Content Manager is a job that you will be hearing more about in the coming months. It will take on added significance due to the new dimensions that recent search engine upgrades and the resulting new SEO rules have added to creating and distributing quality content. If you are a small business owner or independent artist and your web presence is valuable to you to build a fan base or gain exposure to new customers then you will need to know what the responsibilities of a Content Manager are because you will either have to become one or hire one.
There are already opportunities out there for Content Managers as evidenced by the screen shot of an Indeed.com job search below. There is some variety in the duties listed in the ads but there are several areas of knowledge which stand out. These include journalism, social networking, marketing, SEO, html editing and advertising on the web. It sounds like an odd mix of disciplines and I am not sure there is a degree offered which incorporates all of them.
On the bright side note that there are currently 7,782 open positions advertised under the specific term “Content Manager“. The salary range listed for these jobs runs from $40,000 to $120,000 dollars a year. That is not a bad entry level salary range even though the lion’s share of the positions are in the lower end of the above scale.
Search engines are the backbone of the Internet. They have been improved over time and, as a result, they have gotten much better at finding the best, most relevant content on the web in answer to any query. With the most recent updates to the search algorithm they try to interpret the user’s query for context. This adds even more challenges when creating content.
In order to really make the most of what search engines can do for your business or brand you have to play by their rules. If you do you will get consistently high placement in search engine results for keywords that are associated with your product or service. As a result your Organic (free) exposure and traffic can offset some of the budget you would otherwise be spending on advertising to compensate for low search rank.
As further evidence that “its all about the content” consider “Native Ads“. Native Ads are advertising that is designed to look less like advertising and more like a news story or video report. They are now incorporated into websites and news outlets all across the web up to and including The New York Times.
Advertisers know that people are much more likely to read a story or watch a video that looks like it might entertain or inform them than they are to click on an ad. The more engaging or entertaining advertisers can make that content the more people that will like it or share it on their social network. That provides SEO for their site and distributes their ad and their brand message for free.
The Content Manager
Those who want to stay abreast of the evolution of search and content creation on the web will need people to perform a variety of functions in relation to each piece of content they upload to their site. If you are a small business or an independent band or filmmaker with a limited budget you will probably have to have one person act as your Content Manager.
For the purposes of this story I will treat the position of Content Manager as being responsible for all aspects of creating, publishing and distributing content. I will list all of the obvious components of the job with a description of each.
1. The first job of the Content Manager is to create content. That content needs to be related to your business, your services or your products. It also needs to be entertaining, informative or useful to it’s readers and viewers. After all, your content will be competing with other content created by professional writers and journalists. Therefore it would be good for your Content Manager to be an experienced writer or journalist. They will also need to know how to write and publish a piece of content following SEO best practices on site. They will also be expected to have a Google Author identity enabled on your source of content.
2. The second job of the Content Manager is to put your content onto the web using SEO best practices. These best practices extend from doing on site SEO while creating the content to ongoing SEO when distributing the content. A properly optimized piece of content should have elements from several different search categories (images, video, news, business information, products) so that it appears in multiple positions in search results within the Knowledge Graph enabled search.
3. The third job of the Content Manager is to distribute the content. This can include syndicating the RSS feed onto distribution sites like Technorati. This can help out in the ongoing SEO for the site by creating backlinks on relevant sites who link to the content. Reddit and StumbleUpon are two examples of other news sites to utilize in putting your content in front of a wider audience.
They might also put the content out as a press release on a free site such as PRLog or a paid service like PRWeb. Once again the intent is to reach a wider audience and to enhance SEO from backlinks to your site.
They will also distribute the content across your social networks. They will promote the content there by interacting with your followers, answering questions and suggesting the content to top fans. SEO optimization via social likes, shares and follows is the goal here as well as building and maintaining your base of followers.
4. The fourth job of a Content Manager is digital marketing. They have to make sure that they are marketing the content on the web in every way possible. They might reach out to specific news outlets or high profile blogs that routinely handle content like yours. Another option would be to distribute your new content to your customer contact list and/or to the subscribers of your email newsletter.
The Content Manager has to stay on top of existing opportunities to market your content. She also has to be constantly on the lookout for new opportunities as they develop.
5. The fifth and final job of the Content Manager will be advertising. She will look for opportunities to utilize a piece of content as the landing page for a paid ad. Would a search or display campaign work better for this content. Is the content better suited to be found through an organic search and thereby add support to a paid ad campaign?
If it is to be used in conjunction with a paid advertising campaign then the Content Manager has to answer questions like, How much should we spend on this ad? Who should the ad be targeted to and to what geographic area and income level? Would we benefit by promoting this content beyond our own subscribers on our social networks using the ad platforms on Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin and (soon) Google+? If so who should see our social ads? The customers of our competitors perhaps?
If the content is a video there would be other options. Would we benefit from promoting this video to users on YouTube? How about running it as a click to play ad on contextually relevant websites all over the web such as magazine sites, blogs and news outlets? How about running it on our social networks?
It is kind of daunting to think about everything that has to go into creating a piece of content on the web. At least if you want to gain the most that you can from that content. You will be taking advantage of all of the new abilities that the search engines have to find, classify, judge and deliver content in response to queries.
If you do not do all of the above you will miss out on the free exposure it offers, And you will probably lose quite a bit of the business that you could have had (you will lose money). To compensate for that lost income from free exposure you will have to spend money on paid advertising and probably more of it because remember, people respond to good quality content much more readily than they do to ads. So the money you spend on ads will be added onto the money you lost.
It should be obvious that the person (or persons) who act as your Content Manager will be largely responsible for the success or failure of your business on the web. If you do not hire a Content Manager you will either have to hire a third party company who can do it for you or do it yourself. If you do it yourself you will have to become proficient in all of the above duties. There just isn’t any getting around it.
Right now I don’t know of many companies who handle this type of Content Management for businesses. Some companies (like record labels) seem to rely mostly on the power of an established brand to promote their content. Large companies can afford to have someone on staff as a Content Manager. Many companies handle one or two of these functions (like the SEO/Ad people who call 3 times a week) but that doesn’t mean they can do all of it well. We at Street Punk Productions have proven experience in all aspects of Content Management and we don’t mind working with small businesses and indie artists.