Content Jobs: The Chief Content Officer (CCO) Job Description

Tasks and job description of the chief content officer

As I’ve noted before, the Chief Content Officer (CCO) is a new emerging role in today’s organizational charts, and Chief Content Officer’s salary lies on the top of the payroll lists. However, although everyone accepts the importance of this new role in the market, there’s not a real consensus on what does it mean to be a Chief Content Officer.

What should a job description look like?

Any job description has to include and exclude at the same time.

It has to include all necessary tasks, duties, and responsibilities related to the position but not defining it a broad sense that the separating line between the job positions becomes blurred.

What’s the best known drafted job description for CCO position?

The most comprehensive job description for the chief content officer is provided by Content Marketing Institute. However, taking a more detailed look at the document, you will find it closer to an inspiring pool of ideas instead of a real job description.

Let’s take a look at the position summary:

The Chief Content Officer (CCO) oversees all marketing content initiatives, both internal and external, across multiple platforms and formats to drive sales, engagement, retention, leads and positive customer behavior.

This individual is an expert in all things related to content and channel optimization, brand consistency, segmentation and localization, analytics and meaningful measurement.

The position collaborates with the departments of public relations, communications, marketing, customer service, IT and human resources to help define both the brand story and the story as interpreted by the customer.

Source: Content Marketing Institute

My Criticism on the current versions of CCO’s job description

As I have stated in my previous article, the main idea behind the CCO position is to align all efforts and activities from the content point of view, to reduce conflict and increase efficiency and effectiveness of the efforts.

So it’s understandable that the chief content officer (CCO) shall be able to oversee all the content related activities and coordinate them through collaboration with different departments.

However, here lies the central question:

Is it necessary for Chief Content Officer to be an expert in everything related to the content?

Is it necessary for CCO to be an expert in everything related to the content?

When we talk about the content industry, we are talking about many specialties such as content creation, content curation, content delivery, content identity development, etc.

They are all related to the content industry. However, each one has roots in different sciences:

  • Content creation talks about authorship, credibility, and reader engagement.
  • Content delivery is a complex bundle of technology, sociology, and psychology.
  • Content identity is a territory claimed by many kings including but not limited to branding specialists.

Chief Content Officer Job Description and The content expertise issue

How can a person be an expert in all things related to the content?

The same story happens when you put yourself in the position of Chief Marketing Officer or any other C-Suit position. Is it logical or acceptable for them to be the jack of all trades?

Now, take a second look at the CMI’s definition of Chief Content Officer position mentioned above.

It’s neither logical nor acceptable for CCO to oversee the whole scope of sales, engagement, retention, lead, and customer behavior.

Therefore, it seems that the above definition is overly inclusive and sticking to it may result in serious organizational conflicts.

By the way, there’s no real boundary between Chief Content Officer (CCO) and Content Strategist in most of the job descriptions.

Many of the duties stated for CCO can be moved without any alteration to the job description of the content strategists.

It seems that the best way to reach to a useful job description of the CCO is to take a look at the other C-Suit positions (e.g. CFO, CIO, CEO, COO).

There are some elements in common between all CxO positions: Supervision, Coordination, Planning, and Operation:

With the term supervision, we mean supervising all the activities inside the respective territory.

With the term Coordination, we mean collaborating with other departments outside the respective territory.

With the term Planning, we mean macro-planning for the performance indicators inside the territory as well as the contribution to the higher level organizational performance indicators.

With the term Operation, we mean assuring smooth operation of all tasks and activities within the respective territory.

The most important point in drafting Chief Content Officer’s job description

Considering the Corporate Content Machine, function of the CCO is nothing more than an administrative staff function. It has to supervise, coordinate, plan to ensure smooth content operations.

All the other positions such as content strategist, content curator, and content creator are line functions with their own job descriptions, and their tasks shall not be included in the job description of the chief content officer. Otherwise, CCO would be considered as an aggressive, useless, territory-builder and conflict arising position and will never find a respectable seat in the executive board.

P.S: It may help if you take a look at my definition of the content strategy. There I’ve tried to make a better distinction between duties of the content strategist and CCO, as the latter shall not include the former.