The Hottest Marketing and Communications Job in 2014

And why public relations pros are poised to fill it.

Tomorrow’s hottest job in marketing and communications is one you’ve probably never heard of before. That’s forgivable, of course, because the role didn’t exist three years ago. In fact, its most promising candidates are still emerging from the primordial soup of journalism and publishing, design and curatorial work, marketing, public relations and information science. And the name given to this still evolving breed? According to Forbes, the top new job title marketing executives use to recruit and hire in 2014 will be “Director of Content.”

There are clear reasons for the sudden interest: companies are seeing positive returns from content marketing, are shifting budgets accordingly, and therefore want to ensure smart content strategies are in place to protect their investment. According to HubSpot’s 2013 State of Inbound Marketing Report, half of all content marketing budgets have been increasing at nearly 50 per cent per year over the last three years. Moreover, companies that take a strategic approach to content creation, backed by clearly defined leaders, significantly increase the value of online publishing efforts compared to those who don’t—and those who don’t, it seems, are the majority of sales and marketing departments today. But that’s clearly bound to change.

So what does a director of content do? Here’s a quick and dirty list of responsibilities, adapted from PR Daily:

  1. Develop an effective content strategy
  2. Know how to research the landscape around the brand
  3. Monitor industry and customer trends and sentiment
  4. Tap into conversations of the audiences you want to reach
  5. Create content based on audience and other research
  6. Develop a team with excellent visual content skills
  7. Know how to distribute content using owned, earned and paid channels
  8. Understand the technology so that you can choose the right tools and platforms
  9. Monitor trends, manage content and interactions, and measure results
  10. Report results to the C-suite using easy to grasp analytics that tell a story

That tell a story. If you’re a public relations professional living in the 21st century, much of this will already sound familiar. That’s because the director of content helps companies understand and produce the kind of stories their audiences really need. That means developing a sustainable publishing plan—for print collateral, social media messages, news stories, infographics, videos, etc.—with clear measures of success. It also means cutting costs by clipping redundant content and aligning communication across channels, so everyone in your organization can work toward the same marketing and communications goals. Finally, it means working alongside the technical folk who build the web experiences upon which so much communication today depends. All core public relations skills, with a twist.

Interested in learning how to harness the power of online storytelling? Tune in next month for posts that will help you determine where to find your first content director, as well as tips and resources for creating a content strategy of your own, and more. You know the old saying: “Give a man a fish and feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and feed him for a lifetime.” Well, we’ll be doing both, and throwing in a shiny new fishing boat for good measure.