Take a look at your organization chart. If you've got someone with the title Chief Content Officer, Chief Content Strategist, Vice President Content or Director of Content, good for you! You can skip the rest of this article.

If you are still reading, shame on you... but there's hope.

Businesses which ignore content marketing do so at their own peril. Content marketing has grown exponentially because it works. For those still unclear about what content marketing is, the best definition to date comes from the Content Marketing Institute:

"Content marketing is a marketing technique of creating and distributing valuable, relevant and consistent content to attract and acquire a clearly defined audience--with the objective of driving profitable customer action."

Whether you are in the B2B world or the B2C world, you put yourself at a competitive disadvantage, perhaps a fatal one. If you don't have a person in the C-Suite with the skills, experience and vision to strategize and execute a comprehensive content marketing program.

A recent visit to LinkedIn uncovered a host of senior executives with "Content" in their title:

  • 1284 Chief Content Officers
  • 85 Chief Content Strategists
  • 1625 Vice Presidents Content
  • 10,744 Content Directors

Fifteen years ago, these titles didn't even exist. Even though Ann Handley coined the term Chief Content Officer in 2000, the title didn't catch on until many years later. It wasn't until 2011 that Chief Content Officer Magazine debuted. Even then, there were only a relative handful of people holding that title.

If you are not practicing content marketing on a regular basis, you should know that your competitors are. A recent survey from the Content Marketing Institute and MarketingProfs provides all the motivation you'll need to jump on the bandwagon:

  • 86% of B2B businesses use content marketing
  • 77% of B2C businesses use content marketing
  • 45% of B2C businesses have a dedicated content marketing group
  • 47% of B2B businesses have a dedicated content marketing group
  • 93% of B2C businesses use social media and 80% use newsletters
  • 48% of B2C businesses publish new content daily or multiple times per week
  • 42% of B2B businesses publish new content daily or multiple times per week
  • 94% of B2C businesses are on Facebook, while 84% are on Twitter
  • 88% of B2B businesses are either now or will be in the next 12 months creating more engaging/high quality content

These numbers have been growing every year and there is no reason to think the trend will change. The good news is it's not too late. In fact, your first New Year's Resolution should be to hire a highly competent, strategic and experienced content chief.

What should you look for in your Chief Content Officer?

The single most important quality is to be a great storyteller. Such a person knows his/her audience and what makes them tick. Your Chief Content Officer not only knows the stories your audiences would love to be told, he/she knows where these audiences can be reached and the types of media forms (i.e. blogs, videos, Facebook posts, whitepapers) they are most likely to prefer.

Your Chief Content Officer will set your editorial calendar, establish the voice of your brand and make sure he or she has the resources to create quality content on a regular and ongoing basis.

While few possess all of these skills, any worthwhile job description should include

  • Excellent writing/communications skills.
  • Advanced social-media skills
  • A clear understanding of how to communicate on mobile devices
  • A successful track record of producing engaging videos
  • Strong measurement and analytics skills.
  • Public relations and media outreach skills.
  • A deep understanding of web user experience trends and design principles
  • Search engine optimization skills.
  • Advanced networking skills
  • Great leadership and team building skills

When interviewing, don't just go through this checklist. Demand specific examples, case studies and success stories. Hiring a Chief Content Officer is a major investment in money and time for your business. Done badly, content marketing can ruin your business. Done properly and your business can take off in ways you never imagined.

Choose wisely!