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Building a Content Engineering Practice Starts With the Right Team

Great content engineers (CE) are multiplex thinkers, capable of pattern recognition among multiple strata, and multiple dimensions.

Content engineers are often already staffed within the organization. They are those who naturally connect to the content strategy at a visionary level and can map that strategy to all the enabling technologies. Often, those who are best suited for the role of CE are the internal talents with the most cross-functional familiarity. Yes, building a CE practice can begin with existing staff. Simply start by looking at the talented individuals within the organization.

Content engineers are, above all, insightful, comfortable with communicating between disciplines, and they are able to use their cross-functional abilities to see relationships and build information structures that others might find daunting. To find the "natural-born" CEs, look for someone with some background in web development who exhibits the following characteristics:

  • They might not be deep coders, but they understand and can work with CSS, JavaScript, HTML, and responsive frameworks such as Bootstrap.

  • They might not be deep content strategists, but they understand the content strategy role and functions with some level of intimacy.

  • They might not be expert user experience designers, but they understand information architecture, user heuristics, prototyping tools and approaches.

  • They might not be deep search engine optimization (SEO) specialists, but they understand how content, schemas, metadata, PageRank and content relationships influence content placement, structure and ranking within search engine results pages (SERPs).

  • They might not be software engineers, but they understand the web and software development lifecycle (SDLC), the software and hardware stack that delivers web applications, and core application architecture concepts.

  • They might not be native iOS or Android mobile application developers, but they understand how apps consume content APIs and send user generated content back to the CEM platform.

  • They might not be database administrators (DBA), but they understand the basics of data modeling, database design, entity relationships, and the value of data structure and normalization.

  • They might not be expert digital marketers, but they understand sales funnels, marketing automation, a/b testing, conversion optimization, and the importance of capturing and guiding user attention.

  • They might not be project managers, but they understand project rhythms, structures, collaboration approaches, and they work well as facilitators and communicators.

Of course, the CE must also be trained on content modeling, metadata structures, markup, schema, and taxonomy. These elements form the foundation of how content relationships are defined and communicated.

Content Engineering Resources from [A]

[A] Publication
[A] Guide to Content Valuation