Finding a quality content marketing hire sounds like another item on the to-do list, but it’s about much more than snagging a good worker bee. B2B marketing teams need someone who thinks multi-dimensionally and understands current marketing trends while keeping pace with new ones.
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More importantly, a content marketing hire needs to work the content game within various marketing channels simultaneously to create quality content for every stop along the buyer’s journey. From keyword research, content strategy, writing, editing, attention to detail, and more, there are a lot of moving parts to manage—especially if a brand wants to ensure their content strategy is appealing to key buyer personas.
At the same time, the B2B marketing content space is increasingly competitive, which means more brands are examining ways to gain tactical marketing competency and consistency.
According to the B2B Marketing Report by the Content Marketing Institute, “Only 30% of B2B marketers say their organizations are effective at content marketing, down from 38% last year. Effectiveness levels are greater among respondents with documentation, clarity around success, good communication, and experience.”
This means one way for a brand to create an edge is to snag a top-notch content marketing hire—like now! Not only will this person be a linchpin between marketing, sales, and social media, but they will also understand how to reach monthly sales goals with the right types of content in the right channels at the right time.
So while hiring an intern that rocks Instagram and can write and promote killer blog posts is appealing from a budget perspective, brands need to clarify their goals and find a content marketing hire who can deliver.
Required Chops for a Content Marketer
To make the hiring process easier, start by asking what’s important now and for future growth.
Overall, “B2B marketers allocate 28% of their total marketing budget, on average, to content marketing—the same percentage as last year,” based on this report from the Content Marketing Institute. And, “The most effective allocate 42%, and the most sophisticated/mature allocate 46%.”
As the area of content marketing continues to mature, it’s important to be as savvy as possible with resources—including team members.
Here are simple rules to clarify what’s a “need to have” versus a “nice to have,” and qualities to think about when searching for your next content marketing hire. These key points will help you and your team clarify what you’re really looking for so your new hire delivers much-needed content marketing fuel for your brand.
Personality That Plays Well with Others
Personality is a major factor. People on marketing teams need to communicate clearly and collaborate frequently.
Look for a content marketing hire that can go with the flow at the fast pace often required, while still being a good team player. Are they a people person? Do they fit with the company culture? Do they understand the brand’s message and sales goals?
Be sure to look at the aspects of content marketing where they excel and which tasks ought to be delegated elsewhere (i.e., freelancers, demand gen, PR, etc.). A content marketer needs to know how all the moving parts work and know when it’s best to hand off a task to a team member.
So, think about making the hiring process a team effort. Incorporating the perspectives of your whole team will ensure you cover all the angles of the marketing process in the interview. It also gives everyone a sense of connection and compatibility before any work really begins.
Know-How, Creativity, and Reliable Documentation Skills
At the most basic level, every content marketing hire should know how to market to buyer personas through a variety of channels. Their repertoire should include developing a unique content strategy and the ability to write the content to match each channel and persona.
In addition, all of this work should align with sales goals. Can your new hire be creative with new ideas and approaches, or are they just doing the same old thing?
But if there’s one thing that can really set apart an okay content marketer from an awesome one, it’s documentation.
Are they consistent with documenting content marketing strategy to track not only ROI but also overall effectiveness of marketing efforts? The more transparent they’re willing to be when pairing strategies with tactics,—and results—the faster a brand can adjust simple changes quickly and easily with a paper trail to match, that explains key marketing decisions.
Connect Sales Goals with Content Creation
Content marketing hires have one main purpose: to create content that improves the bottom line.
They understand why sales goals inform content goals. And they see all the ways to create or rework content to ensure there are clear calls to action and incentives to drive buyers down the sales funnel.
Technical Proficiency in SEO and Social
The role of a content marketer is complex. Even if they have a can-do attitude do they have the required technical skills? Are they able to do comprehensive, usable keyword research? Can they write content that’s engaging, punchy, and technically sound?
Are they good at crunching data to create data-driven posts? Do they actively rework posts as trends shift and insights change? Do they understand the nuances of each social marketing platform and how to tweak content accordingly?
And when it comes to on-the-fly content management, how are their coding and design chops?
Basic design skills in Photoshop or a program like Canva or Snappa are a lifesaver in a time crunch. Basic HTML skills can also go a long way in creating or fixing design elements that are not sitting well on the page or need a tweak at the last minute. Tools like Google’s markup helper are a good resource, but does your new hire have other resources and go-to tools help in these areas without getting the IT team involved?
Content Marketing within Social Media Marketing
It may seem simple, but the fact that social media is such an important channel for content marketing can lead people to forget that content is the real tactic to use within the channel.
That is to say, social media angles toward creating and bolstering engagement with a core audience. And specifically engineered content is an important aspect of that. Use social media to sell to specific buyer personas in the social platforms where they live and work. Twitter reaches a broad audience while LinkedIn can target more specific personas.
Make sure to leverage the strengths of every channel with the strongest content appropriate to that channel.
Excellent Management and Communication Skills
A quality content marketing hire needs excellent project management skills across the board.
A content marketer has the unique role of interweaving sales goals and brand details. They’re able to engage an audience by telling a compelling story through paced content, calling on their skills as a critical thinker and a visionary. But they also have to be able to communicate all these details in a clear and concise way.
Seeing all of the moving parts and weaving them together effectively takes management and communication prowess.
Resource Allocation and Delegation
No one person can do everything, which means a content marketing hire needs to allocate and use resources well. That includes delegating as needed to stick to a timeline or repurposing something to fit within the deliverable deadlines. It’s a major advantage to have a content marketer who is comfortable using an editorial calendar and/or content management platform to all stakeholders connected to the project.
Finding the right content marketing hire for your brand can be easier than you think when you stick to some of these basic rules. The most important thing is to hit as many qualities as possible. You want to choose someone who has the core skills in place but is also willing to adapt. Never underestimate a willingness to learn. You want someone who will grow with your brand and work to expand their skill sets along the way.