In past 3 years i’ve helped quite a lot of startups hire and train their content marketers. In recent year, growing my own agency, I had to hire content marketers for my team to work with our startup clients.
The biggest problem when hiring a content marketer is not their writing skills.It’s not even creativity or past experience in similar roles.
You Need A Brand
When I share a new blog post to growthhackers.com or even on Facebook / Twitter, the feedback is almost immediate. Traffic starts pouring in, shares and retweets starts occurring, even suggestions for guest posts etc.
When my new employee, my new “content marketer” shares her own well written blog post – she has to work twice as hard and 1/5 of the results.
She’s an amazing writer. I taught her almost every trick in the book and she does it pretty well.
The biggest difference is that she hasn’t build her personal brand yet.
When doing content marketing, if you really want a post to become wildly spread you need to have a recognisable brand – either the company brand, or your personal brand.
One of you has to dominate the niche and to be an active contributor to your community.
If you’re a nobody and you’ve just written a blog post for Buffer – it’s still going to go big. It’s Buffer!
If you’re nobody and you are writing a post for an unknown company, well, good luck with that.
This is what you should be looking for
If you’re about to hire a content marketer you need to look beyond writing skills, strategic thinking etc.
You need to find someone who’s either already well-known in their niche (which should also be your niche), or someone that can easily understand the niche, audience and needs and easily become a part of it.
The problem with hiring someone who’s totally new – is that now you have to give them space to build their brand for 3-6 months before they become valuable to your marketing team.
If you’d give me two options: Hire someone from within the community with B level writing skills or someone who’s an amazing writer / content creator but has nothing to do with your niche, Go with the first one.
Here’s why I don’t follow this rule when hiring new people
There are two sets of expertise most startups who are looking to hire a content marketer don’t have that I do: 1. I can teach almost anyone how to be an amazing content creator
2. I know how to create personal brands within a niche . This means that it will take me third the time to take someone from “who the hell are you?” to “Hi, I love your content!” on almost any niche.
My employees work with different clients over time and they have to adjust themselves and become a valuable community member in different spaces.
I took the time to deconstruct the minimum viable steps to become a community member and I know how to teach it to my employees.
If you don’t know how to teach these two things, you need to stick what I’ve wrote earlier – find someone from within the niche.
Conclusion and some tips
If you’re about to hire a content marketer, here’s what you should care about:
She / He are well known in their niche.
They really understand the audience.
They have a community instinct in their personality.
They are creative.
They aren’t emotional about their writing – just about the results.
They understand quality comes before quantity.
P.SWriting a short guide on how to become an influential part of a community in under 40 days can actually be a good blog post… If you think it’s a good topic let me know in the comments and i’ll write it up.