What is a content manager and what does one do?
Content manager is one of the most common titles in digital marketing. But what does a content manager actually do, and what kind of background and skills do you need to become one? In this article I’ll answer all those questions, and, naturally, the most common Google question of all: what’s the salary?
But why is an unknown Swedish content guy the person to tell you about this? Well, I’ve actually been a content manager, back in 2014. Today I am a freelance digital consultant specialized in content, including SEO, copywriting, newsletters and much more. That’s how I plan to make this article interesting; I’ll spice up the general facts about content managers with my own personal experiences and reflections.
Are you looking for a freelancer to act as a content manager, or just a digital expert overall? Look no further, just contact me through the information below. If you just want to know more about the content manger title, keep reading and we’ll start getting into that part.
About Stefan Nordström
Digital marketing consultant
7 years of experience
Expertise: SEO, copywriting, newsletters, conversions, digital strategy
What is a content manager?
Where’s better to start but the essence of it all: what is a content manager? The background of the title and it’s rise is definitely the birth of content marketing. As more and more digital marketing became centered around creating quality content, the need for all-encompassing roles arose. And many of those became content manager roles, as the tasks vary greatly between different ones.
I have seen the title content manager for everything from low-experience, low-pay positions to roles that basically equal a marketing manager. It makes the title slightly elusive as a past experience and a potential job. Perhaps it’s better to look at the tasks, education, skills and background needed to be a content manager – something we’ll start doing right now.
Content manager tasks
Narrowing down the tasks of a content manager is not easy, but I’ll do my best to boil it down to some general points:
- Content strategy development and deployment
- Planning content
- Content creation
- Practical work in CMS platforms like WordPress and Drupal
- Social media posting
- Content analysis
- Content optimization
- Project management
It’s definitely a mix of tasks that require broad skills, since you have to be able to be both creative and analytical at the same time. But it also means that you will pick up many new skills and overcome interesting challenges.
Education, skills and overall background
Content managers come from many different backgrounds. Some are not educated in marketing at all, while others have general or specific marketing backgrounds. Some have previous backgrounds in journalism or technology, bridging in either direction to work with content.
Personally, I got my bachelor’s degree in communication and IT, and then proceeded to become a content manager at a small company. It was a good stepping stone to greater things in digital marketing.
When it comes to practical skills, I believe these are absolutely necessary:
- CMS skills (not just WordPress)
- Basic understanding of HTML and CSS
- Social media skills
- Language skills, both in terms of writing and editing
- Analytical skills, such as Google Analytics
- User experience knowledge
- SEO knowledge
- Marketing strategy and branding knowledge
Being able to handle images and video is also important, especially with SEO in mind. It’s a big bonus if you also have editing, filming and/or photography skills. As you can see, there are a lot of things that are good to know as a content manager.
Generally, if you aim to become one, you will pick them up a long the way. But if you’re looking to hire the ones it’s definitely to good to ask specific questions about skills and experience, so you know you’ll get the right person to manage your content.
Skills and experience isn’t everything, though. To me, personality is almost important as education and skills. When working with content in a broad scale, you definitely need the right mindset. Content success does not come fast, and you need a massive dose of patience and perseverance. Not to mention a feel for strategy and organization. Quite a few traits need to come together to be truly good at content marketing.
Content manager – salary and income development
But what does a content manager actually make? Sadly, it’s one of the hardest questions to answer in the whole article. Often, it’s better to look at the skill and experience requirements, rather than the title itself. For a starter position with low experience requirements, salaries under 3 000 EUR or USD per month are not uncommon (applies to Sweden).
But this doesn’t mean that content manager positions pay bad – some content managers make way more, and don’t forget that the pay usually rises fast in the digital marketing niche, as soon as you gain some experience. I was on my way to marketing manager and specialist positions within a few years, and I believe most competent content managers have the same development.
Where can you work as a content manager?
It’s also interesting to look at potential ways to work with content. Many people wind up working in-house at a company, or as a part of a marketing agency. But there’s also the possibility of acting as a freelancer. What is best depends on how you want to live; stable 9-5 with a predictable income or the unpredictable, yet rewarding freelance life?
My recommendation is to start out, learn the ropes and gather useful contacts as an in-house or agency employee. I worked as a regular office employee for six years before trying the freelance lifestyle. There are definitely upsides and downsides to both, and as I said the decision comes down to who you are and how you enjoy living your life.
Looking for a content manager or other digital marketing assistance?
Are you looking for a freelance content manager to help out with your digital platforms? Look no further, I am a content expert that has helped many companies with digital marketing. My expertise is in copywriting and SEO, but I’ve also worked with everything from newsletters and social media to conversion optimization and digital strategy. Looking to get in touch? Great! Connect with me on LinkedIn or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.