By Joe Pulizzi published August 4, 2014

10 Content Marketing Roles for Success in the Next 10 Years

Missing-10 new roles of marketing“What roles do I need to be successful with a content marketing approach?”

I hear this question all the time, from both large enterprises and even larger “small” businesses. It’s a critical question, and one that is not easy to plan for… but we must plan, nonetheless.

I started to think about categorizing different content marketing roles about a year ago. Why? Because there are just so many moving parts to effective content marketing creation and distribution, that it’s imperative that everyone involved knows who is responsible for each task, and that all the most essential tasks are accounted for in your content marketing plan.

Most organizations today, are still so used to traditional marketing tactics that telling stories to create and sustain business opportunities is like using a muscle that has atrophied.

As Content Marketing Institute’s Chief Strategist, Robert Rose has said, “In many businesses (especially in B2B), the marketing department is an order-taking, tactical function that runs on the hamster-wheel of demand generation, trying to keep up with “client” orders for new collateral, press releases, case studies and, at times, marketing-qualified leads (MQLs).”

If our new call to arms centers on creating and growing owned audiences, it’s clear that our marketing skill sets may be… well… a bit too dated to keep us competitive over the next decade.

The new roles of marketing

While there is no perfect structure for a marketing organization, it’s apparent that we are starting to see marketing departments transform themselves into publishing organizations. And with that transformation comes a shift in the key business roles that marketers must now fill.

NOTE: Don’t think of the list below as new job titles, per se, but rather as the core competencies that need to be accounted for across the enterprise.

1. Chief Content Officer

This is your content ambassador, also known as an organization’s chief storyteller. This person should be responsible for setting the overall editorial/content marketing mission statement and integrating that throughout the enterprise. As every silo (PR, email, social, search, etc.) starts to create and curate content, it is the CCO‘s responsibility to make sure that the stories remain consistent and make sense to the audience(s).

In addition, the CCO must understand how the stories translate into results that address the organization’s business issues (driving sales, saving costs, or creating more loyal customers, for example).

2. Managing Editor

Half storyteller and half project manager, the managing editor executes the content plan on behalf of the CCO. Whereas the CCO focuses on strategy, the managing editor’s job is all execution, working with the roles below to make the stories come alive (including tone, style guides, and content scheduling).

3. Chief Listening Officer

The role of the CLO will be to function as “air-traffic control” for social media and your other content channels. This person should be there to listen to the groups, maintain the conversation, and to route (and/or notify) the appropriate team members who can engage in appropriate conversations (customer service, sales, marketing, etc.). This feedback mechanism is critical to our content actually making a difference for our customers. The CLO also needs to keep tabs on how the content is performing on owned media sites (like a blog), and get that intelligence back to the CCO and Managing Editor.

4. Director of Audience

This person should be charged with monitoring your audience/buyer personas, making sure all content creators are intimately familiar with their characteristics, their passion triggers, and what actions you want them to take. The Director of Audience should also be responsible for building subscription assets (direct mail lists, email lists, social media subscriptions) that can grow and be segmented as your content mission matures and expands. If it makes sense, this person can also oversee the marketing automation platform for your organization.

5. HR for Marketing

As every employee and stakeholder becomes a more integral part of the marketing process, it will be increasingly necessary for marketing to work closely with human resources to make sure that employees understand their roles in the marketing process and to help your organization leverage your employees’ audiences without creating conflicts or confusion.

Marketing and HR begin to heavily overlap as employee performance becomes increasingly tied to marketing (i.e., in the form of content performance).

6. Channel Master

Wherever your content is headed (social media, email, mobile, print, in-person, etc.), the channel master will be responsible for getting the most out of each channel. What works best on SlideShare? When should we send our emails, and how frequently? What’s the appropriate ratio of owned vs. curated content your business should distribute on Twitter? Who is keeping track of mobile strategy and execution? Your team will look to the Channel Master for these, and other answers.

This person should also be responsible for curating the current content assets for distribution. (In fact, I just brought this up in my recent post about hiring an internal content curation specialist.)

7. Chief Technologist

As marketing and information technology continue to merge, there will be a need for at least one (maybe more) individual whose sole purpose is to leverage the proper use of these technologies into the content marketing process. The person in this role will be responsible for staying on top of these ever-increasing changes as they relate to the storytelling process — from calendaring and approvals to marketing automation, freelancer integration, and emerging technologies.

This role could be combined with the channel master if you have a small company, but larger enterprises will likely need to keep the two functions distinct.

8. Influencer Relations

The role formerly known as media relations will evolve into that of a manager of influencers. This person’s responsibilities should include developing your “hit list” of influencers, maintaining direct relationships with them, and integrating them into your marketing process in the most impactful ways.

9. Freelancer and Agency Relations

As content demands continue to evolve (and increase), your organization’s reliance on freelance talent and other external content vendors will grow as well. Organizations will need to cultivate their own “expert” content teams and networks, and it will be this person’s job to negotiate rates and responsibilities so that all members of your team are united in their work on behalf of your marketing program.

I see this role evolving out of the “procurement” department, but with a larger focus outside of just financial issues.

10. ROO (Return-on-Objective) Chief

This person will be responsible for ensuring that there is an ongoing return on marketing objectives, and for communicating to all teams why your business is developing content assets in the first place. Do you have an analytics person in your organization? If so, give them a raise and make sure they understand the core objectives behind your content marketing. This role will be the CCO’s best friend.

Yes, we are selling products and services, but the way in which we do that is changing faster than we ever anticipated. This means focusing on content as an asset — which, in turn, means that our marketing departments will continue to evolve. Putting the above roles in place now will help make sure the rest of your enterprise is prepared to evolve right along with them.

What additional roles are you seeing emerge on the marketing landscape? I’d love to hear your thoughts!

Editor’s note: This post is an update of materials drawn from an earlier CMI post, as well as a version published on LinkedIn.

For more insight on the evolving roles and skills necessary for successful content marketing, join us at Content Marketing World 2014, September 8–11, 2014. Register today!

Author: Joe Pulizzi

Joe Pulizzi considers himself the poster boy for content marketing. Founder of the Content Marketing Institute , Joe evangelizes content marketing around the world through keynotes, articles, tweets and his books, including best-selling Epic Content Marketing (McGraw-Hill) and the new book, Content Inc. Check out Joe's two podcasts. If you want to get on his good side, send him something orange. For more on Joe, check out his personal site or follow him on Twitter @JoePulizzi.

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  • Adam P. Newton

    Such a rad article. It breaks down the responsibilities into bite-sized, understandable tasks that C-Suite types can comprehend. Do you feel that a given business must have a different person in each role, or could a few people in smaller companies wear a several hats? And if the latter, what are some combinations you could recommend?

    • Joe Pulizzi

      Hi Adam…absolutely one person could wear many hats. For example, ROO could be a job of the CCO. Chief Technologist and Channel Master could be combined. Influencer and Freelance/Agency relations could be combined.

  • Ryan Rutan

    Thanks for the ammunition Joe – I’m going to use this as a resource roadmap as I push the content agenda to the top of our marketing priority stack. Is there a minimum viable mix in your opinion? If you were building from the ground up – would you ensure competency in those areas in the order in which they appear?

    • Joe Pulizzi

      Thanks for the comment Ryan. Do what you can with the resources you have. Overall strategy and then managing editor are key…then fill in the other ones as you grow. Sadly, I don’t believe there is an order to this…you just fill the gap when the pain is too much to bear without a position filling it.

  • Kostas

    Great list Joe. Like Adam, I am thinking that for the smaller business there is going to be a some overlap on roles. I have a few ideas on which would work well in tandem, but would be interested in your thoughts also.

    • Joe Pulizzi

      Yes sir…see the comment for Adam below. There is a ton of flexibility here. It also depends on the people you have already, what their passion points are and what they are good at that will make a big difference. Thanks!

  • Tiffany

    There are also the people who support these people. For example, in-house writers/editors who actually create the content.

    • Joe Pulizzi

      Absolutely Tiffany…those people are integral to the process. I guess I’m focusing mostly on “newer” roles here. Thanks for commenting.

  • OphelieLechat

    Sharing this with everyone on my team. Great post, Joe.

    At the moment, we’re a tiny team with everyone wearing multiple hats, but just like @ryan_rutan:disqus I’ll be using this list as a roadmap. As a former journalist, I find the increasing overlap in roles completely fascinating. We’ve been emulating media roles in my organisation, but it might be time to switch to these content-focused titles instead.

  • Abey Mathew

    Joe has already mentioned that some of these roles could be combined. I see this as six functions. 1. Boss (Chief Content Officer / ROO Chief ), 2. Editors (Managing Editor / Other Editors), 3. Audience (Chief Listening Officer / Director of Audience), 4. Delivery ( Channel Master), 5. Technology ( Chief Technologist) and 6. Relationships ( HR for Marketing / Influencer Relations / Freelancer and Agency Relations).

  • Vagmita Sharma

    This is a great post Joe. At a juncture where my organization is setting up a content strategy and marketing team, this piece comes as a big insight.

  • NenadSenic

    Ha. Now it’s absolutely clear why I sometimes feel totally drained. 10 persons in 1. :)

  • Jennifer

    Thank you for this forward-looking article!

  • Michael Cunningham

    Joe, thanks for the great post. It’s nice to see the role of marketing project manager being acknowledged. In this case, you have rolled that role up into the responsibilities of the Managing Editor. As a former managing editor myself, I can relate to your description. But as a content marketing team gets larger, can you see the value in having the singular role of project manager? Or have you mostly encountered the role being performed by other roles?

    • Joe Pulizzi

      Hi Michael…thanks for the comment. Possibly. We use project managers all the time, so I can see the fit for sure.

  • suzy spring

    Great sets of roles and responsiblility. It also shows where we have concentrate as a content marketer. I think it sure benefit me. And the combining also good. Thanks for the post

  • Glenn Wells

    Hello Joe, I’m a newly-ordained content marketing officer at my company. Your post was illuminating—I will be wearing most of these hats at the start. I’ve just been given the go-ahead to attend CMWorld.

    We’re a company that likes to inform to guide you to a solution. Joe, do you think that the B2B track will provide enough focus for me to establish a firm foundation? Are there any other sessions you would recommend?

    Thanks for your guidance. I am excited to have the opportunity to be a part of this conference. I hope to see you there and meet you.

    • Joe Pulizzi

      Great news Glenn…well, I put together the agenda, so there is something for everyone. The B2B track is a great foundation, but if I’m you I’d really look through all the sessions to see what would be the best fit for you. For example, there are some great sessions in social media and demand generation that you should probably review.

      Looking forward to seeing you at #cmworld

      • Glenn Wells

        Thank you Joe, I’m signed up and ready.

  • Adam Barsby

    Very interesting to see where Content Marketing may be within the next few years, as it’s an ever-changing environment, which most businesses are still getting to grips with. An illuminating article that will give many of us an idea of which route to take in the future!

  • IranMCT