By Angela Vannucci published August 26, 2010

Assembling a Project “Dream Team” for Content Marketing

The Miami Heat has Wade, Bosh and James. What super-star line-up can your clients expect on their content marketing project team? Bringing together talent that meets the objectives of the project is key to long-term success. Having the wrong players in the wrong positions can put your organization on the sidelines.

Here are four simple questions to ask when putting together a project “Dream Team.”

Who will manage the project?

Every project needs a project manager. This person is the key contact with your client on a day-to-day basis once the project starts.

What to look for:
Select someone who has the expertise, flexibility, planning, troubleshooting and management skills necessary to keep the project team on time and on budget–and someone who will keep the client satisfied along the way.

What content will need to be supplied?

Gone are the days when clients supplied their own content; they need help with content development.  They don’t have the resources and/or they can’t keep up with demand. It’s your job to provide the content development team to meet the project goals.

What to look for:
You need to develop a network of reliable subject matter experts (across many industries) to join specific projects teams. Clients are looking for content developers to be experts, to deliver their message within their established guidelines, and to do it quickly. Finding the industry experts and drafting them to the team can be the first steps toward meeting client expectations.

How will content be delivered?

Content delivery can dictate the level of technical expertise your project will need.

For instance, if you are building a website, you know you will need to add a website developer to your team. But what about SEO? How important will that be and do you need to add an SEO expert? Know how the content is being delivered so you can secure the right level of technical expertise to help with planning, development and deployment.

What to look for:
It seems every agency and design firm offers programming and SEO services. But, not everyone is doing a good job at it. Before you partner with anyone, check his or her references, and be sure to visit the sites they’ve produced (and check out this post from Heather Lloyd-Martin with a checklist of things to look for in an SEO copywriter). And, remember, all website coding is NOT equal. The key to getting good SEO results is valid coding. You can check coding, website ranking and a whole lot more with Hubspot’s website tools.

What level of design talent is needed?

Content keeps audiences interested, but graphics pull them in. Good design keeps audiences engaged. But, design needs are not always based on the audience; sometimes design requirements are dictated by client expectations, budget or simply the end format.

What to look for:
Bring the right level of design talent to the team from the beginning and be sure the designer understands the project, timeline and project goals.

Your content marketing “dream team”

In summary, here’s a list of players you may need on your content marketing project team:

  • Project manager
  • Subject matter experts
  • Writers
  • SEO copywriter
  • Web developer
  • Designer

Lots of consideration has to be taken when creating the right project team. But, with good planning, networking and clearly defined expectations, your client will have their own dream team working for them and you’ll be on your way to a successful project.

Author: Angela Vannucci

Angela Vannucci is the owner of Execution Matters, a project management firm for content marketers. Angela has a passion for well-organized and well-executed projects and has been helping clients achieve their content marketing goals for over 17 years. You can connect with her on LinkedIn.

Other posts by Angela Vannucci

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  • Joe Pulizzi

    Great post Angela…I like this because most marketers just say they need to go out and “get the content” and don't think about everything involved in their choices. It's also important that they don't save this for last, but really think about it up front.

    But I could do without the LeBron James mention 😉

  • Craig Lindberg

    Angela, Very well said and I couldn't agree more. As with most serious endeavors not only in B2B marketing, the devil is in the details and vetting for best possible resources. Good roadmap to successful content.
    Craig Lindberg
    MLT Creative-Atlanta, GA

  • John White

    Nice. One more question: “How do we continue to feed the beast over time?” After the initial launch, what will we put in place to maintain reader interest and build the base of followers.

  • Nolin LeChasseur

    A subject-matter expert can be very difficult resource to find and secure, especially in some focused or niche industry verticals. In those cases, we find that pairing a writer that has strong interviewing/sourcing ability in addition to writing skills with a client-side subject-matter expert as the source can work very well. Success in this scenario lies in the interviewer's ability to extract knowledge from the expert and turn it into useful marketing and sales tools.

  • chrismoritz

    If you can find time and budget to squeeze in two more roles, I'd suggest adding a content strategist and an account manager. Your strategist will maintain the “big picture” view, provide workflow and governance expertise, and shape the initiative over time. Your account manager will liase with your client/primary stakeholders, smooth out any unexpected bumps, keep the production team motivated and informed, and be the decision-maker when “business needs vs. customer wants” conflicts arise.

  • Heather Lloyd-Martin


    I would add that the SEO copywriter (depending on his or her skills) could also act as the content strategist, and as the person choosing the keyphrases. So many times companies think that they have the “SEO stuff” handled, and they hand the writer a bunch of PPC keyphrases and think that's all they need to do. However, a good content strategist/SEO copywriter can research new keyphrases that reach prospects across the buy cycle, plus develop a per-page keyword strategy.

    Great article! Thanks for writing it!

  • Anonymous

    This is great advice and although I own an agency full of creative content development talent, I believe in building “dream teams” for clients that include “free agents”. There is more specialized talent available than ever before for any business looking to build their own content factory dream team.

    By actively engaging in social media over the past couple of years, I now have an amazing list of experts on all kinds of content criteria that I can’t wait to find an opportunity to collaborate with. There is no longer any excuse for a business to let their website gather cobwebs and not be the central hub of their marketing efforts.

  • Angela Vannucci

    Thanks John. If you don’t have a solid long-term content plan, you won’t be able to engage readers and build a following. Michele Linn had a great article on developing a plan to keep content going long term. Check out her post “How to put together an editorial calendar for content marketing.”