Content marketing is hot!
So content marketers and content strategists are some of the hottest job titles in marketing.
With a shift away from paid promotion, through attempts at earned social media and into “owned” media approaches that require content marketing strategists, the demand for content marketing skills is far exceeding the supply.
Once people move beyond the need for content strategy, one of the questions I get asked a lot is: “What skills should I look for when hiring a content marketing director or content strategist?”
So if you are looking to build your content marketing team, here are seven skills (and one bonus skill) to look for.
7 Skills To Look For When Hiring A Content Marketing Strategist:
- Digital Strategy: Experience and ideally management of the resources responsible for the publication of a brand’s content through social channels. More than just a community manager, you need someone who understands the channels your audience is using, knows the nuances and context for each, and knows how to maximize your company resources to drive impact across digital channels.
- Project Management: Editors are project managers with a deep understanding of what your brand should be saying and how it should be saying it. I think you can teach editorial skills and you can train someone on your brand voice, but they need to have the ability to manage a plan and define a continuous publishing schedule vs. a campaign-based mentality.
- Analytics: Content marketing requires a deep knowledge of common analytics tools (Google Analytics, Omniture, etc.) and optimization approaches (A/B testing, multivariate tools). My first content marketing hire was for an analytics person so we could understand what was working and how to improve.
- Business Acumen: You need your content marketing leader to have the ability to translate what you are doing, why you are doing it and to be able to present the business value of content marketing to business people. This means showing both the volume of content marketing KPIs (pageviews, social shares, etc) and also the business value of your efforts.
- Content Strategy: Your content marketing strategist has to understand how to make magic with limited resources! This means having a point of view on how to combine original content creation with curated, licensed and syndicated content to maximize the reach and potential of your own media properties.
- Inbound Marketing Mindset: Maybe I should have made this number 1. But inbound marketing and content marketing are a mindset. You need someone with demonstrated proficiency in earning audience attention through classic inbound techniques (search, social). This includes a solid understanding of SEO and the way to create content that attracts attention.
- Social Proof: I required everyone on my team to contribute to our content marketing efforts. You don’t need to be a great writer or have a huge social following. But I was looking for people interested in learning how to create consistent content and grow their personal brands through content and social. So look to see if they understand how to use content on social personally themselves (Twitter following, publishes regularly on a blog, active on Facebook or Instagram, etc). Or, if they are not active, gain an understanding of what brands or people they want to emulate if they were active.
- (Bonus) A Sense of Humor: Life is short and we all work hard. One of the best ways to reach your audience is though funny, entertaining and lighter content that breaks up the day. Hire folks who can bring a sense of humor or some creativity to your brand’s content strategy.
Looking for more advice?
When people ask me this question, I also refer to Hubspot’s hiring practice of looking for DARC skills: Digital, Analytic people who can Reach an audience with Content. They have also suggested you need people who know how to GSD (Get, um, Stuff Done) and Growth Hackers. I agree!
Joe Chernov, Hubspot’s own head of Content recently offered these helpful tips for hiring a content strategist.
And Melissa Breker also offers a great roadmap to hiring a content strategist on the CMI blog.
Now it’s your turn, what do you think are the most important skills needed for content strategists?
Michael Brenner is the Head of Strategy for the leading content marketing platform, NewsCred. He is also the author of B2B Marketing Insider, a contributor to Forbes and a frequent speaker at industry events covering topics such as marketing strategy, social business, content marketing, digital marketing, social media and personal branding.