January 22, 2019 at 5:31 pm #53
What would be the most important question in hiring a content marketer?
January 26, 2019 at 11:36 am #91
My interviews are hour-long usually, and this is after exchanging a few emails and conducting some due diligence on my end.
Which is why there is no simple question that would rule them all. To make things easier, I’ve listed ten on top of my head that I look for (asking explicitly or not) in a candidate.
1. How do you measure the KPIs for your content marketing campaigns?
Producing content blindly is extremely common for less experienced candidates. Especially college graduates or bloggers writing on emotional, lifestyle topics, “from their heart” — and there’s nothing wrong in this, it’s just a hit-or-miss and not a great investment for a business.
Covering particular areas outside of traffic or shares is always handy. Not easy either, and conversions aren’t always there to measure, but other social mentions, personal emails, subscriptions, backlinks, other conversations related to pieces of content help.
2. Explain the process of doing your due diligence before jumping into writing.
Research is paramount for extraordinary content. Some take it a step further with interviews, gathering mentions, using HARO for quotes or scheduling meetings within the team.
Either way, it’s not an easy “I just get started” answer. Unless they’ve spent 20 years in the industry and decided to convert to an employed full-time writing job.
3. How do you decide what topics to focus on and what format to use?
In case they are involved ever so slightly in the content strategy process, topic ideation is important. Same goes for figuring out what content matters, unless they only do long-form text content.
A great candidate will proactively assess the industry, some of the top competitors, what type of content they produce, whether video or podcasts would be reasonable, are infographics handy for their audience, etc.
4. What were the most effective distribution channels for your content at your previous job?
Translation: were you aware of what’s going on with your content at all?
Was Facebook the “king” of shares (this is a go-to answer so I’d question it) or other channels worked really well?
5. Do you run your own blog?
Most passionate writers would maintain their own online presence as prolific bloggers or content creators. More importantly, a personal blog will reveal the content they are really comfortable with, outside the boundaries of the corporate style guide.
And it’s a great way to run tests and see what works.
P.S. Not mandatory, but often a determining factor of whether this is a job or a way of living.
6. What was the most effective experiment or change you applied in your content that made a difference?
Showcases proactiveness and measuring results.
A lack of answer would mean strictly following protocol and limited understanding of results/outcome within the department.
It’s not the end of the world if you don’t care about either — we just do.
7. What makes a piece of content successful/What would the most incredible piece of content be for readers?
This is an open-ended, broad topic, that also assesses creativity and the power of dreaming.
I say “dreaming” because a writer should be striving to be amazing, a real rockstar in their field, a master of the feather in a sense.
And there’s no shame in looking at ways to improve. If an applicant states that their content is out-of-the-world, I’ll probably stop the interview since it’s pointless.
Also, this measures the potential of helping with content strategy or revealing other forms of content that work well.
8. What is the difference between the top, middle, bottom of the funnel for your readers?
The intent of creating content is often a leading disconnect between bloggers and companies looking for professional content writers.
Content has its own purpose. But at the end of the day, it has to bring revenue (one way or another).
Understanding different types of content and how they incorporate within the marketing funnel is important. Treating transactional intent and informational content differently is one of the factors here.
9. Who are the most prolific writers you truly enjoy following/reading?
Name your heros, in a sense.
I say “writers” since it also allows for book authors, thought leaders, or other influencers. But writing is a byproduct of tons of reading, coming up with fresh ideas and an enhanced verbal train of thought isn’t quite possible withing reading regularly and a lot.
10. What types of information do you include in your pieces for credibility and richness of content?
For most types of content, including stats, quotes, industry data, survey results, and other forms of credibility and trustworthiness is really helpful.
The applicant should name most of these (and then some) right away if they incorporate them for almost every article. Otherwise, I would be wondering if they just spin off content out of an existing piece or two, or write down the most common ideas without really validating them with the latest industry trends.
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