Content marketing roles and responsibilities explained

October 25, 2019


John Thomas

Do you need a social media strategist or social media community manager—copywriter or content writer? Here are all the content and SEO roles you'll need.

What is Content Marketing?

As competition for attention online grows, so does the need for content that educates, entertains, and inspires action.

Content marketing is not about selling (although it definitely helps!); it’s about building trust and relationships. It’s an ongoing process that starts with understanding your audience’s needs and providing them with content that drives them to take the desired action.

Some common types of content used in content marketing include:

  • Blog posts

  • Videos

  • Whitepapers

  • Ebooks

  • Infographics

  • Case studies

  • Podcasts

The make-up of a content marketing team will vary depending on the strategies and formats you deploy. However, the organization is typically made up of a healthy mix of in-house and external roles. In this guide, you’ll look at the different types of content marketing roles, both in-house and external, to better understand how to structure your organization’s content creation arm.

Learn more in our Content Marketing Playbook.

Content, Editorial, and Writing Roles and Responsibilities

The content or editorial team is responsible for the strategy and planning of the content, while the writing team creates the actual content. Both content marketing jobs are essential for the success of a content marketing initiative, which can make it difficult to determine where one role starts and the other ends.

Because content creation is a time-consuming, multi-step process, many companies outsource some or all of their content needs. They can do this with a platform like Draft. We connect businesses with a curated network of professional freelance writers.

Before you decide whether to outsource your content or keep it in-house, it’s important to understand the different roles and responsibilities within a content marketing team.

The Content Strategist

The content strategist is responsible for developing and executing a content strategy. From target market analysis to channel planning, the content strategist oversees all aspects of the process.

Primary content strategist responsibilities include:

  • Developing a content strategy that aligns with business goals

  • Defining target audiences and creating personas

  • Conducting industry-related news research

  • Outlining topics and story angles

  • Creating an editorial calendar

  • Managing the budget for content creation

Content strategists typically have a background in marketing, communications, or journalism.

For more on creating a content strategy, check out Draft’s Content Marketing Playbook.

The Content Writer

Once the strategist has created a content strategy and editorial calendar, it’s time for the content writer(s) to start creating.

Content writers are responsible for researching, writing, and editing the actual pieces of content. A good writer should source any necessary data or quotes and be able to write in the brand’s voice. Most importantly, a content writer should be able to adhere to deadlines and accept to undergo revisions as needed.

If you’re looking to tap into the top 1% of writers, you can find them on content platforms like Contentfly or hire an in-house writer. The latter can be costly, so the former is often a more viable option for small businesses and startups.

Not sure if you need a content writer or a copywriter? Learn the difference between content and copy in the Draft Resource Center.

The Freelance Writer

If your content needs are sporadic or you don’t have the budget to hire a full-time writer, working with a freelance writer might be the best option.

Freelance writers can produce high-quality content at a fraction of the cost of an in-house writer. They also offer flexibility to scale your content up or down as needed, and can often complete projects faster than an in-house team with other tasks.

In-house vs. Freelance writers

There are advantages and disadvantages to both in-house and freelance writers.

In-house writers are a good fit for companies that regularly need a substantial volume of content. These writers are familiar with the company’s products and services, which can save time in the editing process.

The downside to in-house writers is that they can be more costly than freelance writers. On the other hand, freelance writers offer a more cost-effective option for companies that need occasional content pieces. Similarly, in-house writers may have limited experience compared to a freelancer who has worked with a wider variety of clients and industries. 

When working with a freelance writer, it’s important to have a clear understanding of your goals and expectations for the project. Be sure to provide clear guidelines, due dates, and any other information upfront to avoid miscommunications. It’s also a good idea to ask for samples of the writer’s work to get a sense of their style and skillset. Draft’s brief builder helps ensure your writers have every detail they need for your projects. 

If you’re happy with the results of the project, consider working with the same writer on future projects to establish a good working relationship. When looking for a freelance writer, consider platforms like Draft. We thoroughly vet writers, offer free revisions, and offer a money-back guarantee up to 4,000 words.

SEO Roles and Responsibilities

Search engine optimization (SEO) is a lengthy process to improve the visibility of a web site or webpage. When you publish your curated content, whether it’s a blog post, a landing page, or even a job listing, it contributes to your SEO. 

There are many different roles within an SEO team, each with its own responsibilities. Depending on your hires, you may need a separate team for content creation and SEO. Although many writers these days are familiar with SEO best practices.

The SEO Strategist

The SEO strategist is responsible for developing and executing the overall SEO plan. This plan includes keyword research, link building, on-page optimization, and some (typically technical) aspects of content marketing. The SEO strategist should have a strong understanding of Google’s algorithms and ranking factors and be up-to-date on the latest trends in the SEO industry. They typically report to a marketing director or head of growth.

The SEO Analyst

SEO analysts are responsible for tracking, measuring, and analyzing all aspects of the SEO plan. These metrics include website traffic, keyword rankings, conversion rates, and more. They should also be able to identify trends and make recommendations for improvements. After reporting their findings back to the SEO strategist, the analyst will help implement any needed changes.

The SEO Content Writer

An SEO content writer is responsible for creating content with keyword-rich text and titles. Like a content writer, an SEO content writer should have a strong understanding of the target audience, writing in a language that resonates with them.

When thinking about the distinction between a generalist content writer and an SEO content writer, consider this example:
A generalist content writer at a fashion retailer might create a top-of-funnel blog post about fashion trends. On the other hand, an SEO content writer might focus on your product descriptions to ensure individual product pages appear in relevant search results.

The SEO content writer typically works closely with the SEO strategist to ensure that all content is aligned with the overall SEO plan. They may also be responsible for adding images to the content, in which case they should have a basic understanding of how to optimize images for search engines.

Social Media Roles and Responsibilities

After the messaging and content is created, it needs to be distributed and promoted in order to reach the target audience. That’s where social media often comes in. Most companies delegate these responsibilities to their marketing department or outsource them to an agency.

In any case, the roles are as follows:

The Social Media Strategist

Once again, somebody has to plan the strategy ahead to avoid costly mistakes and set some achievable social media goals. The social media strategist is in charge of creating the overall social media strategy. Tasks include: 

  • Defining the target audience

  • Identifying which platforms to use and what messages go on each

  • Creating content calendars

  • Hashtag use

  • And more

Another part of the job is to monitor the competition and keep up with the latest trends in social media—such as leveraging new formats and channels. The strategist should have a solid understanding of analytics tools so they can measure the results of their efforts and report back to the company.

The Social Media Community Manager

While the social media strategist is typically concerned about outbound messaging, the social media community manager is more focused on reactive messages and engagement.

They will create and manage all social media accounts for the company or brand. This includes:

  • Creating an engagement strategy

  • Responding to comments and messages

  • Identifying communities to engage with and/or building an owned community 

  • Moderating any negative sentiment

  • Creating crisis communications plans for social 

The community manager should have strong communication skills and be able to build relationships with both customers and influencers. They should embody the spirit of your brand and be able to translate that into their interactions on social media.

The Influencer Marketer

Influencers are people with a large social media following who can help promote your products, services, or content to their audiences. The influencer marketer is responsible for identifying and managing potential influencer relationships. They do so by building connecting with these influencers and negotiating terms for collaborations.

The influencer marketer should have strong networking and negotiation skills and be able to identify relevant influencers in your industry. To do this, they should be active on social media and have a good understanding of who the target audience is.

Influencer marketing is a relatively new field, so the roles and responsibilities may look more varied from organization to organization. But as influencer marketing becomes an essential marketing activity, we can expect to see these roles become more specialized.


Now that you know the different roles and responsibilities of a content marketing team, you can start to build your own team or outsource these services to a third party. 

Draft specializes in SEO-rich content written by a team of vetted writers. Paired with our content ideation and creation tools, your content workflows will be a breeze from start to finish.

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