14 Smart Interview Questions for Content Marketing Managers (Best Answers Included)

by Gonzalo March 28, 2019

The more digital our world becomes, the more valuable quality content becomes. Although artificial intelligence and automation can complete many tasks, they still can’t spit out usable, SEO-optimized content the way a skilled content marketing manager can.

As a result, the demand for quality content marketers grows. As part of its 2018 digital jobs report, SEO platform Conductor analyzed job openings, salaries, and backgrounds for content marketers throughout the US, UK, Canada, and Australia. The report found that there are more jobs in the content field than ever before.

Outlook

Content marketing jobs have been increasing an average of 33% year over year, and in 2018, the average content marketing salary went up by 13%. With tech startups emerging around the world, and many of them requiring content to drive their business, candidates are rushing to fill those positions.

But how can you, as a hiring manager, determine the right content marketing manager for your company? Along with scouring portfolios and references, the face-to-face interview is a vital part of the hiring process. We at Jobbatical are ready to help with this comprehensive list of smart content marketing manager interview questions.

The Perfect Fit

Some easy questions that reveal the candidate’s philosophy about content marketing will start the interview in a simple and flowing note while giving you insight into the candidate’s personality.

What is your definition of content marketing?

This answer should not stem from simple rote memorization. As Right Source Chief Marketing Manager Mike Sweeney noted, quality content marketing manager candidates should have a “thoughtful and original reply, built on the back of traditional wisdom.” Listen for an answer that indicates an understanding of the field at large.

How do you decide what topics to focus on for content?

Here, you are looking for how your applicant generates ideas. It’s crucial that the content marketing manager candidate recognizes the importance of who their audience is, and what product or service they’re marketing.

How do you decide whether an idea is worth pursuing?

Although it’s important to have faith in your intuition, a great content marketer will use facts and logic alongside instinct to determine whether an idea is worth pursuing. According to the Content Marketing Institute, an outstanding answer to this question would include a rundown of some key principles of content marketing as well.

What book or blog has had the biggest influence on your approach to content marketing?

Unless your company adheres to a specific blogger or author’s style, there is no one right answer to this question. Rather, you are listening for an answer that shows that the candidate is seeking edification, and can apply that knowledge to their own skill set.

Digging Deeper

Now that you’ve gotten to know a little bit about the candidate’s personality, it’s time to gauge whether they have the practical knowledge to lead your content team to success.

Why does content marketing matter for companies today?

This question helps evaluate the depth of the candidate’s thinking. They need to explain why content marketing is important from a business standpoint, not just list statistics. As Sweeney said in his content marketing manager interviews, “If your response is something like, ‘because MarketingProfs and the Content Marketing Institute say 86% of B2C marketers and 91% of B2B marketers use content marketing,’ you’re cooked.”

Which aspect(s) of content marketing is most important?

This is another big-picture question–a strong answer should go beyond creation alone. Quality content marketing managers can recognize the relationship between the content created and the impact it can have on a business’s goals and growth.

What makes for a remarkable piece of content?

A strong candidate should recognize how digitally saturated the web is when it comes to content. Content that stands out should be extensively researched and offer an original perspective. It should also revolve around the audience to whom it’s geared.

Take a recent piece of content you wrote. How did you determine the style, tone, and voice for it?

The first item to listen for is, does the content marketing manager interviewee understand the difference between style, voice, and tone? They should also be able to adapt their content piece to fit the company, audience, and format requested.

Let’s Get Technical

Now is time to get down to specifics of content marketing using their past experiences and examples to illustrate their analytical mindset.

Give an example of a company that is doing content marketing well, and explain why.

First off, to prevent hiring a narcissistic employee, we would advise against hiring someone who gives an example of a company for which they did the content marketing. Look for someone instead who is keeping abreast of the content marketing field. As Sweeney explained, “I am looking for marketers who want to be at the top of not only their game but the entire content marketing game. If you are not curious enough to even have explored some of the better examples of content marketing done right, you probably don’t care enough.”

How do you promote your content? What role does SEO play in this?

A strong content marketing manager should know that creating great content isn’t enough to make it go viral: that content has to be shared. Listen for specific strategies for finding and implementing SEO core and long-tail keywords during the writing process, and ways to promote the content across the web afterward.

What factors do you measure to determine content marketing success?

There is no pat answer for this. Since not all content pieces have the same goals, they can’t be measured by the same metrics. A strong answer should recognize this truth, and offer different success factors for different pieces of content. Content Marketing Institute gave the example of how an infographic is almost always designed to get links, but a long-tail article’s primary goal is generally to drive traffic.

Has your content been critiqued in the past?

This question is a forerunner to the question below. In both, watch the body language and listen to the candidate’s verbal cues. Were they irritated or insulted by the criticism? Or did they see it as an opportunity to improve? You’re looking for someone who is pushed forward, not paralyzed, by constructive criticism.

Which piece of content are you least proud of and why?

There are two aspects of this answer to pay attention to: attitude and reason. As above, is the candidate showing humility or arrogance? A competent content marketing manager will be able to acknowledge their errors and to fix them. Also, what is the reason the applicant gives as to why they aren’t proud of their piece? Was it because the candidate didn’t like the idea, the execution, or the response? This helps give you insight into where they may struggle.

Which piece of content are you most proud of and why?

Just as a strong content marketing manager can accept criticism, they should also be able to acknowledge well-executed work. Along with the success-measurement factors query, this question gives insight into what the candidate deems important for quality content. WebProfits co-founder Sujan Patel said it this way: “If candidates pull up a great piece of content and explain that they’re proud because it gained 40 links, sent 10,000 referral visits to the site, and resulted in three high-ticket sales, that’s an obvious rock star.”

If it were your first week here, what steps would you take to develop a content marketing strategy?

The right answer to this question depends on what you are looking for–do you want a complete overhaul of your marketing department, or will this employee be stepping into an established system? Either way, a strong candidate will have an idea of what their first step would be. Cluelessness or blind adherence are not desired qualities in an effective content marketing manager.

Wrap it Up

Use these questions, complemented by your own particulars, as a basis for making the content marketing manager interview a key step in finding the right employee to develop or continue your marketing strategy.

For more information about preparing for an interview, general signs to pay attention to during the interview process, and help with how to handle the follow-up, read Jobbatical’s complete guide How to Interview a Candidate: Everything You Need to Know.

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