Content may be king, but like most monarchs, he couldn't tie his own shoes without help.
WHAT IS A CONTENT MANAGER?
Whether you're new to the marketing game or a well-seasoned hand, one truth rules them all: Content is king.
Though Bill Gates wrote the original essay on this topic way back in 1996, his assertion (like his software) has stayed strong. It makes sense, then, that brands and marketers have worked hard to ensure their proverbial king is well-attended.
Enter the content manager. Essentially the king's head adviser, the content manager's role is anything and everything the crown might need. They strategize, manage the creation of, and distribute content, which means their role may cover the entire breadth of content for their company, or potentially only a specific segment such as digital content, social media, or blogs.
Just as advising the King of England at the height of the British Empire would be a very different experience than advising the King of Tonga, a content manager's role will largely depend on the size of the company and intended scope of their content. Though it may not be rigidly defined, however, the role is crucial one. Just try imagining a royal without someone to tell them where to go, what to do, and what important courtly issues are at hand.
What skills does a content manager have?
Content managers generally require a wide expanse of skills, both hard and soft. Here are some common traits and skills of successful content managers:
Frequently, content managers get their start as creatives, filling a role as a designer or copywriter. They must have a sense of creativity to be able to drive meaningful content ideas, define and guide the voice of a brand, and ensure that content is consistent and targeted. If they don't have a knack for creativity and outside the box thinking, their job will be a challenge.
Trying to keep the king on track is no small task. In addition to the content itself, content managers often have to manage teams who work on the content as well. Thus, content managers must be organized in order to ensure they are meeting deadlines, updating content as necessary, keeping team members on track with content creation, and any other tasks associated with the content in their care.
Content managers must be able to understand the impact of content. They are often required to deal in data to understand what works and what doesn't, and to take action dependent upon those insights. They must be analytical in order to ensure the content is actually doing what it is intended to do—and, if it isn't, figure out what to do about it.
Content defines a brand, for better or worse. A good content manager has to be able to look beyond execution to leverage existing insights, safeguard the brand voice, and use their skills to align content within a larger marketing strategy.
While strategy is crucial, a content manager must also deal in the details. This means ensuring that content is free of errors, is accessible across platforms and devices, is updated regularly, and is consistent with other existing content.
Ultimately, a good content manager is one who considers the impact of every piece of content within their scope. They consider the content at face value, ensuring that it's ready for release, and they also review it for necessary updates as it ages. They work to understand the strategic implications of content, and they review the metrics on that content to confirm or deny those assertions. They are iterative, creative, intentional, and a jack of all trades. Most importantly, they have a strong sense of ownership over everything within their domain.
How do you become a content manager?
Unlike a royal adviser, you don't have to be born into nobility to work in content. Aspiring content managers have the opportunity to approach this role from different angles, depending on their existing strengths. Regardless of where you're starting, however, it is important to get involved in activities related to content marketing, whether that means being the writer who helps create the content, working with the brand to define voice, or becoming a social media expert.
Whichever route you choose, the proverbial keys to the castle lie in having the right background, expertise, and understanding of the power of content.
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