One of the biggest changes we have seen in the content marketing craze is the move by businesses to start in-sourcing their content requirements.
In the past, companies relied on a mix of PR companies and internal comms teams to create content for their various channels. The recent wave of disruption in media companies caused a significant amount of redundancies for a range of editorial staff, leading many to feel like their time was up in this field, and making retraining a real possibility. At the same time, a whole host of businesses were starting to pick up the slack by employing former journalists. There seemed to be no higher-profile example of this when ANZ launched BlueNotes and employed Walkley Award-winning journalist Andrew Cornell to edit it.
As the state of content marketing starts to mature, many companies are realising it’s not just about producing volume, but telling stories that create a real connection with audiences. One only needs to look at Red Bull for how a company can take branded content to the next level and become a legitimate media channel in the process. Since companies have realised the importance of not only ramping up their content creation capacity but actually taking content really seriously, content creators have become harder to find. A director at King Content told me recently that he had in excess of ten open content positions to fill, and we have been in a similar position. The gold rush is on again for the once-feared-to-become-extinct content specialist.
So how do you go about luring real storytellers – not just staff that can turn out a reasonable piece of written word? The obvious outcome would be to lure a former journalist who would possess both the skills and experience required. However, cutting through with compelling content requires someone who can breathe life into brand stories and think of unique ways of communicating them. We have often looked for people with a journalism background but with additional marketing experience. So while a marketing coordinator may seem like a slightly odd fit for a content producer, that person may have been executing great cross-channel content marketing. Product managers and brand managers are worth considering as well.
Multimedia skills are also becoming more and more valuable; from being able to take video footage to feeling comfortable in front of a camera or a microphone. Most people are capable of taking images, but this area is still best reserved for professionals where possible. It can be tricky to find candidates with video skillsets; we have struggled to find people who can both shoot and edit. But where we have found success is with people who have worked in street press where they have been forced to quickly adapt to new media.
Social media is an increasingly sought-after area of expertise, but this needs to extend past an understanding of just the core principles. They need to know how to not only create a story but target it effectively to your audience. We always look for people who use social channels regularly in their own time. Do they know how to find influencers? Have they managed blogs? Have they had to deal with a social media backlash?
The balance between internal resources and external partners always seems to present a challenge to companies in which content has become, or is becoming, a key way to communicate with customers. External partners can provide strategic thinking and more complicated content, which can be especially useful for niche companies operating in highly specialised and technical areas.
Your company might decide to rely on external partners for large creative executions, but ultimately you will need to build internal content skills as part of your ongoing workforce if you believe content will continue to grow in importance as a communication device for your business.
Three personality traits to look for in a storyteller:
- attention to detail, and
- a confident, engaging personality.
Three places to advertise:
- Rachel’s List,
- Pedestrian (for entry-level staff).