11 Content Team Values and Expectations (that lead to team success and personal career growth)
By Tracey Wallace
I am officially 5 weeks away from maternity leave, and I’ve been working on a content marketing handbook for my team that they can reference in my absence.
So far, it is almost 30 pages long and includes everything from how our production process works, to how we repurpose content, to the names and bosses of all the key content stakeholders across the company. It talks about the channels in which we distribute content today, and the areas where there are opportunities to do better. The bigger bet content pieces we have coming up, and our goals in general, of course.
I’ve also included a list of 11 content marketing values and expectations.
Tommy Walker, a friend and content marketing force in his own right, will be joining the Klaviyo team as a consultant part-time to help manage my team in my absence. Already, I’ve chatted with him about a core belief of mine, which you’ll find at the end of every newsletter I send, too, which is: No content marketer does anything the same way, and that’s a good thing.
Content marketing is a discipline that benefits from foundations and frameworks, of course. But, similar to creative roles, the end product is always better when the content person working on it is excited about. And to be excited about it, you usually need to bring your own flair to it. And, that flair is unique to every single one of us.
So, for Tommy, I’ve made it clear: His role isn’t to come in and only do things the way we’ve been doing them. It’s to make them better. Make us better. And do that in any way he thinks will work––because I have room to learn, too, and different tactics and approaches can be a refreshing thing on any team.
This got me thinking, though: I have a lot of little content and career mantras like this––and I wanted to document them for my internal team to create a list of content marketing values. Something that they can reference in my absence to hopefully hear a little bit of my voice and help them solve a problem, approach a situation, and overall learn and grow personally and professionally.
More, I wanted to document them for myself because they are core beliefs for working that I abide by, and that have helped me move up in my career, make career decisions, and more.
So, today, I thought I’d share them with you so that you, too, can think through each one, apply it where it makes sense, and leverage them to build your own career.
Because content marketing, and marketing in general, is tough. And while there is no one right way to do this job, hopefully this can be a list of grounding principles and values that guide your efforts.
Content team values & expectations
The values and the expectations we have of one another, and what others can expect when working with our team.
- Always improving processes: We want to work smarter, not harder, both on our team and across the organization. To do that, we must be willing to change the status quo and figure out better processes to get our work done more efficiently, at a higher quality, with better results––all at scale.
- Ask questions to clarify: There are no dumb questions. Questions help to clarify. They help to spot errors. They help uncover ideas that may not be thought all the way through. They help us grow. They help us learn, and help others, too. We are never afraid to ask questions, and hold others accountable for answering them honestly.
- Over-communicate: With remote work, it is crucial that we over-communicate our progress on deadlines, where we’re stuck in particular projects, what we are confused about, etc. When you feel stressed, overwhelmed, or unsure––communicate to someone on the team. You will either learn 1) the next best step to take or 2) that there is no right answer yet, and we should just hold steady. Either way, you aren’t alone, and you’ve let the team know where something stands so we can adjust early and often.
- Reach across the aisle: We are always looking to collaborate with other teams and departments to create the best content we can, and distribute it to as many people as possible. We are never afraid to reach out to other teams or departments––or take calls from other members on them––to better understand how content can make their jobs easier, ideate on solutions, and work together to create a better organization.
- Set personal boundaries: The content team has a lot of responsibility, and it can be stressful. It’s important everyone on our team sets strong personal boundaries including working hours, heads down or do not disturb time, and taking vacations. Work is important, but your mental health is more so. One of the quickest ways to lose it is to not hold yourself accountable to personal boundaries. **Over-communicate here too when you feel overwhelmed. We can figure it out together!**
- Care about details and follow through: Great content marketing is about vision, but most folks fall apart when it comes to consistency and details. Not us. We follow our checklists to the T, every single time we publish content. We follow-through on what we say we will publish, and get projects over the line on time and in high quality. And, we do it all consistently to build trust with our internal teams and our audience.
- Understand the big picture: We work to always understand the impact that our work has on the larger team goals and building toward our content vision. If we do not understand, we ask questions, and dive into the details to better grasp our job’s impact on metrics, revenue, and progress.
- Market internally & build strong relationships: We spend the majority of our job thinking about our external audience, but our organization is a big company, and we’re a team. The best way to get our team to trust us, look to us for help, and to share our content is to make sure we get it in front of them in ways that are clear and easy to understand and leverage. That includes marketing our content internally, but also responding to people kindly, quickly, and honestly where we can to help folks achieve their own goals and point them in the right direction.
- Develop a deep understanding of ecommerce marketing: Our team works consistently to develop a deep understanding of ecommerce marketing fundamentals, best practices, trends and ultimately learn how to read between the lines of all the marketing content out there, identify the truth, and connect those dots for our readers.
- Build toward autonomy: The goal of every person on the content team is to grow into autonomy, which is the ability to have a project handed off to them that they take over the finish line in a high-quality manner with little critique at the end. This requires asking questions to clarify the request, over-communicating where the project is over time, marketing internally and building strong relationships so that you can hit timelines, and so many other aspects of our values and mantras. Achieving this puts all of us on a path to excellence, career growth and promotion.
- Maintain a healthy sense of paranoia: Learn to trust your gut and create documentation and plans before a co-worker or manager asks for them. Call this a bit of anxiety. Call it healthy paranoia. Call it whatever you want––but learning to read the room and trust your own instincts about what folks may want to see to come to a clearer conclusion, and then creating that for them, will get you far in your career. Help others help you.
All right, that’s what I’ve got. I’d be interested: is there anything you’d add (or remove)?