A Content Manager, or Content Strategist, is like Bigfoot – you may think they exist but they’re hard to spot. That is probably because combining the concept of a Content Copywriter or Manager with a Strategist role is sort of new. But it makes a lot of sense when you think about it.
Content remains the “new black” of digital marketing. After several years, digital content is still at the top of its game – but only if you have a Strategist who can figure out the topics for the content and the best places to distribute it. That’s just one of the things that a Content Manager/Strategist does.
Let’s break down the role.
Content Strategist/Manager Role Breakdown
First, there is content.
Content can take many forms:
- RSS feeds
- Social media
- Web pages
Content is information designed to promote a product, service, or other offerings. It is communication that is educational, persuasive, and entertaining. It can establish a business as a thought leader, or entice an audience to buy a product. Above all, content is being increasingly looked toward as a business lead generator.
The Content Manager/Strategist must determine the type of content to use to reach a target audience. Then they must figure out the proper venue to push the content to a group of users. They must optimize the content by managing the processes to launch it.
The strategy piece comes into play in the decision-making process related to the purpose and delivery vehicle of the content, and the production and measurement of its effectiveness.
Role Responsibilities and Skills Needed
The Content Manager/Strategist is expert at matching content and its delivery mechanisms with the priorities and goals of an organization. They not only can manage the best talent for creating the content, they know the best tools and tactics for pushing it to the right audiences. They also know how to measure the effectiveness of the content in the venue they’ve selected. Then it is revised, rinsed, and repeated until the content is hitting on all cylinders and the audience is engaged.
When you consider how fast-paced our digital environment is, and how difficult it is to capture and retain the attention of a targeted audience over the long term, you start to understand the difficulties inherent in the role of a Content Manager/Strategist.
Skills Super Star Strategists and Content Managers Have
Content Managers must be experts in all the facets needed to develop an effective content strategy, including:
- Researching the audience
This could include developing targeted user personas or using other analysis tools to help the organization figure out what makes an audience tick. Having skills in SWOT or gap analysis, SEO, and business intelligence will come into play during this process.
- Developing an editorial strategy
Understanding brand guidelines and then developing ideas and messaging to fit the target audience is important. Developing a specific plan and workflows for content development is a necessary part of the editorial strategy. This must include a savvy assessment of the voice and venue needed to fit the audience.
- Production Management
This includes a detailed production schedule for content migration, launch, and management. It could include tagging, editing, fact checking, search engine optimization, or other tasks associated with distributing content to the public.
- Content Promotion
If the content isn’t viewed, it doesn’t exist. It’s the Content Manager/Strategist’s goal to monitor, react to, and market the content so that it stays top of mind – until the next piece comes out.
There are sophisticated business intelligence tools that can be tied to every piece of content on the web. Conducting A/B testing or running Google Analytics is only a fraction of what can be used to test and measure the content produced today.
Content Manager/Strategists may conduct all of these activities on their own in a small company, or they may oversee a team of professionals. Either way, the role requires considerable expertise.
Other Skills Needed
Content Managers/Strategists need to have a knack for good content. But they need to back up that instinct with solid research and editing skills. They must be fabulous communicators and problem solvers.
Some of the other skills needed include:
- Change management skills to keep content moving toward publication — this could also include employee and budget management
- Technology skills for updating websites or developing content architecture or integration of content into a website or platform
- Understanding of marketing channels across the digital, print, or any other communication and distribution venues
- Keen data analysis skills with the ability to use modern business intelligence to mine data
- Strategic reasoning skills with the ability to organize multiple details into a coherent campaign
- The vision to create winning campaigns. From idea generation to research and analysis, these professionals must have the ability to conceive the future-state – and then achieve it
Suggested Software Proficiency
Content Managers and Strategists must know a little about a lot of software. In addition to a variety of graphic design, business, and content analytics tools, they should also be comfortable with customer relationship management software (CRM) and enterprise content management software (ECM).
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