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What does a content marketing manager do? Skills, responsibilities, and keys to success

an image of author Cari O'Brien accompanied by various search-related iconography

Roles abound within content marketing, from the junior copywriter to the content marketing manager all the way up to the chief content officer (in some organizations). Each role carries its own core responsibilities, preferred qualifications, and qualities—all of which should be considered when you’re on the path to advancing into a managerial or strategy-focused role. 


In this article, I’ll explain what businesses typically look for when onboarding a content marketing manager. If you’re considering this role or something similar for your career, read on to learn what the role requires and how to achieve success. 


Table of contents:



What is a content marketing manager? 


Content marketing managers (CMMs) are responsible for driving a business’s overarching content marketing strategy and ensuring it aligns with the company’s goals. The CMM is also often the direct manager of the content marketing team, overseeing the daily efforts of: 


  • Content strategists

  • SEO specialists

  • Copywriters

  • Editors

  • Social media marketers

  • Etc.


It’s up to the content marketing manager to ensure their team employs tactics that deliver the desired results. This ranges from building a strong brand to driving qualified leads across the content spectrum (e.g., email, website, paid ads). The CMM will determine which channels to focus on, plan the content calendar, and implement workflows to make it happen. 


An infographic showing the four stages of the customer journey, with various types of content and web pages that are associated with each stage of the journey.
Content marketing managers play an important role in structuring a company’s funnel.

In addition to collaborating with their team to compose and apply the ideal strategy for the business, the CMM also works closely with management and usually reports to the chief content officer, head of marketing, or chief marketing officer. The CMM tracks and analyzes all content marketing campaigns and creates reports on those campaigns for management. The CMM is then responsible for extracting insights from those analyses and adjusting campaigns accordingly.


What’s the difference between a content marketing manager and a content manager?

You may find job postings for content managers when searching for content marketing manager positions. While the two roles are pretty similar in name, they can be vastly different in scope and scale. Generally speaking, here are some key differences between the two:



Content marketing manager

Content manager

Core responsibilities

  • Strategy and goal-setting

  • Brand alignment

  • Team management

  • Data analysis

  • Content creation

  • Editorial and optimization

  • Publication and distribution

  • Project management

Key qualities

  • Strategic thinker

  • Strong leader

  • Clear communicator

  • Creative

  • Organized

  • Collaborative

Preferred skills

  • Audience development

  • Strategy development

  • Budget management

  • Performance analysis and reporting

  • Writing and editing

  • Content optimization

  • Social media marketing

  • Content distribution and promotion

Measures of success

  • Return on investment (lead generation)

  • Content quality and engagement


In summary, a content marketing manager leads the strategy for the content team while the content manager implements that strategy. 

The 7 core content marketing manager responsibilities


After reviewing content marketing manager job descriptions on various job boards and company websites, it's clear there’s a set of core competencies that span most listings. Here are the seven content marketing manager responsibilities you should expect to see as part of any position you apply for. 


01. Content strategy development

Core responsibilities: – Crafting a compelling content strategy that fits the company’s brand  – Aligning content with overall business objectives – Determining key performance indicators (KPIs)

As a prospective content marketing manager, your work largely centers around the ideation, creation, and execution of the company’s overarching content strategy. This strategy should include all channels of content that matter to the company, from copywriting to search marketing, podcasting to video marketing, graphic design to email marketing, and more.


“When I was managing content at Codementor, I would regularly remind our team that content was really 20% copy and 80% distribution. Don't just spend time on crafting good content—you have to work on getting it in front of your target audience. If good content is the tree that falls in the forest and no one sees it, is it really good content?” Debbie Chew, Global SEO Manager at Dialpad

Most importantly, the CMM must know how to align the content strategy to the company’s growth goals. You’ll need to have a keen ability to see the big picture while also being able to create a measurable path forward. This includes identifying the primary metrics by which to measure success.


02. Competitor and audience research

Core responsibilities: – Conducting competitor research  – Defining the ideal audience(s) to target with content

You need to be crystal clear on the audience you’re pursuing and understand where the business stands in the competitive landscape to create a worthwhile content marketing strategy. 


An example of a user persona.

The CMM will lead the way in competitor research and ideal audience definition. That research then serves as the basis for content planning and execution.


03. Content planning

Core responsibilities: – Selecting marketing channels  – Setting budgets

Once the CMM creates the strategy and defines the competition and audience, the next step is to provide detailed direction regarding which channels to pursue to reach the brand’s audience. Having identified the channels and the scope of work for each channel, the CMM then sets the department budget accordingly and keeps track of expenses to stay within budget.


04. Team management

Core responsibilities: – Creating job descriptions and setting performance expectations – Hiring and managing team members

The content marketing manager’s responsibilities include hiring and managing their own team, so proven leadership skills and management experience are prerequisites. This team could be a team of one or a multi-departmental team of numerous specialists within various departments.


“Success in content marketing is deeply intertwined with collaboration. Every time I get on a call with my manager, we feed off each other and brainstorm or validate ideas we can implement for the Moz content team. I encourage new managers to build relationships with other team members, including the wider marketing team.” Chima Mmeje, Senior Content Marketing Manager at Moz

Since the CMM determines the content marketing strategy, they are crucial to identifying the team members needed to implement the strategy. The CMM will craft job descriptions, run performance reviews, lead the team in group meetings, one-on-one conversations, and everything in between.


05. Content oversight

Core responsibilities: – Creating efficient content marketing processes – Ensuring high-quality content creation that aligns with company goals and branding

The CMM not only oversees the teammates implementing the content strategy, they also oversee the work itself. The CMM will build the processes necessary to implement the strategy (e.g., writer selection, publishing cadence, editorial workflow, periodic reporting, etc.), emphasizing brand standards and working towards the business’s overall goals.


06. Search engine optimization

Core responsibilities: – Implementing SEO best practices in content creation – Monitoring and adapting to search engine algorithms

Every content marketing manager should be comfortable with search engine optimization. It’s imperative that the CMM stays up-to-date with SEO best practices and emerging trends (e.g., generative AI) and can translate that knowledge into actionable tactics.


“SEO is the primary distribution channel I invest in for most of my clients, it’s also the channel I understand most and I can’t overstate the importance of it. However, basic SEO knowledge may be sufficient for some content brands. Let’s say you’re creating a new category, people need your product but they don't know what they should be searching for. In that case, basic SEO best practices would suffice while you focus your attention on awareness content on discovery platforms like Facebook or LinkedIn.” Lily Ugbaja, Founder and Head of Marketing, Marketing Cyborg

07. Performance analysis and reporting

Core responsibilities: – Using analytics tools to assess content performance – Generating reports and adjusting strategies based on data – Presenting data and results to leadership

A CMM’s success ties directly to the success of the strategy and tactics they set in place. So, a skilled content marketing manager must know how to use analytics tools to gain insights into which tactics are working (and which aren’t). 


A screenshot of the top blog posts report in Wix Analytics.
Content marketing managers must be comfortable with interpreting performance data.

The CMM must also regularly interpret analytics data for the company’s leadership and identify how to adjust efforts when the results aren’t as expected. 


Preferred skills and qualities for content marketing managers


Every content marketing manager has specific experiences, but in my case, the skills that served me well (thus far): – Curiosity (constantly asking questions and wondering why things are) – Asking good questions – SEO – Writing – Knowing how content ties into business goals – Knowing how to give feedback on drafts” Si Quan Ong, Senior Content Marketer at Ahrefs

Knowing what content marketing managers are responsible for helps you gain clarity around which skills and qualities would make you a strong candidate. Let’s walk through several content marketing manager skills you’ll want to emphasize on your resume.


Hard skills 

Here are a handful of hard skills mentioned across numerous content marketing manager job descriptions and why they matter.


  • Research: To create a comprehensive strategy, you must know how to research everything from your company to your competitors to your audience. You need to know how to find information quickly and how to use that information to gain a competitive advantage.

  • SEO: You’ll need a solid understanding of search engine optimization. Show that you have experience with various keyword research tools and website CMSs and that you’re comfortable with various aspects of optimization, including both on-page and off-page efforts.

  • Analytics and reporting: The CMM reports on content performance to leadership. In this role, you must be comfortable and confident with using analytics tools (e.g., search engine analytics, email marketing analytics, social media analytics, etc.) to gauge ongoing performance.

  • Writing and editing: Strong writing skills are a necessity, whether you’re writing all the copy or only a few thought leadership pieces each year. You’ll need to be able to differentiate between good writing and bland content, both during the hiring and publication processes. You may also be in charge of editing content, so having an editing portfolio is also a good idea.


Soft skills

While hard skills are imperative to your success as a content marketing manager, they can be taught. Soft skills, on the other hand, can only be developed—they can’t build from nothing. The following soft skills will put you ahead of the pack when applying for CMM positions.


  • Leadership: While management experience may not be a prerequisite for a content marketing manager role, leadership skills are. You need to convey yourself as someone who can influence, direct, and define processes and people.

  • Communication: Excellent communication skills are paramount. These include clearly communicating information to others and actively listening and soliciting input. You’ll need to show you’re a good communicator in writing and orally and that you can communicate well with all stakeholders (e.g., leadership, direct reports, clients, strategic partners, etc).

  • Problem-solving: Content marketing managers must consistently review the team’s efforts and make adjustments on an ongoing basis. Your ability to think critically, analyze situations, identify potential solutions, and make informed decisions will undoubtedly help you stand out from other candidates.

  • Adaptability: From the release of new marketing platforms to expanding privacy concerns to groundbreaking new technologies, the digital marketing industry changes constantly. You must be comfortable with change and have the ability to adapt your approach to keep your strategy relevant and effective.


What is the average content marketing manager salary?


The average content marketing manager salary can vary greatly depending on location and experience. 


A graphic from Payscale indicating that the median content marketing manager salary is $74,246 in 2024, with the lowest 10% making about $51,000 and the top 10% making about $105,000.
Source: Payscale.

According to Payscale, the average salary is just over $74,000, whereas Glassdoor says the average is just under $88,000 annually. Both platforms suggest that the low-end annual pay is between $51,000 and $65,000, and the high-end ranges between $105,000 and $113,000.


How to become a successful content marketing manager 


Here are some steps you can take to maximize your chances of success as a content marketing manager. Some may take much more time than others, but they’re each worth your time and effort. 


Get a good education

A majority of employers prefer candidates with a bachelor’s degree (or higher). If you can invest in a college degree, do it. While some employers prefer candidates with marketing degrees, many others don’t state a preference.


If a four-year degree is out of the question, you can also gain the necessary education from hands-on experience. The more years of experience you have in content roles and specific areas of content marketing, the more you can show a proven track record of success, and the less important a college degree becomes.


Write, write, and write some more

Writing and publishing your own work is the bread and butter of content marketing. This will help build your reputation as a thought leader in your niche. It will also help build your portfolio to show prospective employers your strong writing and editing skills. 


Ghostwriting can be as important here as writing under your own name. With ghostwriting, you can show your ability to adapt your writing to different voices, platforms, and industries. This versatility can be just what you need to ensure your application stands apart.

Learn SEO and analytics

A growing number of content roles require experience with SEO and analytics tools. Start to play with these tools in your free time if you don’t use them for your day job. 


There are numerous places you can start your journey, including right here on the Wix SEO Learning Hub. There are also numerous guides and courses online to help you use search analytics tools like Google Analytics and Bing Webmaster Tools. Take advantage of these resources to help build your hard skill set. 


Get familiar with popular marketing tech tools

Aside from SEO and analytics tools, you’ll also want to become familiar with popular tech tools that companies rely on to market their products and services. With over 11,000 marketing tech tools available to you, there’s no way you’ll be comfortable with everything. However, it’s a smart idea to get familiar with a tool or two within each of these primary areas: 


  • AI content generators (e.g., ChatGPT, Jasper)

  • AI image and video generators (e.g., Dall-E 3, Synthesia.io)

  • Research (e.g., Qualtrics, BuzzSumo)

  • Collaboration (e.g., Microsoft Teams, Slack)

  • Content management system (e.g., Wix, etc.)

  • Document and file management (e.g., Google Drive, Dropbox)

  • Image and graphic design (e.g., Adobe Photoshop, Canva) 

  • Project management (e.g., Asana, ClickUp)

  • Email marketing (e.g., ActiveCampaign, MailChimp)

  • Social listening and brand monitoring (e.g., Brandwatch, TweetDeck)

  • Social media marketing (e.g., Hootsuite, SproutSocial)

  • Video marketing (e.g., Streamyard, Wave Video)


Build your personal brand and network

The more you get your name out there and the more recognizable you become, the easier it’ll be to land the job. Publishing content on your own blog or popular platforms like LinkedIn or Medium is a great start, but there’s so much more you can do.


Consider making networking a regular part of your schedule. Attend industry conferences, join a professional association, and reach out to close connections on LinkedIn every once in a while. And, if you’re not afraid of public speaking, apply to present at a local event or national conference. 


Seek leadership opportunities 

If you have limited management experience, there are still many opportunities to showcase your leadership abilities. Consider starting small at your company by asking for a special project to take the lead on. Spearhead a local initiative in your community. Volunteer for board service. 


No matter how you gain leadership experience, understand that being a leader means more than delegating work. It means showing you can act with integrity, empathy,

conviction, passion, and positivity. It means being a positive role model who doesn’t shy away from doing the work or making the tough decisions.


Get comfortable with change

Digital marketing is ever-evolving, and you must also be willing to evolve to remain relevant. Stay up to date with what’s happening by reading industry publications such as blogs and newsletters. Adjust your processes and tools as needed to stay current. And always approach this work with an open mind and keen curiosity. 


It’s also a good idea to keep a record of how you’ve successfully navigated industry changes in the past, as potential employers may look for that reassurance.


Opportunities abound in the world of content marketing


When it comes to defining what a content marketing manager’s role is, not all job descriptions are the same. However, nearly all require strategic planning, team management, campaign direction and oversight, and performance monitoring and reporting. Some (especially smaller companies) require content creation, publication, and distribution, as well. 


Regardless, there’s a strong demand for individuals who can provide the direction and management needed to develop a robust brand, define and implement a strategy, and drive sales-qualified leads. 


 

Cari O'Brien

Cari O'Brien is Founder and Chief Word Nerd at Custom Content Solutions, a digital content agency. She’s the creator of the Connection Copywriting Method and the online course, Write That Site. She’s a frequent speaker on branding and copywriting. Twitter | Linkedin 

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