By Joe Pulizzi published April 7, 2011

Chief Content Officer Job Description

UPDATE 5/2/11 – Here is the final Chief Content Officer Job Description Sample as sourced from the comments below and on Facebook.

Since the release of Chief Content Officer magazine, we’ve been inundated with emails about a Chief Content Officer job description.

I’ve seen some good posts describing the CCO position like this one, as well as some sample descriptions like this one for PBS. Unfortunately, most of the job descriptions I’ve seen are for traditional media companies, not for non-media brands.

That said, here is what I’d like to do.  I need your help!

I’m asking you to suggest, in the comments below, components that should make up the job description for a Chief Content Officer.  After a week, I’ll put all the comments together into a formal, downloadable job description that we can all use and share.  ALSO, those who contribute to the JD will be noted at the end of the description as a contributor.

Here are the areas we need to cover:

  • Reports To:
  • Position Summary:
  • Responsibilities:
  • Success Criteria:
  • Experience and Education Required:
  • Skills Required:

Thanks for your help!  Let’s see if we can turn out a powerful job description here…and help each other in the process.

Author: Joe Pulizzi

Joe Pulizzi is the Founder of Content Marketing Institute, a UBM company, the leading education and training organization for content marketing, which includes the largest in-person content marketing event in the world, Content Marketing World. Joe is the winner of the 2014 John Caldwell Lifetime Achievement Award from the Content Council. Joe’s the author of five books, including his latest, Killing Marketing. His third book, Epic Content Marketing was named one of “Five Must Read Business Books of 2013” by Fortune Magazine. If you ever see Joe in person, he’ll be wearing orange. Follow him on Twitter @JoePulizzi.

Other posts by Joe Pulizzi

Join Over 200,000 of your Peers!

Get daily articles and news delivered to your email inbox and get CMI’s exclusive e-book Get Inspired: 75 (More) Content Marketing Examples FREE!

  • Kim Kleeman

    Great idea! More to come…

  • Reinier Willems

    Hi Joe,

    Here’s my first 2-cents on a number of the items. Like your approach to the topic.

    Develop and implement the company’s content marketing strategy.

    Reporting to:
    This can differ from company to company, however in somewhat larger organisations a good reporting line can be to the Marketing Director, Head of Marketing, VP Marketing, well, let’s just say the Marketing Boss.

    1. Analytical skills – the ability to distill the key elements from often complex services/solutions/cases/developments etc.
    2. Excellent writing skills – from magnetic headlines to compelling body text
    3. Interpersonal skills: linking effectively with topical experts inside/outside the company
    4. Interviewing skills: listening, summarizing, questioning

    Hope this helps.
    Best regards,
    Reinier Willems

  • DJ Francis

    Reports to:
    The C-Suite. Anything lower will get bogged down in minutiae and office politics.

    Success Criteria:
    -Internal staff understanding of where it fits within an agency or company, how it benefits clients, when to call in practitioners and what the deliverables look like.
    -Agreed-upon set of deliverables and templates – clear, concise and useful.
    -Established publishing process with secured resources – complete picture from ideation to curation.
    -Functioning content calendar integrating all necessary departments, deliverables and other components.

    -Able to make the complex simple.
    -Able to not just understand YOUR job, but to be able to effectively communicate that responsibility, value and the position’s connective tissue to a variety of audiences.
    -Able to see the big picture as well as revel in the details.
    -Understand interactivity and the web – inside out and backwards

  • Josh Healan

    I agree with DJ, most definitely reports to the C suite.

    Position Summary. The CCO will drive audience engagement, internally and externally, with any and all forms of the company’s communications. This individual will be an expert in all things related to content and channel optimization, brand consistency, segmentation and localization, analytics and meaningful measurement.

    Responsibilities. Creates the strategy and provides oversight for all customer, employee, shareholder and media facing communications. This includes, but is not limited to, company websites, company intranets, blogs, social media accounts, newsletters online and off, magazines should they exist, knowledge centers, product or service documentation, and end-user documentation.

    Primary criteria for success is customer and employee affinity. Success will be measured around lifetime customer value, customer satisfaction, and employee advocacy.

    Education required is a Phd in Content Marketing from the Content Marketing Institute.

    Experience and skills required is a true passion for creating lifelong, fanatical customers, and employees. This person will likely have served as both a high level role with a successful media business and in a high level marketing role at a knowledge driven company.

  • Christina Pappas

    Here’s my stab:

    The Chief Content Officer will be responsible for:

    – Working with marketing to build a current and future vision for their company’s content plan. This plan should be highly centered on the target market’s direction both actual and predicted.
    – Using market data, develop content themes/topics and execute a plan to develop assets that support a point of view on these or educate the market in a thought leadership way.
    – Determining the best methods to create and deliver content. Must be able to think about content in multiple ways – not just written whitepaper form.
    – Managing the plan including the editorial calendar and hiring external consultants/copywriters/video producers etc. to create content.
    – Managing and working with marketing team to build successful content execution plan including publishing and promotion to ensure maximum impact of exposure

  • Joe Pulizzi

    This one is courtesy of CC Holland. Thanks CC

    * Reports To:
    Chief Marketing Officer or CEO

    * Position Summary:
    C-level executive overseeing all marketing content initiatives, both internal and external, across multiple platforms and formats.

    * Responsibilities:
    Ensure all content is on-brand, consistent in terms of style and quality, and optimized for search and user experience.
    Map out a content strategy that supports and extends marketing initiatives, both short- and long-term.
    Supervise writers, editors, content strategists; be arbiter of best practices in grammar, messaging, writing, and style.
    Conduct ongoing A/B testing to gauge content effectiveness.
    Conduct user testing on content.
    Gather data and handle analytics (or supervise those who do) and make recommendations based on those results.
    Supervise SEO and semantic web efforts; create standards and practices.
    Establish work flow for requesting, creating, editing, publishing, and retiring content.
    Work with technical team to implement appropriate CMS.
    Conduct periodic competitive audits.
    Supervise the maintenance of content inventories and matrices.
    Ensure consistent global experience and implement appropriate localization/translation strategies.
    * Success Criteria:
    Would vary depending on business…I’d include:
    Customer feedback and survey data
    Usability testing
    Engagement (measured by users taking the desired action)
    Search-engine rank
    Qualified leads
    Up-sell, cross-sell

    * Experience and Education Required:
    Depends on position…in my work with Cisco, I’d say experience in an enterprise-level organization is a must. At least a B.A. in a field like journalism, library science, etc. — something that requires you to both think critically/wholistically as well as putting the pedal to the metal.

    * Skills Required:
    Great bullshit detector
    Ability to think “customer first”
    Outstanding command of the English language
    Familiarity with principles of marketing (and the ability to adapt or ignore them as dictated by data)
    Excellent negotiator and mediator
    Strong project-management skills
    Incredible people skills
    Basic technical understanding of HTML, XHTML, CSS, Java, web publishing, Flash, etc.
    Proficiency with Google Analytics, Omniture, or other analysis systems
    A high tolerance frustration
    A willingness to embrace change and to adapt strategies on the fly
    Great powers of persuasion and presentation (Visio, PowerPoint)

  • Kim Kleeman

    Ability to create vision and strategy around company business goals
    Ability to take vision and strategy and implement the tactical tasks using content
    Ability to create, organize and own all content generated within the company and with its partners.
    Needs to create partnerships with technology, training and sales departments or companies
    Ability to have a global view for the company regarding marketing and content

    needs to be continually learning- the latest platforms, the lastest tools and solutions through partnerships
    Ability to work in a 24 hour project cycle- utilizing teams or contractors in other countries

    Plus: Has had experience creating a resource or library of content organized indicating SEO, translations and version control

  • Stallar Lufrano

    There is no reason this person should have a PhD. A BA or BS like Joe Pulizzi suggested would be fine. Because you’re looking for someone that has done more than just go to school.
    You want someone who can draw off small amounts of information and turn it in to great content.
    A great communicator is a must.

  • Lisa Gerber

    In addition to everyone’ comments:
    Must have a geek-like passion for creating content and a voracious reading habit.
    I love Joe’s comment: Must be a great bullshit detector: ie: be able to screen pitches.
    A good balance between creative and organizational skills is important in order to create a strong content strategy and editorial calendar, and to then manage and maintain that calendar.

  • Kim Gusta

    Another important skill that a successful CCO should have that hasn’t been mentioned is the ability to think like an educator. They should intuitively understand what their audience needs to know and how they want to consume it. To some degree, it’s similar to a teacher creating a lesson plan – what do you want them to understand and what are the best ways to engage them in learning? How do you keep them from falling asleep in the classroom? Those who really get that will be outstanding CCOs.

  • Cindy Lavoie

    Cool idea, Joe, and a great example of how a blog can stimulate valuable industry discussion we all benefit from. Thanks for doing this. Here’s my take on the job of Chief Content Officer:
    • Reports to VP of Marketing or VP of Corporate Communications
    • Position Summary: Responsible for communicating the purpose of the company and its value to customers & stakeholders through all forms of self-published content. Collaborates with PR (which still deals with 3rd-party content and media relations).
    • Responsibilities: Build and sustain a compelling and responsive company presence through online and offline published content.
    • Success Criteria:
    o Brand recognition and consistency across published channels
    o Customer engagement metrics
    o Website and social media traffic growth
    o Conversion metrics
    o Social media positive sentiment metrics
    • Skills & Experience Required: Proven editorial skills are a must. Marketing or corporate communications experience is preferred. Must be a team player, able to work across functional teams to recruit the best writing and creative talent. Leadership skills required, to define and manage a set of goals across diverse contributors and content types. Project management skills and a proven ability to manage editorial schedules, deadlines, and campaigns.

  • Jill Nagle

    – Oversees and ensures unified yet specific and appropriate voice and tone for all company content, including but not limited to: marketing, social media, emails, user interface, help, and CSR scripts.
    – Works with owners of particular content to refine and measure content goals (for example, a UI content goal might be reduced CS contact; a CS goal might be reduced time on the call, higher customer satisfaction rating)
    – Reports to CIO
    – Develops/maintains systems and processes, both human and technological, for unifying, cataloguing, retrieving and repurposing content
    – Participates in hiring and supervising leaders in all content verticals

  • Ann Handley

    All good stuff, above. I’d add the following to the “skills required” section. Or, at least, “ideal CCO skills and interests that are a boon to any company.” ; )

    – Training as a print or broadcast journalist. Journalists are trained in how to tell a story using words, images, or audio, and they understand how to create content that draws an audience. Their innate understanding of audience also gives journalists a critical outsider’s perspective… a nuance that marketers can sometimes miss.

    – Nose for a story. The best content creators are the ones who can smell a good story. (Is your candidate bursting at the seams with ideas for content your business might create? Do they think in terms of content? Do you hear them utter phrases like, “That would make a great blog post!”)

    – Digital intuition/passion for new tools. Does your candidate understand how the web works? Do they have an interest in new tools and technologies? Coupled with:

    – An amateur passion. Look for people who are already online and creating content, even as amateurs. (Does your candidate maintain a personal blog? Share photos on Flickr? Is he or she on Twitter? Creating videos?

    – A salesy streak. Can your candidate articulate the business goal of content?

    – Social DNA. Is he or she a social butterfly online? Does he enjoy interacting via social channels?

  • Pingback: The Rise of the Content Marketer « The Effective Marketer()

  • Dan@ Job Description

    Great work Joe, I didn’t get to see this post before the final Chief Content Officer Job Description was put together by you, else I would have contributed to it. Anyway, what you have put together is a great document. Thanks for the good work.

  • Pam Didner

    Will certainly steal the job description with proud, when I need it.  Good job, Joe!