A new study produced by our friends over at Software Advice (a management software reviews website) set out to determine what it takes to move ahead in your content marketing career in 2014. While their report focused specifically on the most common job requirements listed by employers looking to hire Content Marketing Managers, the results shed light on what nearly any prospective employer or client is expecting from a content marketing professional.
Get the complete report and findings direct from the source at “What Employers are Looking For in a Content Marketing Manager.” And tell them SPROUT Content sent you!
Looking at the results of this study, some key findings really stood out. Some of them are not surprising at all, but really serve to validate what we've also found to be true through our own experience. Other findings, though, were really surprising – some in a good way, some, not so much...
It was definitely not surprising to find that nearly 70% of the employers looking for content marketing managers wanted their candidates to be skilled writers. After all, in one way or another, writing forms the basis of quality content creation and distribution. SEO skills were second at around 40%.
But it was surprising to find that important complimentary skills like data analysis and research were far less commonly required. As highlighted in SPROUT Content Co-founders Debbie and Dechay's book, Brands in Glass Houses, many seemingly “boring” companies can create compelling content by digging down deep into their industry, their own company history, and the stories that surround the people that make things happen in those spaces.
With so much “me too” content out there already, we're seeing data analysis and research almost coming head-to-head with writing skills for content marketing pros going forward.
Education vs. Experience
Half of the listings studied required some level of content marketing experience, which just makes sense. We're actually surprised this number wasn't higher. But it may have a lot to do with the fact that different employers view the Content Marketing Manager role differently. For some, the candidate is expected to take a direct hands-on role in creating content and strategy, while in other cases the candidate is going to be more responsible for organizing and managing a team of content creators, strategists, social media professionals and others.
It was pretty surprising that so few of them desired experience in journalism and PR, two highly complementary disciplines for a content marketing pro to understand. Here's a graph from the report displaying the findings:
Just under half the listings required some level of education in marketing – which is understandable – but nearly as many offered no preference for a particular area of formal study. This is interesting in that the content marketing industry is still relatively young and many highly effective professionals have come from diverse backgrounds including college majors that have little or nothing to do with creating compelling content.
It's good to see that many employers are aware of that fact, and willing to take on experienced and qualified pros who don't happen to have a degree that proves it.
The report hasn't changed the basic tenets that all content marketing professionals should already understand:
- Quality writing combined with strategic planning and deployment makes for compelling content.
- Nothing improves your skills like butt-in-seat experience actually marketing with content.
- Diversity in education and experience makes for a rich reservoir of content marketing ideas.
The final – possibly most encouraging – thing we learned from this report, however, is the simple fact that employers are actively pursuing content marketing professionals in an effort to capitalize on the undeniable benefits of inbound marketing.
Again, not surprising, but very good news for those of us who pay the rent by marketing with content.