What Is A Chief Content Officer?

Chief Content Officer

From brands to agencies to media outlets, companies across the globe are adding the Chief Content Officer role to their corporate structure. Let’s take a look at the job description, history and a few examples of the position.

What is a Chief Content Officer?

According to Wikipedia, “a chief content officer is a corporate executive responsible for the digital media creation and multichannel publication of the organization’s content.” The CCO’s precise responsibilities and position within corporate structure will of course depend entirely on the organization’s size, goals and content needs. That being said, here are a few things a CCO is commonly tasked with:

  • stay on top of the latest content-related trends and technologies
  • construct and manage overarching content strategy across departments and media
  • manage “handson content” staff including editors

While there is sure to be overlap, the role should not be confused with that of editor-in-chief. Writing and editing skills are essential for a CCO, but the role exists to assess the bigger content picture, requiring a thorough understanding of analytics, social media and content distribution.

A quick history of the CCO role

According to the Wall Street Journal, Ann Handley became the world’s first recorded Chief Content Officer in 1997, a title she gave herself at marketing news site ClickZ. In the 16 years since, the title has become increasingly popular, showing up in brands and broadcasting companies alike.

A quick search job title search on LinkedIn reveals that 280 professionals currently hold the the Chief Content Officer role. This is by no means a scientific measure, but let’s hope that anyone who self-identifies as a CCO has an active and up-to-date LinkedIn profile.

Companies with CCOs

A variety of companies have taken on chief content officers in the past several years. Here a few big brand examples with links to each professional’s LinkedIn profile.

  • Netflix: CCO Ted Sarandos is perhaps the most talked about CCO. His role is specific to video, which means he focuses on “film acquisition and distribution.”
  • Telegraph Media Group: The media company recently created this role for Jason Seiken, who previously served as head of digital at PBS and editor-in-chief at the Washington Post. 
  • Visual.ly: Lee Sherman founded the popular data visualization community and also serves as CCO. His previous roles include Editor-in-Chief at Intuit and Editor at Mint.com.
  • Petco: CCO Greg Seremetis previously held marketing roles at Hilton Hotels and Gateway Computers.