02 July 2024 |

11 content team values and expectations (that lead to team success and personal career growth)

By Tracey Wallace

I have a lot of little content and career mantras I’ve developed over the years. I’m not always the best at abiding by them. I listened to a Hidden Brain podcast recently that talked about the importance of discipline to keep fighting the good fight. It said even Winston Churchill ignored his own advice after a while––and not to success. 

Anyway, Grace Clarke posted not long ago about all the little mantras she keeps on post-it notes on her mirror to read everyday, which is just a good reminder that every single one of us needs pick-me-ups. We need the reminders. We need to reinforce our beliefs and our lessons learned, even to ourselves. 

So, here are my 11 content values and expectations I have of myself, and of my teams. These are my mantras, and even I am continually working on them. 

  1. Always improve 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. 
  2. 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. 
  3. 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. 
  4. 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. 
  5. 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!**
  6. 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. 
  7. 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. 
  8. 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. 
  9. Develop a deep understanding of ecommerce marketing [or whatever your industry is]: 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. 
  10. 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. 
  11. 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.