The usual suspects are likely all there.
A set of executives that likely includes a CEO, a VP of Engineering or Products, a VP of Marketing and / or a VP of Sales (not all startups have both, but most have at least one). Gotta have some software developers to build it. There is someone charged with the product vision. It could be one of the Execs or perhaps a Product Manager.
At the very early stage, that almost everyone you really need. QA, operations, Tech Support, more sales people, help for marketing, and all the rest can come later.
One thing that shouldn’t come later is content. When you look around that table, who is your Chief Content Officer? Who is responsible for making content happen, and just as importantly early on, who will write the majority of your content while everyone else is busy with other things?
In a modern web-based startup, content is King. You can’t do without it. Content trumps SEO and Links for marketing. Content lets you start building a following before you even have a product. Content will be your most powerful marketing tool when you’re ready to start selling. Content can be a powerful differentiator against competitors, and it is content even more than product that will establish you as the Thought Leaders in your market. Even if you’re a company focused on direct selling rather than selling on the web, you still need to arm your sales people with good content.
I’m not sure I’ve ever seen a startup stop and think about the idea of a “Chief Content Officer?” Forget about actually giving someone the title, though that might be an important symbol. Very few think about the job itself and getting the work done.
That’s a shame because it really is critically important. Not only is content a potent marketing tool, but it’s also a potent feedback tool. Most followers are lurkers. Quite a few will respond to your content. Very very few will step up unasked.
Figure out who your Chief Content Officer will be and getting going on producing some content!
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(Cross-posted @ SmoothSpan Blog)