9 Critical Skills for Content Marketing Managers

Hubspot, Buffer and BuzSumo. What’s the common thread in these million-dollar brands? 

All of them have used content marketing as their growth engine.

Content marketing managers have proved their worth in the business. That’s why content marketing managers are in demand, but companies are looking for professionals with specific talents.

If you are a content marketing manager or interested in becoming one, it’s important to have a strong set of skills to achieve your brand’s objectives.

But what skills do you need? Let’s explore below.

What Do Content Marketing Managers Do?

Brands use content to communicate and attract a target audience. Content can include anything from blog posts to images to videos. Content marketing managers guide all the content efforts including planning, production and distribution.

Semrush’s content marketing survey shows that 42% of companies have one to three content marketing specialists, while 21% lack a content marketing person or team. However, more companies are planning to hire a content marketing manager for their teams.

Types of Content Marketing Roles

In the dynamic field of content marketing, various roles contribute to crafting and delivering compelling messages to the audience. Understanding these roles can help aspiring content marketers identify where their skills align. Here are some key content marketing roles:

Content Strategist

Content strategists focus on planning and developing overarching content plans. They ensure that the content aligns with business goals, target audience needs, and the overall marketing strategy.

Content Creator

Content creators bring ideas to life through various formats such as blog posts, videos, infographics, and more. They possess a creative flair and are skilled in storytelling to engage the audience effectively.

SEO Specialist

SEO specialists optimize content to improve its visibility on search engines. They understand search algorithms and implement strategies to enhance the content’s ranking, driving organic traffic.

9 Content Marketing Skills

Content marketing management is multidisciplinary, requiring skills like writing, management, reporting, and sales. There is no one list with all the skills that expert content marketers need. 

Plus, content managers come from all types of professions—higher education, law, and even the culinary arts. Here are some common skills that we see in many expert content marketing managers.

1. Writing & Editing

Every content marketer should know the basics of content writing. You might not primarily write blog posts, but you will be editing and proofreading the content. A good editor has a sense of content style and tone. They can differentiate between filler and quality content.

Content managers ensure every content piece attracts the target audience. It should have engaging and helpful information that entices the readers to take the next step.

Besides content publication, content marketers write emails, create community guidelines, and develop social media captions. All these tasks involve clear and concise writing.

2. Content Strategy

Content marketing managers research their customers’ pain points and explore industry data to build a comprehensive content marketing strategy.

Content strategy includes the process of using and creating the content to accomplish the business objectives. The process includes finding the relevant content topics and creating high-quality content. Published content is promoted using multiple marketing channels. After building the content system, content managers scale the production accordingly.

For example, let’s say you want to generate brand awareness using the content. You would need to know who your reader is, what problem your content is solving, how the product is incorporated into the content, and where to publish the content. Content marketers go in depth to create a solid content strategy to ensure the right content connects with the right person.

3. Project Management

Many people are involved in the content marketing process – content writers, graphic designers, and digital marketers, SEOs, and copywriters. And they all need to move in one direction.

Managing blog content, promotions for upcoming events, and aligning the graphic team with writers are all different projects. Content managers ensure all these tasks are done on time.

Typically, the content marketing manager will use project management tools, like Cliq and Workona, to track the content progress and resources. Keeping tabs on everything could be confusing and time consuming, but a skilled manager uses technology to build scalable content systems.

4. Communication

Content marketers communicate within cross-functional teams. This communication includes converting complex marketing tasks into simple language, assigning tasks to team members, and giving constructive criticism. 

Be it internal, or external, communication plays a critical role in content marketing. The content marketer leads everything, like a conductor in an orchestra, guiding the musicians to create music instead of noise.

5. Sales

Selling the product is the ultimate goal of content marketing. 

Not all the content is created for the same purpose. Some content is published to generate awareness (top of the funnel), while other content solves the user’s immediate problems (e.g. software errors). Finally, there is content to build trust and to create leads.

Kate Wojewada, content manager at Spacelift, says that a content marketer plans content for each stage of the funnel–moving the reader from one article to another–taking them towards conversion.

Without some basic knowledge of sales, and consumer psychology, the content marketer could be successful in bringing traffic but would fail in creating customers.

6. Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

Effective content marketers optimize content for the search engine, so it ranks higher and brings organic visits to the website. SEO is the process to optimize the webpage’s content to attract quality traffic from search engine results.

According to Backlinko research, the #1 result In Google gets 27.6% of all clicks, which is nearly 2 times the #2 result. Expert content marketers are well aware of this fact and aim for the first position. They use SEO strategies to rank the content.

Content marketing and SEO skills are different aspects of marketing. However, an experienced content marketing manager designs the content strategies with SEO in mind. For example, Google loves websites that update the content regularly. So, the content manager creates a content calendar to accomplish this task.

7. Social Media

Social media marketing does not directly come under content marketing tasks, but social media is a major part of content promotion strategy. Doing content repurposing for different platforms is an important aspect of content marketing.

A blog post could be turned into a Twitter thread, a Quora answer, a Linkedin post, a quick TikTok video, and Instagram posts. But each social media demands a different content format, style, and visual aesthetics.

A savvy content marketing manager understands how to adjust content to meet the needs of the audience on each social media platform. They research the content format and test similar content.

8. Data Analysis & Research

Doing marketing inherently means looking at research and data to make decisions.

First, you need to know whether blog articles are the correct format to promote the business. So, you have to do market and competitor research. Then you research the topics for your business or conduct keyword research.

After the content is published, you analyze the data to see the content result. The sales and traffic metrics reveal if your strategies meet your goals or if you need to improve them. Similarly, you can use the data to plan content for social media content, email marketing, and paid ads.

Deniz Kuran, content manager of Idiomatic, found that improving data analytics skills improves content decisions. An effective content marketing manager converts the data into actionable steps.

9. Tech-Friendly

Content marketing involves so much that doing it all manually would slow down the growth. And internet marketing is anything but slow. Once you grasp the content marketing basics, the marketing tools help speed up execution.

Keyword research tools like Ahrefs can push out thousands of keywords related to your product in a few clicks. Modern platforms like Slack and Discord bring a flexible and collaborative approach to team communication.

The top three technologies B2C content marketers use are analytics tools (85%), social media publishing/analytics (73%), and email marketing software (71%). Tech savvy content marketers are in high demand.

How to Gain Content Marketing Skills

Developing skills in content marketing requires a combination of education, hands-on experience, and continuous learning. Here’s a roadmap to enhance your content marketing skills:

Formal Education

Consider enrolling in courses or pursuing a degree in marketing, communications, or a related field. Formal education provides a foundational understanding of marketing principles.

Practical Experience

Gain hands-on experience by working on real projects. Start a blog, create social media content, or collaborate on marketing initiatives to build a portfolio showcasing your skills.

Skill-Specific Training

Take advantage of online courses and workshops that focus on specific content marketing skills, such as SEO optimization, social media management, and content creation.

Networking

Connect with industry professionals through networking events, social media, and online forums. Engaging with experienced marketers can provide insights and opportunities for growth.

How to Select Your Content Marketing Career Path

Choosing the right content marketing career path involves aligning your skills, interests, and goals. Here’s a guide to help you navigate this decision:

Self-Assessment

Identify your strengths, interests, and preferred working style. Consider whether you excel in strategic planning, creative content creation, data analysis, or a combination of these.

Explore Specializations

Research the different content marketing roles and their responsibilities. Explore specializations such as SEO, social media, or email marketing to find what resonates with you.

Set Career Goals

Define your long-term career goals. Whether you aspire to become a content strategist, a social media influencer, or an SEO expert, having clear goals will guide your professional development.

Seek Mentorship

Connect with experienced content marketers who can provide guidance and mentorship. Learning from their experiences can offer valuable insights into the industry and help you make informed decisions.

Level Up Your Content Marketing Skills

These skills are essential to becoming an expert content marketer. The practice of content marketing is an ongoing learning process. So, keep researching the latest strategies and learning by doing.

About the Author

Faizan Fahim is a full time content manager and likes writing about B2B SaaS, content marketing, marketing technologies, emails, and cloud computing. Faizan’s words have been featured in Semrush, Wordstream, Clutch, Goodfirms and more. You can connect with him on Twitter @faizandaa.