So, you’ve got a kick-ass idea for a business. It’s going to make you a truckload of money once people buy into it. It’s a one-of-a-kind idea that’s a total industry game-changer.
You can already visualize the accolades you’ll have on display in your office once your business soars to new heights. There’s only one small issue that stands in your way: Only a handful of people have heard about your brand. The rest of the world doesn’t even know you exist.
Just to put things into perspective, your company website is one of 1.72 billion sites that are online right now. Let that number sink in for a moment. It means there’s an almost zero percent chance of anyone ever visiting your website given the fact that 75% of internet users don’t even bother to click on page two of Google search results.
It is for this very reason that every business needs to have a content manager on board. But, what does a content manager do, and do you need one? This article seeks to answer that question in depth. So, without further ado, let’s dive right in.
What Is a Content Manager’s Job?
Put simply, a content manager is a person charged with overseeing the content published on blogs and websites. It involves activities that center around creating, editing, posting and updating website content.
Before getting into the nitty-gritty of what they do, the main role of a content manager is to ensure that the information on a website remains fresh, factual, appealing and informative. They need to manage every piece of information on a website to help a company to not only remain relevant but also achieve its business goals as well.
A content manager may work on website content on their own or lead a team of content producers to put out new information when the scope of work is too wide or involving for a single person. If that’s the case, they’ll typically retain a couple of Rockstar writers to increase the speed and efficiency of putting out captivating content without compromising on its quality.
The job description of a content writer includes:
- Thoroughly researching industry-specific topics using online resources, previous studies, as well as, media interviews of reputable thought-leaders
- Writing clear, correct, and concise marketing copy to promote a business’ products/services
- Using content management systems to prepare well-structured drafts
- Proofreading and editing blog articles before they’re published on their respective websites
- Adhering to SEO guidelines when writing marketing copy to increase web traffic
SEO in content writing stands for Search Engine Optimization. It is an all-encompassing process that involves balancing website content using very specific highly-targeted keywords and keyword phrases to rank websites and web pages all the while ensuring that they remain relevant and appealing to visitors. This is usually in an attempt to bump-up website traffic, generate leads and convert them into sales.
What Does “Content” Mean
Truth be told, a global definition of the term “content” that all marketers can agree on is impossible to come by. But a great starting point would be to describe it as high-quality contextually-relevant information that is packaged and delivered in a manner that evokes emotion among its consumers. Its sole purpose is to spark engagement.
It needs to be useful, factual, entertaining, and engaging to keep an individual glued to it long enough to solicit some type of action from them. Have you ever found yourself whiling away hours scrolling through endless posts on social media?
If you’ve ever found yourself stuck in this rabbit-hole, don’t worry – you’re in good company. Great content has the power to do that.
Why Is a Content Manager Important for Your Business?
Not all heroes wear capes. If you hope to make any headway in the digital sphere, then working with a content manager isn’t an option – it’s a requirement. Here are some of their critical functions.
1. Syncing With Your Sales Team
Unless you’re running a charity organization, the bottom line of every business is, well – its bottom line. If it’s not making you money, then you might as well call it a day. To make money, you need to know and understand your customers. You need to think like them and anticipate their needs even before they know what those needs are.
At the risk of sounding like Rocky Balboa, if you want to beat your competition you have to stop thinking the way they think; “you gotta think like you think” to get into the mindset of your customers. And, who knows them better than the folks in the sales department.
A good content manager can do a pretty decent job at overseeing the content published on your website, but a great one successfully bridges the gap between the marketing department and all other facets of the company. Central to this is the sales team and any other customer-facing employees.
The content manager should be able to gather as much intel as possible about the questions and challenges customers have about the company so that they can produce relevant and highly-targeted content for business prospects. Fortifying these relationships is crucial to the success of any content manager.
Here are the top five questions competent content managers need to ask the sales team to ensure that the information they publish has what it takes to attract the best leads.
What Does the Sales Process Entail?
Regardless of the industry that you’re in, content managers need to have a general overview of what the sales process looks like in your company. Some of the questions they are likely to ask the company sales representatives include:
- What sparks a prospect’s interest to get the conversation going?
- How long does it take to make a sale from the first point of contact to the final sale?
- What type of visual stimulation do customers best respond to?
Generating content won’t do much for lead conversion if the person producing it doesn’t understand the ins and outs of the end-to-end process.
What Criteria Do the Sales Reps Use to Identify Sales-Qualified Leads?
Leads are great and all, but they mean nothing for your business if they don’t convert into sales. Whether or not a lead is sales-qualified means being able to tell if they are ready to have the conversation that ultimately progresses into a sale. Doing this at the wrong time could mean losing them altogether.
So, a candid discussion between the content manager and the sales team to gain a better understanding of the criteria-fit required to measure a lead’s sales-qualification is crucial to the entire content management and refinement process. Some common sales-readiness indicators may include:
- The number of pages visitors view on your website: The more time they spend engaging with content on your website, the more likely they’ll be to buy what you’re selling.
- The specific pages viewed: If a lead spends time checking out the product and pricing pages in addition to the About Us, Our Team or Customer Testimonial pages, this is usually a pretty good indicator of their willingness to make a purchase.
- Returning to the website several times after the initial visit: If a lead goes back to the site five to six times after their initial visit, it is usually a sign of their purchase-readiness.
What Do Leads Have to Say About the Competition?
First off, any competent content manager knows that copying what the competition is doing is an absolute faux-pas. Not only does it make your company look unoriginal, but without background information on why they chose to adopt a particular strategy, copying them might just backfire on you.
If the sales team indicates that several leads have been bringing up specific things that your competition is doing in their marketing-efforts, that appear to have had an impact on them, then it’s certainly worth looking into.
What Are the Most Common Concerns Among Leads?
Before a lead converts into a sale, all their concerns must be addressed even before a sales representative speaks to them. A content manager needs to be aware of what these concerns are to ensure that the content they publish addresses them in entirety to hasten the conversion process. These objections can form the basis for informative blog posts that address all their issues in detail.
What Are the Leads’ Expectations?
If there’s one area that’s notorious for causing a huge amount of friction between the sales and marketing team, it is in managing the leads’ expectations. Content marketers are known to upsell products/services. Some call it being very optimistic, especially when they believe wholeheartedly in their company’s product(s).
However, they have to ensure that the content they publish doesn’t exaggerate the real benefits of the products in question. So, they need to work closely with the company’s sales reps, who often bear the brunt of dealing with customers’ disappointment when the products don’t meet their high expectations.
2. Planning Your Editorial Calendar
Determining what kind of content your company is going to generate, the blog article topics to be covered, and the schedule within which you can expect drafts and revisions, are all addressed by an editorial calendar. It also covers the days that you intend to publish blog posts, send emails, and post social media notifications.
If you have a small company, then the content manager would largely be responsible for all these tasks on the calendar. But, if you’re in a larger organization that has a marketing team, then they would be responsible for organizing every bit of content and keeping everyone on course to stick to the schedule and beat deadlines.
An editorial calendar doesn’t have to be complicated. A content manager simply needs to find one that works for them and the rest of the project members. According to the Content Marketing Institute, several organizations don’t see a tangible ROI on their content marketing efforts because they fail to create a plan that captures all the activities that need to get done.
Content managers use this planning tool to keep everyone on track to help the company achieve its desired marketing goals. They customize it based on your audience to ensure that it is not only relevant to your target demographic based on their biggest concerns but also has clear-cut ways to develop information that helps address these issues.
A content manager will typically start by plotting out the big things first like major project launches, respective industry openings, endings, periodic themes, holidays, major events, etc. They will then define what exactly your business needs in terms of publishing frequency depending on how often your existing and potential customers expect updates. That way, the content manager can organize responsibilities that revolve around content research, writing, editing, approval, and publication.
Event Content Management Cycle
Before getting into what an event content management cycle looks like, you need to understand what event content is in the first place. It refers to content that is specially produced to facilitate an upcoming event like a concert, show, movie, party, etc.
Depending on the scale of the event, the responsibilities of the marketing content manager and the event content manager may be handled by one person or split into separate roles in a marketing team. Here’s what a basic event content management cycle might look like:
- Development of an event content strategy
- Scheduling a marketing content conference call
- Event speaker selection
- Pre-event speaker coordination
- Content marketing to attract event attendees
- Coordination of rehearsals and other event logistics
- Documentation of presentations on video and hard copy
- Re-purposing of event content into marketing content
- Data analysis and analytics from event surveys
- Using information obtained to refine content strategy
3. Writing and Editing Blog Content
You may not be aware of this but, in addition to having multiple writers who generate content for your website, content managers are responsible for producing a lot of the content themselves. It is for this very reason that they need to have strong writing and editing skills, as well as the uncanny ability to generate content that has a significant impact on a business’ bottom line. After all, isn’t that the whole point of retaining their services?
Certain types of content have been known to generate the biggest impact on revenue generation. They include:
- Best in <class> type blogs
- Product/service reviews
- Comparisons and “versus”
- Pricing posts
Most marketers tend to steer clear of the last two. After all, who wants to talk about problems or price when they’re trying to sell a product? Content managers, however, are cut from a different cloth. They go where no man dares to go to talk about these issues in painstaking detail.
It all boils down to anticipating a customer’s needs and concerns and addressing them regardless of how uncomfortable it might be. Think of it this way. If you own a car dealership and have the 2012-2016 Ford Fiesta in stock, the last thing you want to draw attention to are the well-known transmission system problems that plague those particular models. But the reality is, that’s exactly what online users are looking up in Google.
So, you might as well find a creative way to address these issues without putting them off it completely. A content manager has the right skill-set to package and deliver this information accurately to potential leads without losing them altogether.
4. Developing Lead Magnets
As a business owner, you ultimately have three main goals with your website: drive traffic to it, convert this traffic into leads, and nurture the leads to convert them to sales. A content manager will help you do all three. The online relationship that exists between a brand and its customers is a lot like Tinder (yes, the dating app).
You go on the app, come across someone’s profile, and before you know it, you’re a match! They’re exactly what you’ve been looking for. You’re now thinking about where you’ll get hitched, where you’ll go on your honeymoon, how many kids you’ll have, whether their parents will like you…
But wait a minute! What happened to the courtship phase? The late-night dinners, the hand-in-hand sunset strolls in the beach, the I-want-you-to-meet-my-family conversations, the proposal…
It’s all moving too fast, right? Well, many companies often fall into this trap when generating content that ends with a rather pushy CTA at the bottom prompting them to “Subscribe NOW!” or “Hurry and get this offer TODAY!” They skip the courtship phase that’s necessary for customers to build a rapport with a brand.
Awareness Stage of the Courtship Process
Content managers exist to bridge this gap. They ease customers into the relationship gradually without scaring them off. They learn about your brand to come up with awareness-stage offers that have proven to be one of the most effective lead magnets around. These include:
- Checklists: To provide leads with actionable things they can do when researching solutions to their problems.
- Buying guides: To help leads make well-informed decisions when purchasing a product.
- eBooks: To provide helpful information about a specific topic of interest.
- Gated content: Involves turning a 4000-word blog post, for instance, into gated content by giving leads access to the first 1500 words, and after they’re hooked, require them to fill out their information to access the remaining 2500 words.
- Offer-combos: If you have two different pieces of content on your website that each promotes different offers, a content manager can find a creative way of combining them without having to go back to the drawing board to start from scratch.
5. Promoting Content
Publishing content on the web can take some time before it starts generating organic traffic to your website. If it is optimized for search engines, it might take several months before your site features on page one of Google results – which is ultimately where you want to be.
This, however, doesn’t mean that you should just sit there twiddling your thumbs until then. There’s still a way that your target audience can get an inside look into your brand using other mediums aside from your official website. These include using social networking platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn.
Content managers are experts at customizing posts using language that is very specific to the respective platforms. So, if there’s a new blog post available, they can promote it on different social networking sites to give it the traction it needs to drive traffic, generate leads and drive sales.
Competent content managers also keep their fingers on the pulse by joining online discussion forums that have a solid following. Sites like Reddit and Quora are a great place to stay up-to-date with the latest discussions on what’s trending in the industry and some of the frequently asked questions from consumers. It’s a great opportunity to respond to some of the queries and provide an inbound link to an article on your website for further engagement.
6. Repurposing Content
Often, you’ll find that a particular blog article or another piece of content appears to be getting a huge number of hits compared to its counterparts. It would be great if that could be mirrored on social networking platforms like LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook, right? The good news is that it can.
There’s no sense in trying to reinvent the wheel when you have one that’s in perfect working condition. A content manager analyzes the most popular pieces of content on your site and repurposes them for other social platforms. It is essentially a fancy way of saying “recycling”.
For instance, they can repurpose a series of top-performing blog articles into an eBook. Catchy or memorable phrases within a popular blog post can be repurposed into a meme or a tweet.
In addition to this, different people consume content differently. Some people can sit and patiently comb through a 5000-word blog article. For others, getting through 500 words is an uphill battle that requires regular water breaks and the occasional stretch.
Others prefer to listen to audio in the car while others would rather watch a talking head on YouTube. A content manager is constantly on the lookout for new ways to reach diverse audiences based on their unique consumption preferences and customizing the existing content accordingly.
7. Updating Existing Content
Content marketing isn’t just about creating fresh new content; it also involves making sure that existing content is up-to-date. Imagine a potential lead landing on an outdated blog post on your website right after reading a recently published one that contains conflicting information?
They would leave the site convinced that you’re not an authority on the subject, before proceeding to your competitor’s website to see what they have to say on the subject. There’s an easy fix for this.
Instead of having new content on existing topics written, a content manager would regularly review and update the posts with relevant, up-to-date information while adhering to SEO best practices.
Here are some great techniques that content managers use to achieve a total content makeover:
- Refreshing images since not all of them are timeless
- Revisiting the statistics and information used in previous posts to make sure they’re still relevant
- Adding tweetable text
- Redoing the introduction to paint a better picture for readers on what’s to come
- Changing up the CTA by adopting the same ones used in your top-performing content pieces
8. Obsessing Over Numbers
Content managers are constantly looking at metrics to determine whether the current marketing efforts are bearing fruit or if it’s time to employ a change in strategy. They use analytical tools like Google Analytics and Google Search Console for insight into the performance of every piece of content on your website.
Some important metrics content managers constantly obsess over include:
- Traffic and traffic sources
- Traffic demographics
- Device types
- Returning visitors
- Page rankings
- Bounce rates
- Time spent on page
- Number of backlinks
- Form submission rates
The Relationship Between Content Managers and Other Content Marketing Roles
Now that we’ve exhaustively covered what a content manager does, a better question would be – what does a content manager NOT do? Well, there isn’t much, to be honest. Content managers are the backbone of all-things online marketing.
With that said, people often mix up their roles with those of other digital marketing functions. Let’s clear that up, shall we?
Difference Between a Content Manager and a Community Manager
A content manager is charged with the oversight of all the content published on the client website. A community manager, on the other hand, is charged with overseeing all the social dialogue taking place among the audience members in a particular online forum.
They handle a brand’s social engagement. Some job descriptions place it squarely in the realm of social media while others consider it part of Content. It all depends on perspective.
What Does a Social Media Manager Do?
It’s no secret content marketing involves social media marketing to a large extent. However, despite the overlap between them, they are distinct entities.
Social media managers focus on the marketing activities set within the social platforms themselves. Content managers, on the other hand, focus on the marketing activities located within the brand website itself.
Difference Between a Content Manager and a Content Specialist
While content managers are responsible for overseeing the content produced and published on client websites, content specialists focus on the actual creation of content.
A content specialist is someone who does a little bit of everything from creating content strategies and coordinating with designers and writers, to driving targeted traffic and boosting a website’s SEO. They have to figure out how to tell a compelling story about a brand to create compelling content that the audience will want to read and share.
What Is a Product Content Strategist?
It’s not enough to produce content to market your product. The content within the product itself also plays a huge role in enhancing a customer’s entire experience. A product content strategist is an expert who uses content as a tool to define the desired user experience and maximize the adoption of a product among its consumers.
What Does a Content Lead Do?
A content lead is someone who ensures that all of a brand’s narratives and messaging is in support of the overall content strategy. They work closely with a company’s Chief Marketing Officer, Director of Communications, as well as, other key stakeholders to guarantee the optimal delivery of high-quality content to the desired audience across multiple platforms – not just client websites.
Cost of Hiring a Content Manager
If there’s one thing that’s crystal clear at this point is that a content manager is integral to your business’ bottom line. They are invaluable to the growth of a company, so retaining the right one will certainly improve your ROI.
This begs the question: How much does a content manager make? According to data from glassdoor, content managers make an average of a little over $56,000 annually with content managers in top companies making up to $84,000 a year. On the other hand, social media managers have an average salary of more than $50,000 a year with top earners making up to $72,000 a year.
At the top of the content marketing salary hierarchy is the Director of Content, who makes make an average of $79,000 per year. The top-earners in this category make up to $119,000 per year. If you’re looking for a career change and those figures sound enticing to you, consider dipping your toe in the content marketing pool by first becoming a content creator.
A content creator is an individual responsible for producing engaging content destined for the digital sphere. This includes producing blog posts, social media copy, eBooks, video marketing – basically anything that involves digital content creation. So how do content creators get paid? Well, they are remunerated in the following ways:
- Through sales revenue where they receive payment in exchange for products or services
- Through donations from well-wishers who usually don’t expect anything in return
- Through paid promotions and advertisements from third-party businesses or individuals
Unlock a World of Untold Possibilities for Your Business
In a world where standing out from the competition is like trying to find the proverbial needle in a haystack, content managers do more than manage content. They hold the key to unlocking your digital marketing success.
If you don’t already have a content manager on board, there’s a good chance you’ll be spending most of your time playing catch-up with the competition. This will see your business’ bottom line take a hit as a result.
It’s time to snap out of it! The secret lies in working smarter, not harder.