40+ Mistakes Derailing Your Content Team (and How To Fix Them)

No content material marketer works alone. Even if individuals who make up a content material workforce of 1 nonetheless interact with colleagues, purchasers, and contractors. And everybody experiences to a boss.

Great, productive interactions and collaboration really feel exhilarating and provoking. But not all collaboration falls into that class.

Challenges all the time come up when folks come collectively (nearly or bodily) to strategize, brainstorm, create, publish, and promote content material. Mistakes involving assets, content material operations, and extra can derail even essentially the most promising tasks.

We requested the audio system at Content Marketing World 2022 the place they see the largest issues taking place on content material advertising and marketing groups. Their responses ought to resonate with anybody who has labored with folks (and that’s everybody). But they’re particularly useful for content material entrepreneurs.

Managing #content teams isn’t easy. But the productivity that comes from successful collaboration make it worthwhile. Steer around common pitfalls with help from #CMWorld speakers via @AnnGynn @CMIContent @Canto. Click To Tweet

Forgetting the Golden Rule

It’s the identical mistake folks make managing anybody – they overlook the Golden Rule: Do unto others as you’ll do to your self.

First, deal with one another like people. Be versatile. Be sympathetic. Constantly put your self of their footwear. My complete workforce follows one another on social media and shares what’s taking place in actual life. (Psssst … Real life is figure life. If it’s important to have “balance,” you must most likely get one other job.)

When you’re employed by the Golden Rule, you’re employed “nicer.” You additionally construct followers from inside in order that our overarching advertising and marketing technique of evangelism radiates from the within out. – Kate Bradley Chernis, co-founder and CEO, Lately

Fitting folks into containers

I feel this is applicable to managing any workforce. Many new managers will match workers right into a field based mostly on the wants of a enterprise. But what should you shifted your perspective and appeared first on the wants of your workers? What makes them tick? What do they take pleasure in doing? What makes their work shine? Once you perceive your folks, it’s simple to match their expertise with what the enterprise wants. – Amy Higgins, senior director, content material advertising and marketing, Twilio

Asking for all the pieces in a single function

I’ve seen so many content material advertising and marketing job descriptions which are wildly unrealistic. Unless you’re a small firm, it’s a mistake to anticipate anybody content material marketer to “do it all,” particularly if the scope of content material advertising and marketing and expectations for its influence are larger than the scope of your assets.

Stop spreading your peanut butter too skinny – it’s a recipe for burnout. Instead:

  • Increase the dimensions of the workforce and permit people to give attention to the work they love/are finest at (with the chance to be taught and take a look at new issues).
  • Stop doing all of the issues and do fewer issues higher. Like Drew Davis requested in his 2021 CM World keynote, “What if we spend our creative energy wisely on one outcome?” – Carmen Hill, principal strategist and author, Chill Content
  • Spreading your #ContentMarketing team too thin is a recipe for burnout, says @CarmenHill via @CMIContent @Canto. #CMWorld Click To Tweet

    Hiring solely entrepreneurs

    Mistake 1: Hiring solely folks with advertising and marketing backgrounds. (People with various experiences and backgrounds make for a lot better content material). Mistake 2: Siloes. Maximizing the collaboration between elements of the workforce and content material mediums (weblog, social, video, audio) to repurpose concepts and content material into totally different codecs is a key course of to ascertain. – Jennifer Jordan, vp and world head of content material, Babbel

    Including solely content material strategists and creators

    Content advertising and marketing groups are too typically restricted to content material strategists and creators solely. If we see content material advertising and marketing as an organization mindset and a tradition, then groups ought to embody colleagues that profit from the content material and who might not describe themselves as entrepreneurs: gross sales professionals, product builders, CEOs, and so forth. The workforce must also embody the individuals who facilitate profitable content material advertising and marketing: IT and tech, CFOs, and so forth.

    Defining the content material advertising and marketing workforce as a broader workforce helps to keep away from Joe Pulizzi’s legislation No. 1: The Law of They Have No Clue What You’re Doing. Within the workforce, the implementation process pressure consists of a content material strategist and creators who take the accountability of bringing concepts to life. – Bert van Loon, strategist, CMFF

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    Looking for a similar expertise

    One of the largest errors in constructing and managing a content material advertising and marketing workforce is an excessive amount of give attention to the identical expertise with the intention of manufacturing a excessive quantity of content material. Teams ought to have various expertise, various backgrounds, and various concepts and must be led by a data-driven chief targeted on enterprise outcomes. – Bernie Borges, vp world content material advertising and marketing, iQor

    #ContentMarketing teams need people with diverse skills, backgrounds, and ideas – and a data-driven leader, says @BernieBorges via @CMIContent @Canto. #CMWorld Click To Tweet

    Onboarding for specialization

    Overspecializing is a giant one. Instead of bringing on new folks or businesses for each talent or channel, search for extra T-shaped folks (people with broad data throughout many content material disciplines, together with one space of deep experience).

    There are occasions when a specialist is the suitable solution to go, however particularly for full-time hires, and particularly should you’re a smaller workforce, you’re higher off searching for utility gamers. – Andrea Fryrear, CEO and co-founder, AgileSherpas

    Not saying no

    A writing workforce’s bandwidth will not be infinite, however many content material leaders don’t have a framework or the boldness to show down requests. This reactionary operational mannequin might result in burnout and, in the end, turnover of beneficial workers.

    Every content material advertising and marketing supervisor wants a course of for managing and prioritizing content material consumption requests. This might embody tying requests to broader advertising and marketing campaigns, gaps, and initiatives, defining commonplace items to be included in content material bundles, and establishing metrics to find out effectiveness.

    At technical B2B firms, it’s extremely troublesome and inefficient to create high quality content material with out consulting with a subject knowledgeable (SME). Support your workforce by evangelizing the enterprise influence of content material internally. Help clear roadblocks so your writers’ time is spent on sourcing and writing, not hounding unenthusiastic SMEs. – Wendy Covey, CEO and co-founder, TREW Marketing

    Many #ContentMarketing leaders lack a framework or the confidence to turn down requests, says @wendycovey via @CMIContent @Canto. #CMWorld Click To Tweet

    Trying to do all of it

    The largest mistake folks make when managing a content material workforce is pondering they will (and may) do all of it, the place small content material advertising and marketing groups, and even one individual, are anticipated to have experience in copywriting, storytelling, design, demand gen, demand seize, search engine marketing, natural social, paid social, podcasting, video advertising and marketing, running a blog … the record goes on.

    There is a lot you are able to do with content material advertising and marketing that it’s simple to overload your in-house workforce or really feel restricted by the accessible skillsets and time. But there’s another choice: outsourcing.

    Working with expert companions can assist you obtain way more whereas assuaging stress in your workforce. By doing this, you retain everybody working inside their zone of genius. I imagine managing a high-performing content material advertising and marketing workforce means balancing completely happy and engaged in-house personnel with strategic, nurtured partnerships. – Amy Woods, founder and CEO, Content 10x

    Misunderstanding the editor-in-chief function

    Quite a lot of content material people graduate up into content material advertising and marketing administration and get pissed off about their function being so targeted on undertaking administration, however that’s what the function of a very good editor-in-chief is.

    You want to coach and set pointers for high quality, however you additionally have to handle the content material calendar, educate others on how lengthy sorts of content material take to make, and spot when the workforce is creating two very comparable belongings that could possibly be mixed into one.

    There is loads of duplicative work on content material advertising and marketing groups due merely to the shortage of a devoted undertaking supervisor, which is the EIC’s job. – Tracey Wallace, director of content material technique, Klaviyo

    Omitting high quality assurance

    Mistake 1: not having a top quality assurance individual or course of. Mistake 2: not having a undertaking supervisor.

    As I’ve mentioned, undertaking administration will not be a pleasant to have for any undertaking. It is important for its success concerning scope, price range, and timing. When it involves artistic tasks, undertaking administration is essential to managing conferences, critiques, belongings, and expectations. Project administration ought to by no means be an afterthought. – Michael Weiss, vp of consulting companies and options, Creative Circle

    Project management should never be an afterthought for #ContentMarketing teams, says @MikePWeiss via @CMIContent @Canto. #CMWorld Click To Tweet

    Failing to construct bridges

    Allowing the content material advertising and marketing workforce to change into siloed can be a giant mistake. It’s important for the content material workforce to construct robust bridges to each different space of selling.

    Pair a content material marketer with a product marketer and prolong that to different areas of selling, creating “pods” aligned to a single product space or persona. This helps content-driven collaboration that’s scalable and productive. – Ali Orlando Wert, director of content material technique, Qlik 


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    Not seeing worth in integration

    One massive mistake that some organizations nonetheless make will not be integrating the content material advertising and marketing workforce’s efforts with these of the bigger advertising and marketing division.

    At finest, this can lead to the looks that one group is unaware of the opposite’s actions. At worst, it might probably value the chance to amplify messaging and guarantee consistency. – Nancy Harhut, CCO, HBT Marketing

    Disregarding cross-training

    Always cross-train your workforce. In this period of the Great Resignation and COVID, it’s vital to guarantee that nobody individual is the linchpin of your workforce.

    Your high performer might immediately be out of the workplace with an sickness or depart for a brand new job. Also, we’re all lastly taking holidays and deserve a while unconnected from work. Projects can’t cease as a result of one individual is lacking.

    Cross-training workforce members to cowl for one another can present profession progress alternatives. A workforce member might be taught extra a couple of totally different aspect of content material advertising and marketing and flourish. Also, your tasks will profit from contemporary views. – Penny Gralewski, senior director, product and portfolio advertising and marketing, DataRobot

    Make sure no one person is the linchpin of your #ContentMarketing team, says @VirtualPenny via @CMIContent @Canto. #CMWorld Click To Tweet

    Possessing a team-only mindset

    Overlooking particular person motivations as a root reason behind workforce efficiency points. Team members can discover all types of believable excuses for not assembly objectives. Handling them in a one-off approach simply addresses signs with out altering the workforce dynamic.

    Use content material advertising and marketing instruments like personas and journey maps to replicate in your inner workforce’s motivations for getting the work finished and see if the workforce efficiency doesn’t skyrocket. – Jenny Magic, founder, Better Way to Say It

    Ignoring the person

    It’s a mistake to not deeply perceive the people on their workforce. As entrepreneurs, we spend loads of time studying about our viewers – constructing personas, discovering out what motivates them, and understanding what makes them tick – all so we will create higher content material for them. Why wouldn’t we do the identical factor with our groups? We ought to deeply perceive them so we will handle them extra successfully and help them in doing their finest work? – Monica Norton, head of content material advertising and marketing, Yelp

    Not trying to the long run

    A standard mistake that advertising and marketing workforce leads make is overlooking the workforce side. Your content material advertising and marketing workforce is made up of people with distinctive experiences, objectives, and passions.

    I see content material advertising and marketing leaders not serving to their workers to outline their profession path. It’s vital to grasp the place everybody in your workforce needs to go (which can or is probably not right into a management place), so you may present the suitable progress alternatives.

    A second mistake I see incessantly is that advertising and marketing groups hardly ever have a very good content material library or data repository. Give your workforce, together with advertising and marketing consultants, the assets they should thrive. In approach too many organizations, individuals are unaware of present content material that they will reuse, repurpose, or hyperlink to, resulting in duplicating efforts. Similarly, templates for widespread deliverables like weblog posts, thought management plans, and channel audits are a good way to streamline work.

    A ultimate mistake is when groups deal with all content material as lead-generation content material, pondering that content material will need to have a tough CTA that drives folks into the funnel. That’s merely not how relationships are constructed and may undermine your content material technique. Sometimes, the very best name to motion is a chunk of content material that’s the following step in a studying journey, not in a direct purchaser’s journey. – Erika Heald, founder, lead guide, Erika Heald Marketing Consulting

    Expecting creators to be SMEs

    The largest mistake is pondering your content material workforce will be your sole subject material knowledgeable. Yes, they’re specialists, however their function is to be curators and turbines that herald the model’s voice. But they will solely achieve this if different members of your group proactively contribute meaningfully to the thought management desired by your viewers. – Karen McFarlane, chief advertising and marketing officer, LetterShop

    Your #Content team shouldn’t be your sole subject matter experts, says @karenkmcfarlane via @CMIContent @Canto. #CMWorld Click To Tweet

    Looking solely inside

    From a model perspective, one of many largest errors I see is limiting content material creation to the bandwidth of an inner workforce. No matter how area of interest or regulated your business is, I promise you there are extraordinarily proficient freelance writers who can help your crew.

    Prevent burnout internally by paying effectively for skilled freelancers. This additionally presents your inner workforce with a progress alternative they won’t in any other case have at a big firm.

    Allow them to provide suggestions, edit, and handle exterior assets like their very own micro-team, and also you’ll assist them department out from a conventional content material function and construct their skilled talent set. – Haley Collins, director of operations and content material, GPO


    Leaders who micromanage their groups stifle creativity. Leaders who ignore their groups create apathy.

    If you lead a content material advertising and marketing workforce, neither of those eventualities is right. You need to let creativity flourish in your workforce whereas assuring workforce members that you’re there to help and information them if wanted. – Andi Robinson, world digital content material advertising and marketing, Corteva Agriscience

    #ContentMarketing leaders who micromanage their teams stifle creativity, says @hijinxmarketing via @CMIContent @Canto. #CMWorld Click To Tweet

    Overlooking technique and objectives

    Not understanding the precise technique and aim driving the creation of that piece of content material after which successfully speaking that to the workforce. If you don’t know what motion you need each bit of your content material to drive, you’re lacking the mark. – Brian Piper, director of content material technique and evaluation, University of Rochester

    Not speaking your workforce’s mission

    Mistake 1: Not having a aim for every channel. All channels should play a job. So, the one in control of creating content material for that very particular channel can all the time work with a problem in thoughts.

    Mistake 2: Your workforce doesn’t know what your content material mission assertion is. What occurs then? Your workforce will implement dozens of casual pointers, which suggests following no pointers in any respect. – Cassio Politi, founder, Tracto Content Marketing

    Diffusing the main target

    Mistake 1: Unclear outcomes – simply asking a workforce to create content material isn’t sufficient. Exactly what are you attempting to perform with the content material you create?

    Mistake 2: Too many outcomes – inviting your workforce to extend engagement, elevate model consciousness, generate leads, change into the business knowledgeable, drive gross sales, and improve your search rating together with your content material is asking an excessive amount of of your workforce (not your content material).

    Define one clear end result in your content material advertising and marketing technique and watch your workforce thrive. – Andrew Davis, creator and keynote speaker, Monumental Shift

    Expecting an excessive amount of

    Not getting out of their very own approach and pondering that one individual can (and may!) do two folks’s jobs. – Chris Ducker, founder, Youpreneur.com

    Involving too many stakeholders

    One well-intentioned inefficiency is a very massive group of client-side stakeholders, which can lead to each content material creation by consensus and approval paralysis.

    Don’t get me fallacious, we love enthusiastically engaged purchasers, however we additionally love leaders stepping as much as be accountable for particular person client-side groups. – Diane di Costanzo, chief content material officer, Foundry 360, Dotdash Meredith

    Not offering the muse

    It’s extremely vital to supply model requirements to your content material advertising and marketing workforce. Each model has its personal standpoint, voice, and do’s and don’ts. Make certain your content material advertising and marketing workforce is intimately acquainted with these model requirements to make sure your content material seems to be and feels and feels like your model. – Brittany Graff, senior director of selling, Painting with a Twist

    Focusing on the little issues

    Mistake 1. A failure to grasp the total technique of creating/creating content material and attempting to micromanage every individual and their duties.

    Mistake 2. Not giving your workforce the assets they should be profitable or the latitude to attempt to take a look at new concepts. – Michael Bordieri, senior content material options guide, LinkedIn

    Forgetting to provide the instruments

    Failing to provide their workforce the suitable templates, processes, and tech that may make them extra environment friendly and efficient at their jobs. – Paul Roetzer, CEO, Marketing AI Institute

    Seeing solely stars

    They have good experiences with just a few famous person writers, in order that they attempt to get alongside with out content material briefs and artistic briefs. As a end result, they can not scale. They don’t have sources of fact, they usually kill their author morale with developmental edits which are unreasonable. – Jeff Coyle, co-founder, CSO, MarketMuse

    Zigging and zagging

    The massive mistake I encounter with content material advertising and marketing groups will not be beginning and following a strategic path with clear and identifiable objectives. Content advertising and marketing will not be simple. As a workforce, we have to determine what success seems to be and seems like earlier than we start a undertaking.

    Another mistake will not be giving the workforce the assets or satisfactory time to be artistic. Burnout is an actual factor and may occur so shortly in case you are not prepared to stop it or acknowledge it when it does occur. – Jacquie Chakirelis, chief digital technique officer, Quest Digital/Great Lakes Publishing

    Going for the fallacious issues

    Focusing on amount over high quality. Spammy key phrases or hashtags. Not getting suggestions earlier than posting content material. – Tim Schmoyer, founder/CEO, Video Creators

    Casting doubt with lack of knowledge

    Teams want certainty. Marketing groups wrestle with creating a transparent imaginative and prescient and a change plan for brand new initiatives.

    Identifying influencers and who will probably be impacted is a key first step in getting the workforce to undertake new methods of working. Take a broader perspective and take into account what you may take off their plate to enhance workforce efficiency. – Melissa Breker, strategic enterprise advisor, Breker Group

    Thinking tactically

    Telling content material entrepreneurs what to create and specializing in duties vs. outcomes will be critical errors. – Michael Brenner, CEO, Marketing Insider Group

    Not writing issues down

    Not having a documented plan. Too typically, what we do is stored in our heads and never duly famous and documented. It makes it very onerous to share the plan with anybody else or for them to leap in when nothing is documented. – Meg Coffey, managing director, Coffey & Tea

    Going in lots of instructions

    The largest mistake is not any clear editorial mission assertion with a give attention to a particular content material area of interest. Without it, groups don’t have any clear widespread aim. They might need a special understanding of the content material qualities that may make the publication they contribute to the very best supply of data within the outlined area of interest or who they write for.

    We need them to be artistic and to contribute their concepts and expertise, however on the similar time, the sum of all these efforts ought to have a single path.

    It’s like pulling a cart: If everybody pulls in their very own path, we are going to go nowhere. The probably end result will probably be inconsistent content material with little viewers resonance. – Igor Bielobadek, digital advertising and marketing senior supervisor, Deloitte

    Forgetting content material advertising and marketing’s roots

    The largest mistake I’ve seen — and made — is forgetting that content material advertising and marketing is in the end rooted in creativity. Yes, you want a technique. Yes, you want construction. Yes, you want a eager measurement plan.

    But you additionally want to provide a workforce of creatives — writers, editors, photographers, illustrators, videographers, audio editors, and extra — the liberty to experiment. Create a tradition the place pondering creatively is inspired. Give folks the liberty to have dangerous concepts and even fail now and again. Because for every dangerous concept, there additionally will probably be a gem. And in the end, content material made by creators who be at liberty and love what they do will probably be extra resonant. – Chris Blose, founder, Chris Blose Content

    Discouraging artistic exercises

    Never strangle your content material workforce’s creativity. Sure, typically boring stuff must be created. But should you can’t let your workforce flex these intuitive, artistic muscle tissue, they may transfer on.

    That doesn’t all the time imply they should write creatively. Sometimes, a brand new undertaking or perhaps a new framework can assist them glow. It by no means hurts to ask them what they should do their finest work. It won’t be what you suppose. – Gina Balarin, director and content material queen, Verballistics

    Fixing moderately than instructing

  • Knowledge sharing is important. As a member of management, you’re aware about much more context than the folks you handle. It’s important that you just share that context together with your folks. This will be something from an rising development your salespeople are encountering on calls or a information story about your opponents. Give your folks as a lot data as attainable in order that they don’t miss out. Open an replace channel on Slack (or no matter your chosen platform could also be) and encourage folks to share hyperlinks and insights there. Then lead by instance. Start dropping hyperlinks and insights there, and your workforce will observe.
  • Fixing as a substitute of instructing. If one in all your content material writers isn’t hitting a degree effectively sufficient or is lacking one thing when it comes to tone or message, don’t simply rewrite it. Take a second to pinpoint the precise concern after which let the individual work out how one can repair it. If you rewrite them, they’re not going to be taught and can hold making the identical errors. Trust your folks to repair their very own work. They’ll do a greater job than you, I promise. – Inbar Yagur, vp of selling, GrowthSpace
  • Assuming an excessive amount of

    The largest mistake is assuming everybody remembers to create from an overarching aim. Producing content material for social media requires us to maneuver exterior the standard sales-driven content material.

    But we’ve got to keep in mind that we exist to enrich and complement our firm’s enterprise. It’s simple to overlook that and simply “play on social.” It all has to ladder as much as the enterprise aim, however in a voice and context related to the social viewers. – Jason Falls, senior affect strategist, Cornett

    Failing to work cross-functionally

    Remember, content material entrepreneurs is probably not the suitable folks to tee up your content material for consumers inside campaigns. This is the place demand or progress groups have to work cross-functionally with content material entrepreneurs to map the client journey.

    Every marketing campaign has a channel, and the content material is commonly the vacation spot. This mindset is essential to getting your content material entrepreneurs to consider their function in appearing because the connective tissue inside your group. – Randy Frisch, chief evangelist, Uberflip

    Failing to advertise

    One mistake can be failing to advertise the content material as soon as it’s created. Public relations professionals are nice at each creating content material and selling it, which is why I imagine you shouldn’t silo off these two groups – they need to be working collectively. Also, don’t overlook the function the social media workforce performs on this course of.

    Squeeze all of the juice from each bit of content material that’s created. That means should you write a buyer success story, why not pitch it to your key business publications? They might need to embody it with a hyperlink again to the unique piece in your web site. Then, you may promote that on social media.

    I’ve even had editors contact me a couple of shopper’s thought management piece or buyer story they noticed in one other publication, asking if they will additionally publish a model of it. It works. – Michelle Garrett, guide, Garrett Public Relations

    Concentrating an excessive amount of on numbers

    They overmanage the marketing campaign KPIs as a substitute of managing the conversations (suppose conversations you need to be a part of in your business). They overlook human metrics for folks – pleasure, enjoyable, experimentation, playfulness.

    It’s a giant mistake to not give groups latitude to experiment. The larger mistake is to not keep in mind that human metrics – humor, creativity, and pleasure – matter. Stop treating humor like a bandage for shitty tradition and management. We should cease treating it like campaigns and one-offs. It’s bought to be a part of your tradition and the way your workforce operates.

    I see leaders typically blaming entrepreneurs for dangerous content material. If you don’t make it secure, enjoyable, and a part of the tradition to fail, have enjoyable, be taught, and develop, your workforce gained’t. Stop blaming entrepreneurs for crappy tradition. If your tradition sucks, so will advertising and marketing. – Kathy Klotz-Guest, founder, Keeping it Human

    Stop blaming marketers for crappy culture. If your culture sucks, so will marketing, says @kathyklotzguest via @CMIContent @Canto. #CMWorld Click To Tweet

    Thinking they know

    Believing that content material is easy as a result of it seems to be easy. Great content material ought to have parts that require cross-functional expertise: search engine marketing, photos, writing, video, podcast, growth, enhancing, and so forth. If you’re managing people, make sure you perceive what goes into their day and the duties assigned to them.

    We all hate the ask for displaying ROI, but it surely’s important that content material be aligned with gross sales and the messaging they want. Your workforce can’t simply be creatives; you’ve bought to grasp pipeline attribution and the consumer journey. – Jenn Vande Zande, editor-in-chief, SAP Customer Experience

    Make a greater content material advertising and marketing workforce

    Think of those errors as fodder for self-reflection. After studying every, determine if the error occurs in your group or your workforce.

    Then ask your self if it’s actually a mistake. You might discover what doesn’t work for another person may be just right for you (or vice versa).

    Fix what you may and collaborate to handle the remainder.

    The vital factor is to assessment your content material advertising and marketing workforce operations deliberately. And that’s by no means a mistake.


    Cover picture by Joseph Kalinowski/Content Marketing Institute