These soft skills will make or break your content marketing team

Content marketing sounds simple. Deceptively so. In fact, to be done well, content marketing is a team pursuit and one which requires a complex blend of hard and soft skills.

By way of reminder, hard skills can be taught which makes them easy to quantify. We acquire hard skills when we gain a qualification, achieve proficiency in a foreign language, or master a computer program, for example.

In contrast, soft skills are the people or interpersonal skills that determine how we interact with others. They’re subjective which makes them difficult to identify and validate. Problem-solving ability, teamwork, flexibility, emotional intelligence, integrity, listening and initiative are all examples of soft skills.

Have you ever been tempted to hire someone who looked great on paper, but who lacked the interpersonal skills necessary to perform the role? When companies make a recruitment misstep, more often than not it’s because they ignored, or failed to validate, a candidate’s soft skills.

On that basis, let’s look at ten critical roles your content marketing team must account for, and the soft skills necessary to succeed in each role. That way, whether you double-hat, outsource, contract or recruit, you’ll be sure to have all bases covered. And by the way, if you want to see all of the soft skills required by all of the ten content marketing roles, jump to the table at the bottom.

1.    Content Strategist

Your Content Strategist will define your content marketing objectives and develop a plan to ensure you create and curate, and deliver, the right content to the right audience at the right time. That includes creating your buyer personas, mapping your customer journey, establishing key performance indicators, and articulating your differentiators.

SOFT SKILLS

  • Analytical
  • Business Acumen
  • Collaborative
  • Creative (Lateral) Thinking
  • Critical Thinking
  • Decision Making
  • Facilitation Skills
  • Influential
  • Leadership
  • Listening Skills
  • Negotiation
  • Performance Management
  • Persuasive
  • Presentation Skills
  • Research Skills
  • Strategic Thinking
  • Verbal Communication
  • Written Communication.

2.   Content Analyst

Your Content Analyst will be primarily responsible for two things:

Firstly, they will periodically audit your content to identify where there are gaps. Do you have suitable and sufficient content to satisfy the needs of each buyer persona at each stage of their journey?

Secondly, your Content Analyst will determine the state of each piece of content, having regard for the relevance, look and feel, messaging and calls to action. Which pieces of content should be retained? Which need to be refreshed? And which should be retired?

SOFT SKILLS

  • Analytical
  • Conscientious
  • Initiative
  • Knowledge Management
  • Organised
  • Problem Solving
  • Project Management
  • Research Skills
  • Technology Savvy
  • Verbal Communication
  • Written Communication.

3.  Managing Editor

Most people associate editors with proofreading for spelling and grammar mistakes. But a Managing Editor does so much more than just this important micro-level task. A Managing Editor will also ensure your created content satisfies your organisation’s style guide and risk profile, and conforms with its policies (for example, as they relate to confidentiality). They will fact check for legitimacy and accuracy and in doing so will elevate the quality of overall value of your content.

SOFT SKILLS

  • Ability to Work Under Pressure
  • Adaptable
  • Analytical
  • Attention to Detail
  • Business Acumen
  • Coaching/Mentoring
  • Collaborative
  • Conflict Resolution
  • Conscientious
  • Crisis Management
  • Critical Thinking
  • Curious
  • Decision Making
  • Diplomatic
  • Emotional Intelligence
  • Ethical
  • Forthright
  • Influential
  • Initiative
  • Interpersonal Relationships
  • Interviewing Skills
  • Leadership
  • Listening Skills
  • Negotiation Skills
  • Networking
  • Organised
  • Persuasive
  • Problem Solving
  • Research Skills
  • Resilient
  • Responsible
  • Risk-Averse
  • Sound Judgment
  • Storytelling
  • Strategic Thinking
  • Verbal Communication
  • Written Communication.

4.  Content Curator

If you are not curating and sharing other people’s content as part of your content marketing plan, you should be. Curated content builds trust and relationships, provides validation, is highly efficient, and aids learning and professional development.

A Content Curator’s role is to sort and prioritise vast amounts of content and information on a specific theme and present it in a meaningful, organised and channel-optimised way.

SOFT SKILLS

  • Adaptable
  • Attention to Detail
  • Business Acumen
  • Collaborative
  • Conscientious
  • Creative (Lateral) Thinking
  • Curious
  • Emotional Intelligence
  • Ethical
  • Initiative
  • Knowledge Management
  • Organised
  • Passionate
  • Problem Solving
  • Research Skills
  • Risk-Averse
  • Sound Judgment
  • Technology Savvy
  • Tech-Obsessed
  • Verbal Communication
  • Written Communication.

5.  Storyteller

It’s no surprise storytelling is now touted a strategic imperative, a ‘necessary business competency’. Every piece of content – be it text, audio, video, illustration – starts with a story. Storytelling is what drives emotional engagement, resulting in enhanced business performance. Billie Howard of Brandthropologie summed it up in Forbes:

“Emotional engagement is the sister to rational engagement. Rational engagement is based on the stimulation of the mind, whereas emotional engagement is based upon the stimulation of the heart. In today’s age of brand experience, it seems that emotional engagement is proving to be more and more critical to achieving winning results and effective storytelling is at the heart of this movement.”

Someone – in most organisations, many someones, really – must be skilled in the art of storytelling.

SOFT SKILLS

  • Ability to Work Under Pressure
  • Accept feedback
  • Adaptable
  • Analytical
  • Business Acumen
  • Creative (Lateral) Thinking
  • Collaborative
  • Conscientious
  • Curious
  • Diplomatic
  • Emotional Intelligence
  • Ethical
  • Initiative
  • Interpersonal Relationships
  • Interviewing Skills
  • Listening Skills
  • Organised
  • Passionate
  • Persuasive
  • Research Skills
  • Resilient
  • Sound Judgment
  • Storytelling
  • Tolerant
  • Verbal Communication
  • Written Communication.

6.  Influencer Relations Manager

Let’s be clear, most ‘influencers’ are not influential. Your Influencer Relations Manager is responsible for, among other things, identifying people with real influence in your sector or category. People who have credibility, who are trusted, whose opinions are sought out, and whose sphere of influence matches your target audience. Thought leaders.

Once verified, your Influencer Relations Manager’s task is to engage those influencers – be they journalists, bloggers, analysts, social media ambassadors, or something else – and manage your influencer outreach programs.

In B2B marketing, your objective is less likely to be to pay for praise, but rather for your target influencers to be:

  • brand aware, if not brand advocates
  • well informed about your products or services and how they compare with your competitors
  • positively disposed toward your organisation
  • comfortable engaging with your Influencer Relations Manager, and ideally other key people in your organisation.

SOFT SKILLS

  • Ability to Work Under Pressure
  • Adaptable
  • Analytical
  • Business Acumen
  • Collaborative
  • Conflict Resolution
  • Conscientious
  • Crisis Management
  • Curious
  • Client-Focused
  • Creative (Lateral) Thinking
  • Decision Making
  • Diplomatic
  • Emotional Intelligence
  • Ethical
  • Facilitation Skills
  • Forthright
  • Influential
  • Initiative
  • Innovative
  • Interpersonal Relationships
  • Interviewing Skills
  • Knowledge Management
  • Leadership
  • Listening Skills
  • Motivating
  • Negotiation Skills
  • Networking
  • Organised
  • Passionate
  • Performance Management
  • Persuasive
  • Problem Solving
  • Project Management
  • Research Skills
  • Resilient
  • Risk-Averse
  • Sound Judgment
  • Storytelling
  • Strategic Thinking
  • Talent Management
  • Technology Savvy
  • Tolerant
  • Verbal Communication
  • Written Communication.

7.  Marketing Technologist

There’s a dizzying array of platforms, tools and applications available to make content marketing easier, more efficient and more effective. From simple to complex, free to subscription-based, there is software to aid with content storage, segmentation, keyword monitoring, personalisation, categorisation, repurposing, aggregation, and distribution. And the number of solutions seemingly grows by the day.

  • 9 Essential Content Marketing Apps That Will Grow Your Blog Traffic
  • 7 Apps and Tools Obsessed by Content Marketers
  • 5 content marketing apps that will grow your productivity
  • 10 Essential Content Marketing Apps for Your Smartphone
  • Content Marketing Tools – The Ultimate List for Beginners and Experts
  • 7 Apps That are Crushing Content Marketing
  • 10 Apps to Boost Your Content Marketing Efforts

You get my point.

Someone needs to keep abreast of new technology – not because they have to, but because they want to.

SOFT SKILLS

  • Analytical
  • Business Acumen
  • Critical Thinking
  • Influential
  • Initiative
  • Innovative
  • Knowledge Management
  • Leadership
  • Listening Skills
  • Negotiation Skills
  • Networking
  • Passionate
  • Persuasive
  • Presentation Skills
  • Problem Solving
  • Process Improvement
  • Research Skills
  • Risk-Averse
  • Technology Savvy
  • Tech-Obsessed
  • Verbal Communication
  • Written Communication.

8.   Digital Asset Manager

The organisation, categorisation, storage and retrieval of digital files (images, documents, audio, video) is a modern-day business challenge. Your Digital Asset Manager will assume responsibility for creating, implementing and continuously improving your organisation’s digital asset management strategy and system. This includes ensuring your taxonomy and metadata management follow industry best practice and satisfy governance standards, as well as the archiving of expired assets.

SOFT SKILLS

  • Analytical Thinking
  • Attention to Detail
  • Business Acumen
  • Coaching/Mentoring
  • Collaborative
  • Conscientious
  • Ethical
  • Highly Structured
  • Initiative
  • Innovative
  • Knowledge Management
  • Leadership
  • Organised
  • Passionate
  • Problem Solving
  • Process Improvement
  • Process-Oriented
  • Project Management
  • Research Skills
  • Risk-Averse
  • Technology Savvy
  • Tech-Obsessed
  • Verbal Communication
  • Written Communication.

9.  Graphic Designer

Visual storytelling is critical to the success of your content marketing efforts. Visuals are processed faster by our brains, are retained for longer in our memories, aid our understanding of concepts, and trigger emotions. Plus, visual content attracts a larger audience, generates more views, and increases social engagement.

We’re fortunate to be working in the digital age; in a sharing economy, within open source communities. We have ease of access to incredible no-cost and low-cost design tools and resources with which we can create impactful visuals to accompany our content. Still, as much as I value sites like Canva, I remain a huge advocate for graphic designers. It’s worth remembering and reminding your stakeholders, that graphic design is a profession that takes time to learn and talent to master. So, while there will be many occasions on which templated or DIY solution will suffice, there will be just as many when you will need or would benefit from a custom design created by an experienced graphic artist.

SOFT SKILLS

  • Accept feedback
  • Artistic
  • Attention to Detail
  • Collaborative
  • Conscientious
  • Decision Making
  • Design Sense
  • Diplomatic
  • Emotional Intelligence
  • Ethical
  • Friendly
  • Initiative
  • Innovative
  • Interpersonal Relationships
  • Knowledge Management
  • Leadership
  • Listening Skills
  • Negotiation Skills
  • Organised
  • Passionate
  • Persuasive
  • Problem Solving
  • Process Improvement
  • Project Management
  • Research Skills
  • Resilient
  • Risk-Averse
  • Sound Judgment
  • Tech-Obsessed
  • Technology Savvy
  • Tolerant
  • Verbal Communication.

10. SEO Manager

Your SEO Manager will manage and execute your organisation’s SEO strategy. This will include developing link building campaigns, conducting keyword research, monitoring and analysing SEO data (redirects, click rate, bounce rates…) and PPC data, and administering search engine programs such as XML sitemaps and webmaster tools.

SOFT SKILLS

  • Adaptable
  • Analytical
  • Attention to Detail
  • Autonomous
  • Conscientious
  • Curious
  • Ethical
  • Facilitation Skills
  • Goal-Oriented
  • Influence
  • Interpersonal Relationships
  • Leadership
  • Organised
  • Passionate
  • Perseverance
  • Presentation Skills
  • Problem Solving
  • Process Improvement
  • Process-Oriented
  • Project Management
  • Strategic Thinking
  • Technology Savvy
  • Tech-Obsessed
  • Verbal Communication
  • Written Communication.

 

Content Marketing Roles and Related Soft Skills

 Content AnalystContent CuratorContent StrategistDigital Asset ManagerGraphic DesignerInfluencer Relations ManagerManaging EditorMarketing TechnologistSEO ManagerStoryteller
Ability to Work Under Pressurexx
Accept feedbackxx
Adaptablexxxx
Analyticalxxxxxxx
Artisticx
Attention to Detailxxxx
Autonomousx
Business Acumenxxxxxx
Client-Focusedx
Coaching/Mentoringx
Collaborativexxxxxx
Conflict Resolutionx
Conscientiousxxxxxxx
Creative (Lateral) Thinkingxxxxx
Crisis Managementx
Critical Thinkerxxx
Curiousxxxx
Decision Makingxxx
Design Sensex
Diplomaticxxx
Emotional Intelligencexxxx
Ethicalxxxxxx
Facilitation Skillsxxx
Forthrightx
Goal-Orientedx
Influentialxxxx
Initiativexxxxxxx
Innovativexxxx
Inspiring
Interpersonal Relationshipsxxxx
Interviewing Skillsxx
Knowledge Managementxxxxxx
Leadershipxxxxxx
Listening Skillsxxxxx
Motivatingx
Negotiation Skillsxxxx
Networkingxx
Organisedxxxxxxx
Passionatexxxxxxx
Performance Managementxx
Perseverancex
Persuasivexxxxx
Presentation Skillsxxx
Problem Solvingxxxxxxx
Process Improvementxxx
Process Orientedxx
Project Managementxxxxx
Researchxxxxxxx
Resilientxxx
Risk-Aversexxxxx
Sound Judgmentxxx
Storytellingxx
Strategic Thinkingxxx
Talent Managementx
Tech-Obsessedxxxxx
Technology Savvyxxxxxxx
Tolerantxxx
Verbal Communicationxxxxxxxxx
Written Communicationxxxxxxxx

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