What to Look for in a (Future) Content Marketer

06
Jan 2015

What to Look for in a (Future) Content Marketer Resonance Content MarketingIt’s always a pleasure to hear from my friend Raegan Hill. Not only is she one of Houston’s top marketing recruiters, but she’s also one of the best-informed people I know, always on top of current trends and developments. Whenever I hear from Raegan, I know I’ll get either (a) a juicy tidbit of strategic gold or (b) a question that I can spin into a timely blog post (like this one).

Last week, Raegan emailed me about a growing predicament among hiring managers in the marketing world. They’re crying out for content marketers to add to their teams … but the people qualified to fill those positions are few and far between. Because of this shortage, companies are having to to seek out people with certain transferable skill sets and train them to be content marketers. (BTW, we can help with that last part.)

At the same time, the popularity of content marketing has elicited a horde of “me too”s who just want to be on the bandwagon but lack the skills to deliver.

What’s a hiring manager to do? How do you find a candidate with the right stuff to become an ace content marketer … and weed out the pretenders?

Here are a few things to look for as you sort through those LinkedIn profiles:

1. Brand Building

A good content marketer knows how to take your company’s existing brand and build content around it. A great content marketer knows how to create a brand around the content itself. (Tweet this)

A terrific example of this practice is the Nuts About Southwest blog, which has transcended Southwest’s existing brand to become a hub (no pun intended) for stories around the airline’s employees and passengers.

What to look for: branding and rebranding projects, brand storytelling

2. Long-Term Focus

One big distinction between traditional marketers and content marketers is that traditional marketing is campaign focused. You plan the campaign, execute it for a set time span, then crunch the numbers and figure the ROI. You’re in, you’re out, you’re done and on to the next thing.

Content marketing, on the other hand, is a continuous undertaking: every blog post, every email, every social media post is another touchpoint that builds on your relationship with your audience. A successful content marketer understands that this mission is a marathon, not a series of sprints. (Tweet this)

What to look for: customer relationship initiatives, customer lifecycle management, customer communications

3. Strategic Mindset

A good content marketer knows that every successful content marketing program has to start with a strategy — one that’s firmly focused on the needs of the audience.

And in an environment that’s fraught with more shiny objects than a carnival funhouse, content marketers need to maintain focus on that strategy and address every new opportunity with the question “Does it make sense?” (Tweet this)

What to look for: strategy creation and execution, strategic review

4. Ear to the Ground

Your content marketing program doesn’t exist in a vacuum. To remain vibrant and relevant, it needs a consistent flow of input from a variety of sources — and not just those within your industry.

As focused as content marketers need to be when it comes to strategy, they need to be equally open-minded and curious when it comes to input. (Tweet this)

A good content marketer makes the time to stay informed about

  • Current events in general
  • Industry trends that affect your audience
  • External factors that affect your audience
  • Happenings within the organization
  • Emerging content practices and technologies

What to look for: continuing education, attendance at conferences and workshops

5. Audience Focus

Make your content all about you and you’ll soon be looking around wondering what happened to your audience. Content marketers need to make sure that every piece of content — from the longest white paper to the briefest tweet — is laser-focused on the current needs and the interests of your target audience.

How do you know what those needs and interests are? Your ideal content marketer uses a variety of tools — from surveys to comment reviews to online focus groups — to keep a finger firmly on the pulse of your audience so that you can respond to their needs. (Tweet this)

What to look for: persona creation, surveys, focus groups, audience research

Is your team looking high and low for the perfect content marketer? What are your criteria? Share your thoughts with us in the Comments — we’d love to hear from you!


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    Rachel was hired to write content for our email newsletter and content for our social platforms. In addition, she had a budget to do advertising on social media. She participated in the event live and after the fact to assure buzz was created before, during and after the event. As a result, our event sold out.

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