Hiring Guide: How to hire a B2B content marketer

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Matt Dodgson
By Matt Dodgson
Matt is a Sales & Marketing Director. Being an inbound nerd, he's often found creating content that helps job seekers and hiring managers achieve their goals.

Is your B2B Technology business looking to hire a Content Marketer?

Great!

Because this Hiring Guide will give you everything you need to find, assess and hire the right content marketer for your business.


Contents

What is content marketing?

Why you need a content marketer

A B2B marketing leaders view of content marketing by Dave Howard

How to structure your content marketing team

What type of content marketer should you hire

What tools your content marketer needs

How to write a Content Marketing job description

Interview questions to ask a Content Marketer

Training courses for your Content Marketer


What is content marketing?

According to the Content Marketing Association, content marketing is:

“The discipline of creating quality branded content across all media channels and platforms to deliver engaging relationships, consumer value and measurable success for brands.”

When I spoke to Catherine Maskell, Managing Director of the CMA, she explained why content marketing is on the up.

catherine maskell‘A B2B buyer will search that bit further than they previously have ever done because they're looking behind what it is that you're telling them. So, it's no longer just a case of will you buy our software based on what a sales-person says. Buyers want to know who you are, what your ethos is as an organisation, do your values match theirs, what your business stands for, and what your customers think of your product. They're much more informed. And if you're not doing content marketing well, you're missing out on those conversations.'

 

Why you need a content marketer

Ultimately, marketing isn’t marketing without content. So it’s nothing new.

However, with the changes in buyer behaviour in the B2B space and the introduction of GDPR in 2018,  companies have to think harder about how they can generate MQL’s for the sales teams they work with.

And that’s what great content marketing can do for you.

You only have to look at Drift’s growth in recent years and how content marketing has played its part to feel confident that content marketing as a strategy, works.

But let’s be honest. Growth can come from many different things.

You could have a kick-ass product like Slack, or invest heavily in an SDR team like Salesforce, or decide to spend part of your series funding on paid ads.

All of those things work.

The indisputable benefit of content marketing - is that you own it.

The benefits?

  • It’s evergreen.
  • Improves your website’s SEO
  • Positions you as an authority
  • Drives prospects further down the buying funnel

Now, I’m assuming because you’re already reading this that you’ve decided that your B2B Tech firm needs to hire a content marketer.

But if you're still not sure, then let's get a view of what these specialists can do for you and your business from someone who's a content marketing expert.

 

A B2B marketing leaders view of content marketing by Dave Howard

 

daveWhen audiences consume content online, they have only two purposes:

  • Informational intent – Audience members consume content as part of their research or their interests.
  • Transactional intent – Audience members act with the purpose of completing a transaction.

Adept content marketers understand these differences and can direct resource, activity and output accordingly. They will also understand which content types and channels are applicable based on audience intent and where the audience is in the buying cycle. This is especially pertinent for B2B tech and B2B SaaS, which often have complex sales cycles involving numerous stakeholders.

You cannot predict when and how a customer requires informational-intent and/or transactional-intent content. All you can do is be there with relevant transactional-intent content when this shift occurs. You need to be “always on.” You are always there when the customers themselves decide to convert.

The trick is to run the two campaigns simultaneously: one always-on campaign for those who need to be convinced or kept warm with more information or whose circumstances are not aligned to convert now, and one always-on campaign for those who are ready to convert.

Remember though, the transactional-intent content, while it converts, is just a conduit to the transaction. A mere doorway. It is rarely a driver. The convincing should happen with all the always-on, informational-intent content you served throughout the customer journey.

It's all too easy to get caught up in the production of content and become a content vending machine that lacks strategic intent.

Many content marketers would benefit from adhering to the principle: less content, more marketing.

 

So how should you structure your content marketing team?

For a lot of B2B Technology companies, a content marketer will sit within a broader marketing team.

 

content marketing team structure

In a marketing team like this, and depending on the level of the person, the content marketer is responsible for creating the content strategy to be used across the business.

And that could include content for; messaging, SEO, awareness building, thought leadership and during the sales process.

Once this content is created, it’s then used by other members of the marketing team in the campaigns they’re responsible for executing.

And in this setup, it's more likely that the content marketer is responsible for designing the assets or using an external agency or graphic designer to bring those to life.

However, if you’re thinking of taking your content marketing efforts to the next level by using it as a primary lever for your growth, then your team may look like something like this.

large content marketing team structure chart

 

In this team, the broader role of a content marketer is split out into more specialist roles - SEO, Video, Social, Copywriting, Design, PR.

And because of that, it’s much easier to ramp up your output and therefore more suited to larger companies.

 

What type of content marketer should you hire

OK, so you’ve decided you want to hire a content marketer. But what sort?

*aren’t all content marketers the same?

Well, yes and no.

Yes, content marketers are responsible for creating content, but there's much more to it than that.

And we like to think that there are broadly three types of content marketers;

  1. Creator - a hands-on writer
  2. Strategist - a planner who gets a creator (or agency) to produce the content
  3. Marketer - someone who can amplify the content

And your business may need each one for different reasons;

  1. Creator - suits being part of a marketing team
  2. Strategist - if you have a decent marketing budget
  3. Marketer - stand-alone or part of a smaller team

Or it may be the case you need someone that can do all elements.

My point here is that not all content marketers are born equal.

Their CV’s may look similar, they may talk about similar things, but how they get the job done can be poles apart.

And I’m not suggesting that one is better than the other.

But hiring the right type of content marketer can be one of the toughest challenges.

 

What tools your content marketer needs

Hiring a great content marketer is the first step.

And like hiring any marketer, you also need to equip them with the tools to do the job effectively.

Here are some of our suggestions.

Companies on a tighter marketing budget

google ads

answer the public

moz

hemingway

canva

loom

google

hotjar

zoom

 

Companies with a larger marketing budget

semrush

buzzsumo

grammerly

vidyard

adobe

tube buddy

hubspot

google analytics

go to webinar

How to write a Content Marketing job description

 

The next section is designed to help you build a job description or job advert to help you attract the right content marketers.

What you choose to use in the description or advert will depend on the goals your business is looking to achieve, the skills you need, the salary you can afford and the availability of talent.

Broadly, we’d suggest the following structure;

  1. About the Company
  2. Overview of the Role
  3. Responsibilities
  4. Skills and Experience Required
  5. Salary and Benefits

 

Step 1: Create an 'About the Company' section

This is your opportunity to hook the candidate and help answer the question, ‘why should this candidate come and work for us?’

A simple way to distil this is to talk to your existing marketing team.

What attracted them to your company, and why do they think it's a great place to work?

You could focus on your size, growth, your value proposition, culture, training, location, benefits.

And whatever you decide to write, two things are important - make sure it’s an accurate reflection of your business and make sure you sell it.

 

Step 2: Write an Overview of the Role

In this section, you want to give a brief description of what this person will be doing and looking to achieve.

I suggest following this format;

As Content Marketing Manager, you'll report into [insert title] and be responsible for [insert overview of the job] to help [insert what you're looking for this person to achieve].

Goals for a role like this could be increasing brand awareness, being recognised as thought leaders, increasing web traffic, improving SEO, generating MQL’s, acquiring customers and retaining customers.

And it may be the case it’s all of the above.

 

Step 3: Choose Roles and Responsibilities

In this next step, you’re going to now create more detail about what this content marketer will be doing for you on a day to day basis. Use bullet points for this section as it’s easier to read.

It’s important to remember here that you need to be realistic with what you want this person to do.

As an example, it’s unlikely you’re going to find someone with SEO knowledge and graphic design skills.

So, here’s a selection of responsibilities. If you’d like more, then you can download our Job Description Pack which includes everything in this blog plus X sample job descriptions.

Examples;

  • Create and manage our Content Strategy across all business units and in line with our persona’s, to help us build awareness of our solutions and generate more inbound leads
  • Manage the execution of our Content Strategy and create a variety of assets to be used at all stages of the marketing and sales funnel to help us drive more relevant traffic to the website
  • Manage the content team and be responsible for overseeing production, developing their skills and ensuring each person feels motivated and in-line with our goals
  • Create, edit and promote thought leadership blogs and eGuides and ensure they're in line with our tone of voice
  • Take responsibility for the end to end execution of our video marketing program, from writing the scripts to filming the video and then optimising for search, across both our website and YouTube
  • Use a variety of research techniques to help define our persona’s and then compile this in a persona guide that can be shared and referenced across the business
  • Use SEMrush to research keywords to use across our on-page SEO and paid marketing campaigns
  • Work with a variety of stakeholders to brainstorm content ideas, and then work closely with the marketing team to scope realistic deadlines, ensuring that the content calendar is kept up to date
  • Monitor and report on a variety of marketing KPIs, driving actionable insights where appropriate
  • Look for opportunities to increase conversion rates by testing landing pages, copy and lead magnets
  • Write long-form educational blog posts that are optimised for search and social media traffic

 

Step 4: Choose the Skills and Experience Needed

In this next step, you’ll select the specific skills and experience your business needs in this role.

Again, it's unlikely you'll get everything you need. An excellent way to tackle this is to have some skills as ‘essential' and some as ‘desirable'.

We’d always recommend that our B2B clients focus on content marketers from the B2B sector, as they’ll have experience of creating content for each stage of a lead generation funnel, as well as working closely with sales teams in the process.

And lastly, make sure it’s clear what type of content marketer you’re looking for.

Is this role someone who’s going to create the strategy and get someone else to create the content, or are you looking for someone that can do both.

 

Step 5: Add the Salary and Benefits

Use our B2B Marketing Salary Guide to make sure you position the role at the right level.

And not only that but if you're a Startup, then you can also see what sort of benefits you could offer - like flexible working - that could help you attract candidates.

 

Interview questions to ask a Content Marketer

A great content marketer in the B2B space has to be able to wear many hats.

So it’s crucial at interview to test both their behavioural skills and their technical ability and knowledge.

And being a good interviewer isn’t just about finding out what you want to know, so make sure you balance out the interview by giving some time to describe your business, the role, and what they can expect going forward to the candidate too.

Based on the job description you’ve just created and the culture of your business, now is the time to decide on what interview questions you’re going to ask candidates to assess their suitability.

In the spirit of fairness and being able to compare candidates objectively, I'd recommend asking the same questions to each candidate.

In the first round of interviews, your goals are to;

  • Ensure there’s a good cultural fit
  • Make sure they have the majority of the skills you need
  • Tell them more about the opportunity so the candidate knows whether or not it’s a job they’d like to do

 

1st Round Cultural Interview Questions;

  • Describe the work environment in which you are most productive?
  • What was it about the best Boss you’ve ever had that made them so good?
  • What do you enjoy most about your current job?
  • How would your colleagues describe your working style?
  • What two things do you dislike most about where you currently work?

 

1st Round Technical Interview Questions;

  • Tell me about the most successful piece of content you’ve created

Follow Up; Who’s idea was it?

Follow Up: What were your goals with it?

Follow Up: How did you measure its success?

  • If you were to get this job, talk me through how you’d decide what sort of content to create to help us achieve [insert business goal]

Follow Up: What questions would you ask people internally?

Follow Up: What tools would you use?

Follow Up: What would you measure to ensure the goals were being achieved

  • What are some observations you’ve made about our current content marketing efforts?

Follow Up: What research did you do?

Follow Up: What would you change immediately?

  • Imagine I’ve given you a video of a roundtable with some of our customers talking about key challenges within their industry and how our solutions have helped them overcome those. What would you do to amplify that?

Follow Up; Why would you do that?

Follow Up: What support would you need to do that?

Still struggling for questions? Find out what questions 23 B2B marketing experts would ask to assess someone's content marketing skills. 

Again, it’s always worth remembering that training someone’s skills a lot easier than their attitude.

And often, the reason B2B marketers are successful in their jobs is because of how they get the job done.

If you have a candidate who’s a great cultural fit but doesn’t have all the technical skills, have a think about how you could bridge the skills gap through training.

Being able to learn new things is a key to a marketers next job move, so doing this will help you retain them for longer than someone who has done everything you want them to do before.

Now that you've done your first round of interviews, you ideally want to have 3 candidates to move to second interview. However, if there's only one candidate you like, don't let that stop you moving forward.

 

Second Interview Questions

In your first interview, you've assessed that the candidates have an excellent cultural fit and have enough of the skills you need to be successful.

Your second interview goals are to;

  • Delve deeper into their technical skills to make sure they can do what you need them to
  • Re-assess cultural fit and tackle any concerns you have
  • Make sure the candidate is fully aware of what you need them to do
  • Ensure the candidate wants the job and talk to them in detail about what they’ll gain and also what will be a challenge to make sure they stay for the long term

 

In a second interview, you should set the candidate a task or presentation to deliver. For example;

  • We want to achieve X with our content marketing. What steps would you go through to help us do that? And based on what you know about our business, what suggestions would you have? 10 mins to present in a format of your choice.
  • Here's a 400 hundred word information deck from one of our Product Managers about a new product release. We want to generate some press interest. 1. How would you go about getting the interest of the Press? 2. Re-write this into a Press Release (300 words max)
  • We want to increase traffic to our website and conversions from that traffic. How would you go about this? (we’re looking for the theory rather than specific content ideas) 10 min presentation.
  • Talk to us about a piece of content you've created to achieve [insert business goal]. What did you do, what did you do it, and what were the results? 10 min presentation in the format of your choice.

This should give them an opportunity to showcase their skills for the job you're hiring for. Remember, that they may not know your business inside out, so focus more on their methodology rather than whether or not they come up with the right answers.

 

Training courses for your Content Marketer

Now that you’ve hired a content marketer, it’s important to keep them motivated and make sure their skills are up to date so your business can benefit from them.

It’s unlikely that your content marketer is going to be an expert in every aspect of their role, so sit down with them and put together a plan to help them improve their skills.

Clearly, there's nothing like testing new ideas, but for certain areas of content marketing, it's important to take some external training courses too.

Here's a few we'd recommend:

Copywriting - B2B Marketing

How to “Podcast” a Practical Guide - Content Marketing Association

Content Strategy and SEO for Lead Generation - CXL Institute

Content Marketing - Hubspot Academy

B2B Content marketers are in high demand and no content marketer is the same, so I'd highly recommend taking your time to make sure you hire the right one for your business, and it's particular needs.

Feel free to use our Job Description Pack below to get you started, or give us a call if you're looking for a specialist B2B marketing recruitment agency who can save you time and provide you with a shortlist of content marketers within a few days.

 

content marketing job description pack image

 

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