A content strategy manager leads the content strategy team at an organization. The team is comprised of content strategists. The content strategy team collaborates with the UX design team, product managers, and other stakeholders to develop effective content strategies.
Content Strategy Manager Role
Businesses produce multiple types of content including blogs, ebooks, guides, infographics, newsletters, podcasts, social media posts, videos, webinars, web pages, and whitepapers. The purpose of the content is to engage the target audience, drive traffic, generate leads, and help businesses achieve their goals.
The content creation process is guided by content strategy. A content strategy manager is a professional who is responsible for developing content strategies that utilize content to meet business goals and satisfy user requirements.
Content Strategy Manager Duties and Responsibilities
The exact duties and responsibilities of a content strategy manager will vary from organization to organization. The main responsibilities of content strategy managers include the following:
Hiring and Managing Resources
A content strategy manager leads a team of content strategy professionals. The manager hires resources, trains them, and manages them for the achievement of departmental and organizational goals.
A content strategy professional takes on the role of a manager after spending a number of years working in different content roles. This experience is key because it provides the technical expertise, communication skills, and management skills required to hire good resources and manage them effectively.
Resources may require training on different aspects of their jobs. This training is facilitated by the content strategy manager in coordination with other relevant departments such as HR.
Content strategy managers assign short-term and long-term goals to their resources and supervise and guide them for the achievement of those goals.
Developing Standards and Best Practices
It is the responsibility of the content strategy manager to develop standards, workflows, and best practices for the content strategy team.
The standards and best practices work as guidelines for all departmental activities. They ensure that work is carried out according to approved policies and procedures. They also reduce costs through minimization of errors, improve efficiency through enhanced quality, and improve consistency.
All the content produced by a business is aimed at its customers. And the content can not succeed i.e. it can not engage the customers until it satisfies their wants and needs.
Therefore a content strategy manager and their team conducts research to understand the wants and needs of customers. The content strategy team conducts user research and market research. Multiple research methods are used including:
- Interviews: interviews provide qualitative data about the target audience, such as their needs, desires, fears, motivations, and behavior.
- User testing: testing content with actual users provides valuable and immediate feedback about what works and what doesn’t.
- Surveys: are another way of getting feedback from real customers.
- Competitor research: provides an understanding of industry trends, insight into successful and unsuccessful content strategies used by competitors, and helps to identify other content opportunities.
One of the best-known definitions of content strategy was given by Kristina Halvorson in her book Content Strategy for the Web. Kristina is also the founder and CEO of Brain Traffic, a leading content strategy consultancy. According to Kristina, content strategy is “Planning for the creation, delivery, and governance of useful, usable content”.
Therefore it can be said that one of the most important responsibilities of a content strategy manager is content planning. A content plan typically covers:
- The kind of content to produce: businesses usually produce multiple types of content such as blogs, videos, social media posts, newsletters, and online ads.
- The platforms to use: a company website, Facebook, LinkedIn, and YouTube.
- A schedule for sharing content on these platforms.
- Explaining how to create the content through a style guide, tone of voice, user personas and/or competitor research
- KPIs to track the success of content creation efforts.
Developing the Editorial Calendar
One of the most important components of a successful content strategy is the editorial calendar. Most content management systems include integrated editorial calendars. The calendar acts as the clock that keeps everything in sync and moving along like a well-oiled machine.
The content strategy manager can either assign responsibility for the editorial calendar to a team member. The manager can also schedule a recurring meeting where all team members collaborate for updating and adding to the calendar.
Rather than only focusing on the development of new content, content strategy managers are also responsible for performing content audits to assess how well existing content is performing. They use analytics tools to track and analyze user engagement metrics.
The use of analytics provides quantitative insight into the success and effectiveness of content. Analysis of content consumption data and content marketing data is used to drive continuous improvement through the optimization of existing content.
Content Gap Analyses
In addition to planning for new content creation and audits of existing content, content strategy managers are also responsible for performing content gap analyses. This type of analysis allows them to determine what type of content is missing and what is needed.
Developing Style Guides
Content strategy managers, with the help of the content strategy team, develop style guides that specify the writing style and tone needed to create engaging content.
Style guides are tools that help to ensure that all the content produced by a business is consistent in terms of tone, voice, and personality. A style guide contains specific writing guidelines that serve as a reference for all types of content. They offer multiple benefits including:
- User focus: content is created for users, and style guides create a user focus that is essential for ensuring that content satisfies the needs and wants of users.
- Consistency: multiple authors work for content creation, and style guides ensure consistency in terms of tone and brand voice for all content.
- Best practices: a style guide contains best practices that when implemented ensure content quality.
- Better content: definite guidelines for grammar, punctuation, and formatting help creators and authors create better content.
A content strategy manager has to manage multiple projects at the same time. Projects involve different stakeholders, timelines, and priorities. Therefore a content strategy manager has to learn the art and science of project management.
Content Strategy Manager Qualifications
Having a university degree is not strictly a requirement for content strategy manager roles. However, most organizations do prefer candidates with degrees.
Most universities don’t offer degrees in content strategy. However, a degree in English, journalism, communication, or business is highly beneficial for those interested in taking on the role of a content strategy manager.
According to surveys conducted by Zippia, the most common degree for content strategists is a Bachelor’s degree. Approximately 78.7% of content strategists have a Bachelor’s degree, 15.3% have a Master’s degree and 1.0% have a Doctorate (PhD).
Approximately 20% of content strategists major in English, 15% in journalism, 13% in communication, and 7% in business.
The level of education also affects salaries: content strategists with a Master’s degree earn more than managers with a Bachelor’s degree.
Certifications and Certificate Programs
Certifications are another way that a content strategy manager can improve credibility in the marketplace. Below we highlight some of the valuable certifications and certificate programs for a content strategy manager.
Content Strategy Certificate Program from Northwestern University
This certificate program is comprised of four courses:
- Information and Content Strategy: this course explores how to plan and consistently execute content that supports an organization’s goals.
- Storytelling and Technical Writing: this course explores the use of hybrid and technical craft in writing to communicate sensory, emotional, and practical know-how.
- Social Media and Content: this course will help professional writers effectively implement a social media strategy
- Persuasion: this course examines the different ways in which we observe and use persuasion in the communication we have with our families and friends, our workplace, and the general public.
Applicants must possess a graduate degree in order to be considered for this certificate program.
Certificate in Storytelling & Content Strategy from the University of Washington
This certificate program is comprised of three courses:
- Strategic Content: Designing for the User Experience: this course will help participants develop a full and actionable understanding of the field and practice of user-centered content strategy.
- Strategic Storytelling: Creating Compelling Content: this course considers what it means to engage people through the creation of compelling content.
- Strategic Analysis: Optimizing Content for Success: this course will help participants learn to connect content to performance, set goals, and measure content’s impact on the business
This three-course certificate program explores proven techniques to create a powerful cross-channel content strategy. Participants will learn storytelling principles to engage users in compelling ways and investigate methods to evaluate the user experience and tailor their approach to specific scenarios. The program also covers key data and measurement tools that will help participants understand your audience and achieve your content goals.
Project Management Professional (PMP)
The Project Management Professional (PMP) is the world’s leading project management certification. It now includes predictive, agile, and hybrid approaches. The PMP designation demonstrates to current and potential employers that you have demonstrated a solid foundation of knowledge from which you can competently practice project management.
Candidates must meet specific educational and project management experience requirements and agree to adhere to a code of professional conduct.
A content strategy manager candidate can also take online courses on content strategy and related topics offered by leading MOOC providers such as edX, Coursera, and Udemy. One of the major benefits of these online courses is that they are the most economical method of getting a comprehensive overview of the discipline of content strategy.
Even though online courses don’t have the same credibility as a degree or certification, they demonstrate to potential employers your willingness to learn and acquire a body of knowledge. Below we highlight some of the credible courses for a content strategy manager.
Content Strategy for Professionals Specialization from Coursera
In this Specialization, candidates will learn best practices from recognized industry and academic experts on how to create and implement engaging content across media platforms that the people you want to reach will really value.
You’ll learn how to engage your audience by implementing their stories and using proven tools and techniques to enhance an audience’s experience and interests. You’ll manage content once created by learning how best to tell an organization’s “content story” across media platforms using a human-centered design. You’ll also learn actionable ways to grow internal and external audiences, and expand your content’s reach.
The Specialization concludes with a Capstone project that allows you to apply the skills you’ve learned throughout the courses in response to a real challenge facing organizations today.
Content Strategy Course from Hubspot
This free course is aimed at content producers, marketing professionals, and inbound professionals. It is comprised of six lessons that include the power of storytelling, planning a long-term content strategy, creating topic clusters and pillar pages, how to effectively promote content, measuring and analyzing content, and developing a growth marketing mentality.
Content strategy is a relatively new and rapidly evolving field. It’s a great career path with a lot of growth potential. The requirement for roles with the content strategist job description is expected to increase by 13% on an annual basis.
Content engages, informs, and influences customers. Most consumers base their decisions on content shared via social media platforms and the Internet in general. No business can survive or succeed in this day and age without good content, or in other words without a good content strategy.
Content is king, and content strategy is the kingmaker.
These are some frequently asked questions about the content strategy manager role.
What is the average content strategy manager salary?
According to estimates from Glassdoor, the average total salary for a content strategy manager in the US is $122,026. The estimated annual salary range is $51,000 to $322,000. The salary for the content strategy manager role is dependent on a number of factors that include experience, location, and industry.
How can you become a content strategy manager?
Because content strategists utilize a range of different skills, there is no single career path to becoming a content strategy manager. Content strategists have backgrounds in marketing and communications, data analysis experience, technical writing, and UX writing.
For the content strategy manager role, organizations prefer candidates who have completed a four-year bachelor’s degree. Therefore the starting point for aspirants to the content strategy manager role is a bachelor’s degree in English, journalism, or communication.
Content strategies and plans are high-level concepts. The ability to create strategies and plans is not developed until one has prior experience in content creation. Therefore professionals aiming for a content strategist or content strategy manager role should first gain experience in different content creation roles such as technical writing, user research, search engine optimization, keyword research, and digital marketing. Working in these roles will not only provide an understanding of how to carry out these roles, but also an understanding of how to plan and strategize for these roles.
In addition to the technical side of the role, a manager requires management and leadership skills. These skills are not learned through books but through actual hands-on experience. Therefore professionals aiming for the manager role should start with an entry-level role in content development. Over a number of years, you will gain technical skills and experience, and management and leadership experience as well. This experience will serve as the basis that will enable you to take on the content strategy manager role.
What is the difference between a content strategy manager and a content marketing manager?
Content strategy managers are involved in the planning stage of content creation. They conduct research and brainstorm ideas regarding the types of content to use, topics to cover, and platforms on which to publish content.
In contrast, content marketing managers execute content strategies. They take ideas and objectives from the content strategy team to organize marketing campaigns. They are involved in the production of content that is based on content strategy.