industry, etc.)

Agency experts provide the polish and shine and even some SEO expertise, if needed, to help get your content found.

While you are the final approver when it comes to the editorial function, you don’t have to do it all alone.

Rally Research Support

Remember those people we identified above who can help you with editing. Those same people (and maybe a few others) can help you with research, too.

  • You: research topics based on reports and reading you do about your industry. Check with trade associations and trade news sites for trends you can write about.
  • SMEs: informally poll your SMEs to learn what they’re reading or encountering as they do their jobs. Developers may have a perspective you never considered. Customer service reps have a different, specialized knowledge and insight that you can use. Who else can spark new content angles?
  • Agency: ask your agency partner to collaborate with you on research and brainstorming content ideas, too.

Gather Help for Content Creation & Production

You may carry the heaviest burden when it comes to creating content, but that doesn’t mean you can’t tap colleagues, executives, and outside resources for help. Lighten the load by:

  • Inviting employee contributors to become content creators (for the reluctant writers, just ask for a list of bullet points you can turn into a post).
  • Seeking guest posts from industry influencers–the right guest will act as a content writer to get in front of the right audience.
  • Outsourcing some or all content creation or social media marketing to a content marketing agency.
  • Working with freelance designers or an agency resource on visuals and multimedia.

When you build a content team, you don’t necessarily have to have a lot of full-time hires.

marketing technology

If you can rely on your marketing team, other employees, and guest contributors for routine content, you can prioritize your high-effort, high-value asset creation for your agency.

Leverage Technology for Content Promotion & Distribution

Distributing and promoting your content on social media, email, and elsewhere can be a pain. However, it doesn’t have to be. There are plenty of martech tools to help you streamline this process.

  • Many email and marketing automation platforms allow you to create RSS-based newsletters – boom! Quick and easy weekly roundup newsletter from your blog.
  • Social media platforms and marketing automation software can help you distribute your content automatically. There are tools that will even keep your campaign going for up to a year on social media for evergreen content. Some solutions will even help you pick the right time to share. These can be a big help to your social media team.
  • Employee advocacy initiatives can help your reach go farther via your employee’s social efforts.
  • Email signatures also help you get your latest content in front of people both inside and outside your company.

Build a Content Team that Measures and Analyzes

Would it be nice if your content team included a data scientist who helps you understand every little bit of value your tracked digital marketing data holds? Um. YEAH. But that probably isn’t going to happen since you’re already running a one-or-two-person show.

Instead of worrying about who is going to do this, look for tools to help you do it yourself. Remember: Technology can help you build a content team by doing some of the heavy lifting! There are plenty of training tools online to prepare you to get the most out of Google Analytics. You can also give Google Data Studio a shot for creating some slick reports and dashboards. And don’t forget about your marketing automation solution.

If you want to go a step beyond just monitoring traffic and KPIs, work with your agency to review the data. Your partner can help you pull out insights and trends to capitalize on in your next round of content strategy and digital marketing planning.

Build a Content Team—Functions Matrix

We’ve put together this handy matrix to help you think about ways to fill all of your small content marketing team roles even when you don’t have the headcount. If you can put on your project manager and content strategist hats, you’ll be able to do more with your digital marketing efforts.

small content marketing team member matrix

Will this approach to beefing up the structure for a small content team work for you? Share your struggles and solutions in the comments section below.

Need to Improve Your  Content  Game?

Did you know that 60 percent of the most successful marketers in the study have a documented strategy?

Check out our B2B Content Marketing Strategy Guide for Small Content Teams. No form required to read the eBook.

About the author

Stacy Jackson is a founding partner at The B2B Mix, a marketing firm located in Dunedin, Florida. In addition to her work at Jackson Marketing, Stacy is a co-host of The B2B Mix Show podcast. You can follow her on Twitter at @stacy_jax and connect with her on LinkedIn.