The vital importance of content to digital marketing cannot be overstated. If you’re a regular reader of our blog, then chances are you’ve already encountered the phrase “content is king” more than once. But the thing is, the digital marketing “kingdom” is fairly new, and is still in the midst of the sorts of social upheavals and sea-changes that wouldn’t seem particularly out of place on HBO’s hit series Game of Thrones.
If this seems strange, it really isn’t—for all it seems that digital marketing has been around forever, digital marketing only came into its own in the early 2000s. According to Who Tweeted It First, the term “content marketing” only appeared on Twitter for the first time in May of 2007. Sure, that’s before Obama was elected, but in terms of marketing, that’s really not such a long time. After all, you probably still receive direct mail flyers and circulars in your mailbox and home and at work… your grandparents, and even your great-grandparents received those! In fact, the direct mail business model was pioneered by Aaron Montgomery Ward, when he sent out the very first catalog mailer all the way back in 1872.
Suffice it to say, the content development and content marketing “kingdom” is a not-so-faraway land undergoing rapid change and constant reshaping. With all these frequent shifts, it’s easy to see why many still struggle to understand and define the roles played by each member of a Content Development Team. That’s why we’ve created this handy Who’s Who of the Content Kingdom!
You may already know that the Content Czar is the head of the Content Kingdom at the agency, and is responsible for all Content Artisans and their work. But even within the industry many people are unaware of the many subtle but important striations of content workers who toil in the content mines day in and day out.
The Chief Content Dissemination Officer reports directly to the Content Czar and has the important job of calling all the other content agencies in town to brag about the great content that the Content Kingdom has produced after the Content Publishing Subordinate has pushed the button to upload the articles. The Dissemination Officer is not to be confused with the Content Product Champion, whose job is to speak loudly on fake phone calls in coffee shops, in line at the grocery store, and in other public gatherings to let everyone know what a really amazing job his agency has done with their latest content campaign.
But of course, content can’t be uploaded until after it has been approved by the client. That’s where the Content Steward comes in. It is his or her job to display samples of the content—often on brightly colored and perfumed paper, presented to the client on a silver platter. You can identify the Content Steward in an agency by the stylized silver pen or Calamus that they wear on a long chain around their neck.
In most agencies, the Content Steward works alongside the Content Concierge, who navigates through folders and opens files on the computer for the client so that they needn’t soil their fingers with the manual labor of operating a computer keyboard and mouse. They’re helped by the Content Porter, an (often rather stout) individual who is responsible for carrying boxes of heavy content from the Content Cellars of the agency up to the Content Exhibition Room, where it can be displayed for potential clients.
These are some of the Content Artisans that a client is most likely to encounter during the course of a content marketing transaction. There are many other jobs that go on behind the scenes—invisible to the man on the street, but of vital importance to keeping the content machine chugging along.
The Senior Content Advocate, for example, champions the client’s needs by tricking the Content Churners into empathizing with the voice, tone, and vocabulary choices of the client. And where would we be without the Content Expeditor, who is responsible for making sure that rush jobs are moved to the front of the Content Queue, often by bribing the Content Wrangler with Cronuts or Bed Bath & Beyond coupons.
Among the most important wheels in the interlocking gears of the Content Kingdom are the Content Alchemists, who make sure that primary keywords are SEO-friendly. Their methods are unknown, but the result is pure content gold.
Of course, the Content Alchemists are often pretty set in their ways, so after they’ve worked their magic the content has to go through other channels, including the Content Hyphenation Specialist, who checks compound modifiers and compound adjectives to make sure that they follow a lot of vague rules that nobody else really understands. Privately, we think that our own Content Hyphenation Specialist spends way too much time reading Grammar Girl articles.
Then there’s the Content Colourist—yes, the British spelling is always used, due to obscure guidelines laid down in the bylaws of the Content Colourist Union; they also get a green cookie every Saint Patrick’s Day—who makes sure that any written content is punctuated with colorful similes and anecdotes, while also expunging any foul expletives from the finished product.
Finally, the Content Conservation Manager works with previously published content from months or even years ago, to make sure that it is always updated with the latest fonts and adheres to any changes made to the in-house style guide since it was first posted.
All these hard-working individuals are supported by a range of staff, including the Content Crier, who is responsible for alerting the Content Churners when the printer on the 9th Floor is down due to a build-up of guano on the upper paper tray from that colony of bats who live above the ceiling tiles, and the Content Runner, who runs printed jobs from the backup printer on the 2nd Floor (an HP QuietJet Plus, c. 1986, by the way) when they hear the cries of the Content Churners from several floors above. Content Runners tend to be in quite good shape, and are allowed to wear sneakers to work every day of the week.
Perhaps the most important member of any agency’s support staff is the Content Inspiration Officer, who is responsible for maximizing the creative atmosphere of the agency. Scented candles, appropriate lighting, mood music to fit every content job, and other tricks of the trade are employed. The Content Inspiration Officer is also responsible for keeping the magazine selection in the restrooms up to date, though that task often falls to the Inspiration Officer‘s Content Care Assistant, who also has the vital job of lavishing praise upon the Content Churners, and occasionally talking them down off of high ledges.
Of course, no discussion of the inner workings of the Content Kingdom would be complete without a mention of the one member that no one in the group ever wants to meet. The Content Eradicator is charged with the vital but often thankless task of shredding and burning content work deemed so unusable by the client that its mere existence might somehow negatively impact brand image and send sales plummeting. In days of yore, simply shredding and burning were usually sufficient, but today’s Content Eradicator must be more zealous in his or her duties, hunting down and eliminating all digital copies of the offending documents, often resorting to soaking any hard drives or other devices containing the files in diluted hydrochloric or muriatic acid. In some rare cases it has even been whispered that Content Eradicators have been forced to fall back on the unenviable task of renting a wood chipper and following the individual who first conceived of the offending idea to their home, but that seems highly unlikely in our modern and civilized age…
As you can see, the inner workings of a Content Kingdom are truly byzantine, filled with an elaborate series of inter-dependent content creators, overseers, task-masters, and hangers-on. It’s no wonder that those who have what it takes to run such important and complex enterprises so often ride to work for two-and-a-half hours every third Saturday in private coaches made of solid gold.
This has been a work of satire, and we hope you got a laugh or two. We really do take our jobs seriously, and we hope you’ll contact our content development agency for all your blog articles, website copy, social media messaging and anything else you don’t want to write yourself.
by Steve J. Scearce,
Content Strategist (really!)