Let’s start with a number: 56% of CCOs have been appointed since 2016.
In the past five years, this position is growing fast in its importance in non-media companies. In fact, whether you call it CCO, VP of Content, Head of Content, or anything else, companies in all sectors are increasingly realising a need for this role.
But make no mistake, this is a revenue-driving decision, not just another marketing hire.
So let’s assess why the CCO is so integral to the important transformation that companies are now making from digital marketing to publishing – and the revenue boost that comes with it.
What does a CCO bring to the table?
A quick way to illustrate the difference between the CMO and the CCO is the scope of the CCO’s remit – the CCO is in charge of telling the brand’s story across platforms and across departments to a wide variety of internal and external audiences.
That means overseeing all content strategies and initiatives which play a major role not only in marketing but also stretching as far as communications (PR), building brand awareness, recruiting talent, and even customer service.
If any content is being produced, it should be coming out of the CCO’s strategy.
It’s interesting to note that around 44% of CCOs are former journalists (while only 23% come through marketing). This tells us a great deal about the strengths the CCO needs to have, and how they will bring their editorial and storytelling skills to a brand.
How will a CCO positively impact the business?
The CCO has the potential to help transform the way a company talks both internally and externally. Let’s break down how those transformations lead to a boost in revenue.
1. They will turn your company into a publisher
The CCO can lead the charge by shifting the marketing focus away from regular digital marketing and into the realm of becoming an actual publisher.
We know the endless talk of how great your products or services are (ie, the hard sell) simply doesn’t work. What does work is becoming a publisher of helpful, informational content. This, in turn, means your company becomes a trusted source. Being a publisher means you are re-positioning your company as a thought leader, someone customers can turn to.
This has a dramatic effect on revenue, as we will discuss in the next point.
2. They will use content to drive better leads or nurture existing leads
Lead nurturing is no different than building long-term relationships. It’s simply a strategy marketers use to stay in front of prospects, providing relevant, worthwhile content to warm them up until they are ready for sales. Keep in mind that according to MarketingSherpa, 79% of marketing leads never convert to sales and lack of lead nurturing is the number one reason for poor performance.
Having a CCO bring a strong content strategy to a business means that nurturing those leads becomes a priority and can be done with much greater effectiveness through content. More converted leads means more revenue.
3. They will bring focus to content as part of the business function
Just the presence of a C-level executive in charge of content demonstrates internally a company’s commitment to content and its understanding of the problems that great content can solve.
Because content enhances your marketing efforts, you are getting more bang for your buck. Less money spent, greater reach achieved. Keep in mind, SMEs with blogs see 126% more lead growth, with 61% of customers making a purchase after reading a blog.
Without high-quality content, you are not going to see that growth.
4. They will create a consistent content plan
The CCO can be a central person who creates and directs content strategy, so the brand is talking in a consistent voice, telling a logical, engaging story, and is responding to what customers want.
Let’s look at a typical customer journey through content: perhaps they first came across a whitepaper and signed up in order to get it. So the second point is an email. From there they read a blog post, then later an infographic. Perhaps a few weeks later they viewed a video.
But if those five touchpoints don’t make sense, do not guide the reader through a coherent journey and do not build a strong bond of trust, then it’s just noise. To take that final touchpoint and turn it into a sale, the entire journey needs to be mapped out and clear, with the CCO taking the lead.
5. They will demonstrate the value of content in hard numbers
It’s the CCO’s job to demonstrate the effectiveness of content when it comes to boosting revenue.
There are a number of complex formulas offered by the CMI to calculate revenue from content, and each company may use different variations. In all cases it requires collaboration across numerous departments in order to track content, understand what the data is saying, and draw actionable insights. Which is why the CCO is part artist, part scientist.
In the end, the CCO position is growing fast for a reason. The past five years has shown that. The next five years is when it goes from a good addition to an absolute necessity.