It's a title that didn't exist ten years ago--and was relatively unknown even five years ago--but the Chief Content Officer has gradually earned a prominent position in the C-suite. Major brands including Peloton, Dun & Bradstreet, Goop and Hulu have a chief content officers (along with countless agencies and publishers)

As more brands grow their content marketing presence, they look to a Chief Content Officer to not only steer the ship, but also to map out the content strategy and how it fits into the overall brand picture. 

So, what is it that a Chief Content Officer really does? And how does it differ from other marketing, PR, and creative executive positions? Here's what you need to know:

What does a Chief Content Officer do?

According to the Content Marketing Institute, a Chief Content Officer "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 person is the big picture thinker that liaises between PR, communications, marketing, customer service, IT, and human resources departments to help "define the brand story as interpreted by the consumer." Essentially, if any department is creating content, it should stem from the Chief Content Officer's strategy and direction.

So, what's the difference between a Chief Content Officer and a Chief Marketing Officer?

Though the two will often work closely, there are subtle--yet important--differences between the two positions. In short, a Chief Content Officer should think like a publisher, while the Chief Marketing Officer should think like a salesperson. The goals for a Chief Marketing officer are to attract, convert, and retain customers, and to convince them of the brand or product's worth.The scope of content the CCO oversees, on the other hand, isn't exclusively for marketing use. The goals of this content also include establishing a brand's role as a thought leader, recruiting talent, growing brand awareness, and enhancing brand communications (PR).

Who does a Chief Content Officer report to?

It depends. The Chief Content Officer's position in the company hierarchy is still evolving. Early on, this position reported to the Chief Marketing Officer, but--as brands are understanding better the depth of the role--it's now more likely that the Chief Content Officer will report directly into the Chief Executive Officer.

How Much Does a Chief Content Officer Make?

According to Glassdoor, a chief content officer--which may also come with an SVP title--gets paid between $292K and $315K. By comparison, a Vice President of Content might make somewhere in the range of $175K to $185K.

Does my brand need a Chief Content Officer?

It's worth considering, especially if you are increasing the role of content in your marketing mix. If an investment in a new C-level executive isn't feasible in the near future, though, you can seek outside help from a content marketing agency to help you develop a content strategy, execute it, and measure its success.