The role of the content marketing manager is relatively new. Although the term has been around since the late 1990s, it wasn’t searched with any regularity on Google until 2013.
6 Skills to Look for When Hiring a Content Marketing Manager
As of 2015, it was searched increasingly often and has remained steady since then.
Basically, the Position of Content Marketing Manager Is New and Growing, Without a Doubt.
Widely considered to fall under the umbrella of digital marketing, most media to large-sized businesses with online presences are hiring content marketing managers nowadays. They’re responsible for things like developing content marketing strategies, creating content, working on SEO, maintaining a calendar and publishing schedule, editing content, and researching the competition.
If you’re looking to hire a content marketing manager, we’ve put together a list of six essential skills you should keep an eye out for. A candidate with many or all of these skills will have the ability to take your company’s content strategy to the next level.
1. Top-Notch Writing and Editing Skills
When hiring a content marketing manager, it should go without saying that they should have top-notch writing and editing skills. It’s important to remember that these abilities aren’t a given, even if your applicants work in the content world.
Tellingly, a recent Partnership report revealed that a quarter of college graduates were poor writers and lacked communication skills across the board.
Excellent writing and editing skills are essential for content marketing managers for a few reasons.
First, they will likely have the final say on the majority (if not all) written content that gets published. That means that they will need to have an excellent eye and high capability for perfecting and unifying all the content that other content writers submit to them.
Second, content marketing managers often write the content themselves, especially when there’s a large number of projects coming down the pipeline. You’ll need to feel confident that they can go beyond editing other people’s content and write their own when needed.
Third, content marketing managers need to recognize high-quality content when they see it. That means that they’ll need to be able to produce high-quality content themselves.
Here are a few ways you can assess the writing and editing skills of a prospective content marketing manager:
- Have them write or edit a paid test article.
- Ask them to share samples of their past published work.
- Assess their application, cover letter, website, or social media pages for grammar, spelling, and writing style.
2. Project Management Skills
Content marketing managers should absolutely have excellent project management skills. Some examples of important project management skills include:
- Planning skills
- Communication skills
- Leadership qualities
- Time management skills
This necessity is due to deadlines and publishing schedules. Content marketing managers are largely responsible for:
- Ensuring that high-quality content is produced
- Assigning and delegating content creation
- Enforcing deadlines so that content is finished on schedule
- Deciding when and how content should be published
- Making sure that there’s enough content available for the company’s content marketing strategy at all times
…that’s a lot to keep in mind! It’s also one of the reasons project management skills come in so handy in the content marketing world. Content marketing managers need to stay on top of many different moving parts and project management experience helps them do just that.
It’s also useful when content marketing managers have experience using specific project management software. That way, they can bring it into their new roles and make everyone’s lives easier.
Slite is an excellent project management software that content marketing managers love to use. It makes it easy for teams to collaborate on content together, anytime and anywhere. They’ve also got a wide range of free templates that would be useful for any kind of content team. Whether you’re interested in a project charter template, a marketing plan template, or an employee handbook template, they’ve got something for you.
3. Relevant Industry Knowledge
It’s important for excellent content marketing managers to have a high degree of relevant industry knowledge… and that applies in two ways.
First, a great content marketing manager needs to be more than just an excellent writer.
They should also have existing knowledge (and interest in learning more through professional development) about both the content and marketing industries as a whole.
The intersection of content and marketing is both significant and recent. In fact, the term was first coined in 1996 and has only really taken on a life of its own during the last decade.
That means that it’s a dynamic industry that’s growing fast, so there’s always something new to learn. There’s no point in hiring a content marketing manager who thinks they know everything because they’ll need to invest in professional development throughout their entire career to really excel.
Furthermore, content marketing managers should have relevant knowledge about the industry they’re working in. The best content is written with knowledge and experience behind it. For instance, if you work for a B2B SaaS company, you should be looking for content marketing manager applicants with experience working and writing about that industry.
4. SEO experience
Content marketing isn’t limited to writing and publishing content; it’s also about making sure that content ranks well in the SERPs.
Tellingly, 75% of respondents indicated that SEO was one of their most efficient content marketing tactics in 2020 in a recent Semrush report.
Even though your company might employ or hire specific SEO specialists, it’s absolutely necessary for an excellent content marketing manager to have previous experience with SEO.
Not only is SEO an important aspect of any modern content marketing strategy, but it also affects writing style. If your content marketing manager applicant is successful, they’ll likely be coaching an entire team of writers. That means they need to know how to coach those writers into producing content that’s both high-quality and SEO-friendly.
Search engine optimization is also dynamic and constantly changing. As such, it’s important to hire a content marketing manager with a strong SEO basis so that they’ll be able to continue deepening and expanding their skillset throughout their careers.
5. A Growth Mindset
One of the most valuable soft skills a content marketing manager candidate can have is a growth mindset. In the long-term, a senior employee with a growth mindset benefits everything they touch: their colleagues, their company, and even themselves.
The term growth mindset is defined as follows:
“In a growth mindset, people believe that their most basic abilities can be developed through dedication and hard work. Brains and talent are just the starting point. This view creates a love of learning and a resilience that is essential for great accomplishment.”
In the business world, people often become obsessed with hard skills. They focus on things like results, performance, and analytics. However, soft skills like having a growth mindset shouldn’t be overlooked. They often even have more wide-ranging positive effects.
In order to evaluate whether a candidate has a growth mindset or not, here are some indications that are easy to observe:
- Shows enthusiasm for and commitment to professional and personal development.
- Prioritizes meaningful connections with colleagues and team members.
- Can dish out and receive constructive criticism.
- Shows interest in the future and success of the company that they’re working for.
- General adaptability and flexibility.
- Demonstrates willingness to grow with a company in the long term.
- Has a willingness to do their best and push others to do the same.
6. Great Research Abilities
Last, of all, an excellent content marketing manager should have excellent research abilities. This is important both in the creation of content in general and the formation of a general content strategy.
First of all, content teams often have to write about a variety of different topics, even if they’re closely related. Great research skills will ensure that teams not only find the information they need but also that it’ll be accurate and taken from credible sources.
Second, developing a general content strategy takes a lot of research. One of the most important aspects of this is researching your audience. In order to produce content that they’ll love, you’ll need to become deeply familiar with your customers’ interests and pain points. You’ll also need to be aware of what your competitors are producing and whether what they’re putting on the table aligns with your market share.
You’re ready to find an excellent content marketing manager
Content marketing managers play integral roles in any company’s marketing team and overall marketing strategy. As such, it’s important that you hire a candidate who’s truly excellent and can make a big impact on your business’s content strategy.
We’ve outlined the six skills that we find essential when looking to hire a content marketing manager: top-notch writing and editing skills, project management skills, relevant industry knowledge, SEO experience, a growth mindset, and great research abilities.
If you keep a lookout for these top qualities when recruiting a content marketing manager, we’re confident that you’ll find the perfect match for your team in no time.