Written by Ryan Jones. Updated on 30, May 2023
As the SEO profession has grown and evolved over the years, so too has the job titles that have come with it.
Within this article, we will talk more about the role of the content marketing manager, what they do within an organisation and how they make an impact.
We'll also go through a list of interview questions you should be asking if you are interviewing a candidate for a content marketing manager position and the answers they should ideally give.
Essentially, a content marketing manager's role is to manage the content all across a business' website. They may be in charge of creating content briefs for writers, reviewing and editing content that is handed over from the copywriting team/s and potentially even publishing this content too.
If your business makes an income through its content in some way, shape or form then it is advisable to have a content marketing manager sitting either on your SEO team or your content team.
Whilst content in itself is not necessarily technical, there are a few technical questions that you should be asking candidates in order for you to gain more knowledge about their technical abilities.
This is an important step, given how important a content marketing manager is within an organisation who relies on content marketing to generate even a small amount of their revenue.
This question is important as it allows a candidate to let you know what they believe are the most important metrics for content pieces, and by extension themselves, are to be judged on.
You will find, generally, that the most common metrics listed are basic metrics like traffic, bounce rate, average time on page and pages per session. Of course, this is completely expected as one of your targets as a content marketing manager will be to focus on these metric types.
However, if you find yourself talking to a standout content marketing manager, they will also mention key business metrics like:
Many people are quick to forget that, no matter the job role, business metrics will always come before vanity metrics like traffic. If a content piece drives revenue, you will be judged well.
This is a good question to ask because it will allow the candidate to, without giving too much away, explore more around their thought process when drafting content pieces and campaigns.
A good answer here from a content marketing candidate will mention that they first analyse the search intent around a keyword or topic. If you are an ecommerce business and want to rank on a product page, but the keyword you are targeting only shows blog posts, logic should tell you that you need a blog post to be able to rank there.
A great content marketing candidate will also inform you that they look at other ranking pieces to see what information needs to be in the article and what information is potentially missing to give your piece of content that edge when it comes to ranking.
In my opinion, there are two levels to the answer that should be given to this question.
As the first point to make, most content briefs should include information such as word count, target keywords, target audience and any brand guidelines. The brand guidelines will be especially important if the content is being written for a client, and where the content writer may not be as familiar with the brand.
If you are looking to take content briefs to the next level, they should also include key pieces of information like what format the content needs to be written in, the tone of voice for the content piece, who the content piece is being created for and the KPIs or the targets for the content.
Doing this in all of your content briefs will allow your business to become a "ranking content machine" when everything from the briefs to the publication is done correctly.
Content and SEO are often bundled together within a lot of organisational structures, so it is always handy to ask this question to any content marketing candidate to allow them to explain more about how they see the relationship between SEO and content marketing, especially in 2022 and beyond.
A good answer for this question would mention that you cannot (most of the time) see successful SEO campaigns without content marketing campaigns. Content marketing will help bridge the gap between SEO and ranking as it makes it easier to build backlinks to a website. Beyond that, it will also serve as a standalone lead generator and revenue builder when done correctly.
A great answer, however, will mention the fact that (especially in 2022) you do not need to place a huge focus on SEO specifically within your content marketing. As long as the content pieces have all been well researched, well written and include the basic SEO necessities then they now have a good chance of ranking. But SEO will still help shorten the distance between your company and your competitors.
These questions will now focus less on the technical side of content marketing, but will allow you to learn more about the candidate as a marketer. This will give you great insight into how they work as individuals, as part of teams and will allow you to see if they are going to fit in well with your business or not.
A good answer here, will of course tie in business metrics to results as all good marketers should.
What you are really looking for, however, is passion. For most content marketers, it is incredibly satisfying seeing one blog post make a difference to a company's bottom line! And for some of us who create content on a regular basis, this is entirely possible!
If a candidate mentions how inspiring it is seeing companies doing well from content they have a hand in creating, you certainly have a passionate candidate here and you are interviewing someone who could well make all the difference to your business!
This is, in most cases, a very simple question to answer for good content marketers. If they mention that, as part of their analysis, they analyse the tone of voice across the current ranking pieces and the brand's other content too, you are onto a winner.
In 2022, it is important to stay true to a brand's tone of voice no matter the keyword or topic they are trying to rank for. This is why you will see content from brands like HubSpot, Dollar Shave Club and WebMD all use a similar tone of voice across all of their content. Whether that is formal or informal.
It's also super important, especially nowadays, to use a professional tone of voice when talking about topics that fall under Google's YMYL (Your Money Your Life) umbrella. If the content will impact someone's health and/or personal finances, it is important you write this in a professional tone of voice.
The answer for this question, naturally for a content marketing specialist, will be yes. In 2022, it is almost impossible to rank revenue generating pages without supplemental content from the same brand that covers the same topic.
If you run a website that sells car parts, it is important you have a comprehensive content library covering all of the items you sell so Google can see you as an authority within your topic.
Again, especially for YMYL websites, being seen by Google and other search engines as an authority on your topic is absolutely crucial. This will give you the best chance of ranking, and ranking well.
Not to mention the fact that content marketing is the biggest chance (alongside digital PR) a brand has of building backlinks to their business. It's now a standard practice for brands to create amazing pieces of copy with the aim of building backlinks to that content piece. This will build a page's authority, and you can then pass this authority on through the use of targeted internal linking.
It's very difficult to build backlinks to a product page, so building backlinks to supplemental content and then pushing this authority to product pages through internal links is now a standard process.
The answer you are looking for from a candidate for this question is that a content marketing manager/specialist role will sit externally from the SEO team but will maintain a close working relationship with that team.
Content marketing, whilst crucial for SEO, also has uses that span across the length and breath of the business. Any content coming from a business, whether that is through a blog, resource pages and even the general copywriting across the brand pages. Because of this, it is crucial that a content marketing role spans the whole business rather than just being siloed in with SEO. At the same time, it is also crucial a content marketing employee remains in a close working relationship with the SEO team at all times.
So there you have it, a set of interview questions to ask your next content marketing hire! Some are very technically-focussed, whilst others will allow you to get a better grasp on who they are as a person and how they work. All with the aim of getting you the right person for your business sitting within or leading your content team!
SEOTesting is a great tool for helping with content tests, too. If you're interested in tying it out, we have a 14-day free trial with no credit card required! So sign up today, or get in touch with our team for some more information on how SEOTesting could help your business.