As organisations continue to change, so do the roles within them. Some positions become redundant while other, new ones are created. This is particularly evident as more companies appoint people to the senior position known as Chief Content Officer (CCO).

Clients and consumers value authenticity, in-depth research and original content. Organisations are required to have an identity that meets with their brands. However, getting this right isn’t as easy as choosing a colour palette and deciding upon a logo.

How organisations communicate with their audience is crucial. One of the main ways this is achieved is through the delivery of content. That’s why more organisations are appointing CCOs to assist in content delivery and strategy. In the last 2 years, 56% of all CCOs at the top 50 non-media companies have appointed a CCO.

What is a Chief Content Officer?

A Chief Content Officer (CCO) is an executive member of a corporate organisation responsible for the multi-faceted publication of digital media and content. This includes through the mediums of text, video, audio, animation etc.

The CCO is the most senior creative member of an organisation and as such, will be responsible for providing leadership, supervision and strategy. Defining a company’s content strategy is one of the main parts of a CCO’s role and organisations are beginning to understand the importance of having that expertise at a senior level.

Why are CCOs so important?

Content is king and CCOs understand this. Bringing brands to life through multi-channel media involves a wide variety of skill sets and an understanding of the various mediums available. Delivering campaigns that utilise the right mediums at the right time is part of creating successful content campaigns.

The emergence of digital platforms such as Twitter and YouTube are adept at engaging audiences frequently and directly. In comparison to traditional media such as newspapers, tv and radio, they can provide more accurate data on reach, impressions and engagement.

However, audiences are becoming more sceptical of digital platforms due to the emergence of fake news. CCOs are aware of these challenges and are able to navigate them through a well-thought-out content strategy that delivers on an organisation’s aims and branding.

CCOs and their teams create content that is relevant and is able to distribute them through various content pillars such as digital media as well as more traditional methods where appropriate.

Chad Harrison International MD Luke Robbins-Wells says “A CCO’s role is both qualitative and quantitative in its nature. However, it’s not about direct purchasing results. Instead, content creation is the formulation of a brand identity through messages which cultivate long-term appeal and recognition.”

As a relatively new role, smaller organisations and SMEs may find it difficult to identify the difference between a CCO and Chief Marketing Officer (CMO). In some organisations, CCOs report directly to the CEO but in others, they will report to the CMO.

One of the major differences is that a CMO will be responsible for brand positioning, overall marketing strategy and customer acquisition. CCOs primarily are there to tell interesting stories through content creation. The reason why this is important is largely due to the increase in content consumption from audiences. Digital platforms have increased the access to content through audio, video and text. By having a CCO who is able to keep pace and feed continuous and interesting content is becoming crucial to the success of organisations.

Content creation depends on the audience profiles. Whilst some organisations are focusing on in-depth research and reporting on corporate topics, others are storytelling to capture the imaginations of their consumers. A CCO will define and create content that is suitable for a brand.

What makes a good CCO?

Many CCOs are former journalists, reinventing themselves as roles in traditional media outlets whither. Advantageously, this allows organisations to host and own content from experienced journalistic talent.

Additionally, CCOs are naturally former marketing or communications experts or fall under a new role of ‘content specialists’ which stems from the significant introduction of search engine optimisation (SEO) in the noughties.

Hiring a good CCO for a company can be difficult due to the infancy of the role. It can, however, be made easier by identifying the key traits that make a good content creator. First and foremost, it’s about the audience. A good CCO will have a strong grasp on the audience profile and will be able to create suitable content. Whether it’s educational, corporate, newsworthy or storytelling, the content should be worth reading, viewing or listening to.

Does a candidate have a strong grasp of delivery? There are various channels where content can be distributed, PR, blogs, video, podcasting. Having strong, demonstratable experience of multi-channel mediums is crucial.

Providing worthwhile, quantitative results is a major part of being a CCO. SEO experts will often excel in this area as they are typically familiar with analytics platforms such as Google Analytics and Search Console. Creating engaging content is pivotal but demonstrating a return on investment is just as important.

Does your organisation need a Chief Content Officer?

The biggest content challenge for organisations in today’s digital-world is by-passing the competitive content landscape and overcoming sceptical audiences who are overstimulated by online advertising and fake news.

As a business, if you’re struggling to create an authentic brand that consumers can feel they can rely on, perhaps it’s time for a content strategy or a CCO. Luke Robbins-Wells says, “there are many companies that simply don’t have a content strategy or any content for that matter. It’s no longer appropriate just for consumer-facing businesses to have content strategies. Corporate organisations also need to look at how they can create content that reaches their audience profiles.