How to Create a Digital Marketing All-Star Team
Each year, NBA players during All-Star Weekend showcase their skills with specialized events such as the Skills Challenge, 3-Point Shooting Contest, and, of course, the Dunk Contest. It’s a thrilling spectacle that attracts basketball fans from around the world. And to wrap up the weekend, selected All-Stars compete in an exhibition game that’s filled with high-flying dunks, fancy passes, and memorable plays.
If you’re like me, you spend that weekend wondering what it would be like if those All-Stars got to play together on a real team. After all, those who win are typically the teams with all the right pieces in place; a team that can rise to every challenge and opportunity that comes along.
And I don’t know about you, but I like winning…
This article will highlight the different expertise that goes into a successful marketing team. Each position playing an important role on the “court” of digital marketing:
Assembling Your Digital Marketing Dream Team
Just like the NBA, if you want to find success with digital marketing, you need a strong group. You need to build a team with the expertise and foresight to make winning plays together. And because the landscape of digital marketing can quickly change year-to-year, you need a squad that can handle the challenges that will (inevitably) be thrown at them.
**NOTE: If you do not have a full team, be sure to keep these skillsets in mind, so you can play multiple positions if needed.
Here’s our list of Digital Marketing All-Stars:
- SEO Strategist – The Big Center
- Content Manager – The Shot Creator
- Link Development Specialist – The Hustler
- Social Media Manager – The Fan Favorite
- Lead Nurture Strategist – The Loyalist
- Paid Media Specialist – The Sharpshooter
- Client Management – The Floor General
SEO Strategist – The Big Center
The mission of any search engine — particularly Google, the giant in this arena — is to find the best and most relevant content for a person’s search term. Here’s Google’s stated philosophy:
“The perfect search engine would understand exactly what you mean and give you back exactly what you want.”
This is a pretty high bar, but it’s what every search engine tries to do because that’s what users demand. The competition among search engines is driven by the results they can bring back.
Knowing that search engines are going to generate results that closely match a searchers inquiry, it’s up to your SEO Strategists to ensure the content on your website is in front of the biggest audience possible. And it could be a really big audience…
…Users conduct 3.5 billion searches on Google each day. That’s 1.2 trillion searches per year worldwide!
Want to see more search engines statistics? Check out this superstar research from SmartInsights.
Wouldn’t it be awesome to know, every single time you lobbed up an alley-oop, Shaquille O’Neal was there to slam it home? That’s what it’s like to have a solid SEO foundation for your website. Each time you create a piece of content or new webpage (alley-oop), it should be optimized for search to obtain the maximum amount of organic traffic possible (slam dunk).
Your SEO strategist should:
- Drive long-term SEO strategies and implementation
- Stay up to date on the latest trends in the industry
- Identify and optimize website technical issues
- Identify off-site optimization opportunities
- Seek opportunities for collaboration with PPC and Social
- Track and reporting on traffic and keyword data
Content Manager – The Shot Creator
The phrase, “Content is King” is overused, but low-key, I still believe it’s true. Creating content that addresses your audience’s needs and what they’re actively searching for in Google is critical for any digital marketing strategy.
Content managers often need to “create their own shot” or develop custom content that provides value to their audience – regardless of their industry. And because each customer journey is different, your content manager needs to focus on brainstorming content ideas for each stage (Awareness, Consideration, Decision, Advocacy) – so potential customers don’t slip through the cracks.
This quality content helps your site grow organically by:
- Expanding the keyword footprint
- Building site authority
- Making it easier to build links
The content manager is someone who can create their own success, regardless of what the defense is showing them. They have some SEO knowledge, coupled with a strong editing/writing background. Combining these skills, they should be able to manage or create content that’s strategic, valuable, and consistent.
Your Content Manager should:
- Manage a team of writers and designers that are vetted for quality content
- Produce search engine optimized content
- Create and oversee the editorial calendar
- Make writing assignments that will direct writers to create posts which will align with the content strategy
- Find content gaps and opportunities for new topics based off of research and competitive analysis
- Develop a content strategy that has long-term and short-term objectives
- Edit and proofread all content
- Collaborate with the SEO and link development specialist for more content opportunities
Link Development Specialist – The Hustler
Year after year, it’s been re-established that links are still a huge ranking factor. Gaining links is not only important, it also takes a team player with strong organization and hustle.
On our team, we’ve found numerous ways to effectively develop link development portfolios. We aim for quality – not quantity. Contextually, links should align but also be on sites that have at least a Domain Authority of 30 and they should be natural/valuable for users. A Link Development Specialist should work with the content manager and SEO strategist to create assets that can be leveraged to build links across the web.
These hustlers are the backbone of your team. They’re the ones who will dive for loose balls; draw a double-team; they’ll get kicked down and keep getting back up for more. They get to the foul line in crunch-time for those clutch game-winning points. Link Devs are fine with doing the dirty work – and every successful team needs an All-Star Hustler like them.
Your Link Development Specialist should:
- Find quality link opportunities through thorough research
- Analyze data such as authority, rankings, and backlinks to inform tactics
- Reach out to webmasters and making a pitch to acquire links
- Organize an efficient process for outreach that will yield quality results
- Work closely with the SEO and content teams to align strategies
Social Media Manager – The Fan Favorite
Do I really need to go into the obvious importance of Social Media? Facebook and Instagram run the world. We know that the majority of people use some sort of socially connected platform. If you are active on social media, you absolutely need someone who understands how to connect and create engaging posts for your target audiences. At the same time, this person should know how to collaborate with the rest of the team to align messaging across channels.
Your Social Media Manager should:
- Research and analyzing trends and audiences to target
- Create a strategy that aligns with business goals and content goals
- Design guidelines for tone and voice, look and feel, and specific content formats
- Publish and edit content daily
- Analyze data for traffic and engagement metrics
- Engage with comments from users consistently
- Utilize tactics to drive awareness, build an audience, and drive traffic to specific calls to action
- Keep abreast of trends and technologies in the industry
- Collaborate with the Content Manager, SEO Strategist, and Lead Nurture Specialist to unify content goals and posts
Lead Nurture Strategist – The Loyalist
Lead nurture is one of the most important areas of any marketing strategy because it capitalizes on all the work you’ve already done: you created great content, optimized it to be found online, promoted and distributed it to the right social channels, and you’ve even gained leads.
Now is your chance to build a relationship with those leads, growing their loyalty to you, and if all goes well, win their business. Let’s break it down a bit more:
- At its core, lead nurture is the creation of trust between you and your potential customers.
- According to Gleanster Research, 50% of leads are qualified but not yet ready to buy. Think about that for a second – Half of all the people that come through your digital door are the people you want to be working with. They just aren’t ready yet.
- When they’re finally ready to commit to a product or service, who will they think of? It should be you. Lead nurture is your chance to differentiate yourself, win their loyalty, and get them ready to buy.
- People buy from people they like.
- People buy from people they trust.
Just like a leader in the locker room, a Lead Nurture Strategist builds a trusting relationship with not only teammates, but fans and current customers alike. In the digital marketing world, they build trust by offering content that people will find relevant, interesting, and above all – useful.
Your Lead Nurture Strategist should:
- Evaluate Customer Relationship Management (CRM) data for actions, behaviors, patterns that will likely make a customer seek your service
- Direct leads through the sales funnel by utilizing content and efficient Calls to Action
- Collaborate with the Content Manager, SEO Strategist, Link Development Specialist, Social Media Manager to create lead nurture campaigns
- Create copy for emails that are engaging and purpose driven
- Analyze data to identify ideas and opportunities
Paid Media Specialist – The Sharpshooter
Because we’re hit with so many messages from all types of media (email, social, search, traditional, digital, etc.), it’s important to utilize brand messaging in an effective manner. Today, we have endless ways to push out personalized messaging on a variety of platforms – and you need a sharpshooter who can quickly target and accurately hit people in your audience who’ve shown interest.
Your sharpshooter should be a Paid Media Specialist who’s strategic, creative, and well-informed of advertising trends and tools. Customized messaging and content for a customer’s journey can differ based on the below platforms:
- Mobile and Tablet
- Over the Top TV (OTT)
Your Paid Media Specialist should:
- Create and launch PPC campaigns
- Strategically plan and monitor budgets on each platform
- Heavily focus on data and KPIs to drive campaign success
- Always optimize campaigns and update creative and copy
- Understand ad technologies to better use both 1st and 3rd party data for personalized messaging
- Share data and knowledge of keyword data with SEO Strategist and Content Manager
Client Management – The Floor General
For the above subject matter experts to really thrive and drive results, you need a client management team that can oversee and manage everyone’s process – including the client.
At Vertical Measures, we use both Client Success Consultants (CMS) and Project Managers (PM) to ensure each campaign runs smoothly. Some agencies only use one, but the PM really wrangles the internal team to complete tasks done on time, while the CMS oversees the relationship between the client and the overall strategy. These are your floor generals; the coach on the court; the team leaders. And both roles are necessary for the success of the team.
Your client management team should:
- Maintain a strong relationship with the client, with a strategic vision or plan of long-term goals
- Align the subject matter experts to information share to inform tactics
- Understand goals and KPIs based on performance and cost
- Share new opportunities and trends in the industry
- Scope project requirements based on budget
- Create a detailed project plan
- Monitor progress of projects and making sure the standards are met
- Communicate with all team members to be sure they’re meeting quality and completing tasks on time
- Analyze project data to find opportunities to improve the process of projects for subject matter experts
Do You Need a Coach?
When you step back and look at all the important roles I’ve described in this post, developing a solid digital marketing team (or strategy) can seem daunting. And to be honest, it is – if you aren’t organized.
Organizations of all sizes want to embrace digital marketing because it can transform their business. But what if the “DIY” approach you’ve tried, or the agency you hired, hasn’t helped you meet your business goals?
A digital marketing coach program can set up your business for long-term success because:
- The entire program is customized to your team’s needs and your business goals.
- A dedicated coach will help you overcome common digital marketing obstacles.
- Your team creates habits and builds confidence, so you can ultimately maintain your own successful strategy.
Because, after all, if Coach Greg Popovich has taught us anything, it’s that a great coach can take ordinary players and turn them into champions.
About Eric White
Eric White is currently an Client Success Consultant at Vertical Measures in Phoenix, AZ. Before moving west, he was handling strategy and media planning for three years at a media agency across a multitude of industries in NYC, and co-founded a mobile technology startup in Boston. Eric has strong interests in content, strategy, innovation, and data. Outside of the office, you will most likely find Eric with a basketball or an amazing cocktail.