Do you want killer content or content that goes viral? These are two different skills.
Too many publishers and brands are trying to hire communications employees who can create killer content and make it go viral using technology. These are two different skills. If you have to choose between one or the other – well, don’t.
Different skill sets needed
Just because you know how to tweet doesn’t mean you know what to tweet.
Understanding how Twitter, Vine, Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, YouTube and Tumblr work doesn’t mean you understand the product, price and place issues of the company you’re trying to promote. Marketing communications is not marketing, and businesses that want to pursue a successful brand content strategy need employees who can create relevant content and then distribute it effectively.
You don’t need to be an expert at both, and very few people are.
Don’t hire a plumber to fix your air conditioner
The “anybody can write blog posts” mentality has led to many companies putting a premium on employees with social media expertise, assuming they can create well-written content to put on those sites. Someone who uses Facebook or Reddit or Pinterest like a pro often doesn’t have a journalism degree, agency copywriting experience or other formal editorial training and should not be expected to write like a pro.
The best content creators understand their primary job is not to create great content, it’s to create great audiences. “Great” content is necessary, but “great” content is only “great” if it attracts a specific demographic and motivates them to act in a specific way.
The best content creators don’t have to completely understand how social media technology works, but they should be guided by those who do. Effective brand content strategies require teamwork between expert creators and disseminators.
Don’t put unnecessary pressure on the people you hire to manage your social media by also asking them to be trained, professional marketing communications (marcom) writers. If you including content-creation skills in an interview for a social media or brand content strategist, candidates will, of course, say, “Sure, I can write solid copy and create great content.”
Ask them how they would assign work to a freelancer writer. If they don’t say this way, they probably can’t create effective content themselves.
Listen to Aretha
Show some R-E-S-P-E-C-T to your content team by acknowledging content creation and content dissemination are both valuable (and different) skills, and avoid shoehorning employees into jobs that require both competencies.