Chief Content Officer Leadership

Let’s talk about the role of the Chief Content Officer for a minute.

As I see more and more businesses embrace inbound and content marketing (both as a strategy AND a culture) the single biggest factor determining their marketing success or failure seems to be Chief Content Officer leadership.Chief Content LeadershipTo put it simply, your business must align these three things for content marketing success:

Strategy + Culture + Leadership = Success

By the way, if you’re one of those businesses going “all in” content marketing and you don’t have a Chief Content Officer (CCO)… uhmmm, how do I say this nicely? Good luck? As your friend, I must advise you to stop the madness. Friends don’t let friends drive content marketing without a CCO.

What is a Chief Content Officer?

If knowing that a great Chief Content Officer makes or breaks your company’s content marketing success, you’re probably curious to learn all about this role, right? Like, what are their responsibilities? How do you hire a great one? First, I’ll share a few resources from the experts to help answer those questions (and then I’ll give it to you straight in my very non-experty, just us friends talking version) –>

  • When Your Content Needs a Leader – See several examples of Chief Content Officers in larger companies and learn how the job is evolving.
  • How to Hire a CCO – Ann Handley is the original Chief Content Officer so when she offers expert insight about hiring a Chief Content Officer, you should pay attention.
  • CCO Job Description Template – Joe Pulizzi has done HR departments all over the world a HUGE favor by putting together this very official Chief Content Officer job description.
  • CCO Training and Outsourced CCO Services – Marcus Sheridan now offers the best of both worlds… training for your own in-house CCO or outsourcing the role.

Now that I’ve given the experts credit where credit is due, let’s talk friend-to-friend. Here’s how I would explain this very important Chief Content Officer leadership role in a less HR-ish way. You ready? It involves a reference to Batman…

Chief Content Officer Explained

I’m reading The Impact Equation right now (not right now as I’m obviously typing but you know what I mean) and the most significant takeaway for me personally is working on higher articulation and being concise. In an effort to communicate ideas “like a sword, cutting through the fog” and “being understood, instantly”, here’s my attempt at describing great Content Officer leadership… succinctly for epic understanding:

A Chief Content Officer amplifies awesome. They take everything awesome about your business (your stories, your people, your strengths) and give it a better platform to make a bigger impact. They are obsessed with scaling awesome.

A Chief Content Officer is like Alfred is to Batman. They provide the tools, gadgets, encouragement, eloquence and wisdom to transform everyday team members into powerful content superheroes. They prefer to be a behind-the-scenes force, quietly and powerfully equipping everyday people with the resources and confidence to change the world. They are Batman’s Batman.

A Chief Content Officer is a Warrior of EnthusiasmThey bear the epic responsibility of inspiring everyone to be content creators by making content creation fun, easy, safe and driving big results. They passionately fight to inspire, amplify awesome and get big results.

How Do They Do It?

It doesn’t matter whether your business is small, medium or large, your Chief Content Officer needs to lead. Here’s what I would recommend looking for in your future CCO (or what to work on if you’re seeking to become one!):

  • Inspire Strategic Content Ideas – A great CCO will help your team create content that drives results. They lead brainstorming sessions with your team and ask great questions. Their understanding of people as well as keyword analysis will drive great content ideas and results.
  • Make it Easy for Everyone to Contribute – A great CCO offers a variety of ways for people to contribute content in the medium most comfortable for them: email, interviews, video, phone calls, regularly scheduled meetings. They create processes for scalability purposes but they also realize they are working with people with many unique skill sets. You simply cannot mechanize connection.
  • Bring a Consistency and Brand “Voice” to All Content – A great CCO ensures content is cleaned up, readable, understandable and more importantly human. They make sure the information is delivered with clear purpose serving the needs of the intended audience. They also inject some personality and write in the voice of the brand to support your company’s values.
  • Optimize Content for Biggest Impact – A great CCO understands SEO basics and humans. They know how to target keyword phrases so that your content is easily found while also writing for human connection.
  • Use Content to Inspire Action – A great CCO crafts your content to drive connection and conversion. They make sure your content has a clear call to action: engagement, commenting, sharing a link, downloading a resource, requesting a demo… Their “art” is making content that connects and inspires action!
  • Continually Improve and Celebrate -A great CCO uses feedback and analysis to continually improve. They also frequently share results with the team in order to celebrate small wins and progress.
  • Own the Responsibility and Give Away the Credit

What else would you add to this Chief Content Officer list of leadership qualities? Do you buy the “Alfred of Content Marketing” illustration? How else would you describe the role of Chief Content Officer succinctly? If you submit the best idea I promise to give you credit when I write about it in a book someday!


  1. Krista, umm, yeah, I’m just gonna copy this and paste it into a new resume! Wow!
    You continuously provide awesome content and support to inspire not just organizations, but it’s people to be phenomenal.


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