Content Marketing: A Role with Many Names

Content Marketers

You’ve heard by now that content marketing is “the next big thing” for brands in the digital space. As you can probably guess, a key part of executing content strategy is having people around to actually create that content. But since content marketing is a fairly new concept (or at least a fancy new name for a Gutenberg era concept), you don’t see many people with that function represented in their title. At conferences, meetups and on the Interwebs, I’ve actually met very few people who share the word “content” in their title (Social Content Developer, at your service). Many of my fellow content practitioners are masquerading as content marketers, but with more traditional titles.

I used trusty old HARO to run a very unscientific poll of how brands and agencies are defining their digital wordsmiths. Whether you’re a writer looking for a role in the marketing world or a CMO looking to hire some content marketing help, use this list to gauge what content professionals are calling themselves, how they spend their time at the office and the challenges they face on a daily basis. For my own sanity, I took the liberty to exclude all “Rock Stars,” “Ninjas” and “Gurus” from this list. Sorry guys.

Name: Ian Greenleigh
Job Title: Senior Manager, Content and Social Strategy
Company: Bazaarvoice, Inc.
Which tasks take up the majority of your time? Reviewing incoming research, content drafts and ideas to decide what to pursue. Editing takes up a lot of my time, too. And there will always be a large education component, explaining to people what kinds of content tend to succeed, etc.
What is your biggest workplace challenge? Finding the right data to inform decisions, and working cross-functionally to obtain it.

Name: Chris Pilbeam
Job Title: Managing Editor, Marketing
Company: Vocus
Which tasks take up the majority of your time? I run the company blog and create campaigns around whitepapers and other content. Most of my time is spent making our content good.
What is your biggest workplace challenge? After content marketing became the Next Big Thing 18 months ago, every brand piled into content marketing and the result is a tidal wave of average content — competent, but boring. Now that every brand is a publisher, the key to success is differentiation and quality editorial.

Name: Corey Barnett
Job Title: Corporate Marketing Manager
Company: Crown Partners
Which tasks take up the majority of your time? Like many content marketers, my job title, Corporate Marketing Manager was recently created and doesn’t reflect my job function, writing and developing content. Tasks that take up the most time are the execution of content. Writing is natural and easy, at least it should be for a content marketer. What takes more time is receiving approvals from company stakeholders.
What is your biggest workplace challenge? The biggest challenge for any content marketer is getting content, especially in my organization and other consulting firms. Content has a longer term return and the impact isn’t as visible as a client retainer each month. Another factor to this challenge is a thin number of writers. I believe content marketing is growing in importance and is now in the spotlight, but it’s revealing a problem: we have few writers.

Name: Grant Tilus
Job Title: Inbound Marketing Specialist
Company: Rasmussen College
Which tasks take up the majority of your time? Developing targeted and optimized blog content takes up the most of my time. I manage our business blog. The rest is spent on managing social media accounts and various other projects like our Career Chat hangout.
What is your biggest workplace challenge? The biggest challenge with being a content marketer for me at least is that developing quality content takes time. There is no standard amount of time it takes to brainstorm, create, publish and outreach quality content. Because of this it requires focus and a very structured process in order to keep your production consistent.

Name: Kirsty Wareing
Job Title: Editor
Company: Ritani
Which tasks take up the majority of your time? In addition to producing copy for our website, I write and edit content for our social media outlets and blog. Most of my time is actually spent on research, which might surprise those outside of the content marketing realm. It isn’t always obvious which topics our readers will find the most compelling, and we want to provide information that they wouldn’t easily find elsewhere.
What is your biggest workplace challenge? The biggest challenge I find in my job is bridging the gap between what’s considered content marketing and what we might call ‘genuine journalism’. Audiences know when they’re being sold to, and the Internet can be a cynical place. It is rewarding when I publish an article that simultaneously entertains, informs and gets a lot of people excited about our jewelry.

Name: Lynn Smythe
Job Title: SEO Copywriter
Company: Stanton Optical
Which tasks take up the majority of your time? I write copy for web pages, blog articles, press releases and email newsletters. I also perform social media for all three [of Stanton’s] brands using Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Google+, Tumblr, Instagram and Storify. Besides writing original content I also edit articles from other writers based on the article titles and keywords I provide them with on a weekly basis.
What is your biggest workplace challenge? My biggest challenge is not having enough time to research new content ideas and stay current with the latest social media networks.

Name: Josh Squires
Job Title: Sr. Copywriter
Company: Comparenow.com
Which tasks take up the majority of your time? Sr. Copywriter, I think, is more than a little misleading. Since we’re a small office (there are about 18 of us and about half are developers) I wear a ton of hats. While I do write copy in the traditional sense as needed, 70% of my job is creating and distributing our website content. I build relationships with bloggers, I manage social media, and I handle on-page SEO for all content pages. I’m also sort of the webmaster in that I am in charge of the CMS, loading content, and making content changes on the site.
What is your biggest workplace challenge? Blogger outreach is the most difficult task since there appear to be two extremes in the financial services content field – either you’re an established, well respected financial reporting agency like Bloomberg or WSJ, or you’re a DIY finance blogger that requires a good deal of vetting. For the former, they’ll rarely express interest in publishing our content. Instead they’d rather have a press release and have their own writers handle the coverage. The latter are more eager to use our content, but I have to spend the time to investigate their site for quality, messaging, etc. to ensure that our interests align and that the site quality meets our standards.

Name: Alexandra Wolf
Job Title: Copywriting Intern
Company: Homescout Realty
Which tasks take up the majority of your time? Most of my time is spent on researching new properties and topics that are of interest to renters, such as neighborhood safety, what to expect working with an agent, and testimonials about different living spaces and areas of the city. I want it to be really informative content so I’m always gathering input from actual residents.
What is your biggest workplace challenge? My biggest challenge is consistently thinking of new subjects, since writing is a creative process. I believe you should be engaged in the topic in order for the content to showcase enthusiasm and life.

What would you say is the ideal title for someone who performs content marketing functions? Which tasks take up the majority of your time? Join the conversation in the comments below.