By Pawan Deshpande published August 21, 2016

10 Interview Questions to Find the Best Content Marketers

interview-questions-best-content-marketers

Organizations of all sizes and across a range of industries are busy hiring people to manage their content. After all, the expertise and skills needed to run a successful content marketing strategy differ from those of the average marketer, so it makes sense to bring content specialists into the fold.

But how do you go about finding the right person? What competencies should you look for? And how can you determine if a job applicant fits the bill? Below I outline three critical core competencies for content marketers of all levels, along with 10 interview questions you can ask to determine candidates’ proficiency in each area.

Talent for writing AND passion for content marketing

Content marketers must be great writers and editors, with a strong ability to tell a story. However, beyond that, they need to love what they do. Ask:

1. What do you enjoy about writing?

Look for signs of excitement and enthusiasm. You likely have a keeper if the person touts the personal benefits of creating great content.

2. How did you determine the style, tone, and voice for a recent piece of content you wrote?

Content marketers should have their own voice and writing style. However, they also need to be able to adapt to fit the company, the audience, and the content format. Ask for specific examples of how they’ve modified their style — and why doing so was important.

Content marketers should have their own voice & writing style says @TweetsFromPawan #hiring Click To Tweet

3. Have you created content that entertained or educated your readers? Describe it.

Every content marketing piece should benefit readers in some way while maintaining their attention. Look for examples of storytelling, humor, or educational information that go beyond selling products.

4. Has your content been critiqued in the past? How so?

Watch their body language and listen for cues that indicate they see feedback as an opportunity to improve — and that they willingly apply it to their writing.

Ability to align content with readers’ needs

Content marketers must understand the market, industry, and audience they’re serving. That means listening to customers and influencers, identifying customer needs, and providing content relevant to the industry. Ask:

5. How do you decide what topics to focus on and what format to use?

It’s important to understand candidates’ thought process when it comes to generating ideas or deciding which are worth pursuing. You want someone who has a plan for surfacing the best ideas rather than relying on a supervisor to tell them what to do.

6. If it were your first day here, what steps would you take to develop a content marketing strategy?

This one tells you whether candidates can handle the role you have in mind for them. For example, if you need a complete overhaul, does the person have the initiative? Or if you need someone to step in to an established system, can the person adapt to your way of doing things?

Understanding of what drives successful content

Being a successful content marketer is equal parts writing skill and marketing acumen. Even the best writers won’t succeed if they don’t have a general awareness of what sells, how to measure performance, and how to translate data into action. Ask:

A successful content marketer has equal parts writing skill & marketing acumen says @TweetsFromPawan Click To Tweet

7. What makes content successful?

Candidates must be able to define what “success” is when it comes to generating content. As they respond, you should hear the words “traffic,” “repeat visitors,” “retweets and likes,” and “search engine ranking” to show their understanding. Even better if they provide details about their own successes in those areas.

8. How do you decide what content to create?

The ideal candidate will talk about industry news and trending topics, and explain how to use Google AdWords to find topics that will drive the most traffic to your website.

9. After you have published your content, how do you promote it?

With this one, you learn if candidates can think beyond writing and can come up with a plan for promoting content. Ideal candidates will lay out a marketing plan, including sharing it on multiple social media accounts, repurposing it in outgoing newsletters and emails, and finding influencers to link to it.

10. How do you know if your content has performed well?

Sending content into the world isn’t enough. Candidates should know how to monitor and analyze content by tracking social media shares and using Google Analytics to evaluate the success of each piece.

Of course, finding a well-rounded candidate doesn’t stop with those questions — you’ll need to dig deeper to find the perfect fit for your team. For a full list of questions, the ideal responses, and evaluation criteria, download Curata’s Content Marketing Interview Template.

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Cover image by Joseph Kalinowski/Content Marketing Institute

Editor’s note: Curata is a Content Marketing Institute benefactor, which is a paid supporter of our website and content creation activities.

Author: Pawan Deshpande

Pawan Deshpande is the founder and CEO of Curata, a Boston-based company offering content marketing software used by thousands of marketers around the world. He spearheaded the first-ever panel at SxSW on Content Marketing in 2011, and was a 2014 Finalist for MarketingProfs B2B Marketer of the Year. Pawan was an engineer at Microsoft and Google where he was awarded patents in social networking and machine learning. He previously attended MIT where his graduate thesis won top departmental and international awards. You can contact Pawan via Twitter @TweetsFromPawan or on LinkedIn. Interested in the state of the content marketing industry in 2016? Download Curata's 2016 Content Marketing Staffing & Tactics Study.

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  • http://contentmarketinginstitute.com/author/roger-c-parker/ Roger C. Parker

    The value of this post extends beyond those who need to know the questions to ask.

    Knowing the questions they’re likely to be asked makes this post an invaluable resource for freelancers and those seeking content marketing jobs!

    • http://www.curata.com/ Pawan Deshpande

      Great point! I’ll have to think of some new interview questions to ask for content marketing candidates at Curata. 🙂

  • http://wedigtech.com/mobile-apps-development-india.html clifford gibson

    These are best question to be asked to any content writer. It will defiantly help us to find out a good content writer in our company.

  • Dhivya Subramanian

    What makes content successful?

  • http://www.iqd.com alexander novicov

    Some great questions. The most important thing is for the person who asks them to understand them!