What To Look For in a Chief Content Officer

Creating and managing content within a company is a big job. Now, more than ever, brands need to make clients and customers smarter about their product, service, organization, and how they do business. Traditionally, this job falls on the shoulder of the marketing and promotions department. Eager to get word out about their company, these tenacious individuals sit alongside agency partners, discussing brand strategies, campaign catchphrases, creative concepts, and media master plans, and yet, rarely is there a top-level executive assigned to oversee the very foundations of the creation and execution of these marketing messages.

In today’s content crazed world, brands are becoming more and more like social enterprises, as such, the need for companies to tell their stories through engaging, educational content is becoming increasingly paramount. Enter the CCO, or Chief Content Officer. The mastermind behind content-driven programs, it’s the CCO’s job to manage, coordinate, plan, and distribute content as part of an inbound marketing strategy.

And yet, very few organizations have extended their C-suite to include a communications professional. Not surprisingly, this is because many management teams aren’t entirely clear on what a CCO should do. The following are five basic qualities that every CCO should have:

1) Be a leading content creator and curator

The old models of marketing (press releases, product launches, video advertisements etc.,) need to be remodeled for the new world of engaged marketing. The best Chief Content Officers know how to turn customer success stories into sales pitches, and external recognition into community engagement.

2) Have a keen understanding of everything

This may seem like an impossible request, but it’s what sets exceptional CCOs apart from the pack. When you’re working across an enterprise, it pays to know what’s happening in each and every department. This will enable you to create content that ties in a wide variety of components. Remember, your goal is to guide the type of content that is being produced so that it can be used to draw more people into your brand circle. As such, you need to have a strong understanding of everything that’s happening in the marketing, public relations, product development, and editorial management departments.

3) Share your knowledge

The best brands understand the power of knowledge distribution. So don’t be shy. Give your CCO the duty of researching, coordinating, creating, and packaging content campaigns that provide your customers with insightful, relevant, and useful information. Become the expert in your chosen topic in order to gain credibility and customer loyalty.

4) Be capable of building relationships

CCOs need to be connected. From Google+ to Twitter, marketing conferences to media events, CCOs know how to find, engage, and maintain relationships with top writers, reporters, and reviewers in their industry. Always remember that people connect with people. So don’t just send out a faceless pitch or stock press release. Your CCO is there to bridge the gap through the creation of newsworthy content and network building interactions.

5) Be a content DJ

The best brands understand that content can no longer be produced in singular, simplistic forms. The digital world has provided us with countless was to express our stories — text, photos, graphics, videos — the list goes on and on. A CCO understands the nuances of narrative delivery and is willing to remix content in order to engage audiences in a way that encourages engagement.

There’s no question that content can have a major impact on your company. Unfortunately, few organizations have the leadership in place to head up successful content strategies. Make finding your company CCO a priority in order to enhance your company narrative, and enjoy the cost savings that come with a disciplined content plan.