I started out in the professional world back in 2007. It was an interesting time. The internet certainly wasn’t new. It seemed like many companies used email as one of the main forms of communication. Most companies had websites.
But the social media world was in its infancy. The idea of a “Content Manager” was probably more something that film and radio companies needed. Someone to manager the creation of content.
Now, though, many companies are looking to hire content managers. They’re hiring creators and managers for social media and also for other related platforms like YouTube, podcasting, blogging and more.
If you’re reading this you’re probably curious about hiring a content manager. Here are some things to consider when it comes to asking questions of a candidate.
1. What type of content do you consume?
It’s good to get to know what the person is interested in. This could get into their hobbies a little bit. It could get into what they’re interested in learning about. And it should also get into the type of content they like. What I mean by that is also if they seem to like reading, listening or viewing.
There are basically three types of content: written word, video and audio. All are about on the same level now as far as production and ease of consuming. It’s good to see if what you want lines up with what the content manager also seems to have a preference for.
2. What type of content do you create?
What we consume and what we create don’t always align. At least not entirely. Someone that likes to write might not be a huge fan of reading. They could be. They could like reading more than the average person. But perhaps they really like listening to podcasts.
It’s good to understand the preference for creating with a content manager. It’s probably where they are most comfortable and have the most experience. And it could mean that they’ll have to delegate at least a little in the other areas that they aren’t as comfortable creating.
3. What are your thoughts on SEO?
SEO has changed over the years. In the early days and even up until recently there were ways to kind of game the system. And that might be the wrong term. But basically Google has been moving in the same direction with their search for as long as they’ve been around. They want to provide the best result possible. The ways to achieve that have become better. It’s about more than links and things like that. And really they have every reason to even get to 100% paid advertising results…as long as those results are the best.
It’s good to ask this question because you want to know if the person is still focused on the older strategies that are either outdated and don’t work or that are headed that way.
4. What are your thoughts on social media?
A big thing that’s changed with social media, and it’s really always been heading this way, is that the platforms want to keep users on their apps and sites as long as possible. Posting something on Facebook with the goal of getting people off Facebook doesn’t work anymore. Facebook won’t help boost it organically. And users really don’t want to leave anyway.
So it’s good to make sure that your manager is aware of that and willing to lean into it. You can still build a brand by creating native content meant to be consumed on social media platforms. It’s good if someone stays on Facebook consuming a bunch of your content.
5. How do you brainstorm ideas?
Some like to brainstorm alone. Some like to brainstorm with a team. Some like to look to unusual sources for inspirations. Others like to use the tried and true methods. It’s good to get a feel for how your manager likes to brainstorm. You can see if it aligns with what you value and it can also allow you to give them the tools and team they need to do the best job in this area.
6. How do you manage creator communications?
You want the way the manager likes to communicate to fit with the style at your company. One thing I notice in the content world is that you can get caught up in a lot of communication. It can wear on the creators if they’re constantly being pinged on message apps, email and more. They need space to be able to create while also being led to hit deadlines. So it’s a fine balance. It’s a critical aspect of the job for the content manager.
7. What tools do you like to use?
There are a lot of tools available today. There are management tools, organization tools, product tools, writing tools, etc. It’s really overwhelming. I think it’s good to see if a prospect has a good balance of using tools, but not overusing them. And you want to make sure they can use any tools that your company prefers.
8. How do you adapt to changing content platforms?
One thing that has been apparent over the last decade is that the social media and content platforms constantly change. YouTube has continued to dominate the video world, but others have sprouted up including Facebook and Instagram. Audio has gone through a dramatic change with platforms like Spotify really seeing traction with podcasting. Blogging on websites continues to be common and very important for SEO, but you also see forms of blogging on other platforms including LinkedIn and others.
Talk to your candidate about how they feel about adapting to new platforms and changing platforms. It’s easy to find something that works only to have things change. You have to be willing to adapt.
Many companies are going to be hiring content managers this decade. The roles will differ depending on the situation. But basically the person is in charge of strategy, creating and managing a team of creators. Hopefully these questions help you get started on your search for a great content manager.