Publio’s recently released white paper introduces the Chief Content Marketing Officer as a critical role for 2023.

Publio introduces the Chief Content Marketing Officer (CCMO), an executive serving marketing and sales teams with a broad approach to content strategy, in our recently released white paper, “A Call for Better Performing Content: The Emerging Role of Chief Content Marketing Officer.”

The concept of the CCMO emerged from a discussion between myself and Stan Phelps, facilitator and author of the Goldfish business book series. In our conversation, we reflected on the challenges firms face in implementing an effective content strategy today. Namely, successful content delivery “requires a new level of executive focus to ensure quality and revenue results,” presenting a need for a “narrowly focused, results-driven position” ensuring content aligns with most business goals and offers a return on investment. Stan asked, “Isn’t that what you are proposing, a new role called the Chief Content Marketing Officer?”

Stan asked, “Isn’t that what you are proposing, a new role called the Chief Content Marketing Officer?” 

I took the challenge Stan’s question presented to task. Here’s why I think the CCMO is a critical role for companies today and how I see it serving the arena of corporate content strategy and content marketing by encouraging accountability for customer-facing media.

Does the world really need another C-suite role? I think so, Stan – Here’s why.


Content Shock 2023

IMAGE: We have a full-blown case of Mark Schaefer’s “Content Shock” in 2023.


Nine years ago, the Mark Schaefer article, “Content Shock: Why content marketing is not a sustainable strategy” outlined a need which could be filled by a Chief Content Marketing Officer. Schaefer put forward the controversial idea that “exponentially increasing volumes of content intersect our limited human capacity to consume it.” He observed that the oversupply of content and limited demand will raise the bar for marketers.

Schaefer’s predicted content shock is Today’s Content Reality. There is more content flooding the market than ever before, making the investment in quality content more important than ever. This truth prompts the questions: How do you define quality content? Who is best positioned to lead this charge today? 

In this landscape where infinite content supply meets a saturation of demand and capacity for consumption, both the quality of content and a strategy to produce it become critical. According to a 2022 Semrush study, 97% of companies report some form of content marketing — however, only 57% of companies surveyed report having a documented content strategy at all and 19% report having an “advanced content marketing strategy.”

Fast forward to 2023 and the Wall Street Journal article, “More Companies Are Hiring CMOs With Performance-Marketing Backgrounds,” which forecasts that senior marketers with limited experience in data analytics may struggle to get top jobs in coming years. 

This image shows few companies have a content strategy.

IMAGE: Only 19% of companies have an “Advanced” content strategy. (SEMRush)

How is this possible? 

Stan’s question made even more sense.

I Googled Chief Content Marketing Officer. I found only one obscure reference to the term.

In any organization, the only way to facilitate change is to hold someone accountable for progress toward desired outcomes. Marketing accountability could be fulfilled a Chief Content Marketing Officer (CCMO), whose directive is to drive business results for content strategy. Such a role requires using a broader definition of content quality than has been the traditional focus of the Chief Content Officer (CCO), whose role tends to focus only to the editorial and production aspects of content strategy. By contrast, the Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) has a broader mandate incorporating product marketing, customer retention, and other areas of oversight, so the specialized focus of the CCMO could improve the adoption of more advanced content marketing strategies aligned with corporate goals.

What would the CCMO role entail? 

I considered how a Chief Content Marketing Officer can achieve the customer-focused results that any C-suite requires for organic growth.

In my 2019 book, The New Content Culture, for which Phelps was an instrumental catalyst, I outlined a framework called called the Publisher’s M.O.™ designed to tie content strategy into business objectives using a sustainable methodology.

The job description for the CCMO position could follow the outline I proposed in the framework. It is comprised of seven pillars, or “buckets” as follows:

  1. NORTH STAR IDEA: Your WHY. Harness an idea that guides all messaging ensuring connection with your core audience.
  2. EDITORIAL STRATEGY: The DRAW. Solve for the human individual, not the general market, by drawing on research of topics this core audience is searching for online.
  3. PUBLISHING, PROMOTION, DISTRIBUTION: The LIGHT. Get your content into the hands of people who will read and share it by knowing which platforms (blogs, social, email) and formats (print, video, podcast) they engage with most.
  4. COMMUNITY + EVENTS: Your SPACE. Connect and build relationships through affinity groups, conferences and active networking to amplify impact.
  5. MARKETING AUTOMATION: Your TOOL. Close the loop on digital marketing efforts using a central Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system.
  6. SALES ENABLEMENT: Your INVOLVEMENT. Work your sales team to co-nurture your customers to conversion.
  7. ROI MODEL: Your PROFITABLE OUTCOMES. Ensure content stays within budget and ushers profitable returns on investment.

The Publisher’s M.O. offers a dynamic framework that requires a strong understanding of strategy execution and demand planning to bring your content to market. Most importantly, it is built on an ROI model that replaces the advertising and sponsorship revenue of the traditional publisher with the value of a lead as the metric for success for a brand using content for its go-to-market efforts.

The Publisher’s M.O. provides the CCMO with a formula for teamwork based on goals, milestones and metrics, along with the constant problem solving capability needed to meet the challenges of a 24/7 online market. The Publisher’s M.O. emphasizes importance on systems, processes, and technology to operationalize content in a profitable way.

The Chief Content Marketing Officer must manage the outcomes and results of content campaigns, and the Publisher’s M.O. provides the structure to both manage the content delivery team and provide planning and feedback to senior management along the journey – weekly, monthly and quarterly throughout the year. Investing in the right leader for this role and equipping them with the Publisher’s M.O. will help businesses realize profits on content marketing even amidst a landscape of content shock.

There is a trend of adding more C-suite positions to companies, which some argue has caused the role of the traditional CMO to be diminished. Addressing those concerned about this shift, I would respond that having an individual who is responsible for streamlining content publishing and integrating efforts to achieve revenue results may prove to be a major asset for businesses in 2023; regardless of what title you assign to them. One option is to appoint an outside consultant as CCMO on a fractional basis, an increasing trend within hiring in recent years.

Let me know what your think. I’d be glad to discuss how a CCMO employing the Publisher’s M.O. can help you achieve your goals.

Learn more and connect to share your thoughts on the CCMO in 2023.

Read Publio’s white paper outlining the scope of the CCMO and how organizations of all sizes can fill this role effectively – whether on a fractional or full-time basis, and whether or not you hire a C-level executive for this work. Let us know what you think.

Get the ebook: Own Your Content. Learn how the Publisher’s M.O. framework applies to “owned content” and the importance of establishing a content hub all click paths lead toward.

Check out our most popular post based on SEO: The Rocket Metaphor: How Content Propels Your Business.

Download a free ROI Calculator to see how your content strategy sets the stage for growth and revenue using current sales channel metrics to present the ROI justification for your initiatives to management and stakeholders.

Read The New Content Culture, the essential roadmap for any CCMO.

Schedule a consultation to share feedback and learn more about the value-add Publio can provide as your Fractional CCMO.