The 10 Most Important Attributes of a Content Marketing Maven

marketing maven

It’s time to hire your content marketing chief, a.k.a. marketing maven, and you’ve got a big problem.

For one, you’ve never hired a content marketer. Secondly, you’re not exactly sure what a marketing maven is. Finally, you have little or no idea as to what a content marketer’s skill sets should be.

In an era where brands are leaping onto the content marketing bandwagon, it becomes more and more important for them to find the internal content talent that will strategize, execute, distribute and analyze an ongoing series of content marketing campaigns. Content marketing should be part of any brand’s DNA – a dedication to providing your target audiences with information of use and interest to them and of the highest quality.

It is the goal of content marketing to build trust and brand loyalty in your key constituencies. This is done through articles, through videos, through blogs, visuals and social media engagement.

Finding someone to head your company’s internal content marketing efforts is extremely difficult because there are so many responsibilities under the content marketing umbrella and your marketing maven will need to possess a diverse skill set.

Below, I have focused on 10 key skills that are elemental to a this role. While it may be impossible to find a single person will all of the following skills, a complete job description would include the following wish list.

10 Attributes of a Content Marketing Maven

1. Excellent Writing Skills

There is no bigger turn-off than poorly written, boring, unimaginative blogs, articles, Web copy and social media posts. Your marketing maven should have writing skills on the level of a seasoned journalist or should have the power and budget to add a top-flight writer immediately.

2. Social Media Fluency

This goes far beyond having hundreds of friends on Facebook or thousands of Followers on Twitter. This means a deep understanding of how businesses interact with their constituencies on various social media platforms, how frequently businesses need to interact and how businesses use social media as a customer service tool.

More importantly, your marketing maven must possess a deep understanding of how people interact with brands on social media. Social media marketing requires a deft touch. When people feel like they’re being ‘sold’ to on social media, they aren’t just turned off, they’re ticked off. Your content chief needs to not only understand this, but how to use social media in a way that informs and entertains your brand’s target audiences.

3. Strong Public Relations Skills

Many people are calling content marketing the new PR- and they are right. Creating content that demonstrates thought leadership and expertise is great, but knowing how to get that content out into the hands of the press, bloggers and other external content platforms can greatly elevate the brand’s profile.

4. General Understanding of Marketing (Beyond Content Marketing)

Content marketing is just one component of an integrated marketing campaign. Look for your marketing maven to understand the value and delivery of other marketing tools and where content marketing should fit into the company’s overall marketing strategy.

5. Search Engine Optimization Skills

A decade ago, SEO experts were the people who knew how to ‘trick’ Google and other search engines through keywording, backlinking and other practices designed towards the search engine algorithms. Today, thanks to Google’s Panda and Penguin updates and the increased sophistication of other search engines like Bing, quality content has far greater value in determining search results. Still, your content head should understand the principles behind writing meta descriptions, titles, subheads, etc. to ensure the best possible search results.

6. Understanding of Web and Digital Design Principles

There is a strong connection between digital content and digital design. A basic understanding of user interfaces and user behaviors can and will shape the ways and formats in which you deliver your content. This is especially true today when more and more people are digesting your content on smaller devices like tablets and smartphones.

7. Video, Photo and Graphics Skills

While articles were once at the heart of content marketing, video, photo imagery and graphics have emerged as highly effective vehicles for delivering brand messaging. A video can humanize a brand, deliver essential brand messages and even entertain. Videos are also extremely useful tools for media outreach. Infographics and photos can also capture the attention of your target audiences and deliver your brand messaging in a clear and memorable way.

8. Great Conversational and Listening Skills

Content marketing is a two-way street, with brands serving the needs of customers (and potential) customers by engaging with them in meaningful conversations. When you write an article, a blog post or even a tweet, you can expect people to respond. Ignoring those responses or failing to actively participate in a conversation with your target audience can be extremely damaging to your brand.

9. Great Networking Skills

Even in the digital age, there is no substitute for face-to-face interaction. Your marketing maven can be a spokesperson and a key face of the company. That person will need to have their face in front of the media as well as potential clients or customers. Whether it’s at an informal breakfast or a major conference, your content person needs to be an effective brand ambassador.

10. Strong Analytical Skills

Never forget the reason why you engage in content marketing in the first place – to drive business. ROI (Return on Investment) on content needs to be tracked through benchmarks, analytics and testing. Your content chief doesn’t have to be the number cruncher, but must understand which numbers need to be tracked and why.

So, take the plunge. Write up the job description and go find yourself a content marketing maven. You’ll be happy – make that thrilled – that you did.

Content Photo via Shutterstock

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Jon Gelberg


Jon Gelberg Jon Gelberg is a Principal at The Dilenschneider Group, a strategic communications and public relations agency in New York City. As a journalist, Jon has won more than 20 national, state and regional journalism awards and has been honored by the Associated Press Sports Editors, Professional Football Writers of America, The Society of Professional Journalists and many other organizations.

16 Reactions

  1. Fantastic list. I would add one more thing, Storytelling skills. Content marketing executed with storytelling is like peanut butter and jelly.

  2. Jon Gelberg: I would say that the 11th building block (see content photo) is to have a sound business philosophy as a starting foundation.

  3. Great checklist on devising a better content and specially the better the content, the better is the user experience and that is what we all want to work upon to be good in organic searches.

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