By Joe Griffin published February 17, 2017

6 Steps to Find the Perfect Content Marketing Pro

hiring-content-marketing-pro

If your organization hasn’t emphasized deliberate content marketing – meaning, there’s no documented strategy with tangible goals and metrics – now is the time to find someone who can take your company to the next level.

But how do you find that right someone? It might take a little time, but if you follow this six-step process, you’ll find a stellar marketer who will help your brand benefit from content marketing.

Step 1: Define your needs

Consider what sort of employee you need. While this varies from one organization to the next, general skills that you should seek include:

  • Storyteller – Given that this marketer will be responsible for the story your organization tells the world, find somebody with a passion for storytelling who can recognize nuggets of information that can become compelling stories.
  • Risk-taker – Your organization will never gain an advantage if your content marketing does all the same things your competitors do. A good content marketer will be able to help your organization tell its story in new ways and new places. You just have to be willing to let your content marketer explore and take calculated risks.
  • Hustler – Talent means little if an individual isn’t willing to continually learn and actively seek ways to improve the organization’s standing. The world of content marketing is constantly evolving, and those who keep up with trends are those who see success.
Talent means little if a #content marketer isn’t willing to continually learn, says @JoeGriffin. #hiring Click To Tweet

Step 2: Write and place the ad

The job posting should:

  • Communicate the skills needed. You defined the skills you want this person to possess; now put them up high in the job posting.
  • Sell the applicant on your story. You are hiring somebody to tell your company’s story. Any content marketer worth hiring is going to want to understand what your organization is before agreeing to be part of your team.
  • Set the stage for company culture. A dry and boring job posting may lead to dry and dull applicants. On the other hand, a flippant or too-cute job announcement may not result in high-caliber candidates. Consider your company culture as you write the job announcement to find an attention-grabbing authentic balance.

TIP: Never (ever) include words like “ninja,” “guru,” “magician,” “wizard,” “rock star,” or “warrior” in your job posting. Unless you want applications from a gaggle of self-proclaimed “gurus,” simply say you are looking for a content marketing professional.

Never include words like ninja, guru, or rock star in job posting. @JoeGriffin #contentmarketing #hiring Click To Tweet

Step 3: Choose applicants to interview

Selecting the candidates to interview might be the easiest part of the process. They should be knowledgeable about digital marketing and advertising, understand the customer mindset, and value analytics and ROI. Above all, they should appreciate the value of good writing, and to that end, you should spend most of your time reviewing their published content.

Pay attention to how you feel when you read it. Consider what the content makes you want to do. If it makes you feel or drives you to accomplish a task, the content is likely a good example of work from somebody who knows what to do.

Step 4: Select your questions

You will want to ask company-related questions, but don’t pass up the opportunity to ask these important questions to learn more about your potential content marketing hire’s skills:

  • What criteria do you use to decide what messages you share? How do you measure effectiveness? In this answer, you will want to ensure that the applicant communicates a deliberate, goal-driven process.
  • Which channels should this organization use to communicate our messages? Why? The “why” is the most important part of the answer. The applicant’s response can help you see whether he understands the nuances associated with creating content for different publishing channels.
  • What do you enjoy about creating content? The best content marketers will share an answer that shows their passion for storytelling. Bonus points for them if they use a real story to answer your question.
  • How should our organization define content marketing ROI? The proper answer will vary depending on your organization’s goals, but if the applicant can’t clearly explain specifics about how their content marketing efforts can help your company achieve its goals, she likely isn’t thinking of the bigger picture.
  • Can you tell me about an educational or informational piece of content you created? Listen for a demonstrated ability from the applicant to go beyond the nuts and bolts of product or program descriptions. This answer will allow you to learn whether the applicant has experience engaging a reader in the content he creates.

TIP: During the interview, ask the applicants what they know about your brand and listen to the specifics. Applicants who have done their homework are serious applicants.

Step 5: Test the contenders

Choose the top candidates and ask them to do some homework. Give them a scenario that includes the process involved in selling a product or promoting an initiative and ask them to create a one-page content marketing strategy brief.

This is a great way to determine whether an applicant is serious about the position. Even if the candidate doesn’t yet know everything about your company, it is valuable to see the level of detail and expertise a candidate puts into this plan.

Ask candidate to create a 1-page #contentmarketing strategy about initiative, product or service. @JoeGriffin Click To Tweet

Step 6: Select your new content marketer

By this point, you should have a good idea of which content marketer you want to join your organization. There is much to be said about extending an offer, but if you follow this process, you can be confident that you have identified a content marketer who will be able to tell your story and help your organization grow.

Want to help your content marketing team continue to learn and grow? Encourage them to subscribe to CMI’s free daily or weekly digest newsletter.

Cover image by Ryan McGuire via Bells Design Gratisography

Author: Joe Griffin

Joe Griffin is the CEO of ClearVoice, a content marketing technology company for high-quality blogs and content destinations that he co-founded in 2013. He has served in executive roles at Web.com and iCrossing, and has founded multiple companies. You can follow his tweets @joegriffin or connect on LinkedIn.

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  • http://www.TallPoppyShop.com Suzanne Appel

    Thanks I really enjoyed this article. I noticed that you didn’t put too much emphasis about experience in the specific industry or at a similar company. It’s not as important that the candidate know your industry- it is essential that they _want_ to know it. While they learn and discover- they can bring your audience along in the journey. I think it is important that the candidate understand B2C vs. B2B. It will be important that the candidate be able to produce content in the company voice. If your business has a brand voice that is unique, add this step into your interview process. Just wanted to add those thoughts.

    • http://www.iacquire.com/ Joe Griffin

      Suzanne, I agree. It’s really about the candidate’s ability to learn and nascent intelligence. Getting that perfect expert is great if that is an option, but generally when hiring full-time employees that can be tough, especially in smaller regions.