Are you thinking about hiring a content marketing manager to take your digital efforts to a new level?
The right content marketing manager can help you ideate, document, and deliver a fine-tuned content marketing strategy. They’ll keep turning up for you day after day, week after week, and month after month, even when you don’t have the time or energy to create consistent content or track and improve your efforts.
According to Content Marketing Institute’s (CMI) 2018 Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends report, nearly 65% of B2B marketers’ content marketing programs are more successful than they were a year ago. This is largely due to the growth and refinement of the content marketing manager skillset, and its availability in what is a very global and remote working business world.
Unfortunately, great content marketing managers are a unique breed. If you plan to hire an inexperienced or unproven content marketer to manage your strategy, you’ll likely be underwhelmed and frustrated. You need to conduct an extensive talent search backed by appropriate planning and strategic thinking to make sure you find the right fit for your business.
Sound like a lot of work?
That’s why we’ve put together this guide on how to find, hire and grow the content marketing manager you really need.
What is a content marketing manager?
As you probably already know, content marketing has a lot of moving parts. A content marketing manager is in charge of making sure all the different aspects of your strategy run smoothly.
Here’s a general overview of what they manage:
- Creating an editorial plan that aligns with business objectives and budget.
- Overseeing the creation of content that’s optimized for SEO and marketing goals.
- Overseeing content promotion and marketing on different channels, including social media and email.
- Analyzing results of your content marketing efforts and adjusting your strategy.
Essentially, a content marketing manager’s job is to make sure your strategy drives traffic, gets engagement, helps you attract leads, and inevitably achieve your business objectives. It’s actually a huge undertaking when you think about the various challenges associated with content marketing.
Depending on the size of your team, a content marketing manager could be doing all these tasks themselves, or managing others to accomplish them. For example, they could be in charge of a writer, social media team, designer, and other team members who work together to run the content marketing program.
Where can you find a great content marketing manager?
There’s no out-of-the-box linear path to finding a great content marketing manager. They require a diverse skillset that has only really existed in the last decade, so traditional approaches to recruitment may not work so well.
You could go the easy route with this and post a job on Glassdoor, Upwork, Indeed, or LinkedIn. But you’ll likely get inundated with applications (many of which will be a waste of your time) to sift through.
Instead, if you really want to find a first-class content marketing manager, headhunting is a better approach.
The beauty of finding and acquiring a great content marketing manager is that their work is all going to be online and available for you to see. Whether they are a blogger, or manage the content strategy of another business or publication, finding “quality” is much less of a guessing game than in some industries where you need to take people’s word for the ability of a candidate.
Start by following other successful blogs in your industry. You can usually figure out who their content marketing manager is by clicking on their About page. Or they might have a byline on the blog. Also, don’t forget to check out the other contributors to these blogs – there may be a couple of up and comers that can grow with your business.
You can also headhunt using LinkedIn search. Try a variety of keywords related to the job, like:
- Content marketer [Insert Industry]
- Blog manager [Insert Industry]
- Content strategist [Insert Industry]
- Digital content manager [Insert Industry]
- Professional blogger [Insert Industry]
Just remember the keywords you use in a LinkedIn search will only return results that refer to the person’s first name, last name, title, company, or school:
If you type in a skill keyword (e.g. “blog management” instead of “blog manager”), the results will be less relevant.
How do you hire them?
Once you have a few leads from your headhunting efforts, next comes the hard part: vetting and deciding who to hire.
Also, if you’re hoping to hire someone who’s already in a similar position, you may need to strategize an approach for enticing them to leave their current position.
Here are some tips for the hiring process:
Know what you’re looking for
As a starting point, you should have a general checklist of the traits you’re looking for in a content marketing manager.
For example, here are the traits and skills of the best in class content marketers from 2017 according to the CMI report I mentioned earlier:
Also, NR Media Group did some research into content marketing managers by scouring Indeed, Glassdoor, and LinkedIn to analyze what employers look for in an ideal content marketing manager. Here’s what they found:
One thing that is more important than meeting your technical working requirements is finding a content marketing manager who has the personality, style, and work ethic perfect for your unique business needs (more on that later).
Dig deeper into their background
Never take what your candidates have to say about themselves (on LinkedIn, their website, their CV, or elsewhere), at face value. Before scheduling an interview, take a deeper look at what they’ve accomplished already. Read blog posts they’ve written. Check out websites they’ve managed. Analyze social profiles they’ve grown.
You may even talk to references at this point. Ask the references detailed questions about the candidate’s attitude, work ethic, willingness to learn etc.
Keep them informed before the interview
If you want to ensure your interview is a constructive one, you should inform your candidate of what you plan to discuss beforehand. Surprising them with questions they weren’t prepared for won’t do much to give you a good picture of their experience and abilities (other than the ability to improvise).
You should also be sure the applicant understands everything you expect a content marketing manager to do as part of their job. Then they’ll be better able to explain how they can fit that role.
Curata created a nice content marketing interview questions template you could use for this purpose. Here’s a clip of it:
You can look through it, pick the questions you want to use in your interview process, and provide your candidates with a copy of them beforehand.
Interviews are intimidating, even when you conduct them remotely. Outspoken, confident people tend to navigate them more effectively, but that doesn’t mean that a shy, even nervous candidate isn’t the perfect person for the job.
So make extra efforts to make your candidates comfortable by keeping the interview informal. Be friendly, and try to develop rapport so they feel comfortable talking frankly about themselves and the role.
Focus on traits you can’t teach
It’s important to remember that content marketing skills are teachable. Even if a candidate doesn’t tick off all the boxes in terms of skills, you should still consider them for the position.
Instead, focus on finding a candidate that has traits you need but can’t teach:
- A compatible personality.
- A good fit for the company culture.
- Interest in helping you achieve your goals.
- An understanding of your vision and direction.
These are all priceless traits. When you find a candidate who has all of them, make a concerted effort to recruit them.
As the famous quote from Peter Shutz the former CEO of Porsche goes:
Hire character. Train skill. – Peter Shutz
How do you enable them to grow and thrive in the role?
Once you’ve found the perfect person to fill the role, you’ll want to do everything in your power to make sure they succeed and stick around. Because if you want to maintain a strong digital presence then your content marketing manager will play a crucial role in your business and its success.
Here are a few tips to help your new team member grow and thrive in their role:
Encourage them to develop soft skills
Soft skills are some of the hardest to teach, and arguably matter the most in a working environment.
Hopefully, your new content marketing manager already has a base in some important soft skills:
- Emotional intelligence
- Communication and cooperation
Still, there are things you can do to encourage them to develop soft skills even more.
You can lead by example and host training sessions on these topics. You can bring in third party consultants and trainers to run soft skill sessions. Or, you can organize off-sites and conferences where your team can go to improve these skills.
Create a productive performance review system
Your performance reviews shouldn’t be designed to identify problems and weed out weak employees. On the contrary, they should be productive – helping identify everyone’s strengths and weaknesses so you can have a constructive conversation about how to improve as a unit.
This applies to how you evaluate your content marketing manager and all other team members. Make efforts to reward excellent performance when you see it. And to further encourage everyone to develop their soft skills, make them an important feature of the evaluation process.
One thing we do at FlypChart is to evaluate performance every quarter based on our core values. If everyone buys into those values, they will live and breathe them every day. As well, by including performance related values such as Excellence, Learning and Service, “living the values” means that team members are naturally achieving the things that will progress the business forward.
You can find, train, and nurture a first-class content marketing manager, but it will all be for naught if you can’t manage to keep them.
Employee turnover is a huge waste of time and resources, and your content marketing manager is certainly a key player to lose.
From day one, you should make efforts to encourage retention. First, make sure your work environment is a happy one. Be able to joke with your employees and encourage activities that build real friendships, like work parties or retreats.
Next, offer attractive benefits that encourage your content marketing manager to stay, such as free use of company resources (a new laptop every few years would make any employee happy). Traditional benefits like annual bonuses and flexible working hours are also valuable assets to encourage retention.
In the end, every employee is an individual and they are driven by different motivators. Take the time to understand what those motivators are for your content marketing manager and structure your benefits program accordingly.
You may be chomping at the bit to find the right manager and get your content marketing program on track for success. It’s just important to remember that finding and hiring a great fit for your business can be a slow process.
You need to take the time to:
- Identify your business’ unique content marketing needs
- Headhunt a list of quality candidates
- Thoroughly vet those candidates
- Hire based on personality and cultural fit
- Nurture their soft skills
- Encourage retention
Once you’ve done all that, you can rest easy knowing you’ve found a great content marketing manager (and person) who has the skills to help your business flourish.