Influence & Co. uses a “pod structure” for our processes. Want to learn more about how you can structure your team this way? Read below:
Congratulations! You’ve finally convinced your C-suite that you should invest more resources in content marketing. You’ve documented your strategy and set the key metrics for measuring ROI — all you have to do now is execute your plan.
But before you start implementing your content marketing plan, you need your team. Of course, companies of different sizes have different needs and restrictions on what that content team can look like, but in an ideal world, your content marketing efforts would be powered by a group of smaller teams. Each member of these smaller teams would bring a particular set of skills and remain responsible for different tasks, but they’d all drive your company toward its content marketing goals.
At Influence & Co., we call these smaller teams “pods.” Our pods are made up of three people who work together as a team on a set of client accounts. Each pod has its own name, functions in ways that are unique to its members, and operates independently of other pods — until one requests help from another. Our pod structure creates a system of transparency, autonomy, and efficiency, and it’s been a huge success for our company so far.
Now, we didn’t start out with the pod structure. In all honesty, the pods are still relatively new — we transitioned on July 15 this year — but we’ve already seen a dramatic positive difference since making the switch away from a more traditional siloed department structure.
And what have made the pods so effective are the people and positions within each: an account strategist, a content strategist, and an editor. Although we prefer the “souls, not roles” mantra made famous by the holacracy structure, below is a breakdown of the typical responsibilities of our different pod members:
- Account Strategists: Our account strategists manage client relations for our 100+ clients in a variety of industries. Each account strategist is responsible for maintaining communication with his or her clients, conducting kick-off calls and interviews, scheduling and enforcing deadlines, and representing the client to other pod members throughout the relationship.
- Content Strategists: Content strategists develop the meat of their clients’ content strategy by researching, writing, and delivering clients’ customized thought leadership strategies. They’re pitching topics for articles and other content projects, reviewing client answer sets, and determining which publications the client should target.
- Editors: Pod editors work with our network of freelance writers to create content based on clients’ expertise. From initial structural and grammatical edits to a round of client-requested revisions when necessary, all of our pod editors are responsible for ensuring each piece of content we produce for our clients is of the highest editorial quality.
These roles aren’t set in stone, and it’s up to each pod’s members to assess when and how they can help each other throughout the content process. After all, they’re all working to accomplish the same goal: to produce the highest-quality content to help achieve their clients’ business objectives.
These three people comprise the typical pod in our pod structure, but we still need some additional team members to complete our process. Because of the nature of the work they do for the company, these individuals need to remain separate from the pods, so these positions work together as their own teams:
- Final Editors: Final editors perform the final round of edits on a piece of content for specific style and publication guidelines. Once they’re finished with a piece, every comma is in its rightful place, every dash and semicolon is used appropriately, and every name and word is spelled correctly. Final editors are separate from the pods because, as any good editor knows, you can’t edit your own work. This two-tiered system increases the quality of our content by removing subjectivity and accounting for the tendency we all have to become blind to the errors in things we’ve read 10 or 15 times already.
- Publication Strategists: Once an article has made it from ideation in the content strategy to execution after final edits, it’s ready for a publication strategist to review and send off to the editor at the target publication. Our publication strategists have relationships with editors at more than 1,000 marquee and niche online publications. Once they’ve reviewed the final content to ensure it’s a good fit for a particular publication, they submit it. Like the final editors, separating our publication strategists increases objectivity and the chances of acceptance.
We happen to also have a network of freelance writers, a few fantastic graphic designers, and someone who’s badass at analytics to supplement our team. And so far, this structure has done wonders for our company and our clients.
As a means to streamline communication among all of these different people who help create content for our clients, we developed our own custom software to complement our service offerings. If you’d like to check it out for your self, click here to sign up for a free demo.
Depending on your company’s needs and content strategy, you may want to include more or fewer team members and positions — or even completely different roles. Your priority should be servicing your clients, and whatever structure and team players you need to accomplish that goal is what you should consider pursuing.
If you’re looking at this huge team and feeling overwhelmed, that’s normal. Determining whether to hire or outsource your content marketing efforts is a difficult decision. But regardless of your choice, set yourself up for success by ensuring your team features these key content players.