Why You Need a Content Manager (Even When You've Hired an Agency)
March 29, 2020 | by Timothy Wier
Hiring a content agency doesn’t mean you’re outsourcing all the responsibility of creating content. You still need an in-house web content manager to own the process, manage the relationship with your agency, and coordinate with other marketing and sales efforts within your organization.
There are many articles out there on what a content manager job description entails. Of course they need good communications skills and the ability to oversee and manage content creation. We don’t need to go into all that here.
What we will discuss is specifically how your in-house content manager should interface with your content agency to create a powerhouse marketing operation.
1. Building your content strategy
Whether your creative team is insourced or outsourced, your content strategy should always be managed by someone on the inside. Your content manager should work closely with your marketing and sales leadership to set expectations and put together a content plan:
- Identifying the key business objectives and how your content marketing will contribute to driving those objectives (e.g. revenue, audience growth, etc.)
- Developing content ideas based on customer questions, SEO benefits, and usefulness in marketing and sales campaigns
- Building an editorial calendar and a plan for continual and consistent content production
- Auditing existing content to see what works and what needs to be improved
- Looking at the company website to see what needs to be added or changed
- Growing brand awareness while also prioritizing sales and revenue
Once your content manager develops the strategy, they can then work with the agency to drive execution of that agency to generate a return on investment.
2. Managing & contributing to the editorial calendar
The more you post, the faster you’ll reach your goals — website traffic, search term ranking, and leads. An editorial calendar helps you track when you’re posting and what you’re posting, which gives you an idea of how quickly you’ll reach those goals.
Your content manager should be the “keeper” of the editorial calendar, even when you’re working with an agency. They should coordinate with subject matter experts, editors, writers and contributors — including the agency — to ensure everyone meets deadlines and content production remains consistently on schedule.
While your agency may produce plenty of content, that doesn’t mean that no one in-house should ever write anything ever again. Your content manager should also contribute to the calendar, whether that’s additional blog posts or converting those blog posts into lead magnets.
3. Overseeing the content management system
Your content management system is Grand Central Station for your entire content marketing operation. While an agency may employ web designers to help you build and optimize your company website, your content manager is responsible for overseeing and managing the content on the system.
While they don’t need extensive technical knowledge, they at least need to know enough to upload and publish content on a regular basis, monitor content performance, and make adjustments when necessary.
4. Editing and optimizing content
Every writer needs an editor. While agencies have internal processes for editing your content, they don’t have the deep level of company and brand knowledge that a content manager would have. That requires your content manager to assume an editorial role.
Your agency should be producing search engine optimized content for you. A content manager — themselves skilled in SEO — can evaluate the content to ensure that it’s not only optimized, but highly competitive.
5. Monitoring website traffic and other KPIs
Your agency will likely be reporting KPIs to you directly. Your content manager should review those results and ask the following questions:
- Is this working?
- Are the results worth the investment?
- Where can we see improvements to our bottom line?
When analyzing KPIs over time, context is key. There should be one person in your company who takes responsibility for reviewing and offering suggestions for improvement. The relationship should never be “set it and forget it.”
6. Managing the relationship with the agency
Most importantly, your content manager should work closely and own the relationship with the agency.
They have to communicate expectations and evaluate results. When hard conversations have to happen, the content manager is one of the people that should be driving and certainly involved in that conversation.
When you have a dedicated content manager filling these crucial roles, you can be confident that the relationship with the agency is only going to grow and improve over time.
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