“Content specialist” is not a new title but it’s certainly a complex one. As with many other modern role, talented professionals can be hard to come by. What exactly do you look for in a good content specialist? The truth of the matter is that the skillset can be very diverse and is not often exclusively defined by a specific marketing team or organization.
However, for the purpose of discussion in this post, you can think of a content specialist as a combination of these three:
A. Content Strategist
Attributes: Visionary, Engaging, Constantly Improving
B. Content Creator
Attributes: Familiar with the industry, Creative writer, Quick learner, Able to think like the audience
C. Content Marketer
Attributes: Empathetic, Looks at the big picture, Great project manager, Attention to detail
While there is no black and white guidebook to find the perfect content specialist, there are several essential qualities to look for when pinpointing the perfect candidate. Let’s dive in.
They are Creative
Most importantly, the ideal content specialist needs to be an outstanding writer with a creative brain. After all, words are the barebones of communication. A great writer uses words to attract and maintain the attention of the masses.
However, a content specialist needs to be more than just an outstanding writer. “Ideation” has become a buzzword in the digital marketing community. In addition to being a great wordsmith, a content specialist needs to be able to generate awesome ideas to spark the interest of the general reader.
More often than not, a creative mind has a strong foundation in storytelling. As a consumer, do you prefer to be told simply why a product or service is great? Or would you like that to be explained to you with captivating stories to supplement?
There are few names that are synonymous with storytelling in content marketing like Red Bull. Remember Felix Baumgartner who broke the world record for the longest freefall? The Red Bull Stratos campaign took charge of every aspect of that incredible feat.
If you haven’t seen the video, please take a look. It is perhaps one of the best examples of content storytelling in recent history and will definitely give you chills.
“We were creators, producers, and distributers of Felix Baumgartner’s record-breaking leap from outer space to Earth, which got 9 million concurrent views on YouTube. We owned the entire project.”
– Werner Brell, managing director of Red Bull Media House
They Know How to Lead Marketing Efforts
As content marketing falls under the large umbrella that is digital marketing, a content specialist needs to have an understanding of the ins and outs of the entire landscape. This includes knowledge of search engine optimization, social media, online advertising, inbound marketing, blogging for business, and of course, an up-to-date knowledge of trending concepts.
I know, that list sounds a little overwhelming. Luckily, those skills can be easily taught. Chances are, if they are a veteran content writer they’ve already got a decent understanding of these platforms.
But the job does not end there. Having a firm understanding of marketing techniques is one thing. Being able to lead others is a different ballgame. You can have the most intelligent content specialist in the world. But if they don’t know how to delegate tasks, they won’t be very effective in a multichannel world, which need to be integrated. A collaboration and program management platform like WorkZone can help streamline inter-department communication between marketing, media, sales and support. At Growfusely, we use it to schedule content creation with group calendars, monitor individual workloads, and develop campaign content with real-time document sharing.
Content specialists need to have the mindset of a marketing-savvy leader that knows exactly how they can work as a group to create value for consumers and assure the world that your brand is the best thing since sliced bread. Regardless of what your product or service is, a quality candidate should be able to leverage and market content in a way that sells ideas.
They are Precise
Ideation, writing, and editing under pressure are key traits in good content specialists. However, they need to be able to take a step back and critically examine the results of their finished product.
This means being able to look at the analytics of each piece of content you put out there, with a keen eye to determine what is giving you the maximum ROI. Without evaluating the data, how do you know how to improve your efforts?
There are so many things that factor into the success or failure of a piece of content. Everything from image or video size to placement of the call to action should be premeditated. A close attention to detail is one of the most valuable traits a good content specialist can have.
They Have a Firm Understanding of Social Media
There are 2 billion social media users and counting. This number alone should make it perfectly clear that social plays a huge role in content marketing.
While it takes a sharp mind to create top-notch content, it takes a social mind to make instant decisions on the kind of posts that align with your brand and amplify your posts once they’re out there so that they reach the widest audience.
The person responsible for the creation and management of your content should be comfortable with the task of positioning your company as a thought leader within your specific field or community.
At the end of the day, the goal of any content strategy should be to get in front of as many eyes as possible. Capturing attention is very competitive and requires a consistently strong effort to succeed. Your candidate should reflect a social expertise in order to bring your content to next level.
They are Willing to Challenge the Status Quo
A skilled content specialist is one that innovates. There’s no questioning the fact that we live in a world full of stigmas that separate us as people.
A talented candidate examines these long-held ideas and opinions and works to break down the walls of society. The mark of a great content specialist is that they thrive in these uphill battles to find creative ways to overcome challenges.
For a long time, there was a negative stigma attached to online dating and the idea of finding love on the internet. It was unfortunately revered as a platform for desperation.
However, in 2009, OkCupid (now owned by Match.com) launched their OkCupid blog. Slowly but surely, it helped to turn the stigma upside down. While other online dating sites were producing content pieces along the lines of: Ways to Deal with Awkward First Dates and Conversation Starters for Introverts, OkCupid was collecting insights on the behaviors of their users to approach topics no other brand would go near.
They would examine analytics and determine things like what kind of pictures result in more messages.
The content they produced went beyond cheap entertainment and actually created value for the users while giving people a closer look into the complex world of online dating. The number of users for online dating tools are on the rise. Now, 27% of 18-24-year-olds use online dating services as opposed to 10% in 2013. That is just one example of the power of content in action.
Over to You
Very seldom do two content specialists think alike. The perfect candidate for your brand is out there. Understanding these key traits can be the game changer that brings your content to worldwide attention. What are your thoughts? What qualities scream “Winner” to you?
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