Creating an Exceptional Digital Team

While many small business owners start out as jacks-of-all-trades, as the business grows, it becomes necessary to bring on talent to specialize in specific areas of the company. Digital marketing is no exception. Just as an entrepreneur will at some point need to separate the digital marketing duties from the operations duties, a more sophisticated company will eventually want to break up the roles of the digital marketing unit. Here are some tips and strategies for putting together an effective digital marketing team.

Key Roles to Fill

A robust and well-rounded digital marketing team has many components and key roles. The larger and more sophisticated your efforts become, the more you may need to bring on specialists in key areas:

  • Content creation
  • Marketing strategy
  • Data analysis
  • Social media management
  • Search engine optimization
  • Technical support

This list isn’t meant to be comprehensive, and it isn’t the case that you will necessarily need a warm body for each individual role. For example, your SEO professional could double as a data analyst or social media manager; however, you want to make sure you’ve got each element of your strategy covered.

Freelance versus Full-Time

Depending on the specific circumstances of your organization, you will need to decide whether your digital marketing team should be composed of freelancers, full-time employees or some combination of the two. For example, you may decide the best fit for you is a full-time digital marketing manager who oversees a team of independent contractors. There are many factors, both legal and logistical, to consider in making this determination, including flexibility, cost and availability of talent.

Sources of Talent

Some great sources of freelance talent are professional organizations like IABC (International Association of Business Communicators) and ASJA (American Society of Journalists and Authors); MediaBistro is also a good source. LinkedIn can also be a good way to find both freelance and full-time talent, and you should never underestimate the power of a good referral.

Sources that are not so good, in our opinion, are sites like Elance or Guru, primarily because they’re frequented by the masses — many who do not have strong backgrounds, experience or skills. The rates charged by freelancers on these sites may be low, but you get what you pay for.

Questions to Ask When Hiring

Hiring a digital marketing team member isn’t drastically different than hiring any other type of employee, but below we lay out some questions to help get an idea of the skillsets that potential freelancers and employees might bring to this specific need:

  • Explain the process that you would use when working on (insert specific type of project). (To give you a sense of how they would approach an assignment, what steps they would take; in particular, you should be listening for how they might research a topic, look for sources, etc.)
  • What do you feel is the most important part of the (writing, design, SEO, etc.) process? Why?
  • What piece of work are you most proud of? Why? (Here you’re looking for a focus on outcomes. You’re hoping they will share information about some specific results they were able to achieve through a piece of work, not just a sense of pride because of the creativity of that work.)
  • What was the biggest mistake you’ve made (as a writer/designer, etc.), and what did you learn from it? (We all make mistakes; here you want to get a sense of how they successfully recovered from an error and what they, hopefully, gained through the experience.)
  • What clients/editors have been your favorite to work with? Why?
  • What clients/editors have been your least favorite to work with? Why?
  • What is the most useful feedback you have ever received? Why?
  • What feedback have you received that you did not feel was useful? Why?

Value is a key driver for any business, and this is especially true for small and growing businesses that have to be careful with managing their cash flow. A solid digital marketing team can be a huge boon to your revenue stream, as long as you build it well from the beginning.

What do you look for when hiring digital marketing pros?

Recommended Reading:

The Everything Guide to Customer Engagement

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