If someone asked you “How should your customers describe their interaction with your brand?”, the odds are your answer would be “memorable”. And rightfully so, since a positive brand experience is likely to increase conversion rates, boost customer loyalty, and trigger brand advocacy.
Among the many elements that compose a brand experience, content is central for creating compelling stories that attract the right people towards your brand and activate engagement.
But to bring the desired results, content requires consistency. This can be achieved with minimum effort once you’ve created a solid content team.
Growing an on-site content team can prove challenging at times, so many brands turn to remote content teams instead. Another benefit of remote work is that you can engage with talented professionals anywhere, and thus bring diverse perspectives and point of views to your brand.
In this article, we’d like to share our tried-and-tested top 5 tips for creating a successful remote content marketing team.
1. Define your content strategy
Before you start looking for people to join your team, you need to answer a few crucial questions to understand what you are trying to solve or achieve with your content.
- Which business goals / teams will your content support (sales, customer service, operations, etc)?
- Who will you create content for?
- What kind of format is most suitable for your content?
- Where and how often do you intend to publish?
- What results are you expecting your content to generate?
This exercise is the very first step towards creating your content strategy – the nexus of your content creation. Starting with a content strategy helps you lay out your content scope, requirements, calendar, and staffing needs.
Defining your content strategy scope and goals will naturally lead you to the next important step of your content strategy. That is, deciding on the type of content you need to publish in order to achieve your set goals and enhance your brand experience.
Considering your goals, what kind of content will hit the right notes? Long form articles? Expert content? SEO-driven content? In-depth reports and whitepapers? Decide on the best content format once you have clarified your objectives.
Creating a content strategy around these elements will inform your decisions such as how many people you actually need on the team, which specific roles you need to involve (researchers, domain experts, social media professionals, designers, etc), and your timeline for putting a team together.
If you haven’t created your content strategy yet, check out this overview on how to create a content strategy and content that moves your audience to take action.
To synthesize the main components of your strategy, including keywords, content ideas, resources, and timeline, use the Content Canvas.
2. Define your budget
Budget plays a major role in content strategy planning. You need to plan to spend enough to give your content marketing a chance to make a true impact, but you should avoid overspending until you get an idea of the ROI your content is generating.
According to research, 24% of marketers plan on increasing their content marketing budget, and they rely on sales to evaluate the performance of their content.
The goals you set at the beginning, when creating your strategy, are a good place to start. Depending on the results you want from your content, you can decide to allocate a higher or a lower budget.
For example, say your sales team needs key content assets (like case studies or whitepapers) that need to be frequently updated in order to help them close more deals. In this case, content can have a direct impact on your business growth, so you can allocate a generous budget.
On the other hand, imagine you are launching a series of educational or inspirational content for your wider audience (e.g. a podcast or a newsletter). This content may be very valuable to your target audience, but you don’t know if this content has the potential to attract a relevant audience that could become qualified leads or customers. So, you should be mindful of your budget until you are able to measure the ROI of this new content effort.
When it comes to putting your budget on paper, include all the direct and indirect costs that could come up in the content marketing process. For example, such costs might include:
- Content creation (research, writing, revisions, editing)
- Content promotion (email newsletters, social media, advertising, etc)
- SEO / link building
- Graphic design, video editing tools
- Tools for publishing and measuring content performance (CMS, SEO plugins, analytics tools, etc)
3. Find the right people
Once your content strategy and direction are clear and your budget has been defined, it’s time to think about who to hire and how to find the best people for your brand.
Depending on the composition of your current team, decide what other roles need to be filled in.
A marketing manager will usually be able to oversee and steer your brand’s content efforts in the right direction. They can do most of the hands-on work you will likely need, from publishing to social media management and content advertising. They’ll also be able to manage the content professionals that you hire temporarily, depending on your specific needs (e.g. SEO experts or video content editors).
One important aspect to consider is whether you will be creating expert content. If so, do you have a subject matter expert on board who can dedicate time to support the writer(s), or will you be needing a writer who has domain expertise?
When writing your job description, make sure you are clear about the requirements, deliverables, and timeframes. Equally important in a remote hire is to really understand the motivation of the person you’re interviewing, especially if you’re contracting domain experts.
Lastly, before getting to the minutiae of schedules and payment, it’s worth spending some time to make sure that the writer is indeed the right fit for you.
You can do so by commissioning one or two test pieces of content which will help you get a look into their process, writing quality, adherence to deadlines, and level of expertise.
This is beneficial for both your brand and the writer(s), as it’s in everyone’s best interest to join a team they are happy working with.
4. Create a system
Once you’ve found your people and have them on board, it’s time to set the wheels in motion for a process. This is very important for making your remote team work well together, and will also make it easier for new members to join later.
This may sound elaborate, but it isn’t. You just need to make sure you set some rules that help everyone be productive and efficient. Here are some things you can do:
- Define roles. Decide who does what. This will make it clear who is in charge of carrying out the research or handing the final stamp of approval before publishing, so that bottlenecks are avoided as much as possible. If you need help grasping the details of content production flow, the Content Strategy Framework provides a step-by-step process for brainstorming, creating, publishing, promoting, optimizing, and reporting on content.
- Set appropriate deadlines. Content production happens in stages, so it’s important to set the right timeline for each phase of the process. Any piece of content will have several deadlines (e.g. a content brief deadline; a draft deadline; a final version deadline; a publishing date), so planning accordingly will allow everyone to deliver on time.
- Track content performance. A content performance tracking system is important in evaluating the content you publish so that things can be optimized over time. Analyze your content results regularly (monthly, or even more often you publish often, and make sure the entire content team is looped in.
When it comes to writing and publishing, a content style guide should also be part of your content system.
If you don’t have one already, a style guide will help you pin down your brand voice, tone, and style requirements, so all of your content accurately and consistently reflects your brand personality and values.
5. Nurture personal connections
If you’ve built your remote content ‘dream team’, congratulations! Your content marketing is off to a great start.
To make sure things move smoothly from now on, plan face-to-face time regularly (either through video-conferencing or in person) to make sure everyone stays aligned and feels like they are a part of your brand.
Weekly or monthly meetings will help everyone sync up on content and business results, updates, and future plans, which will only strengthen your team and improve your content performance in the long term.
I hope our process for building a remote content team will help you find the best people out there who will make your brand grow and thrive!
If you need help jumpstarting your content strategy or have any questions, feel free to reach out.
Best of luck!
Content Strategy Framework