By Joe Pulizzi published July 13, 2011 Est Read Time: 2 min

The Chief Content Officer as Content Lifeguard

I went to a real swim meet yesterday for the first time.

There were hundreds of adults and children there.  Almost all were swimmers…some were expert swimmers while others were just swimming.

Content Marketing Swim MeetEven with all the swimmers there, the lifeguard watched over the entire event.

My brother-in-law was with me and said, “I find it interesting that even though everyone here knows how to swim, there is still a lifeguard.”

Some excerpts on the Wikipedia definition of a Lifeguard includes:

  • Supervising the safety and rescue of the swimmers
  • Training in first aid and advanced safety techniques
  • Work with other parts of the emergency services function throughout the community

The Content Marketing Lifeguard

The lifeguard analogy strongly resonates with me about the need for a brand to have a Chief Content Officer.

Think of it this way.  Everyone in the organization either creates or has the ability to create content (we can all swim). Everyone is at different levels of content expertise (some are good and some are not so good). So, all companies create content but that doesn’t mean that we understand effective content marketing.

The Chief Content Officer is:

  • Responsible for the supervision of all (internal and external) content creators
  • Trained in advanced content marketing techniques and understands not only the customer story, but where content marketing fits in the organization
  • Works with other parts of the organization (sales, operations, customer service) to adequately and professional tell the brand story.

Whatever you call it, you need someone to fill this role in your organization.  A brand without a content lifeguard, letting each silo run amok with their own content strategies, is a dangerous game to play. Just like having a pool that is unsupervised.

For more, download the latest issue of Chief Content Officer magazine, or refer to this handy Chief Content Officer job description.

Image Credit: Susan Leggett/

Author: Joe Pulizzi

Joe Pulizzi is the bestselling author of seven content marketing books including his latest, Content Inc. He has founded four companies, including the Content Marketing Institute (CMI), and his newest venture, The Tilt. His podcast series, This Old Marketing with Robert Rose, has generated millions of downloads from over 150 countries. He is also the author of The Random Newsletter, delivered to thousands every two weeks. His Foundation, The Orange Effect, delivers speech therapy and technology services to children in 35 states. Follow him on Twitter @JoePulizzi.

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