What is a Content Manager?

Content manager. That sounds like an exciting job. Or does it?

What is a content manager? How do you manage content? Couldn’t it have a more remarkable name like “word wrestler” or “image wrangler?” 

Perhaps, but we think you’ll find there are already a ton of different titles for the job — content director, content strategist, and content marketing manager… to name a few.

What you really need to know to decide if you want to be a content manager is what the job entails… what a content manager looks like in action.

What is the Role of a Content Manager?

A content manager oversees the content — words, photos, graphics, video, audio, etc. — on websites and blogs. Sometimes it’s easier when someone asks, “What is a content manager?” to say you’re a writer or editor, but the duties of the content manager are much more than that.

What content managers are responsible for doing depends somewhat on the organization you work for. 

A man in a soft gray hat holds a dry erase marker on a board and looking at two women who are looking at the board.

Here are some of the tasks a content manager may perform:

  • working with clients to learn their business needs and generate content ideas
  • researching keywords for clients to get the most impact from their posts
  • creating and managing an editorial calendar
  • hiring, onboarding, and training writers
  • creating content in any of the formats mentioned above
  • editing content
  • posting content on a content management system
  • cleaning up outdated content
  • creating and distributing email newsletters
  • creating social media visuals
  • posting content to social media
  • monitoring analytics and updating clients on successes

We could keep going with a seemingly never-ending list of tasks. A content manager does whatever they need to do to get the content from the client’s head and in front of their audience. How you get from Point A to Point B depends on your organization.

How Do You Become a Content Manager?

Becoming a content manager is a bit like how you become any other type of professional. You learn the unique knowledge base, skill set, and values and practices of the profession.

To become a content manager, you may need to: 

  • Earn a bachelor’s degree in marketing, journalism, communication, English, creative writing, or other related discipline
  • Practice the unique skill set of the profession, including writing, editing, researching, and management
  • Learn and engage in the values and practices of the discipline — what content managers do or don’t do when it comes to decision-making, ethics, and their work, in general. This information typically comes through formal study and professional practice like an internship, freelance work, and certifications. Content management is one of many disciplines in which the practitioner learns by doing.

What Skills Do You Need?

What makes someone a good content manager? Like most good employees, they have to have a variety of skills and experiences in their toolbox.

Content managers should be:

  • Passionate Writers. They need to be solid written communicators and enjoy writing. There’s a ton of writing involved in content management, so it can’t just be a thing where they say they like to write. They have to love writing, even on days when the words don’t flow or they don’t want to do it.
  • Skilled Editors. Content managers have to be word nerds. They’re the people who will spend time arguing over whether to capitalize a word or where to put a comma. They’re also the folks who Google something or grab a book to look it up just because they’re a bit uncertain.
  • Curious Thinkers. Content managers need to have a child-like curiosity — always asking “why” about the world around them and the people in it.
  • Strong Researchers. You have to take that child-like curiosity and find the answers. Why do you do this thing? Who benefits from it? Why is it helpful to them? Understanding products, process, and audience are critical to being a fabulous content manager.
  • Great Interviewers. Like we said before, content management is about getting ideas out of a client’s head and in front of other people who benefit from the knowledge. You have to have a curious mind and be able to ask good questions to make that happen.
  • Platform Indifferent. Content marketers don’t care which platform or content type they need to create to reach the audience. For them, it’s all about reaching the audience where they are through the most effective communications method. That means they can and will use any platform necessary to accomplish the client’s communications goals. 
  • Data Focused. Content managers don’t just think something will work. They gather research that guides their decisions, and then they observe data-proven outcomes. They adjust strategy to do more of what works well.
  • Strong Leaders. A content strategist should lead the content creation team in a way that makes them want to follow. This leadership means having strong content skills and good time management abilities, and emotional intelligence to make people want to be on your team.
Two black people stand at a desk, only their hands and arms are visible. They are pointing at papers on the desk

How Much Money Do Content Managers Make?

As with seemingly everything else, the amount of money a content manager makes depends on the organization’s size and scope of responsibilities. The average salary for a content manager in the U.S. is about $63,000, according to ZipRecruiter. The salaries range from about $35,000 to more than $100,000.

If you decide to do this type of work, you’ll want to research salaries in your area to know what to expect. Also, don’t forget that benefits (including fun perks like remote work and fitness allowances at some start-ups) are all part of the package.

If you’re hiring a content manager, be sure to put a salary range in the job ad. Including salary information helps potential candidates assess whether the salary is acceptable for them. This information keeps people who aren’t willing to work for the compensation you’re offering from applying and wasting your time and theirs.

So What Is a Content Manager?

A content manager is an epic word nerd… a word wrestler… an image wrangler… a strategy soothsayer…

A content manager takes the concept from the client’s head, puts it into a desirable format, and gets it in front of the target audience in the most effective way possible.

We hope this post has helped you answer your questions. If you want great content, but you aren’t ready to hire your own content manager, Content Journey would love to help. Contact us to learn how we can meet all of your content needs.

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