We're coming to the end of the year, and many businesses are looking ahead to their 2017 marketing plans. Whether you're a startup or an established business, content marketing's likely to be part of your game plan: 88% of B2B companies are currently using content marketing in their marketing programs, according to the 2016 B2B Content Marketing Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends - North America Report.
Don't hire someone junior--experience is crucial.
Sure, content marketing may be a newer initiative for you, and it doesn't have the proven ROI that your digital advertising program might. That means your team may only want to allocate $40,000 or $50,000 in budget as opposed to $120,000+.
So of course, it follows that you'll aim for a younger grad, who may have only done a bit of freelance writing or a few magazine internships, but is eager and enthusiastic to prove herself, rather than the senior-level executive who'd scoff at your salary offer.
While the numbers might make sense on paper, the math won't add up in real life.
Hiring someone who doesn't have experience managing an editorial department or shaping a marketing strategy means that you'll struggle to build an efficient workflow, and will likely end up with content that doesn't deliver. In order to create a strong program, you need someone who can develop a strong messaging framework, identify key internal and external subject-matter experts, either create or manage the development of high-quality content, and build and measure a distribution plan. This is a tough ask for any individual, but nearly unfathomable for a fresh college grad.
So what should you do? Don't try to hire in-house before you truly understand your needs. Consider using an agency to help you map out a strategy and initial game plan, then test and optimize to see what's working or not before scaling your program. Once you've built a winning formula, you should be able to prove the value of your program and get budget approval to hire a senior-level pro to direct the initiative before fleshing out the team with junior support staff--we've outlined our ideal plan for building and scaling a content marketing strategy here.
But until you have the budget to move beyond the junior level, skip the college fairs and put the job listing on pause.