Who is In Charge of Content, Anyway? The Content Position Glossary

Web content can sometimes get confusing because there are so many different layers. While some successful websites can work with simply a writer and a website owner (and in some cases those are both the same person), most larger websites have a lengthy process when it comes to making content work. The most confusing part of company owners—where each person fits into the equation.

The truth is that everyone has some sort of connection to the content on a website in one-way or another. As a company or website owner, it’s important to know where each person fits in to the publishing process to ensure that you’re not only putting out content quickly and efficiently, but that it appeals to readers and abides by Google’s rules.

The Content Position Glossary

Fortunately, learning how the process works is easy if you just have a little cheat sheet with you when it comes time to hire and create a strategy. You need to know who can give you advice on what aspects of content. Below is a glossary of some of the different positions you may be working with:

– CEO. The CEO should not be uninvolved when it comes to content. It’s ultimately his/her job to oversee all of these different positions and make sure that the content is in line with the business’s brand and the quality that he/she envisions. It shouldn’t be a “whatever the CEO says, goes,” but the opinion is important.

Content values: The CEO wears a lot of hats, so he/she is generally just concerned that the content looks good and sounds good. He/she isn’t going to have time to sit down and make sure the content is optimized or getting a lot of tweets. It’s more of an overview for the CEO.

How to work with them: Whenever you hit a huge milestone in your content plan, let the CEO know. For example, if your company was quoted in The New York Times, send the CEO the link and let him/her know what you’ve been doing. Other than that, the chief content editor may send in a report once every few weeks.

– Chief Content Editor. This person oversees all of the different aspects of content as well as marketing that content. They’re usually the person who reports back to the CEO.

Content values: A content editor really values everything regarding content, including the relationships that the company makes with other companies. He/she wants to see good SEO, engaging content, and a solid system when it comes to recording the content written.

How to work with them: This is the person who usually creates the schedule and delegates the tasks. If there is ever an issue with another worker or with the way that things are done and structured, it’s the chief content editor that makes the changes. He/she is always about improving strategy and researching the latest content management methods.

Aside from only those who write and publish, you have those who optimize and promote. This is just as important as the writing process because it ensures that your great content has visibility. After all, content isn’t much if no one is there to see it. Some of these positions include:

– Copywriter. A copywriter is the one who creates text to be placed on print advertisements, so in most cases he/she does not do much online writing.

Content values: Content on print advertisements is shorter and more to-the-point. A copywriter wants to grab the attention of the audience and get the point across quickly and efficiently.

How to work with them: A copywriter typically works with the marketing department more so than the content team. They learn what the ad is supposed to suggest and through trial and error decide what looks and sounds best.

– Copyeditor. This person is always looking for details. He/she checks over for spelling and grammar errors for all types of content. In general, however, companies don’t use copy editors for blogs or guest contributions.

Content values: Plain and simple, they care about correctness of grammar and spelling. It’s very common for the copyeditor position to be eliminated, but big publications usually like the extra layer of editing.

How to work with them: Many companies have a system set up where writers will send their articles to copy editors. This is usually only for content that is seen on the site.

– Blogger. Bloggers often write for the company blog and guest contribute to other blogs. It’s about writing viral content, finding authoritative blogs, pitching article ideas to editors, and keeping the comments flowing.

Content values: Bloggers try to write the viral content. They look around to see what is trending on social media and other industry blogs, and they write about something similar with their own creative angle. It’s all about engaging the readers.

How to work with them: Bloggers are very much-so independent workers. There are many freelance bloggers who work from home and produce guest content on behalf of your company. Other bloggers might work in-house doing the same thing as well as providing content for the company blog (whether this be his/her own writing or editing the work of a guest author).

– Technical Writer. These writers typically write content to be permanently (or semi-permanently) put on the actual website. They often write about something very specific and are experts in that field. Most companies don’t have a technical writer and simply have the CEO write something up and have it edited, but some very large companies prefer to have a technical writer (usually freelancing) updating content.

Content values: It’s all about the small details with technical writers. They don’t want to leave anything out, and they don’t want anything to be unclear.

How to work with them: Technical writers often only work with the chief content editor and sometimes (although rarely) a web designer. They have an assignment and they either send it in to be published or publish it on their own with permission from the content editor.

– Social Media Manager. This person or team is in charge of keeping tabs on all content that goes live, whether it’s on the website or another website, and then promoting that content on social media. This involves not only sharing the content, but also researching about optimal times to share the content and keeping conversations going. In many cases, these people also tell the writers what is trending and what to write about next.

Content values: They also value viral, blog style content. While the other more educational and technical content on the site is important, it is the blog content that is going to get a lot of social shares and visibility on social networks.

How to work with them: Let the social media manger know every time you publish a blog style article or an article that is relevant in the industry news. This might be by updating a spreadsheet or setting up tweets in Buffer.

– SEO Expert (or team of experts). Your SEO team is the one who tell the writers what keywords they should target, so in some situations they set the pace for the general topic of the articles. This means that they need to complete keyword research to make sure the content is giving the company the best chance of getting some visibility. On that note, they also must optimize the content for search engines (after it is already written).

Content values: SEO experts want content to be viral and engaging just as bloggers do, but they are just as concerned with the links found within the content. They want to see that the keywords they have researched are being used and they want to see that there are appropriate backlinks within the content and the author bio.

How to work with them: The best thing a writer can do is stay in contact with the SEO experts. If an editor is only going to let you put on link within the content, consult the SEO experts to see which link is the most important.

– Web Designer. This position is probably the furthest removed from content, but it does have to think about it every once and a while. When it comes time to develop a webpage, the space and format of the content needs to be addressed.

Content values: Web designers don’t really value the actual meaning of content (or no more so than your average reader) so much as the way the content is formed. They are going to care about whether it’s an infographic, the font size and color, and oftentimes the length.

How to work with them: You will probably only need to work with a web designer if you are going to publish a piece of content that is very unlike the content you usually publish. It might be a good idea to let them know if you think it won’t look right with the web design. However, in most cases you’ll be able to get by without working with web designers directly.

One thing to keep in mind is that not all companies have someone filling all of these positions. Some people can fill two positions at once, and some companies find that one or two of these positions aren’t even necessary. It’s just important to understand the types of positions so that you can decide what is right for your company.

Does your company have a good content process? Do you have any extra positions not discussed above? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

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Amanda DiSilvestro gives small business and entrepreneurs SEO advice ranging from keyword density to recovering from algorithm updates. She writes for HigherVisibility, a nationally recognized SEO firm that offers national and local SEO service to a wide range of companies across the country.