There’s a lot of noise and uncertainty in content marketing, but one thing has remained constant: People are creating more and more content. According to CMI’s 2017 benchmark survey, over 70 percent of companies plan to create more content this year compared to last yearâ€”an upward trend that’s held steady over the past few years.
In turn, content marketing hiring is on the rise. Content management is one of the most sought-after marketing skills, and content strategists have one of the highest-rising salaries in America. Content marketing job listings grew 350 percent on Indeed between 2011 and 2015.
Whenever managers ask me for advice about filling these roles, I usually have to explain that, no, I can’t help them poach from Contently’s network of 100,000 freelance creatives. But once that’s out of the way, we usually end up having a deep conversation about what they should look for in the hiring process. Here are the five rules I preach every time.
Rule 1: Don’t obsess over domain expertise
Recently, I was having lunch with a friend hoping to hire a content marketing manager, which is the catch-all job title for a writer and editor who has decent video instincts.
â€œI need someone who really knows ad tech,” she said.
â€œNo you don’t,” I said.
I encounter this exchange in just about every hiring conversation. While it’s crucial to hire freelance writers who know your industry inside and out, you don’t have to hold your full-time hires to the same standard. That may sound counterintuitive, but one of the benefits of full-time hires is you get to coach them up. That learning curve gives you the luxury of prioritizing other factors: storytelling ability, passion, and strong instincts for creating content that’ll perform well on different distribution channels. You can absolutely teach someone everything they need to know about ad tech or martech or content marketing. It’s much harder to teach someone how to write.
I have an amazing team. They’re the biggest content marketing geeks on earth. When they started at Contently, none of them knew much about content marketing. But they could write, edit, and craft a good story. That’s what matters.
Rule 2: Put their skills to the test
Rule 1 comes with an obvious risk: What happens if your hire never develops an interest for your industry? After all, demand-side platforms aren’t for everyone.
To mitigate this risk, I highly recommend putting potential hires to the test. Give them (paid) freelance assignments that mirror the work you want them to do, and see how much they master a subject on their own. For instance, when we were interviewing Erin Nelson for our marketing editor role, I assigned her a 2,000 word explainer on best practices for mid-funnel content marketing in B2B tech. She had a solid base of knowledge coming from the B2B events world, did a ton of research on her own, and knocked it out of the park.
There are too many great storytellers looking for …read more
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