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From the Trenches

Transformers Can Save the Day — and Your Content Marketing

Yvonne Lyons | June 11, 2014
Transformers Can Save the Day — and Your Content Marketing

When my son was younger, he had toys called Transformers. They were cars, trucks, and airplanes that, when in a perilous situation or when the underdog was in need of help, could transform into an ultra-powerful robot dude with all kinds of cool powers who could squash bad guys and save the day. Pretty awesome, especially if you are a five-year-old boy.

As I search for a content marketing manager/editor for Right Source Marketing, I am realizing that what I need is really a content marketing Transformer: A person who may look like other marketing professionals, but can transform into someone with additional powers, hidden skills, and numerous fantastic content gadgets to get this unique content marketing job done. (Ability to crush cars in a traffic jam, also a plus.)

What kinds of powers, gadgets and skills would my content marketing Transformer need to have, you ask? I’ve done some thinking on that subject. I’d start with the vital skills of the modern marketer, but add some traits to attain full superhero status. Here are the characteristics that my superhero would possess, post transformation, and what I’m truly looking for in Right Source’s next content marketing manager/editor.

Exceptional writer/editor—I’m going to assume that for this, my Transformer needs maybe four arms, laptop attached to at least two of them. In reality, a great content marketing manager does need to be an excellent writer and editor. This person shouldn’t need to do all the writing (the position is manager, not writer, after all), but if you can’t write well, you can’t judge it well. The content marketing manager will need to be able to step in and write blog posts or rewrite a case study at a moment’s notice. There is also a substantial amount of editing that comes with this position, and while not every writer is an editor, in this case, the Transformer does have to be both. But this type of editor needs the skill not just to copyedit, but also to edit conceptually, so that he or she can take a writer’s content from good to remarkable. A journalism background will help immensely here, but the understanding of content marketing is almost as important.

Content Strategist—I don’t think Transformers have big heads, in fact their heads seem disproportionately small, but my content marketing Transformer needs a big one … for thinking.  This is a thinking job, not just a doing job. It involves a lot of planning to develop the best content strategy for each client, versus just creating content and running the same play every time. Each client is different, and we respect that.

Social media strategist—My Transformer (unlike the ones my son had) needs an Internet connection to stay engaged on social media. The content marketing Transformer needs to understand and make recommendations for how clients should, and should not, use social media channels as part of their overall content marketing strategy.

Multi-tasker—Again, I think the four hands would help here (perhaps I need to amend to six) and maybe some kind of super-speed capability. The position involves assigning to and managing writers, creating and managing editorial calendars, editing content, getting interrupted, attending meetings, writing blog posts, writing social, and lots of other things. And these tasks all have to be juggled versus doing them one after the other. If I can’t have a Transformer with six hands, then the human content marketing manager must be an excellent multi-tasker.

Client liaison—I guess there needs to be some kind of business attire option for my Transformer. It might be really weird looking on a big, car-crushing content-creating robot dude, but necessary when you need to visit clients. This is not a sit-behind-a-desk job. It’s a go-visit-clients job. No, it is not an account executive, per se, but there is a lot of client interaction, and the content marketing manager is often the “content representative” of the company and has to be able to handle anything the client throws at him or her and provide the appropriate service and recommendations in return. Someone with agency experience will have an easier time with this aspect of the position. Someone who doesn’t understand why he or she would need to come out from behind the computer is not a content marketing manager.

Technologist—The Transformer is really all about technology, right? I picture him or her as full of gadgets: the laptop hands, probably a digital copy of the AP Stylebook embedded in his or her body armor, an auto-dispenser of red pens … that kind of thing. So, my content marketing Transformer has to embrace today’s marketing technology, whether it’s content management systems, web analytics, or marketing automation platforms. He or she doesn’t need to be the expert in the company, but needs to have an understanding and a curiosity about today’s technology, and be able to share that enthusiasm and big-picture knowledge with clients.

Chaos-proof personality—A Teflon coating on the Transformer would get the job done here. Trouble arrives … and slides right off. Content marketers should also arrive with Teflon coating. Crazy things happen, lots of them, sometimes all at once. You have to be able to handle that … and not cry. If you can do that AND have a sense of humor, you are a rock star.

Maybe there are lots of great content marketing manager candidates out there, quietly going about their business in their “pre-transformation” disguises so I have no idea they exist. Is the guy in the deli line really some content genius, and I’m missing an opportunity to find out by not presenting him with some content conundrum in line to see him transform into the content marketing superhero I’m looking for? Or maybe I’m missing someone who is almost ready to make the move to Transformer and just needs a little coaching. That kind of thing is hard to ferret out in daily life (and the random questions about content to people in line will make you seem weird after a while), so I will have to hope that a true content marketing Transformer (or Transformer wannabe) finds me.

If you are such a superhero, get in touch. I’m interested in seeing what really cool things you can do.

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About Yvonne Lyons:

Yvonne Lyons is Right Source’s vice president of creative services, overseeing content and design for all of our clients. She ensures that all creative produced at Right Source is of the highest quality and is aligned with our clients’ business strategy and goals. Yvonne received a bachelor’s degree from the Johns Hopkins University in writing and literature and has more than 20 years of experience in marketing, branding, and communications.