A conversation with 24 Seven recruiter Natalie Mian on the latest trends in Content Marketing recruitment.
Q: What are the most in-demand titles for companies that are looking to build out a killer content team?
A: Content is a key talent area today, and many companies are still figuring out what their content team looks like. Social media roles are expanding, along with the many titles that relate to that. I would say that in the past it would have sufficed to have one social media manager sit under marketing; however the growing trend has been building out social media departments in addition to marketing teams. These teams can be up to 10+ depending on the size of the company and more titles are expanding including: Social Media Manager, Content Creator/Content Manager, Copywriter, Influencer Manager, Paid Media Manager and Community Manager.
Q: Can you expand a bit about what the roles some of those titles play?
A: Social Media Managers set the strategy and calendar to make sure it aligns with sales goals, where the rest of the team focuses on other areas of Social to ensure brand messaging and strategy are aligned.
The Content Creator is the person who creates content living across all mediums including social media, web, eCommerce, and so on – whereas the Social Media Manager manages content distribution across those platforms.
The Community Manager responds to consumers who are engaging with the content and the brand through various social platforms.
Influencer outreach is also increasingly being adopted by companies and this involves collaborations with both micro- and macro-influencers. Our clients are looking to us to help connect them with people who have their own strong social media following to spread user-generated content about the brands to their social circles.
Q: Content ideation, creation, and production rely on creative talent. Are there particular creative roles that are in high-demand?
A: There’s a growing emphasis on Art Directors and Graphic Designers. Specifically, we’ve seen an increase in the number of Social Media Graphic Design roles. Companies are searching for people to create GIFs and other short, motion, or animated graphics, and videos that will live on social media and the web. And then in addition to the visual aspects of content, there’s the copy side. Copywriters are needed to create content that’s in line with the company brand story and brand values.
Q: For someone who is building out a content team for the first time, how would you advise they prioritize their recruiting? Are there top three titles that are most often asked for?
A: That’s a good question. Here’s a real-life example. I’ve been working with a client to staff his Marketing team. He knows he wants to do content, but he doesn’t know what skill sets need to be hired. He knows he wants his voice out there, and he wants social, but he doesn’t know how to put it together. And, often in situations like this, the client will ask to fill a Social Media Manager role. But this can be tricky because many times clients think this person will be able to do everything – graphic design, copywriting, e-commerce and actually directly driving sales. But that is just not the case.
The Social Media Manager is essentially managing the platform and is part of the bigger marketing organization that relies on graphic designers and marketing team. And that’s a whole job in and of itself. My recommendation, for a fully-functioning content team, would be to hire a Digital Marketing Manager, Social Media Manager and a Graphic Designer. In my opinion, those would be the top three pivotal hires for a business looking to start and grow a content team. Often, when budgets are limited, the copywriting may be absorbed by the Social Media Manager. If there’s money, then the Copywriter would be my fourth pick.
Q: What’s the difference between a Social Media Manager and a Digital Marketing Manager and why would that be your third hire?
A: There are all different types of Digital Marketing Managers, but essentially a Digital Marketing Manager may oversee e-commerce sales, drives strategies for email marketing, and they also often lead paid media with a Social Media Manager. So, they’re making advertising buys on Facebook and Instagram and tracking performance against metrics. I would say that the Social Media Manager leans a bit more on the content and creative that is represented on social; this person is running reports on analytics in engagement, growth in following, etc. There is often cross over but, in essence, the Social Media Manager and the Digital Marketing Manager work in partnership. This is why it is very important to know what skills you are looking for to determine if you are looking for a Digital Marketing or Social Media Manager. Often times candidates cannot do both.
Q: Companies are competing for these candidates right now. What does this talent look to get from employers? In-demand talent is basically calling the shots, so what can employers do to make themselves an attractive destination?
A: Culture is key. First and foremost, creative and marketing talent are looking for a brand that they can identify with – one that they feel truly passionate about working for every day. They can see themselves in the brand. With that, I would say a lot of candidates are looking to contribute to companies and organizations with a positive impact on the world. For example, there are a lot of Beauty creative and marketing candidates that don’t want to work for a Beauty brand that does animal testing or won’t work for a fashion brand unless it is inclusive of all shapes and sizes. What is also important to note is that candidates are doing their research and it’s broader than just what the brand is. It’s their relationship to the brand, what the brand story is externally, but also how the company operates internally. There has to be an authenticity – what the company says they stand for, and that their internal operations and culture match the public story.
I would also say that digital candidates prefer to work for a digital-first brand who prioritizes social media. Often candidates will not be interested in a brand where social strategy is the afterthought and not held to as high of a standard. Ultimately, they want to work for a brand that shows the value in social and what their contributions are. With this, they always evaluate the company’s current social media position, followers, engagement and content.
Next is the actual aspect of the day-to-day employment experience. A lot of candidates, especially the younger generations, are looking for flexibility in every way of their life. Social media and graphic design candidates sometimes don’t have to work a 9-6. Content lives on the weekend, so these Social Media Managers are posting content on the weekends and doing their job then. They don’t feel like they need to be Monday through Friday 9-6. So, some companies offer two days a week from home–it’s a big thing. And of course, compensation – these candidate’s know that they are in the driver’s seat and are heavily sought after so they tend to get what they ask for. And finally, everyone wants a clear demonstration that there’s the opportunity for growth –is there a place for them in the next couple of years?
Q: Is it really true that companies need to move fast on their top talent picks? How many employers are courting these candidates on average at a time?
A: YES! And when you think you are moving fast – know there is someone trying to hire the candidate you just met with! I would encourage hiring managers to skip the phone interviews, meet in person and be ready to move with a verbal offer the same/ next day on someone they feel is a good fit. If you go into three rounds you will most likely lose them. Candidates want to feel wanted and tend to move on the opportunity that pursues them first.
These candidates have multiple opportunities at one time and are even getting reached out to when they are not actively looking. One candidate, a Social Media Manager, got laid off – that next week she had maybe seven interviews lined up, got two offers, waited on those two offers, and then met with her dream company, from whom she got another offer. So, I think it’s hard to say how many different offers on average these candidates are entertaining, but as an agency, we’re experienced enough to know that a superstar candidate we’re seeing is very likely already interviewing at different places and often is juggling multiple offers. It can frequently happen within days – so fast.
Q: What would be your final piece of advice?
A: Move fast, put your best offer forward, and make them feel wanted. Clients are often so focused on interviewing the candidate that they forget that they are in the interview seat too. Remember to sell the opportunity just as much as evaluating the candidate.
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