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What Is a Chief Content Officer?

According to Wikipedia, “A chief content officer (CCO) is a corporate executive responsible for the digital media creation and multi-channel publication of the organization’s content (text, video, audio, animation, etc.) and is generally the highest ranking creative member of the organization.

The Chief Content Officer is responsible for developing the organization’s content strategy, choosing content development standards and content management systems, and ensuring content is structured and semantically rich so to provide user-optimized content and support publishing the content on multiple channels and devices (such as computers, smart phones, tablets, eBook readers).”

Once a company makes the decision that the volume of content being created, distributed and stored reaches critical mass, that’s a good time to consider adding this position. It will become more and more essential as companies continue to shift to native advertising.

Now we know what a CCO does. How do we know if someone is actually qualified to be a CCO? What are the skill sets he/she needs and what background or experience do they need to have to be successful running the content system at an organization?

The CCO needs to be a combination of publisher, social media marketer and operations professional.

Why? Let’s break it down.

PUBLISHING is the process of production and dissemination of literature, music, or information — the activity of making information available to the general public. In some cases, authors may be their own publishers, meaning: originators and developers of content also provide media to deliver and display the content for the same. Also, the word publisher can refer to the individual who leads a publishing company or imprint or to a person who owns a magazine.

Traditionally, the term refers to the distribution of printed works such as books (the “book trade”) and newspapers. With the advent of digital information systems and the Internet, the scope of publishing has expanded to include electronic resources, such as the electronic versions of books and periodicals, as well as micro-publishing, websites, blogs, video game publishers and the like.

Publishing includes the stages of the development, acquisition, copy-editing, graphic design, production – printing (and its electronic equivalents), and marketing and distribution of newspapers, magazines, books, literary works, musical works, software and other works dealing with information, including the electronic media.

SOCIAL MEDIA MARKETER refers to the process of gaining website traffic or attention through social media sites.

Social media marketing programs usually center on efforts to create content that attracts attention and encourages readers to share it with their social networks. A corporate message spreads from user to user and presumably resonates because it appears to come from a trusted, third-party source, as opposed to the brand or company itself. Hence, this form of marketing is driven by word-of-mouth, meaning it results in earned media rather than paid media.

Social media is a platform that is easily accessible to anyone with internet access. Increased communication for organizations fosters brand awareness and often, improved customer service. Additionally, social media serves as a relatively inexpensive platform for organizations to implement marketing campaigns.

OPERATIONS: The CCO must be familiar with Operations to head up Digital Asset Management (DAM) which consists of management tasks and decisions surrounding the ingestion, annotation, cataloging, storage, retrieval and distribution of digital assets. Digital photographs, animations, videos and music exemplify the target areas of Media Asset Management (a sub-category of DAM).

Digital Asset Management Systems (DAMS) include computer software and hardware systems that aid in the process of digital asset management. The term Digital Asset Management (DAM) also refers to the protocol for downloading, renaming, backing up, rating, grouping, archiving, optimizing, maintaining, thinning, and exporting files.

The Media Asset Management (MAM) sub-category of digital asset management mainly addresses audio, video and other media content. The more recent concept of Enterprise Content Management (ECM) often deals with solutions which address similar features but in a wider range of industries or applications.

So as we can see, this is a very complicated position that needs to be well versed in many areas of the organization. Of course, since the CCO is an executive, normally reporting to the CEO, he/she must have a very savvy management style. Being able to engage the various departments and enroll them in the company’s vision with regard to its content strategy and structure is new and will be somewhat foreign to most managers. Additionally, the CCO must be familiar with all of these disciplines in order to build a top shelf team.

According to The Futurist, Geoffrey Colon predicts that “Shake-ups in the C Suite: New corporate leaders with new skills are on the way. Corporate futures will be shaped by leaders adept in social networking, content management, data mining, and data meaning. Look for such job titles as Earned Media Officer, Chief Content Officer, Open-Source Manager, Chief Linguist, and Chief Data Scientist.”

So there we have it.

That’s what a Chief Content Officer does and what he or she needs to bring with them to succeed at the job and move the company forward as our marketing paradigm keeps shifting.

About Marc Honorof

First Person Publishing is a content development company that has been working with writers, editors, researchers, illustrators, animators and Emmy award-winning video production companies for over 2 decades, consistently producing engaging, entertaining and educational content in all formats, for all platforms and on any budget. We have the ability to scale up for large projects with dedicated teams, or become a trusted outsource partner when you’re in a crunch. If you need a subject matter expert, a ghost blogger, articles, newsletters, or a product video or web series, that's what we do. Marc also consults to brands and companies in the areas of content development, strategy and marketing as well as brand publishing infrastructures and is selectively available for speaking engagements.

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