Learn about the global market opportunity and the benefits of building a professional career in content management.
Content Management – A Global Opportunity
Learn about the global opportunity and benefits of building a professional career in content management.
Do you own, manage, or use a website, or are you looking to start a new career in the digital economy?
Then read on to learn more about the opportunity and the benefits of managing content professionally.
Content management provides a global opportunity for delivering a valuable and much needed digital service.
The Global Market For Content Management
Let’s talk about cars for a moment.
Millions of people around the world drive cars.
All cars need maintenance, so wherever there are cars, there’s also a need for auto service providers like mechanics, repairers, etc.
Similarly, almost every business in the world today has a digital presence of some kind…websites, social media, email, etc.
Just like physical vehicles, digital vehicles like websites also need regular maintenance and servicing.
For example, if we focus on websites for a moment (we’ll cover the other types later in the course), we can broadly divide the management of a website into two areas:
Technical management – This is the management of the website itself, which includes managing web servers and domains, maintaining websites and related components (e.g. software) secure, optimized, and up-to-date, managing user logins, etc.
Content management – This involves not only managing all the website’s content but also managing all content-related aspects of a website like content planning, content creation (in-house and/or outsourced), content marketing and promotional activities…even managing user comments on blog posts and articles!
There is a third area of a website (and all other kinds of digital vehicles) that also needs ongoing management, and this is the relationship between the technical management of a website and the management of web content.
Both of these areas require people with different skills and working in different roles to communicate and work together in order to create results for the business.
So, in summary:
Millions of businesses around the world have a website.
All websites need content.
All content needs ongoing management.
Just like cars, content is also everywhere. And much like a car owner needs a mechanic to regularly service their vehicle, businesses with websites also need someone to regularly maintain and service their web content.
Online users consume on average around 7 hours of online content every day.
Online users are increasingly consuming more content and demanding new content.
This hunger for new content on a daily (and even hourly) basis means that businesses with websites have to keep providing users with new content.
Additionally, having an online presence means that businesses have to be fiercely competitive to gain (and maintain) visibility online, reach their target audiences, rank in search engines, drive more traffic to their digital assets, generate new leads, new sales, and new subscribers, etc.
All of this requires creating and publishing new content on a regular basis.
All Web Content Needs Ongoing Management
As we’ve just seen, businesses need to publish new content online on a regular basis.
So, what happens to all of this new content after it gets published?
It gets old.
Content can quickly become outdated, irrelevant, or obsolete.
Who wants to read old, outdated, irrelevant, or obsolete content?
People don’t want to consume outdated, irrelevant, or obsolete information.
Search engines like Google can’t afford to rank content that doesn’t meet their users’ needs either, or they would lose billions of dollars in advertising revenue.
So, even if businesses don’t profit directly from publishing content on their website, many still need to keep providing content to keep their online presence alive.
They need content to gain mindshare and market share. To do this, they need to keep promoting their business online and continue to inform and educate prospects and customers about their products and services with content.
If businesses with websites publish no content at all, stop publishing content online, or fail to keep their published content regularly updated, they will quickly get swallowed up in a daily deluge of new information, sink to the bottom of the search results, and get drowned out by competitors that are publishing regular content.
So, in a very real sense, businesses are literally “trapped” into having to keep publishing new content online to participate successfully in the global and digital economy.
This is just one of the many reasons why businesses need content management and why becoming a content manager is such a great opportunity.
The Benefits Of Becoming A Content Manager
Here are just some reasons why you should consider becoming a content manager:
As a content manager, you can work from home or remotely, anywhere and everywhere. Work somewhere safe, inspiring, or exotic, or find someplace quiet and free of distractions and demands. All you need is a laptop, an internet connection, and the skills that this course will teach you.
Everything You Need Can Be Sourced Online
If you sell physical products or provide a physical service, you need to source physical materials.
As a content manager dealing only with digital information, however, everything you need can be sourced online…information, training, resources, etc.
As you will discover in this course, everything you need to succeed as a content manager is right at your fingertips. All you need to know is how, when, and where to source the information you need.
Minimal Overheads, Maximum Profit
Our free content management course not only provides you with the skills you need to succeed as a professional content manager, it also shows you how to do this using mostly free or inexpensive tools and resources.
Additionally, as this is a truly global opportunity, you could end up working for a company that is based in a country that pays higher minimum rates than the country you currently live in.
Experience Real Work / Life Balance
One of the greatest benefits of working as a content manager is that you can truly experience what a real work/life balance lifestyle feels like.
Imagine for a moment what your life would feel like right now if you could do ALL of the following:
Work from home – Leave your car in the driveway and save on the cost of gas. Sleep an extra hour or two before you have to get up and start work, dress as comfortably as you like, take a few steps from your bedroom to your work office, take regular breaks when you need to, cook in your own kitchen, use your own bathroom or toilet, etc.
Work from anywhere – Don’t want to/can’t work from home? No problems, take your laptop to a coffee shop or a public library with free wi-fi or set up internet access via your mobile phone and take care of things while sipping your favorite brew, relaxing on a couch, sitting on a beach or on a mountain top, commuting on a train, etc.
Work flexible hours – Depending on the company you work with and what agreements you enter into, you could find yourself working really flexible hours that suit you and your situation perfectly (e.g. between school hours).
Design Your Life
One of the most valuable skills you can have in the Information Age is knowing how to organize and access information quickly and effectively.
This, in a nutshell, is what digital content management is all about.
As more companies, organizations, and businesses participate in the global digital economy, the greater the demand and competition will be for individuals that have the skills to manage content effectively.
All this gives you the freedom to design your own life around your work.
Are You Ready For A Better & Brighter Future?
Whether you are looking to start a new career in the digital economy or just want to learn how to better manage the existing content of a small business blog or a company website more effectively, our free content management course will help to improve your (and your team’s) skills in all areas of digital content management.
To understand why businesses need digital management and where the content manager role fits within the structure of a digital business, we recommend completing this lesson: Digital Business Structure
After completing the above lesson you will hopefully understand why many businesses struggle to manage their content effectively and why they need effective content management.
To understand why businesses need a content manager, let’s take a look at what happens when businesses decide to build their online presence using a website.
Essentially, all websites are comprised of two main areas:
Both of these areas need management.
Technical management – This includes managing the website, web servers, domains, and email, maintaining websites and related software components up-to-date, secure, and optimized, managing users, logins, and databases, customizing code, web design, troubleshooting, etc.
Content management – This includes managing all content-related areas of a web presence. In other words, managing the content on web pages (e.g. products and services, FAQs, documentation…even comments left on the site by visitors!) and processes like content planning, content production (including writing the content or outsourcing it, sourcing or producing media, etc.), content promotion (e.g. ads, banners, email newsletters, social media), and more.
Note: Managing the technical areas of a website is outside the scope of this course. This course focuses only on managing web content and content-related processes.
For the purposes of this course, we will also divide Content management into the following areas:
Content Processes Management – This is the management of all the processes involved in creating and publishing content.
Web Content Management – This is the management of the actual content produced by the above processes. For example, this would be a website’s company pages, blog articles, social media posts, advertising banners, email newsletters, media (e.g. video content, video slides), downloadable files (e.g. PDF reports or guides), etc.
Let’s take a brief look at the above.
Businesses need to implement various content-related processes to ensure that their website and other digital assets provide users with accurate, relevant, targeted, and updated content.
In this course, we have grouped all the content-related processes of a business into the following areas:
Content Strategy – This area helps the business to effectively communicate its vision, mission, and values to its target audiences. It also ensures that all content-related processes in the business align with its goals and objectives.
Content Planning – Planning takes into account areas like budget and resources available for content production, marketing, and promotion, the channels it will utilize to deliver content to its audience (e.g. website, social media, newsletters, advertising, etc.), and which formats it will use to deliver this content (e.g. product pages, blog posts, videos, podcasts, etc.). Content planning ensures that the strategic guidelines, expectations, outcomes, and objectives set by the business are achieved.
Content Production – This is where the content plan turns into actual content. This area includes all activities related to content creation (e.g. writing, editing, etc.), including content scheduling, and content publishing.
Content Promotion – After content is published, it needs to connect and engage with its audience to deliver results. This area includes using content marketing methods and activities to promote the business and its products and services, implementing systems to monitor and track the performance of all content used in marketing and promotional campaigns, and reviewing, analyzing, and improving its results.
Content Management – This ensures that all of the above processes remain organized and effective to deliver optimal results.
The content that businesses need to manage can include any or all of the following elements or areas:
Company pages (e.g. Home Page, About Us, Contact Us)
Product/Service information/eCommerce pages
Sales landing and download pages
Articles & blog posts, including article titles, URL post-slugs, categories, tags, article publishing status, scheduling, etc.
Content in Media (e.g. artwork, images, videos, audios, downloadable PDFs)
Anchor text in hyperlinks and buttons
User comments (e.g. managing comment spam, user replies, etc.)
Content SEO (e.g. post/page/category titles, meta descriptions, meta keywords, content tags, image alt tags, image captions, filenames, etc.)
Website banners (text and graphics, dimensions, formats, etc.)
Content in navigation menus, menu descriptions, tooltips
Social Media Content
Social media posts
Media Content (e.g. creation and appropriate use and representation of text and graphics, compliance with company guidelines, etc.)
Newsletters/Emails – lead capture forms, newsletter subject titles and newsletter body content, subscriber emails/updates, unsubscribe messages, links in email content, etc.
Online Advertising – Banners, pay-per-click/interstitial banners, text, or media ads, CTA (Call-to-action) text in buttons and links, etc.
Additionally, businesses create for:
Internal Use – Staff Documentation, User Guides, Policies, etc.
Users (Visitors, Prospects) – Private and publicly accessible information, training content for clients, members, customers, suppliers, etc.
Compliance – Content copyright and licensing, legal pages, disclaimers, terms and conditions, web accessibility, etc.
Effective content management is making sure that all the content-related processes of a business work together efficiently and that all the content these processes create is delivering the business its intended results.
Without effective management, a digital presence becomes chaotic and unwieldy and its web content quickly becomes outdated, irrelevant, or obsolete.
All web presences need content, all content needs effective management, and effective content management needs an effective content manager.
What Does A Content Manager Do?
Put simply, a content manager is the person responsible for managing all the content-related processes in a business as well as managing all of the content itself to deliver the business positive results.
Responsibilities Of A Content Manager
Essentially, anything involving content and any piece of content that communicates anything about the business and its brand is the content manager’s responsibility.
As we discuss in more detail in the Content Management Setups lesson, the role of the content manager can vary significantly depending on the industry or company you work for, and the size of the business or the organization.
Based on the main content processes identified and discussed earlier, some of the common responsibilities of a content manager can include the following:
This involves assisting marketing in one or more of the following areas:
The creation and distribution of timely and relevant content to different target audience groups, such as prospects, customers, members, partners, and staff over the company’s website, social media profiles, newsletters, emails, etc.
Driving engagement and traffic through various projects and campaigns.
Ensuring consistency of brand identity through all content channels, including the company’s website, social media profiles, newsletters, etc.
On the company’s website and blog.
On the company’s social media accounts.
In offers and promotions.
In internal and external documentation (e.g. staff training, user manuals and guides, FAQs, etc.)
Auditing existing content on the company’s website for brand voice and consistency, relevance, and optimization (e.g. internal linking)
Compiling reports on content data, performance, and results.
As you can see, managing content effectively for a digital business presence is no small feat. Content management is complex and challenging, and the role of a content manager can encompass many areas of the business.
Content managers often are required to wear many different hats and assume many varied and extensive responsibilities.
Developing The Right Mindset To Manage Content Effectively
All businesses have multiple levels of decision-making and each of these levels requires having a specific mindset.
A content manager operates across all decision-making levels of a business and so it’s important that you understand and develop the mindset required to perform the role effectively on each of these levels.
Content managers have to be able to perform their role effectively in all situations and under all circumstances.
As a content manager, you may find yourself working with businesses of all sizes, different organizational structures, limited budgets, and often very limited resources.
While larger or established companies may employ and assign content managers to multiple teams, a startup or small business might require its content manager to wear many hats and perform a range of duties and responsibilities, such as marketing, taking ownership of an editorial calendar, developing a content strategy, content plan, and content topics, compiling reports, managing its blog, social media accounts, marketing offers, email campaigns, or writing blog posts, product pages, long-form editorial pieces, etc.
In addition to having the right mindset, the right skills, and an understanding of the different kinds of business setups and situations you may be asked to work in, it’s important to know which tools to use and how to implement effective content management systems to perform successfully and competently in the role.
You need knowledge of digital marketing software, tools, and methods that aid in the planning, production, and promotion of content.
While becoming a content manager provides an exciting opportunity for anyone looking to start a new career in the digital economy or wanting to manage the content of a small blog or a large company website more effectively, it is a demanding role that requires continuous learning and upskilling.
Like many digital roles, content management may be something that you have stumbled upon or fallen into as part of your existing job or you may have discovered that this is the job for you and that you want to make sure that you’re prepared and have what it takes to be successful.
The following tips will help you on your path to becoming a successful and professional content manager:
1. Complete Our Free Content Management Course
This is a 100% practical course on content management, written by someone with over a decade of experience creating, publishing, and managing digital content for different kinds of businesses and businesses of all sizes (learn more here).
While completing our free course will not give you a University degree or a certificate in content management, it will teach you inside secrets accumulated over years of hands-on experience to help you manage content for any business more effectively and at a minimal cost, and shave years off your learning curve.
We recommend that this course be your starting point. Over the course of your career as a content manager, you will need to learn new skills and new tools, and our lessons and resources sections will point you to these.
2. Improve Your Content Marketing & SEO Skills
Whether you are just starting out or have an extensive background and years of experience in business, it’s important to have good content marketing and SEO skills.
SEO skills will help you write or produce content that is relevant to your target audience’s needs and content marketing skills will help your business create and deliver this content more effectively.
We provide links throughout this course to many excellent content marketing and SEO resources like courses, websites, articles, tools, etc.
3. Create And Manage Your Own Personal Website Or Blog
Having your own website or blog is a great way to learn, develop, gain experience, and practice your content management skills.
Additionally, suppose you’re just starting out. In that case, running your own blog provides future employers with something tangible that you can demonstrate when applying for content management roles. Also, having the experience of running your own blog can help to provide more insightful answers during interviews.
4. Apply For Entry-Level Roles
If you haven’t got the experience to apply for a content manager’s role yet, then apply for an entry-level role that will improve your skills and help you get there.
A content manager needs to understand each and every one of the team roles it will oversee. Just like many fast-food restaurant chain managers began by working on the grill flipping burgers, you can start with an entry-level role and move up into content management as you gain more experience and confidence handling bigger projects and take on more responsibility.
Look for content-related roles like copywriting, writing for blogs or social media, or any position that involves learning and applying SEO or content marketing skills.
5. Assume Content Management Responsibilities Within Your Role
As we explain in our Digital Business Structure lesson, in a modern business, digital processes permeate throughout the entire organization and content plays a major part in almost all digital processes.
So, whether you begin your journey to becoming a content manager by accepting an entry-level role or are currently working in a completely different and unrelated role, you can always start moving toward a content management role by assuming a content manager’s duties and responsibilities.
For instance, let’s say that you are working on the factory floor packing and shipping goods from a warehouse. This has nothing to do with content management, right? So how could you start moving toward a content manager role from here?
Well, you could volunteer to contribute articles to the company blog writing about areas of your department or role that potential customers and existing customers would find interesting or useful to know. This could include not only writing content for the blog but also taking photos or shooting videos with your smartphone.
Once you become a regular contributor to the blog, you could find yourself being given author and/or editor privileges, such as being able to upload media to the blog, editing or fixing your own content, etc. This could then lead to being part of a team responsible for creating content topics, managing a content schedule or editorial calendar, rewriting some of the content you’ve written for the company’s social media or newsletter, etc.
As you can see, there is no shortage of opportunities to become a content manager. All it takes is the desire, some basic practical skills to start with, and the willingness to continue expanding your knowledge of content management as you move toward the role.
6. Apply For The Role Of Content Manager
Once you have enough experience under your belt, it’s time to move into content management — either by becoming the manager of a content team or taking on more strategic roles within a marketing team.
Remember to use all the experience you’ve gathered thus far to show how well you can communicate with an audience and how well you’ve worked with content in the past.
Lead with the results of your actions and quantify these. Content reach, organic traffic, and other engagement metrics are just a few data points you can use to show how effective you can be as a content manager.
Start Sharpening Your Content Management Skills Today
Refining your skill set ensures that you stay up-to-date as the industry changes. This is a must for content managers. If you don’t know how the industry is changing, you won’t be able to effectively connect to your audience — and connecting to your audience is what will make you an excellent content manager.
The role of a content manager is complex and challenging. It encompasses many areas of a digital business presence and requires assuming many different responsibilities.
It also requires having the right mindset, the right skills, an understanding of different business setups and situations, using the right tools, and implementing effective content management systems.
All of this also means that there is a tremendous opportunity for people that can perform the role successfully and competently, as more and more businesses become aware of the importance of managing their content effectively.
In addition to completing the lessons in this module, we recommend the following resources:
Digital Business Video Courses – There are many excellent courses you can take covering specific areas of content management that will help you become a successful and highly-skilled content manager.
With this picture in mind, many businesses (especially small businesses) hire a web developer to look after their web presence and digital marketers to drive traffic, generate leads, etc., hoping this will leave them and their staff free to focus on “running the business”.
This, however, is the wrong picture.
We’re now well and truly into the Digital Information Age and digital processes impact every aspect of your organization.
It’s hard to find any area of your business where digital processes are not involved.
In fact, if we were to flowchart all the areas of an organization that involve digital processes, this is what the structure of an effective digital presence would really look like…
Who looks after all of these areas?
It certainly won’t be the website developer hired to look after the website or the digital marketer running PPC ads. If you understand the three levels of decision-making explained in the content management mindset lesson, you’ll immediately see why.
Few organizations can sustain or afford such a complex and sizeable department.
Just because a business can’t afford to build a structure of this scale and complexity, however, doesn’t mean it can ignore or avoid the needs of the structure, especially if the business expects to run a digital presence effectively that can deliver results.
Digital Processes Need Management
All digital processes need management. Some digital processes require technical management (e.g. managing servers and the website) but many digital processes involve content and these also need content management.
This means that regardless of whether you are a “one-person” business, a small business, or a medium to large enterprise, there are many content-related roles and responsibilities to fill.
As we discuss in our lesson on digital business setups, anyone tasked with the role and responsibility of managing content in an organization will most likely be required to wear many different hats and assume the responsibility for many different roles.
This, of course, makes things very challenging.
Many large companies have tried employing a Chief Digital Officer (CDO) to oversee a digital transformation of their existing business, only to find their CDOs leaving the organization a short while later feeling quite dispirited.
One of the main reasons for this is that it’s very difficult to radically change an existing structure that’s already in motion. It’s like trying to transform an old steam locomotive into an electric bullet train while the train is filled with passengers and speeding down the tracks at full speed.
Companies seem to be fine when hiring someone like a Chief Technology Officer (CTO) to look after their technology and their technical areas, but finding someone to manage all of their content processes presents an entirely different set of challenges because content is so “merged” into all areas of most businesses.
If your organization can’t afford to hire someone to fill a specific content-related role, then a Content Manager (or a Chief Content Officer, Digital Content Officer, Head of Content person, or whatever title you want to give someone tasked with managing all of the organization’s content) has to step in and do their best to try and handle it all.
Below are just some of the roles a content manager may need to manage or assume responsibility for. Even if your business hires people to fill these roles, the content manager should also be acquainted and familiar with the duties and responsibilities of the filled role and how it serves your content team and your organization.
Click on the links below to learn more about different digital roles:
Many businesses struggle to get better results online because they have the wrong picture of what an effective digital presence looks like.
An effective digital presence requires building and maintaining a sizeable digital department. Most businesses cannot afford this, but someone ultimately has to be responsible for managing all the content and content-related processes in the business.
This can be very challenging as there are many roles and responsibilities involved in managing a digital content department, so anyone tasked with managing content typically needs to wear many hats and assume many additional responsibilities to perform competently in their role.
Let’s go to the end and picture in our minds what an organization that can manage its content effectively looks like and how it operates.
Let’s say that your business has an overall vision it wants to realize.
To do this, it has to put in place a series of steps to get there. These steps need systems and processes to deliver results.
If content plays any part in helping the business achieve its vision, then systems and processes need to be in place for managing not only all the content in your business but also all content-related activities, including content planning, content production, and content promotion.
Effective content management, then, is about helping the business realize its vision through a coordinated framework of content-related systems.
The end goal of building all these systems to manage content effectively is that your organization can then confidently and consistently deliver the right content, targeting the right audience, with the right message, at the right time, to help them make the right decision (e.g. buy, subscribe, submit an inquiry, refer others, etc.).
The business can continually review how these systems are performing to determine if the results are aligned with its objectives.
If it’s not delivering results, it can troubleshoot and fix issues, and continually fine-tune and improve its processes until objectives are being met.
Now that we have briefly described what the end goal of our mindset looks like, let’s take a look at how to structure it so we can get there.
Businesses Have Multiple Levels Of Decision-Making
The other important component of developing the right mindset to manage content effectively is to understand who is responsible for what when it comes to making decisions that affect the end goal described above.
Regardless of whether your business is comprised of one person or many people, it must fulfill certain fundamental roles, e.g. sales and marketing, finance, operations, etc.
If we were to map the various roles that every business must fulfill, its organization chart would end up looking something like this…
Within every business, different organizational planning and decision-making levels are responsible for helping the business meet its strategic, functional, and operational goals and objectives.
Every business, then, has three levels of decision-making (even a one-person business):
Executive Level – This level is responsible for making strategic (i.e. “big-picture”) decisions.
Managerial Level – This level is responsible for figuring out the functional systems and processes that will deliver the “big picture” set by the Executive level.
Tactical (Technical) Level – This level is responsible for operating (i.e. following) the systems and processes set at the Managerial level, and doing the work that creates the results that will deliver the strategic goals and objectives set at the Executive level.
While people working on all levels of an organization are responsible for helping the business achieve its objectives and realize its vision, each level has a specific role to play.
If you understand the breakdown of decision-making levels in a business, you can pinpoint most of the problems affecting your business results.
The solution to most problems your business will face (not just content-related) will almost always be found when these are assigned to the appropriate decision-making level.
Building systems for managing content processes when everything is getting out of control (i.e. “after the genie has been let out of the bottle”) can be difficult and challenging.
It is easier to maintain control of content processes if strategic thinking, managerial processes, and technical/tactical procedures for how the work gets done are in alignment.
This ensures that everyone then works together to help the business achieve its objectives and realize its vision.
So, let’s look at what each level contributes to the business:
Executive Level – Strategic Planning
The executive level is all about “big picture” thinking.
Executive-level roles make high-level decisions that drive the business and determine end results.
Executive-level roles are responsible for performing activities like strategic planning, setting budgets, goals, and objectives, and ensuring that all areas of the business remain aligned with its vision, mission, and core values.
Managerial Level – Functional Planning
This level is all about managing systems (not people).
Managerial-level roles are responsible for helping the business achieve the goals and objectives set at the executive level and delivering results within the specified budgets and timeframes.
Managerial-level roles also perform activities like functional planning. They formulate strategies, and develop, implement, document, manage, and look for ways to improve all the systems and processes that can help the business achieve its targets.
Managerial-level roles are also responsible for training people to use, manage, and follow all implemented systems, processes, and procedures.
Tactical (Technical) Level – Operational Planning
This level is where the work that delivers results gets done.
People working in technical or tactical-level roles are responsible for following the systems, processes, and procedures put in place by management, ensuring that work is performed to specifications, delivering results as planned, and meeting all operational targets.
The Sum Is Greater Than Its Parts
When all three levels work together seamlessly and in alignment, the result is a continuous feedback loop of improvement and successful growth.
Put simply, strategists (executive level) create a map of where the business has to get to, a vision of what the business will look like when it gets there, and a strategic plan showing how everything has to work for the business to achieve the goals and objectives that align with company values.
Managers (managerial level) then use this map, vision, and plan to figure out how to build the paths and roads the business has to travel on to reach its destination.
It does this by implementing and documenting practical systems and providing technicians/tacticians with detailed instructions, maps, manuals, and procedures, and training them to perform the work that will produce the results that will help the business reach its intended destination.
Managers are the interface between strategists at the Executive level and technicians or tacticians.
The Managerial level is responsible for ensuring that all the work done at the Technical/Tactical level delivers the results specified at the Executive level.
It’s really important to get this concept.
A Strategic Mindset (executive level) is responsible for creating sustainable results for the business, not the Managerial Mindset, which focuses on day-to-day operations, or the Technical Mindset, which focuses on the technical details of the work that needs to be actually done.
As you will see in the Content Manager Setups lesson, when businesses fail to understand how these three distinct levels work, chaos ensues.
When these separate functions become blurred, vital steps like strategic planning, documenting systems, etc. get missed.
As we explain in more detail in the Content Manager Setups lesson, these levels determine who does what in the Content Process Cycle of an organization’s website or digital presence.
Executive/Strategic Level – People on this level of the organization are responsible for defining a Content Strategy aligned with the “big picture” objectives they want to achieve.
Managerial Level – People on this level are responsible for developing a Content Plan and implementing the Content Management processes that will ensure executive-level objectives are met.
Learn about the skills you will need to develop to manage content effectively in your business.
Content Management Skills
Learn about the skills you will need to develop to manage content effectively in your business.
It takes a multiskilled person to manage content effectively for a business, company, or organization.
As explained in previous lessons, in addition to your duties and responsibilities as a content manager, you may be required to perform various other digital team roles to help meet the targets and deliver the expected outcomes set by the organization.
In this lesson, we’ll look at some of the general and specific skills you will need as a content manager to handle the day-to-day challenges of the role.
The following skills will help you to meet your day-to-day responsibilities as a content manager:
Be Highly Organized
You will be handling multiple projects on a regular basis and dealing with various challenges every day, such as things being held up or delayed that are out of your control, so you need to be highly organized to keep track of everything happening around you.
Other related skills in this area include having a great work ethic, being a highly motivated person (i.e. a self-starter), and having excellent adaptability, productivity, time management, and project management skills.
A content manager that relies on memory to keep track of everything that’s going on is a risk and a liability to the business.
If the only place where things are being tracked is inside a person’s skull and that person leaves or becomes unavailable, the business can experience significant disruption.
The same thing applies to “systems” that only make sense to those that created and are using them.
A good content manager should implement systems with documented processes and content management tools for each role in the content team so that anyone stepping into that role can follow the systems and processes and use the tools to manage things effectively and efficiently.
Effective systems must be well-documented, so a content manager must also…
Without documentation, growing and running a digital department effectively becomes very challenging.
Even managing a small team of writers, illustrators, video creators, etc. requires documented processes and guidelines, or chaos will ensue.
Documenting roles, responsibilities, and processes for your content team or digital department ensures that:
People hired to fill roles can assume their responsibilities and perform competently and skillfully.
Work done internally or outsourced will deliver results that are aligned with the company’s values, branding guidelines, and technical specifications
Content will be created and delivered to consistently high-quality standards.
Being documentation-oriented requires skills like:
Documenting and following processes.
Paying meticulous attention to detail.
Critical and logical thinking.
Proofreading, comprehension, grammatical, and spelling skills.
The ability to communicate concepts in a way that teaches, trains, and empowers users.
Working patiently through many repetitive tasks.
Be Committed To Meeting Deadlines
Publishing high-quality content on a regular basis is one of the key strategies for growing a business online.
As we cover in more detail in our modules on Content Planning, Content Production, Content Management, and Content Promotion, all areas of a business from sales and marketing to customer training and support rely not only on new content being regularly published on its website, blog, newsletters, social media updates, stakeholder reports, etc. but also on having its existing content being kept up-to-date.
Different channels may also have different content publishing schedules (e.g. weekly, fortnightly, monthly, quarterly, annually), so having the commitment and ability to meet all kinds of deadlines and having great time-management skills is vitally important.
You could be working with a team of people across different departments, (and dealing with external suppliers and service providers) from different cultures and backgrounds who are all located in different parts of the world, working in different time zones, and observing different seasons and holidays, where your only means of interaction is by using remote applications and platforms like video chat, messaging, email, phone, etc.
This all requires having great communication and interpersonal skills. Not only the ability to communicate promptly, clearly, and effectively with other people, but also with sensitivity and awareness (e.g. your weekly team meeting may be held within your working hours, but be on someone else’s dinner or “putting the kids to bed” time.)
Be Knowledgeable Of Your Content Subject
Anyone reading your company’s website, blog, newsletters, social media posts, or looking up documentation in user manuals, FAQs, etc. expects the content to show great expertise and knowledge of the business.
While you may not be required to write content for some or all of your company’s content-related areas, as a content manager, you will be expected to be sufficiently knowledgeable about your company and its business, products, services, etc. to discern whether or not the content is delivering on its intended purpose.
So, it goes without saying that as a content manager, you should strive to gain as much knowledge and expertise as possible of your company’s products and services and the needs of its target audience groups, in addition to understanding and being familiar with concepts related to its technical, legal, financial, or sales and marketing areas.
This can be challenging if, for example, you work in a highly technical company and are responsible for producing and managing content targeted to a highly technical audience.
This is where the next skill comes in…
Be Resourceful And Self-Sufficient
Suppose that your company publishes content targeted to a highly technical or specialized audience (or even translated into one or more foreign languages).
While as a content manager you are not expected to have the kind of technical knowledge that requires years of specialized study and experience to develop, you are responsible for making sure that the content not only targets the interests and needs of the audience, but is also accurate, relevant, and fulfills its intended purpose.
In addition to all the skills we’ve covered so far, this requires being resourceful and self-sufficient.
Let’s show you what this means:
Let’s say that you are publishing an article about a highly technical product that includes tables with code, programming data, specifications, equations, formulas, etc. You need to make sure that everything in the article is accurate, but you are not a technical expert, so you have no idea. The head of your company’s product development team, however, is completely knowledgeable about it, as they were responsible for developing it, so they can help you.
Now, before you approach them for help, understand that everyone in your company is as busy as you are and don’t want to be disrupted unnecessarily or distracted from whatever they are doing. If they sense that you are being lazy and simply asking them to do your job, they may graciously help you once and then make themselves scarce or unavailable the next time you come knocking on their door asking for help.
So, before approaching or consulting anyone who can help you, make sure that you have done as much research as you can to try and solve the problem on your own. This way, when you approach other people for help, you can explain why this is important for the company and show them that you have sincerely gone as far as you can with it and that what you need help with is beyond your capabilities. Most people you approach this way will be more than willing to invest their time and effort into helping you.
Be Open To New Challenges And Willing To Learn New Things
Management is all about problem-solving. As a content manager, you will face all kinds of challenges throughout your day and be required to solve problems related to people, resources, time, objectives, etc. (e.g. who will do what, with how much, by when, how will it be tracked, measured, reported, improved upon, and so on).
Being open to new challenges and willing to learn new things will help you immensely in this area, as most of your learning and experience will come from working “hands-on” to pressing time frames and tight deadlines, with limited resources and often with very few people available to help you.
Now that we have covered the main general skills you’ll need as a content manager, let’s look at some more specific skills.
Specific Skills Of A Content Manager
Having skills in the areas below will help you perform successfully in the role of a content manager:
Content managers are more than brand advocates, they are brand evangelists.
Having strong writing skills and creativity is a must. Depending on the type of company you work with, this includes being able to write content for blogs, web pages, product descriptions, technical articles, sales and landing pages, news articles and press releases, email newsletters, editorials, tutorials, user guides, etc.
Additionally, you will need good copywriting and text and image editing skills, as you will most likely be assisting in areas like creating marketing content and editing the work of others.
On top of all this, you should have a general understanding of SEO, as most businesses will want to reach new audiences using organic search.
You can’t manage what you can’t measure and you can’t improve what you’ve measured if you don’t understand the data.
If you don’t understand the data, you also can’t analyze the results to see how well your content is performing and if it is connecting meaningfully with your audience.
As a content manager, you need to understand your content metrics and be able to analyze and interpret data from marketing and promotional campaigns, traffic analytics, SEO research, audience behavior, and different types of datasets.
You will then need to audit and collate these results into meaningful reports with actionable insights that you can use to present, inform, and advise people making executive decisions or working in collaborative projects.
Proficiency With Content Management Systems And Tools
As mentioned earlier, a content manager is a “hands-on” role and not all organizations can afford a digital department where you can simply delegate all the work to others.
More often than not, you will be working with businesses that have very limited resources and be required to assume the responsibilities of various different roles, some of which will require proficiency in using specific tools and software applications to get the work done.
Familiarity With Website Languages And Basic Web Concepts
You don’t need to become a web developer or learn how to code to become a content manager, but knowing some basic HTML and CSS can be useful if you need to do some quick content editing on a web page or fix up an issue with the layout of a web page and don’t have immediate access to a web developer or a web designer.
As a content manager, you will need to know your way around your website’s content management system and this means occasionally having to insert a line or two of HTML or CSS code into a web page or template or some other kind of script.
Being a content manager is not an entry-level role.
Developing and distributing timely, relevant, and high-quality content to a targeted audience requires someone who is not only creative, resourceful, and multi-skilled, but who also has a deep understanding of the company’s brand voice, and can use it to communicate with people on all levels, from internal and interdepartmental staff, managers, executives, and outsourced service providers, to vendors, resellers, and prospective or existing customers.
In addition to being creative, content managers usually have to juggle managing multiple projects, and a content team on a limited budget and with limited resources. They also might collaborate with other teams for projects.
This role is not entry-level — content managers are generally expected to lead their team and foster growth, so it’s a job that’s filled by someone with a couple of years of experience in marketing, communications, and project management.
We recommend the following resources to help build your content management skills:
This lesson looks at some of the basic steps your business should complete before it can grow using content.
Digital Business Basics
This lesson looks at some of the basic steps your business should complete before it can grow using content.
If your business aims to grow, it needs a clear idea of its values, vision, mission, goals, and objectives.
Preferably, it will also have completed a SWOT analysis at some stage of its business development and have a good understanding of its needs, capabilities, resources, and limitations.
Your business needs this information to perform a business audit and put a budget together to set up and run a digital team, implement systems, and purchase additional software, tools, solutions, services, etc.
This information will also be used to formulate an action plan listing all the practical steps your business will take to grow.
In this lesson, we look at some of the basic steps your business should complete before developing and implementing a Content Strategy.
The diagram below shows the processes your business needs to implement before it is ready to grow using various content strategies and methods:
Providing detailed information on all of the above steps is well beyond the scope of this course, so we’ll briefly review each of these below and we recommend that you refer to the ‘References’ section at the end of this lesson for resources that cover these areas in more depth.
A clear vision built on core values can challenge, inspire, and motivate everyone working in the business to help transform the vision into a success.
For example, if the business has a vision “to be the leading supplier of XYZ products in the QRS industry or the ABC region,” it can then set up a strategy with goals, objectives, and an action plan to achieve this vision.
Having a clearly spelled-out vision that everyone in the business can understand and get enrolled in is very important. Problems will arise if, for example, the business owner and the general manager communicate an entirely different vision of the business to the team. One example of this is if the general manager envisions selling products worldwide but the business owner is only interested in selling nationally. This can create a serious ‘disconnect’ in the business that will affect its strategic decisions.
A clear vision can impact the business planning process in so many ways (e.g., planning for different sites in different languages, currencies, content writing, marketing methods, etc.), so it’s important for the business to have a unified vision and make sure that everyone in the organization is on the same page and working toward it.
A business mission statement is fundamentally different than a business vision statement.
A business vision statement is a statement that describes the long-term goals and aspirations of a business. It outlines what the company hopes to achieve in the future and serves as a guide for decision-making and strategic planning.
A business mission statement is a statement that describes the purpose and values of a business. It outlines the reason for the company’s existence and what it aims to accomplish in the short term.
In general, a business vision statement is more aspirational and long-term in focus, while a business mission statement is more practical and short-term in focus. A business vision statement is often broader in scope, while a business mission statement is more specific and targeted.
For example, a business vision statement might be: “To be the most admired and respected brand in the world, inspiring people to be their best selves and achieve their dreams.”
A business mission statement might be: “To be the leading provider of healthy, convenient, and delicious food, helping people around the world to live their best lives.”
Also, a vision statement paints a picture of where the business would like to be in the future, whereas a mission statement asks two important and closely related questions about its central focus, activities, and capabilities:
What business are you in right now?
What business should you be in right now?
A mission statement sets out what the purpose of the business is and what it aims to achieve, and adds a practical focus to the vision.
Below are some examples of powerful mission statements:
“We believe that buying glasses should be easy and fun. It should leave you happy and good-looking, with money in your pocket,” Warby Parker.
“Honest Tea seeks to create and promote great-tasting, healthier, organic beverages. We strive to grow our business with the same honesty and integrity we use to craft our products, with sustainability and great taste for all.” Honest Tea.
” Our vision is to create a better everyday life for many people. Our business idea supports this vision by offering a wide range of well-designed functional home furnishing products at prices so low that as many people as possible will be able to afford them.” Ikea.
Businesses are driven by their core values. Understanding these values will tell you what the business stands for and what its priorities are.
Businesses can be driven by more than one core value. Here are just some of the core values that can drive a business:
Respect For Others
Service To Others
Goals & Objectives
Goals are what your business wants to achieve, and objectives are the steps it will need to take to achieve these goals.
Goals and objectives need to be specific, measurable, attainable (i.e. realistic), concrete, challenging, and have a set time frame, yet be flexible enough to be reworked as your business evolves or if circumstances change.
Just as the mission statement moves your business one step closer to the realization of its vision, goals are the practical ‘next step’ that take the mission statement one step further.
Setting practical goals and objectives helps your business set performance targets that can be measured and improved upon and used to formulate action plans for your organization.
So, for example, if your business wants to be able to grow by, let’s say, 20% every year, it will first want to assess how much of this growth is expected to come from digital activities vs offline (e.g., retail) and then set strategic objectives using these targets.
Below are some of the main things to consider when developing your business strategy and business plan:
Any business that aims to grow is going to face challenges. Assessing Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats helps the business identify issues and challenges that can prevent it from achieving its goals and develop a plan to help overcome these.
Assess and prioritize which opportunities are worth pursuing
Determine which strategies and methods should be implemented to promote different products or services
Gain a better understanding of core competencies and skills within the business
Identify competitive advantages, etc.
The Business Audit consists of a series of questions asked of the business to better understand where the business is currently at and whether it has the capabilities and resources to achieve its goals and objectives.
Information gathered during the Business Audit should be referenced in the Action Plan, which should be periodically reviewed and updated as the business evolves.
The Business Audit is divided into different sections, as shown in the example below:
1) Business Details
This information is used to set up new service accounts, add to forms, and used in the content, marketing materials, etc.:
Registered Company/Business Name
Company Identifiers (e.g. Company ID, Tax ID, etc.)
Contact Name(s) of Business Principals/Owners
Other Websites, Social Media accounts
Hours Of Operation
Licenses & Qualifications
Services and subscriptions
Additional Business Information
Most of this information can be gathered from existing documentation and confirmed with the business owner(s), directors, stakeholders, or managers.
2) About The Business & Its People
This information is used to gain a better understanding of the business and its people, its products, services, and target audience, what problems the business solves for its clients or customers, etc.
Some of this information can be gathered from existing business documentation or by asking the business owner(s), directors, stakeholders, or managers:
History of the business; when it started, who started it, and why.
Core values, vision, mission, and purpose.
How many people are employed, their names, and roles.
Technical and digital skill levels of team members (e.g. who has image or video editing skills, research or content writing skills, subject knowledge and expertise, knowledge of digital management or marketing processes, software applications, etc.).
Description of main products and services.
Description of the ideal customer and target audience, demographics, needs, etc.
What problems the business solves for clients or customers.
What makes the business unique, what gives it a competitive edge, why customers should use or buy from the business, etc.
What is the best benefit or guarantee the business has to offer? Are they aware of any competitors who can match or better this?
3) Strategic Planning
This information is used to plan and develop an effective digital strategy:
Is the business comfortably meeting existing demand and supply from customers, or struggling to supply products and services, meet operational targets, etc.? Are customers getting all their orders on time?
Can the business sustain additional growth from online channels? What percentage of growth?
How are operational processes being managed? Are there any operational issues that can prevent or slow down sales growth?
Who has product knowledge and can assist the digital department in areas like content creation, addressing questions and concerns from users on social media, etc.?
What’s the main reason or purpose for having a digital presence? Is it to create more exposure and drive more traffic, boost the brand, drive more leads, generate more sales of products or services, educate, inform, or train prospective customers or clients, do all these things, or something else?
What additional revenue, benefits or improvements does the business expect from its online presence?
Are there current and historical sales figures for the online channel? What are the projected growth, sales, and revenue targets?
How will the business manage and measure the results of its digital activities? Will retail activities be tracked and assessed together with or separately from digital activities? Are there any systems in place to do this?
Does the business plan to expand into new markets or develop new products and services?
4) Marketing Campaigns
This information is used to research and better understand the market and implement an effective digital marketing strategy aimed at delivering better results:
What challenges does your business experience in acquiring and retaining customers?
Does your business plan to target users locally, regionally, nationally, or globally?
What does your business want to achieve in the short-term, medium-term, and long-term? What are its immediate priorities? Is it to improve lead generation, increase search visibility, drive more traffic, get more sales, improve sales conversions, grow a subscriber mailing list, strengthen brand credibility, reputation management, etc.?
How does your business perform market research?
How does your business perform competitive research?
How does your business plan, coordinate, and implement new marketing campaigns?
How quickly can your business coordinate and launch a new marketing campaign?
Are marketing campaigns being launched across multiple channels simultaneously?
How does your business track results and improve its marketing campaigns?
What is your business currently doing to drive more traffic and acquire new customers?
For example (note all that apply):
Online advertising (e.g. Google AdWords/Facebook Ads/Pay-per-click/Banner ads),
Web content (e.g. lead gen articles, blog posts)
Social media (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, Pinterest, Instagram, TikTok, other),
Press/ news/ media releases,
Video marketing, forums, affiliate marketing, SMS marketing, etc.
Other/None of the above
What offline methods does your business employ?
For example (note all that apply):
Media advertising (print, magazine, newspaper ads, radio, tv)
Mail Drops (leaflets, magnets)
Local Media (e.g. coupon mags, calendars)
Other/None of the above
What are the main trade or industry events or important seasons or dates in the annual calendar? Are marketing campaigns or promotions being run on these dates?
What campaigns are being run? Who runs these campaigns, and how are they being run?
Are campaign results being tracked? What kind of results are being generated?
Website & Content
Does your business currently have a website?
What technology or platform is driving the website?
Who looks after and maintains the website?
Who manages web hosting, domain names, emails, hardware & software security, and looks after all other digital assets?
Who manages all the online accounts logins and passwords, online services, subscriptions, licenses, etc.?
Who creates web content, product images, logos, banners, etc.?
Who manages web templates, files, images, logos, etc.? How/where are these stored? Who backs up files and data? How often are these backed up?
Is the website mobile responsive? How are users being tracked (e.g. Google Analytics)?
What keywords and locations (cities/towns/suburbs) would your business like to rank #1 for in Google?
What social media accounts has your business set up? How active are these accounts? What kind of results is your business experiencing with social media?
Targets & Budgets
What are the acquisition targets (e.g. ideal number of new leads or customers per week/month)?
What capacity does your business have to handle/service new customers or clients?
Where is your business now (numbers or %)? Where does it want to get to?
How happy are customers with your products? What is the percentage of returns or refunds?
How much are new customers/clients worth (CLV – Customer Lifetime Value) in $$$?
What is the current marketing spend per month (list all different methods and $$$ being spent on each method)?
What is the cost of acquisition (number of clicks to convert x cost per click) in $$$?
What is the total monthly or annual marketing budget?
How much can your business allocate to building and managing its digital presence?
What is the annual and/or monthly marketing budget allocated to the digital department and its digital strategy?
What benchmarks, targets, results, ROIs, or KPIs need to be reached to increase the budget amount to implement additional methods?
Digital Management & Marketing Budget
Your business needs to develop a plan for managing its digital-related expenses and a budget listing the cost of implementing, managing, and performing technical and digital services. This includes:
Outsourcing digital management tasks (e.g. web hosting, technical support)
Outsourcing digital marketing tasks (e.g. press releases, online ads, lead generation, e-commerce fees and transactions, etc.)
Cost of purchasing essential software, tools, add-ons, licenses, services, and subscriptions,
Purchasing online training courses, how-to guides, attending training and industry events, etc.
Analyze Competitor Content
Analyzing your competition’s content can provide useful insights for your own strategic business planning.
Use the checklist below to analyze your competitors’ content:
Define the goals and objectives of your competitor analysis: Clearly define the goals and objectives of the competitor analysis, such as understanding the topics, formats, and strategies that are resonating with your target audience.
Identify key competitors: Identify the key competitors in your industry that you will analyze.
Gather competitor information: Gather information on your competitors, such as their website, social media profiles, and any other content they produce.
Analyze competitor content: Analyze the content of your competitors to understand the topics, formats, and strategies they use to reach their audience.
Identify competitor strengths and weaknesses: Identify the strengths and weaknesses of your competitors’ content, including what they are doing well and where they could improve.
Analyze competitor engagement: Analyze the engagement levels of your competitors’ content, including likes, shares, and comments.
Analyze competitor audience: Analyze the demographics, interests, and pain points of your competitors’ audience to understand their target market.
Identify opportunities: Identify opportunities for your own content based on the gaps in your competitors’ content and strategies.
Use the insights: Use the insights from the competitor analysis to inform your own content, product, and marketing strategies.
Continuously monitor and update: Continuously monitor and update the competitor analysis to keep it relevant and actionable.
Marketing Strategy & Marketing Plan
Wikipedia defines a Marketing Strategy as follows:
“Marketing strategy involves mapping out the company’s direction for the forthcoming planning period, whether that be three, five, or ten years. It involves undertaking a 360° review of the firm and its operating environment with a view to identifying new business opportunities that the firm could potentially leverage for competitive advantage.”
“A marketing strategy is the business’s overall game plan for reaching prospective consumers and turning them into customers of their products or services. A marketing strategy contains the company’s value proposition, key brand messaging, data on target customer demographics, and other high-level elements.”
A marketing strategy is a high-level approach for reaching a target market and achieving specific business goals. It defines the overall direction and goals for a company’s marketing efforts.
A marketing plan, on the other hand, is a detailed document outlining specific actions to be taken to implement a marketing strategy. It includes details such as budget, target audience, tactics, and metrics for measuring success.
While your marketing strategy is a broader, overarching plan that outlines the reasons why your marketing team will need certain resources, set certain goals, and take certain actions to achieve your business objectives, your marketing plan details the specific actions your team will need to implement to achieve this strategy.
The marketing funnel is a framework used to describe the journey a potential customer goes through before making a purchase. It typically includes the stages of awareness, interest, consideration, and conversion. The goal of the marketing funnel is to move potential customers through each stage, with the ultimate goal of converting them into paying customers.
The customer buyer journey, on the other hand, is the process a customer goes through to become aware of, evaluate, and purchase a product or service. The stages of the customer buyer journey can include awareness, research, evaluation, and purchase. The goal of the customer buyer journey is to understand the customer’s needs and preferences, and to guide them through the process of making a purchase.
The main difference is that the marketing funnel is often used by marketers to guide their strategy and measure the effectiveness of their campaigns, while the customer buyer journey is more focused on the customer’s experience and understanding their behavior. Both concepts can be used together to create a comprehensive understanding of the customer’s journey.
Develop Your Brand Voice
A brand voice refers to the personality, tone, and language that your business uses to communicate with its audience.
It is the unique way in which your brand expresses itself and is a key component of brand identity. Your brand voice should be consistent across all channels, platforms, and content, and it should align with the overall mission and values of your business.
There are several characteristics that can make up a brand voice, including:
Tone: The overall tone of your brand’s voice can be serious, funny, formal, or informal.
Personality: Your brand’s personality can be described as friendly, professional, sophisticated, or approachable.
Language: The language used in your brand’s voice can be casual, formal, technical, or colloquial.
Nike: The brand voice of Nike is bold, confident, and inspirational. Their messaging often focuses on the idea of pushing limits and achieving personal greatness.
Apple: The brand voice of Apple is sleek, minimalist, and sophisticated. Their messaging often focuses on the idea of simplicity and ease of use.
Old Spice: The brand voice of Old Spice is irreverent, playful, and bold. Their messaging often focuses on humor, satire, and satire.
It’s important to note that your brand voice is not only about the words used in your message, but also the visuals and overall design. For example, Apple’s minimalist design aligns with its brand voice of simplicity.
A well-defined brand voice can help your business to stand out in a crowded marketplace, and it can also help to build trust and loyalty with your target audience.
It is an essential tool to create an emotional connection with your audience, and it should be consistently communicated across all your marketing efforts.
How To Create A Brand Voice And Messaging Guide
Creating a brand voice and messaging guide will help your business maintain consistency in your content and messaging across all channels and platforms and make it easy for the team members to understand how to communicate your brand effectively.
Here are the steps for creating a brand voice and messaging guide:
Define your brand’s personality: The first step in creating a brand voice and messaging guide is to define your brand’s personality. This includes identifying your brand’s unique characteristics, such as its tone, values, and overall personality.
Define your target audience: Understanding your target audience is key to creating a brand voice that resonates with them. Research your audience’s demographics, pain points, and interests. This will help to create a voice that speaks to them and addresses their needs.
Develop a brand story: Develop a brand story that aligns with your brand’s personality and speaks to the target audience. The story should be simple, consistent, and memorable.
Create a brand voice and messaging matrix: Create a matrix that outlines your brand’s different voices and messaging across different channels and platforms. This matrix should include your brand’s core values, tone, and messaging for each channel.
Develop a style guide: A style guide should be developed that outlines the specific language and tone that should be used in all content. The guide should also include guidelines for grammar, punctuation, and capitalization.
Communicate the guide: Communicate the brand voice and messaging guide to all stakeholders, including employees, partners, and any external vendors. Provide training to ensure that everyone understands and adheres to the guide.
Continuously monitor and update: Continuous monitoring and updating of the brand voice and messaging guide is important as your business and the market evolves. Regularly review and update the guide to ensure that it aligns with the business’s current goals, target audience, and market trends.
Having the information above will help the business set realistic goals and objectives and formulate an effective content strategy that can help it realize its vision.
This information must be documented, periodically reviewed, and regularly updated.
Make sure to review and complete the checklists in this section before proceeding to the other training modules.
We also looked at the mindset and skills required to manage content effectively in your business.
In this lesson, we look at different types of business setups that you may find yourself working in and the challenges involved in managing content in these setups.
Let’s start with…
The Ideal Setup
As discussed in our Digital Business Structure lesson, if an organization could afford to hire all the digital roles needed to run its digital presence effectively, it would ideally begin by appointing someone to oversee the development and management of all its digital business areas.
This person would then hire someone to manage all the content-related areas of the business and someone to manage all of its technical areas.
So, for an organization to effectively manage all of the areas shown below…
It would need a digital department that looks something like this…
We’ll ignore the technical areas, as this is not the focus of this course, and focus only on the content areas.
To manage content effectively, then, an organization would ideally maintain a digital department that looks something like this…
If you calculate the payroll required for all these roles, you will quickly realize that few organizations can afford to run a digital department like the one shown above.
This, however, doesn’t stop businesses from advertising for a content manager, hoping to find someone that will organize all of their content and manage all of the content-related processes and areas of their business.
Content Manager Job Descriptions – Expectations vs Reality
The responsibilities of the role advertised in this company’s job description span across all three decision-making levels:
Executive Level = E
Managerial Level = M
Technical Level = T
If we map all the responsibilities listed above to the ideal digital department organization chart we created earlier, then this company is advertising for a content manager to run a digital team that looks like this…
In the above diagram, whoever ends up filling that advertised position of content manager (e.g. YOU) would have to assume all the dark-colored roles shown above, while managing a team of people in the light-colored roles (at a content manager’s salary that does not include the cumulative salaries of all those additional roles, of course!).
It might not seem obvious to companies advertising for a content manager just how many different roles and responsibilities they are actually expecting applicants for the position to assume.
Whoever ends up filling the role, however, will discover very quickly what a huge and complex task managing content is, especially if the business is chaotic as many businesses are.
So, let’s focus on a more realistic scenario and look at the challenges of managing content for an organization that does not have the resources to run an ideal digital department.
Business Setup Flowchart
From the perspective of a business with a digital presence, the need for a content manager is obvious…they want to create and publish content and they need someone to help them manage these processes.
From the perspective of the person applying for the role (e.g. YOU), however, things are not so clear-cut, so it’s useful to have a better understanding of the business structure you will be working in.
Use the flowchart below to help you determine the kind of business setup you will be managing as a content manager.
Business Setup #1 – Your Team
How many people are on the team that you will be managing?
Let’s start with the size of the team you will be working with.
If you’re the only one managing all the content in the business, then clearly you will have to assume all the roles.
If there are a few or many people in your team to help take on different roles and responsibilities, then great! It’s better than having to do it all on your own, but there are still decisions to make and challenges to address.
For example, if your team members have specific roles (e.g. illustrator, video maker, or pay-per-click ad manager), then you may still be left with a number of other roles to fill.
Business Setup #2 – Budget
“Is there a budget for hiring/outsourcing team roles?”
The next area to look at is whether or not the business has a budget to grow the team and invest in content management resources such as systems, tools, training, etc.
If you’re working with a startup, you may be expected to advise, contribute, and help lay down the foundations for digital growth and the future expansion of the organization.
In this case, you will want to understand what kind of financial resources are available or will be made available to grow the team.
Or you may join an organization that already has an established digital team and systems in place, and be expected to perform your duties within a more defined role.
Anywhere in between working with a startup or an established digital team is also an option. Every business has its own way of doing things. You may simply be told that “as we grow, we’ll find the money to hire more people and invest in better tools and systems,” and you will have to work with that.
The takeaway here is that the more people the business can afford to place into digital-based roles, the fewer hats you will have to wear, and vice-versa (i.e. the smaller the team, the more content management skills you will need and the more responsibilities you will have to assume).
Business Setup #3 – Business Strategy
“Is there a digital business strategy?”
Once you have an idea of the size of the team you will be working with and the organization’s willingness to invest in building a digital department, the next area to assess is whether the company has a digital business strategy in place or not.
A digital business strategy is a blueprint used to build a digital business presence.
If there is NO digital business strategy in place for the business, you will need to help them create one.
As explained in The Small Business Digital Manager, without a digital business strategy, things can quickly become chaotic and unmanageable, and it will be a constant uphill battle to try and stay on top of things.
If there is a digital business strategy in place, then everyone in your team should follow it.
Business Setup #4 – Content Strategy
“Is there a content strategy?”
As we cover in our Content Strategy training module, the digital business strategy drives the content strategy of the business, as well as other digital strategies.
If there is NO content strategy in place for the business, you will need to help them create one.
If there is a content strategy in place, then everyone in your team should follow it.
Business Setup #5 – Content Plan
“Is there a content plan?”
A Content Plan helps the business achieve its strategic objectives by formulating a plan of action specifying all the content it needs to create to connect the business with its target audience.
Different target audiences need different content because prospects, customers/clients, subscribers, members, etc. have different needs.
Different users also consume content differently, so businesses need to produce content in different formats (e.g., blog posts, videos, podcasts, email newsletters, screenshot tutorials, infographics, reports, case studies, multimedia presentations, social media posts, etc.)
If the business has NO content plan, you will need to help them create one.
If the business has documented systems and processes in place, then everyone in your team should follow them.
Start documenting guidelines for all the different roles that you or your team perform and make sure to keep this documentation up-to-date.
You can start with simple bullet point documents and checklists and turn these into “operation manuals” later when hiring people to fill those roles.
Few organizations can afford to maintain a digital department with specialists hired for every role in which content plays an important part.
This, however, doesn’t stop businesses from advertising for content managers. Despite what the job description says, more often than not, anyone tasked with managing an organization’s content will need to fulfill many additional duties and responsibilities to perform successfully in the role.
The better you understand the digital setup of your organization, the clearer you will be about the challenges involved in managing its content and how to address these.
In addition to completing the lessons in this training module, we recommend the following resources: