The role of content manager, or digital content strategist, has become vital in the world of marketing in recent years.

Brands and companies are supplementing traditional media by publishing consumer news and information themselves. They are also using social channels to engage directly with customers – to deal with customer service issues and gain data and user insights into the products and services offered. Marketing messages are just as likely to reach consumers today through viral social campaigns, YouTube videos, infographics and smartphone apps, as they are through direct mail, print or TV commercials.

It is the role of the content marketing manager to create these new pieces of content, manage how brand messages are distributed, measure response and tailor future efforts accordingly. “Good content managers are those that try new ideas and are brave enough to change tack if they fail to deliver any real value to the business,” says Katherine Wheeler, a digital marketing expert.

Companies need content marketers who understand why the bigger story matters and how to discover, articulate and communicate it, says marketer Carla Johnson.  “Content without context is a waste of time; it’s critical to have this overarching perspective before taking any next steps,” she says. “Content marketers also need to think like investigative reporters, always looking beyond the obvious, and continually asking ‘why’?”

Content can come in a variety of formats from blogs and white papers, to infographics and video. Video already makes up 40% of consumer internet traffic and looks set to reach 62% by 2015 with the growth of smartphones and tablets. There are so many options to consider with video – from video brochures, video newsletters, and video training on products. This could mean the promotion of content strategists into more senior positions where they can collect and authorise all the different strands of content from user-generated, to video, and infographics.


Skills of the content manager

Key marketing skills will still apply, but it’s clear that marketing communications planning has become a lot more tactical, and needs the skills of a strategist to guide it.

Here are five key skills every content strategist/content manager should have:

Editorial – Content strategists need to think like authors, curating content strands and editing pieces of content to ensure they are high quality, and relevant to users.

PR – Content strategists need to be experienced publicists and campaign managers knowing what kind of publicity is sought and how to get it.

Market/Industry Knowledge – Good content strategists will carefully tailor exciting new content to the needs of the audience in the context of that particular industry or product group. Content needs to be age, gender and class specific, so that it does not exclude or offend key groups.

Technical – Content strategy also involves governance, migration planning, and technical issues related to integration into content management systems.

Strategic thinking – Content marketing is all about being holistic, so that the brand is not overshadowed by off-brand messages and ideas. Strategic thinking comes into play when all the strands of a cross channel campaign are managed together, with all marketing team members clear on why particular pieces of content are launched and the benefits they will deliver.


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