Job titles in digital tend to evolve just as fast as the platforms they rely upon.
A few years ago it was all about Community Managers. They were seen as the key missing piece in building an audience around a brand or product. They were – and still are, of course – hybrid marketing and customer service roles to respond to the opportunity of social media.
Over the past five to ten years brands and their community managers built up audiences. Now the paradigm has shifted. Brands have massive audiences. The question then becomes, how do brands engage in a consistent way with their audiences?
Enter the Brand Content Manager.
In this case, brand content is different than the traditional definition of “content marketing.” Content marketing is based on creating pieces of content with value that attract potential customers to your ecosystem. It’s also known as inbound marketing.
Brand content is a broader definition of everything that a brand creates, from advertisements to e-retail photos to videos and interviews. In that sense, the brand content manager works in tandem with the other parts of marketing, as well as digital, teams.
I’ve been working as a Brand Content Strategy Manager for the past year. I’m going to answer a couple of frequently asked questions about what a Brand Content Manager does, and who would be a good fit for this type of role.
What does a Brand Content Manager do exactly?
Like I mentioned above, brand content is pretty much everything that a brand creates in order to sell its product or services. The brand content manager takes all of this content and figures out how to fit it together. Then, the brand content manager figures out what is missing in order to create a coherent communications strategy.
The goal of the brand content strategy in 2017 is to win a daily or near-daily presence in the lives of its customers. Where there is missing content, usually during the always-on periods (when there are no major product-related launches or operations that have their own dedicated content) it is the Brand Content Manager who will create that content.
What’s the difference between community management and brand content management?
The line here is definitely blurry. In many organizations the two responsibilities will fall under the same role. In larger, international organizations, the brand content and community management is more frequently separated since the community management happens on a regional or national level due to language barriers while the content creation happens at the global level.
For me, and this may not be the case with everyone, community management is more customer-oriented in the sense that Community Managers try to valorize the people in their communities, facilitate discussions, respond to complaints, resolve issues, and turn their fans into ambassadors.
Brand content management is more about the creation of specific content and the strategizing of existing content into an overarching storytelling that engages customers as frequently as is deemed necessary.
What are the challenges that Brand Content Managers face?
The biggest challenge, regardless of the size of your organization, is balancing the available budget with the type of content strategy that can be realistically put in place. Like any other type of strategy, brand content is about fit; finding the correct trade-off between the type of content, where it can be used, the frequency it can be shared, and the other constraints related to a brand. A luxury brand must maintain a certain level of execution in the quality of their content. A packaged consumer goods company might need to communicate a few times per day in order to stay top of mind, that might mean using more colloquial, informal types of content.
Right now Instagram is by far the hottest platform in terms of engagement, and that’s where most brands are positioning themselves with their brand content. That means that another challenge for Brand Content Managers is adapting other forms of existing content to fit the limitations of the places where it can be shared. This often requires a lot of creative tweaking, which means extra budget.
Are Brand Content Managers just glorified Social Media Managers?
I’ve yet to experience the glory of brand content management, even if it is an organizational buzzword, particularly among companies bent on succeeding at their digital transformation.
Just like the line between community management, the division between Social Media Manager and Brand Content Manager is hard to define. It might actually be the same job labelled differently at different companies. It depends primarily on the size of the organization and what the responsibilities are.
If you are currently a Social Media Manager and you create content specifically for social netwtorks to communicate on a regular basis with your customers, you would slip effortlessly into a brand content role. If you are managing social campaigns and doing community management as I defined it above, brand content management strategy would be a step up in the organization since the brand content strategy dictates the social media strategy and not vice versa.
What skills do I need to become a Brand Content Manager?
You will need a strategic mind and a rock solid understanding of the digital ecosystem and the type of customer you’re going to be addressing. Brand Content is not just posts for social media, it is everything created by marketing teams, digital activations like apps and virtual reality. There are tons of possibilities.
To narrow down the possibilities and to find your brand content strategy, I suggest going back to journalism basics. Here are the questions you need to ask yourself:
- Who is my customer?
- Where are they – both in the real and digital worlds?
- What are they doing there?
- When can I reach them?
- How do I reach them?
- Why will they care?
If you are capable of benchmarking other companies and researching how brands are succeeding, and if you are capable of coming up with original ideas to the last two questions, you will be able to succeed in a brand content role.
Have other specific questions? I’m happy to talk, just comment below!