Looking for a content specialist but struggling to hire the right person? Many companies make the mistake of overly focusing on writing skills when looking for an in-house content marketer. A good content marketer should certainly be a strong writer but he or she needs to be able to do more than just write.
When hiring a content marketer, Marie Lee, Senior Manager, Industrial and Professional Services, Robert Walters advises hiring managers to check if candidates are able to wear the five hats below:
1. Content Authority
A good content marketer creates content that is relevant and interesting to both the company’s audience and the business. This will require having a strong understanding of the company’s audiences, knowing the latest trends within the industry and the business, and a good grasp of a variety of content formats, including long-form articles, social media copy, videos, newsletters, eDMs and more.
The ability to maximise the reach and potential of each content asset to its fullest – whether via multiple channels or repurposing into different formats – is also the mark of a good content marketer.
"To get the most out of a writing test, get them to develop content on a niche topic relevant to your industry. On top of testing their language ability, this will also reveal whether they are able to research effectively and put information together in a clear, logical flow," shares Marie. "You can also ask candidate to develop accompanying assets, such as eDMs and social media posts to see how flexible they are with different forms of content."
2. Digital Guru
Understanding content distribution channels is also essential for generating good content. Is the asset meant for social media, a website, or a brochure? These are very different contexts and a good content marketer is able to tailor each asset to the channel of distribution. A significant amount of content today is going to be published digitally – which is why it is important for a content marketer to be familiar with eDMs, websites and the common social media channels.
“Managing content across a business’ multiple digital platforms requires thorough understanding of these channels,” says Marie. “Familiarity with the specific tools themselves, such as MailChimp or WordPress, is secondary – it’s more about understanding how and when and how audiences use these channels. To understand if your candidates know how to utilise these channels well, I’d recommend giving them a specific marketing objective and asking them for their recommendations on what sort of content they would put out.”
3. Business Driver
A content marketer also needs to be a partner to the business and all marketing efforts should be aligned to business objectives. This can be to generate more profits, improve the overall brand image, or be more socially conscious.
“Finding a content specialist with strong business partnership skills can be challenging, particularly since such talent is in high demand,” shares Marie. “Experienced candidates can be costly, so my suggestion is for employers to look for candidates who have high potential. Ask candidates what they think an in-house content specialist’s role should be – their answers will often reveal if they see themselves as a partner to the business.”
4. Whiz Strategist and Planner
To ensure all your content assets collectively work together to drive business objectives, there needs to be an underlying strategy. A good content marketer will look at the business objectives for the year, plan accordingly ahead of time and take steps to ensure that things go according to plan – all while remaining flexible.
This is where the timed component of your writing test is crucial. “Most interviewers don’t ask candidates how they use their time during the test, but this information is quite useful,” shares Marie. “Good planners will be able to tell you how they made effective use of their time to tackle the tasks within the test, while less organised candidates will often just jump right in without thinking ahead.”
5. Analytics Enthusiast
In the data-driven world of today, good content marketers understand that leveraging data analytics can help make content more effective. Is the phrase “content marketing” going to appeal to more people in Malaysia than “content marketer”? A quick search on Google trends reveals the answer. From using tools such as Google trends and Adwords, to conducting A/B testing and more, a good content marketer doesn’t just decide what’s effective based on his or her intuition, but on statistics and metrics.
Marie cautions employers against placing too much focus on analytics as a required skill set. “Many content marketers today are still only starting to pick up this niche skill set,” she explains. “Look for candidates who are eager to learn how to use analytics to improve their craft and provide training to support their learning. Although this will initially require some cost, investing in the learning of a curious and talented employee often pays off in the long run, particularly in terms of retention.”
High potential is key
While these are the hats a content marketer needs to wear, it is extremely challenging to find skilled talent who can don all five hats with style and efficacy. Hiring managers need to keep in mind that the best content marketers constantly seek learning opportunities, and the best way to provide these is to give them a role that they can grow into. Working with a trusted recruitment partner can help you more easily identify and secure high potential candidates who will grow and learn alongside your marketing team and business.
Hire the right content specialist for your team today. Contact Marie Lee today at firstname.lastname@example.org for an in-depth consultation.