Yesterday, I wrote about what content strategists do—and the various specialties many of them provide. Now that you’ve determined what kind of strategist is right for your organization, let’s move on to the next steps in the hiring process.
What to look for
First, no matter what type of strategist you’ve determined your organization needs, there are a few commonalities to look for across the board:
- Experience with similar types of business. You don’t necessarily need to hire someone with experience in your particular industry, but do consider certain particulars, such as the strategist’s previous work with, say, startups or global enterprises (depending on your operation). If you run a multimedia agency, for example, you’ll need someone who has worked with a variety of media types.
- Willingness to ask the hard questions. Your content strategist should be the person who asks why you need certain content, or why you chose a certain branding message. A skilled strategist will ask questions about your business, content, and channels during his or her interview.
- Clear communication. Your content strategist should be able to communicate ideas, suggestions, and concepts clearly.
- Great references. A content creator (blogger, copywriter, web writer) can often be judged by his or her samples. But content strategists don’t generally have concrete samples to show, usually because strategy work is protected by a non-disclosure agreement. So, while you can see the end product of a strategist’s efforts (and the efforts of writers, UX professionals, designers, etc.), talking with previous clients or employers will give you a much better idea of a strategist’s abilities.
Where to look
While content marketing and strategy are hardly new fields of practice, they are flourishing in the digital age. Here are a few ideas for finding the best strategists in the rapidly expanding pool of candidates:
- Referrals. Look to people you know, as well as companies you respect. Do they know anyone who is looking for work and might be a good fit for your needs?
- LinkedIn. Post your job on LinkedIn, then share it with the Content Strategy group.
- Twitter. The content strategy community on Twitter is massive. Post a link to your job description, tag it with #contentstrategy or #contentstrategist, and ask a few key content strategy influencers to re-tweet it (try people like @halvorson, @karenmcgrane, or @clareob for the farthest reach).
- Content Strategy Meetups. These meetups are taking place in cities all over the world. If there is one in your area (which you can often find through meetup.com or linkedin.com), make a date to attend and announce your hiring search there.
What to ask
A thoughtful interview serves two purposes: learning more about your candidates, and making yourself more attractive as an employer. Win win.
Here are a couple questions to get you started:
- Tell me about your last digital/enterprise/startup project. What were the challenges you faced, and how did you work them out?
- What is your content strategy process? Where will we start, who (other than you) is involved, and what will you need to get started?
Don’t forget to ask questions about your specific content needs. If you’ll be re-strategizing a large, existing site, ask about the candidate’s experience with audits and migrations. If you produce a variety of content types, ask about what types of media your strategist is most comfortable producing or managing.
Have you hired a content strategist in the past? Are you a strategist with tips to offer employers? Please add them to our post via the comments section below, and we’ll share the best with our Marketeer networks.