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How to Build Your A-Team to Create Helpful and Engaging Content

How to Build Your A-Team to Create Helpful and Engaging Content

How do you take your content from good to great, satisfy search engine algorithms, and capture your audience’s interest? With a well-curated content team.

With so much information overload, it’s no surprise that today’s ever-evolving digital space practically demands content that is interesting, deeply resonates with readers, and drives conversions. 

However, that’s just scratching the surface. You also need to take dozens of other factors into consideration when creating content, like finicky search engine algorithm updates, spam detection policies, and the rising popularity of AI tools (for example, job seekers are often using tools like ChatGPT to write resumes). While understanding algorithms and leveraging AI is helpful, human creativity remains essential to writing good content. 

So how do you stand out without churning out generic “for the search engine” articles?

The answer is a content dream team! A team of skilled individuals will help you craft compelling content, satisfy those pesky search engine algorithms, rise above the competition, and ultimately achieve marketing success. 

In this article, we’ll discuss the five most important roles in any content marketing team, their duties, and their essential skill sets. In the second half, we’ll also examine the latest trends in content marketing, with a special focus on the recent HCU updates.  

The Powerhouse Players: Core Roles in Content Marketing

Let’s start with the core foundation of your marketing dream team. These experts work together to come up with a content plan, write and edit the content, compliment it with catchy graphics, and track how well the content performs. 

The Visionary: The Content Strategist

The first step in creating amazing content is to have someone who coordinates the entire content creation process — which is exactly where the role of Content Strategist comes in.  

This person acts as the “master architect” responsible for planning the overall content marketing strategy. The Strategist typically begins a project by meeting with the client and understanding their needs, goals, and brand voice. From there, they create an extensive content plan and further divide tasks among the team. 

Over the course of the project, Content Strategists will work with writers and editors to make sure the content fulfills the client’s goals; check with graphic designers to see that the graphics work well with the text; and sync up with data analysts to examine how well the content is performing.

One of the most important requirements for Content Strategists is strong analytical skills and a ‘good eye’ for content. This means having the ability to research market trends, analyze audience demographics, and identify gaps in competitor’s content — and then take all of this information to come up with fresh, interesting, and eye-catching content ideas. 

In addition, Content Strategists must have a deep understanding of SEO best practices and which content resonates best with their client’s target audience. They must be able to translate complex marketing goals into actionable topics, headlines, and formats. Other essential soft skills include communication, collaboration, and organizational (project management) skills. 

The Storyteller: The Content Writer(s)

When was the last time you stopped scrolling, clicked a link to learn more about a product, or felt a genuine connection with a brand? That was all thanks to the magic of a Content Writer. 

An indispensable member of any marketing team, these master wordsmiths take ideas, keywords, and goals and craft them into content that inspires, educates, entertains, or sells. Content Writers typically work with a mix of short- and long-form content, such as social media posts, email copy, blog posts, infographics, video scripts, and much more. 

First and foremost, successful Content Writers need to have exceptional writing skills; a talent for weaving narratives into informative content; and the ability to tailor their tone to resonate with the target audience. To aid them with these tasks, Content Writers should also have strong research capabilities, a keen understanding of grammar and syntax, and a basic foundation of SEO principles and keyword integration (especially for brands which rely on a strong online presence).

Depending on your company or industry, it may be a good idea to look for Content Writers who have expertise in a niche (such as travel, business, technology, health, food, and so on). This is an especially important point when taking Google’s recent Helpful Content Update into consideration, which focuses heavily on expertise and experience. We’ll talk about this in more detail in the second half of this article. 

The Polisher: The Content Editor

Now, let’s take a completely different scenario. Have you ever read a blog post that was filled with typos, incorrect information, and sentences that read like a giant wall of text? Then you probably read a piece that wasn’t reviewed by the watchful eye of a Content Editor. 

These meticulous editors ensure that your text is free of grammatical errors, factual inconsistencies, and redundancy, all while adhering to your brand’s voice and style guide. They also make sure the text ‘flows,’ the ideas connect naturally, and the overall text is easy to read.

Naturally, Content Editors must have impeccable grammar skills and a keen eye for detail. They should also be able to identify, research, and correct factual inconsistencies, make sure the brand’s voice and style are consistent, and have a talent for making complex concepts clear. 

Last but certainly not least, Editors should have excellent communication skills to provide constructive feedback to writers.

The Visualizer: The Graphic Designer

They say a picture is worth a thousand words… and what better way to illustrate ideas, engage readers, and break down complex concepts than with a graphic or two? 

In today's digital age, visuals are a powerful tool for grabbing attention and enhancing user engagement — which is exactly where the Graphic Designer shines within your dream team. These visual storytellers ‘translate’ concepts, ideas, and a brand’s voice into eye-catching graphics that delight and inform. 

Above all, Graphic Designers need to have experience with design tools like Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, and more. Just like a Content Strategist has a keen eye for content, a Graphic Designer has an eye for good design. This encompasses visual design principles and practices like typography, color, space, contrast, and more. 

Other useful skills include the ability to create visuals that align with brand identity and having experience in creating content for different platforms.

The Data Analyst

Imagine creating an amazing piece of content that was brainstormed by a Content Strategist, meticulously written by a Copywriter, flawlessly edited by a Copy Editor, and visually enhanced by a Graphic Designer… But how do you know if it performed well? That’s where the Data Analyst comes in. 

Data Analysts play a crucial role in measuring content performance and audience interaction. These metric magicians track important performance indicators like website traffic, engagement rates, conversions, and social media shares. This data provides valuable insights that help refine the content strategy, guide the future of content creation, and ensures it continues to resonate with the target audience.

Since Data Analysts work with big chunks of data, expertise in website analytics tools is crucial. Although the industry standard is Google Analytics, some companies may also complement their data analytics with tools like Hotjar (track behavior analytics), Mixpanel (analyze popular products), and SEMrush (SEO analytics and performance). 

Besides gathering and analyzing data, Data Analysts also need to have strong visualization and interpretation skills to present their findings in a clear and concise way. They should also be able to translate data insights into actionable recommendations for content development.

How to Make Helpful Content in 2024

Once you’ve assembled your dream team, it’s time to focus on the actual content. However, the content-creation landscape is constantly evolving, and there are a few new trends and considerations for content marketers to keep in mind for 2024. 

Perhaps the biggest impact to content marketing was a recent series of Google's Helpful Content Update (also known as HCU). One of the biggest algorithm updates in recent years were the two core updates in October and November 2023, which placed a premium on high-quality content, excellent user experience, and content that followed SEO best practices.

A few months later, Google rolled out its March 2024 core update, which further focused on reducing low-quality, unoriginal, and irrelevant content. 

To stay on top of these latest updates, here’s what your team needs to know: 

Focus on E-E-A-T

E-E-A-T is an acronym that was created by Google and stands for Experience, Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness — or the four main components of good content in the eyes of Google’s search algorithm. 

Let’s take a look at each component and how to integrate it into your content.

Google now emphasizes the value of first-hand experience in your content. If you run a tech review website, do you have experience with using the technology you write about? Have you tested the products, compared them to similar items, and used them extensively? Sharing personal anecdotes and insights based on real-world experience adds credibility and depth to your content. For example, you could note that you’ve used a certain keyboard brand for X amount of months, compare it to previous keyboards that you’ve had, and mention any pros and cons. 

Next is the second E, which stands for expertise. Google looks at how much expertise the writer has about that specific topic, whether that’s in the form of credentials, education, qualifications, accreditations/certifications, and so on. In our tech review website example, perhaps the writer is a computer engineer by profession who loves to take apart gadgets in their spare time. For a finance website, the writer could be a CPA; a recipe site could be written by a professional chef; or teachers and experts could run an educational platform with a background in education.  

While the first two components focused on the writer, Authoritativeness is your company’s or brand’s overall reputation in the industry. Google considers factors like how well-known your company is within your industry, backlinks from high-authority sites, and mentions from others. 

Finally, Trustworthiness is making sure your content is factually accurate, comes from trustworthy sources, and has an actual person behind the brand. 

Content for People, Not Search Engines

One popular phrase that has been circulating within the content world over the past few years is the concept of “People-First Content.” In a nutshell, it means content that prioritizes the needs and interests of your audience instead of search engine algorithms.

To put it another way, you could be ticking all the boxes for good SEO, so to speak, but if the content is boring, uninformative, or irrelevant, readers are going to lose interest and click away from your page quickly. To make sure your content puts readers first, the Content Strategist, Writer, and Data Analyst need to work together to find the right balance. 

Avoid Low-Quality Content 

Tying in with the point above, the vast amount of information on the internet has practically trained readers to discern low-quality content. This can manifest in a few different ways, from typos and grammatical errors to irrelevant information, lack of structure, having a site that’s bogged down by advertisements, and duplicate (“spin-off”) content. 

However, with a strong team that prioritizes high-quality content, you can easily avoid these pitfalls.

Transparency and Accuracy

One final point to keep in mind is transparency and accuracy. In a world where building trust with your reader is key, avoiding misleading information and proper attribution of sources is more important than ever before.

When referencing other sources, make sure that accurate citations are provided (and confirm that the source is trustworthy as well — remember E-E-A-T!). Likewise, be transparent about who is writing the content, their qualifications, and any potential conflicts of interest.

Finally, to ensure accuracy and transparency, a thorough fact-check is crucial — which is exactly where your team’s Copy Editor plays a vital role.

Conclusion

Having a solid content team and staying on top of the latest trends ensures your content not only informs, educates, and is genuinely helpful but also captures attention, fosters brand loyalty, and ultimately drives conversions.

Sam Makad is a business consultant. He helps small & medium enterprises to grow their businesses and overall ROI. You can follow Sam on Twitter, Facebook, and Linkedin.

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