How a Content Support Team Improves Productivity and Company Culture

17th-century playwright Edward Bulwer-Lytton first coined the phrase: “The pen is mightier than the sword.” Time and time again, this sentiment has held true. In modern society, the communications industry is a stellar example of this philosophy in action.

For communications professionals, words are the most powerful tool at our disposal. When wielded successfully, words can influence the minds and hearts of readers, moving them to act. The ability to persuade is precisely what Bulwer-Lytton’s quote refers to, and it is the driving force behind all PR, marketing and advertising initiatives.

Communicators are responsible for relaying their stories in a compelling, authentic and differentiated manner. To do that, the stories we craft must be engaging. And the words we use to tell those stories must be intentionally chosen.

On any communications team there will be some team members who gravitate toward writing-intensive projects, and others are better suited to research, project management or media relations. Regardless, all communications professionals must have strong writing skills to thrive in their various roles.

Surveys have shown that the most prevalent content marketing challenges are creating the right content, creating content consistently and differentiating content. At a staggering 84%, content creation is the activity that B2B marketers are most likely to outsource regardless of company size, content marketing budget or overall content marketing success.

As such, a specialized content support team is a great asset for any company to ensure all content produced by the organization is as insightful and valuable as possible for the business, potential clients and readers alike.

Considerations for a Building a Successful Content Team

First and foremost, the content support team must receive buy-in from leaders within the organization. Membership should be optional to ensure all participants are eager and interested in the work.

For in-house communicators, the entire communications department may function as the content support team for the rest of the company. Alternatively, for companies with large internal communications departments, a select few writers may volunteer to lead the content program and support fellow communicators, as well as other job functions in the organization with a writing-intensive component of their role.

Form a Team With a Variety of Perspectives

Ideally, any content team will be composed of staff at all levels to ensure a variety of perspectives. When building the team, it would be wise to include folks with a range of expertise so they can assist with any type of writing project, including social media, blogs, white papers, solution briefs, presentation-style speech writing, editorial-style contributed articles, press commentary, creative writing for advertisements, video scripts and more.

The content team can implement a variety of tactics and programs to elevate the writing abilities of the organization’s entire workforce. Members can host workshops that cover subjects such as voice, audience and structure. Workshop leaders should collect feedback from members of the company about which topics are most relevant or useful. For company-wide workshops, it’s essential that the presentation be accessible to colleagues in various roles and at all levels of their careers.

Instill Optional Group Workshops

Alternatively, content teams may opt to offer small group workshops. These workshops, unlike the company-wide presentations, should be optional. Therefore, folks can sign up for the subjects that are most relevant to their work. Following any workshop or presentation, the content team should send out post-workshop surveys to evaluate the attendee’s experience and adjust future workshops accordingly.

Often, a communications professional's best resource is their team. A writing workshop is not only an opportunity for the content team to share techniques, but for colleagues to discuss their struggles, successes and strategies. To facilitate these discussions, it’s important to incorporate interactive components into each presentation and ensure there is ample time for a Q&A session at the end of each workshop.

Implement a Content Hotline

Content teams may also wish to implement a content “hotline.” This is a resource content teams can offer to their colleagues to facilitate easy review processes. This hotline can be an email address or a channel in a collaboration application such as Teams or Slack that reaches all members of the content team so they can distribute tasks based on bandwidth and availability.

With a hotline, colleagues can seamlessly request that someone on the content team review a piece of their work or schedule time with a member of the content team to discuss and revise their content one-on-one.

A primary benefit of a content hotline is that it helps to balance efficiency with quality. The pace at which a communications department or agency operates can be relentless at times. It may be tempting to rely on formulaic, vanilla writing. But no matter how quickly a writer can turn around bland pieces, such content will always fall flat and ultimately be a waste of time and resources for all involved. Therefore, the objective should be to deliver excellent writing as quickly as possible, without compromising on quality.

Benefits of a Content Support Team

Communications firms or in-house communications departments that are struggling to strike this difficult balance would benefit from instituting a formal, content support team at their company. Doing so will help any organization offer differentiated and impactful content, such as blogs, contributed articles and social media posts.

Each company is unique, and as such, there will be unique considerations for any organization that decides to institute a content support team. While the program may not look identical across different companies, the benefits remain consistent: efficiency, professional development and collaboration. Implementing such a team enables an organization to capitalize on the skillsets of specific team members to improve content quality across the entire workforce. Simultaneously, it can help to facilitate team building by encouraging employees to work together to support one another and share information.

Cynthia Constantinou is Senior Account Executive at Sage Communications.