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Life as a Content Marketing Manager: 6 Skills to Have and Job Outlook

This post was originally published on June 21, 2018 and completely updated with fresh information on March 19, 2020.

If content marketing is a ship, then the content marketing manager is its captain. 🚢⚓

For any content marketing endeavor to sail, this leadership role is vital.

The content marketing manager steers the ship, directs the crew, and manages/tracks/measures how that ship reaches its destination.

It’s a multi-faceted, fast-paced, interesting, and creative job in high demand right now.

Now that your interest is piqued, your next question about this role probably has to do with the basics:

Content Marketing Manager Basics

1. What is a Content Marketing Manager?

2. What’s the Average Content Marketing Manager Salary?

3. What are the Must-Have Content Marketing Manager Skills?

4. What are the General Content Marketing Manager Job Duties?

5. What Education and Experience Do Employers Look for in a Content Marketing Manager?

6. What’s the Content Marketing Manager Job Outlook Look Like?

Let’s take a look.

Life as a content marketing manager

What Is a Content Marketing Manager?

If you want a definition, a content marketing manager is the person at the helm of all content marketing initiatives and outcomes for a business.

What does a content marketing manager do? Here are the most common tasks and processes they take in hand:

  • Create, implement, and track a content strategy for a brand or organization (often with the help of a content strategist)
  • Direct SEO-optimized content creation and publication that aligns with the brand’s voice, goals, and audience
  • Manage all content distribution and promotion channels, including a blog and social media accounts
  • Manage content planning and preparation with an editorial calendar
  • Measure each content initiative, track progress, and report those results to higher-ups
  • Collaborate with other company departments, such as advertising and sales, to tie in content with brand promotion
  • Manage a creative content team, including writers, graphic designers, marketing analysts, social media specialists, and more
  • Reports return on investment (ROI) and marketing results to board directors or CEOs

As you can see, a content marketing manager juggles many projects and wears many hats – sometimes all at the same time.

What’s the Average Content Marketing Manager Salary?

Content marketing managers face a lot of pressure but they also make a solid living from their efforts.

Just look at the average salary for a content manager in the U.S., via Glassdoor:

content marketing manager salary from Glassdoor

The average base pay as of March 2020 was over $56K across all industries and levels of experience.

Even if you’re just jumping into this field, you can expect great pay at the entry-level, too.

According to Payscale, those starting out as content managers earn a median pay of over $43K per year.

Most content marketing manager jobs are full-time roles with salaried positions. Depending on the company, this typically also involves benefits such as

  • Healthcare and dental
  • Paid time off
  • Paid sick time
  • Quarterly or yearly bonuses
  • Profit sharing
  • Ability to work remote some days

Added to that, most report high job satisfaction and enjoyable work – huge incentives for anyone in any career.

6 Must-Have Content Marketing Manager Skills

Success in managing any content marketing initiative depends on the skills in your arsenal.

Overwhelmingly, content marketing managers need these top skills to be desirable and hireable candidates:

1. Strong Writer and Researcher

Above all, a content marketing manager must have strong, solid writing skills.

Writing serves as the foundational skill for any content marketing manager. According to leading content marketing experts, the ability to tell stories through your content and having a journalist’s mindset fall under this umbrella.

Search Engine Journal takes it one step further, saying you need to write better than the average marketer if you want to reach the height of success. Here’s what that entails:

SEJ quote on content writing

2. Excellent Communicator

Nearly every level of the job requires competent communication at some level – whether you’re collaborating with your team, conveying ideas to bosses, or speaking to an audience through content.

A content manager will need excellent communication skills to express their ideas both verbally and in writing. You’ll need to be able to be forward about potential ROI, how to deliver results, and what steps you’ll take to move the company forward through content marketing.

A content marketing manager may also need to collaborate flexibly with marketing and sales to address problems and find solutions.

3. Tech-Savvy

Technology is changing constantly, faster than you can blink.

To make it as a content marketing manager, you need to be able to keep up.

Why?

Because you must be able to deliver content the way your audience is consuming it.

Today, that means making your site and blog mobile-friendly, focusing on usability, voice search, and implementing SEO that first and foremost helps your ideal reader. To all that, add a healthy dose of social-media-savvy and being nimble enough to create and maintain accounts on the most popular platforms.

Technology and how we use it changes daily. A content marketing manager also needs to use software and tools to further their content goals and connect with audiences.

4. Data-Driven

Creativity is huge in content marketing. However, if you can’t quantify the success of your creative endeavors (that content you painstakingly put together), you are missing a huge piece of what it takes to be a top content marketing manager.

In other words, you need to be able to track and measure the effect your content campaigns have on your audience. You must be able to prove your content marketing works to get buy-in from your bosses.

Most of all, if you can’t quantify whether or not your content is working, you also won’t know how to improve and change up your game plan. You’ll keep posting and publishing the same sort of stuff.

In other words, you’ll be beating a dead horse.

According to Convince and Convert, you have to be able to measure three metrics that influence your content success (also called key performance indicators, or KPIs):

  • Traffic – Who is finding your content? How big is this audience? Where are they coming from?
  • Engagement – What type of interactions does your content invite? Who is interacting?
  • Conversions – Did your content inspire your audience to act? Who acted, and what did they do?

You also need to be able to tie your goals to your metrics. Here’s a chart from Heidi Cohen that illustrates that:

Content marketing goals and metrics

5. Highly Organized and Assertive

A content marketing manager has to juggle several tasks, problems, and departments on a daily basis. Organization is key to stay focused and keep all the duties in order.

As the “manager” part of the job suggests, you’ll need to understand when to delegate smaller tasks and which jobs to complete yourself. Organization and assertiveness go hand-in-hand here so you can identify problems and launch into action immediately to make things happen.

6. Focused on Big-Picture Results

As the end of the day, it’s on YOU as a content marketing manager to deliver ROI and overall growth from the business’s content marketing efforts.

In terms of skills, this means you should be able to remain focused on the larger picture of driving results while understanding how smaller tasks play into this. 

Profitable Content Marketer Skills Cheat Sheet

Other Abilities You’ll Need

HubSpot echoes some of the traits above as top skills – take a look at their sample job listing for a content marketing manager. They stipulate this role requires a “dual-minded approach,” a mix of excellent writing skills with a reliance on data to drive creativity.

job listing for a content marketing manager

Along with these various skillsets, you’ll need abilities that tie into best practices for content creation.

For example, our guide on the top 13 content strategy skills adds a few more abilities to the list of skills you should have. You need to be able to:

  • Create comprehensive, long-form content
  • Stay ROI-driven
  • Build content around long tail keywords
  • Promote content effectively

Luckily, these are abilities you can develop with training and experience, no problem.

Broader skills are harder to hone and take more time. But, if you’re thinking about managing content marketing, you’re probably a skilled communicator, a tech-savvy internet user, or a data-driven inbound marketer – or all three.

4 cornerstone skill points for content strategy

You can learn how to apply the above practical content strategy skills and much more in my Content Strategy & Marketing Course.

What Experience or Education Do Employers Look for in a Content Marketing Manager?

While every employer is unique, you can be sure hiring managers value experience in content marketing and project management. A background in content strategy or content marketing is important.

Overall, employers may require or ask for:

  • A bachelor’s degree in communication, journalism, marketing, or a similar concentration
  • Experience building digital followings and communities
  • Familiarity with Google Analytics
  • Proficiency with various social media analytics such as Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, or Instagram depending on the job
  • Project management experience
  • Experience overseeing a team
  • Solid time management skills

What are Some Content Marketing Manager Job Duties?

So we’ve gone over some general skills that might make you a good fit for a content marketing manager position but what does your daily job look like? What are the general job duties you might face on an average day?

Keep in mind this is by no means a definitive list. Every job and every company are unique. However, you can typically expect to complete the following tasks as a content marketing manager:

  • Managing a content creation team – such as graphic designers, illustrators, content strategists, social media managers, copywriters, SEO experts, web designers, etc.
  • Measuring the results of your daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly, etc. content marketing strategies.
  • Following SEO best practices across all platforms.
  • Researching audiences and exploring different topic ideas to build digital followings.
  • Managing a budget for creating and promoting content across social media and the web.
  • Driving traffic to the company website through organic search results and social media marketing.
  • Translating traffic into engagement and action for ROI and sales.
  • Understanding which platforms and tools to use for reaching the right audience demographics.

What’s the General Content Marketing Manager Job Outlook?

If you’re worried about being able to find a job in content marketing, don’t.

The market is wide open, and opportunities are out there for the taking.

Just a quick search of top job sites like Indeed.com, Monster.com, and LinkedIn Jobs reveal incredible opportunities all over the United States.

Here’s a peek at the plethora of results from Indeed.com:

content marketing manager job outlook on Indeed

Salaries range from $40k to $100k, and jobs are available in cities from New York to Chicago, to San Francisco, Los Angeles, and everything in-between.

On LinkedIn Jobs, you will find roles as a content marketing manager in various industries, like agriculture, education, technology, and even automobiles.

And, on Monster.com, work is available from Iowa to Amsterdam:

content marketing jobs on Monster

Excited Yet? It’s Time to Dive into Content Marketing Management

If content marketing management sounds like an incredible career for you, it’s time to take action.

There’s no better time to dive into this industry and get to work.

You’ll use your creativity, leadership, analytical thinking, and tech/internet savvy to tell compelling stories to the masses. You’ll join the inbound marketing movement and focus on providing true value to audiences all over the world.

To get started on the path to becoming a content marketing manager, invest in the right training that will give you the tools to succeed! My Content Strategy & Marketing Course was built to offer you that path. 

Profitable Content Marketer Cheat Sheet

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