Have you ever wondered what the role of a content manager entails? In this edition of our Career Insights series, we cover the role, skills, abilities and typical salary of a freelance content manager and what you need to do to become one!
Hello and welcome to a new addition to our “Career Insights” series of articles. Here we take an in-depth look at different freelance jobs and talk about what they do, what skills are required, and how well they are paid. For today we’ve picked a job that virtually every major company with a serious internet / social media presence needs – the content manager.
Role overview of a content manager
What does a content manager do?
The answer to that question seems simple, doesn’t it? This person manages content. And that’s right, but not very descriptive. Content can be anything: video, audio, text, images, or a mixture of these. Besides, what does it even mean to manage?
Here is a definition for you: A content manager is responsible for finding the right content for the audience, delivering it in a good way that reaches that audience, and using that content to achieve a specific business goal. This may sound a little complicated, so let me give you a simple example. You are the content manager responsible for a website that sells flowers.
Content manager duties
You chose a lot of visual content because it appeals to your target audience. You don’t necessarily want to read two pages about flowers; you prefer to buy pretty flowers.
Depending on your company, you may want to distribute this content through social media or offline marketing. And you need to make sure that the images of flowers not only reach a lot of people, but also convert them into sales. Who gets the pictures, where are they posted, how much should the company invest in them and what is the expected return? These are the questions you need to ask yourself as a content manager.
Tasks of a content manager:
- Create, edit and proofread content
- Develop a content strategy that targets both short-term and long-term marketing goals
- Optimize content according to SEO
- Manage the distribution of content on online channels
- Increase web traffic across platforms
- Track web analytics and user engagement metrics
- Stay up to date on developments
- Support the team members
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What skills does a content manager have?
Content managers have the following skills:
1. Content management systems (CMS)
First and foremost, your bread and butter will be your CMS. There are many different types, but all of them exist with the aim of allowing you to easily add and manage content on a website. That’s just the buzzword here, because CMS basically aim to remove a significant amount of coding when creating or updating a website. You don’t have to be a web designer to use a CMS.
Types of CMS:
There are dozens of workable content management systems, each with its own focus. The three most popular make up over 70% of the market, according to w3Techs. Here is a quick overview of these three:
# 1 WordPress
Over a quarter of the entire internet is powered by WordPress. It’s open source, has a huge community, and has proven to be one of the easiest CMS out there. Companies like Spotify, CNN, Sony, and Disney all use WordPress, so don’t believe the stereotype that they’re all amateurs.
# 2 Joomla!
While not nearly as popular as WordPress, Joomla! occupies the deserved second place in the list of the most used CMS. This is the system you choose if you want to get your hands dirty with some coding too. While Joomla! has a higher barrier to entry, its back-end integration and scalability is superior to WordPress. Harvard also uses it for their website.
# 3 Drupal
Of the three most popular content management systems, Drupal is the one with the steepest learning curve. Out-of-the-box, it’s also the most powerful. Many engineers and developers prefer this CMS because of all the possibilities it offers. Due to the fact that it’s not nearly as popular as WordPress, it can be harder to find someone to help you with this. On the other hand, Drupal expertise is more valuable than the other two as it is also the rarest. Notable User – The White House.
Content Manager Skills
2. Understand the content
As a content manager, you also need to have a deep understanding of the type of content you are managing. Take text as an example – authors always have their own style and preferences, but often it’s up to you to do the final editing. What’s the best headline? Do you need a teaser? How long does a text have to be to be perceived but still read? For every type of content there will be questions like this. As a content manager, you have to provide the answers.
3. Know the latest trends
It’s not just about editing the content properly and putting it in the right setting, it’s also about understanding what your audience is looking for.
Say you work in a niche with more than a few companies, that means keeping up. If you manage a website that is about technology, you want to know when the next big Apple keynote or gaming expo is and prepare accordingly. Simply put – in order to deliver the right content, you need to stay tuned.
Content manager skills:
- Extensive knowledge of content management systems such as WordPress and Drupal
- Practical experience with MS Office and WordPress
- Knowledge of SEO best practices
- Knowledge of web traffic metrics
- Ability to stay up to date with the latest trends
- Familiarity with the main social media platforms
- Experience with social media management
- Strong communication skills
- Attention to detail
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How do I become a content manager?
While you don’t need a bachelor’s degree to become a content manager, it is recommended. This can be in journalism, marketing, English, or any relevant field.
You can also earn certifications and training to increase your chances of employment. Check out the options for these below:
As we said at the beginning, content management is a huge field – every major site has an employee or a team of employees who manage their content. The average annual salary is approx. $ 76,000. As with any job, pay varies widely across countries, regions, and even companies.
If you want to get a better feel for what to expect as a content manager, we recommend Payscale and Glasdoor. Enter Content Manager as the job title, enter your country and maybe even some potential customers and voilà – you have your opinion.
How much does a content manager earn?
How Much Do Freelance Content Managers Make?
The freelancermap tariff index in September 2021 has an average hourly rate of $ 83 among automotive engineers. If you calculate this rate over an 8-hour day, the daily average is around $ 664.
Average hourly rate for freelance content managers