How to Onboard a Content Manager Without a Coach  | RedPandas Digital
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How to Onboard a Content Manager Without a Coach 

Are you thinking about hiring a Content Manager? Finding the right person is only half the battle; the real challenge lies in onboarding them effectively so they can hit the ground running. You’re not just hiring a content manager; you’re investing in the future of your brand’s voice and online presence.

Are you thinking about hiring a Content Manager? Finding the right person is only half the battle; the real challenge lies in onboarding them effectively so they can hit the ground running. You’re not just hiring a content manager; you’re investing in the future of your brand’s voice and online presence. 

Hiring and onboarding a Content Manager can take a lot of work to get it right. You need to know who you’re looking for, how to evaluate potential Content Managers for your team, and then how to onboard them.  

🔎 Read: How to Evaluate Potential Content Managers for Your Team 

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It’s not as simple as “Here’s your onboarding doc, get started.”  

That’s where the power of having a coach comes in. With a coach who has done it before, you can rest assured that you’ll get the exact guidance you need to help your new Content Manager succeed.  

We’ve worked with companies who have tried to do it themselves but failed and came to us for coaching afterwards. The benefit of having a coach can’t be understated.  

🔎 Read: Marketing Coach vs Agency: Why You Need a Coach for Real Success 

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However, if you have buy-in within your organisation and are dedicated to learning and following the principles of ‘They Ask, You Answer’ (TAYA) without a coach, it can be done.  

If this is you and you aren’t ready to work with a coach like us, you can follow this guide as a starting point to help you onboard your Content Manager.  

As a Content Manager myself, I’ve been through onboarding and have succeeded in my role over the last few years.  

I know exactly what a fresh Content Manager needs to know to hit the ground running. 

By the end of this article, you’ll have a clear guide for onboarding your Content Manager, as well as a comprehensive list of resources your new content manager will need.  

So, let’s dive in.  

P.S. Note that this is a rough guide, and when you do work with us, you get access to a suite of paid courses (as well as coaching) to help you succeed. 

What is a Content Manager? 

The reason for hiring a content manager goes beyond merely wanting to add a new member to the team. It’s about establishing a clear vision for your company’s content strategy and ensuring it’s executed with precision, professionalism, and passion.  

A Content Manager is responsible for creating, managing and distributing all of the content for a brand. Their role extends to working with the sales team and subject matter experts to produce content that helps their company grow.  

To give you an idea, a Content Manager could be responsible for:   

  • Writing and publishing three blog articles per week   
  • Running regular Revenue Team Meetings to effectively align marketing and sales and brainstorm content  
  • Interviewing Subject Matter Experts in your team   
  • Providing regular content updates to the team to the entire organisation involved and excited about content  
  • Reporting on the ROI of blog articles  
  • And if you’re lucky and you pick the right person, they can handle all of your social media and website needs as well 

The ideal candidate is someone who is:  

  • Passionate about writing: This person will be creating a substantial amount of written content, so a love for writing is non-negotiable 
  • Customer-focused: The content manager should have the ability to create content that speaks directly to your customers’ needs and concerns 
  • An excellent communicator: This role often involves interviewing others, so the ability to interact effectively is key 
  • Eager to learn: The landscape of content marketing is ever-evolving, hence the need for a continuous learning mindset 
  • Organised, goal-oriented, and detail-driven: These skills are vital to manage content projects successfully and meet deadlines 

In terms of background, a great content manager can come from any walk of life.   

They could be fresh out of university or a seasoned professional. They could be former journalists, teachers, creative writers, law students, or even industry outsiders.   

The essential factor is not industry experience but rather their ability to exhibit the core skills we’ve outlined above. Typically, we see greatest success with people who have a passion for the human language and writing.   

How to Hire a Content Manager (Day by Day) 

Your onboarding should ideally take one to two weeks. In this guide, we’ll look at a two-week example.  

Here’s what the first two weeks for a Content Manager might look like:  

  • Day 1-2: Understanding the Company and the Role 
  • Day 3-4: Forming the Revenue Team & Content Production Process 
  • Day 5: Assignment Selling & The Big 5 
  • Day 6-7: SEO & The Healthy Content Pipeline 
  • Beyond Onboarding: Video, Social Media, and Email 

Day 1: Understanding the Company and The Role 

The first day is foundational, focusing on familiarising the Content Manager with your company culture, processes, and the specifics of their role.  

This includes general HR onboarding, introductions to key stakeholders, and beginning to understand the principles of They Ask, You Answer—a customer-centric approach to content creation. 

Resources Your Content Manager Should Learn on Day 1-2:  

Expected outcomes: 

In the first two days, it is critical that the new content manager: 

  • Develops a clear understanding of They Ask, You Answer principles 
  • Meets all key company stakeholders and future subject matter experts 
  • Begins to plan (or at least think about) a production process that will allow them to consistently write and publish three pieces of content per week 
  • Schedules initial content brainstorm meetings (that will happen in the second week) 

What else to add to their schedule: 

  • Schedule coffee chats for them with subject matter experts and sales reps that they’ll be working with later 
  • Have different team members take them out for lunch. It’s important to build rapport since your Content Manager will be working with subject matter experts later 
  • Have the content manager sit in on huddles and other meetings, getting to know your business, your products or services, and your people 
  • Get your Content Manager to read any branding / tone of voice guidelines you have, as well as any other existing company documents around your products and services that will help them familiarise themselves with your business 

By the end of the first two days, your content manager must see themselves as a crucial part of your They Ask, You Answer initiative.  

Day 3-4: The revenue team and the content production process 

Days 3 and 4 are all about educating your Content Manager on the need for marketing and sales to work together for success.  

Days 3 and 4 might involve:   

  • Aligning the Content Manager with the Revenue Team to identify content priorities 
  • Learning about how buyer-centric content that supports the sales process  
  • Learning about how to run a content brainstorming session 

Resources Your Content Manager Should Learn In Week 2: 

Expected Outcomes 

Other than learning, your Content Manager should also:  

  • Schedule a Content Brainstorming Session with the Revenue Team. When they schedule this for depends on the team’s availability, but you should aim for within the next week or two after onboarding 
  • Establish a process to organise projects. One step of this process should be getting approval before a piece goes live  
  • Sit in on any sales meetings that happen (if possible). They should also watch at least 30 minutes of recorded sales calls per day. Don’t record sales calls in your team? Here’s why and how you should share sales calls with your team 

Day 5: Assignment Selling & The Big 5 

On the fifth day, you’ll want your Content Manager to start thinking about The Big 5 Content Topics and how to develop content for your sales team.  

Day 5 might involve:   

  • Understanding the process and purpose of Assignment Selling and taking this into consideration when ideating and writing articles 
  • Understanding ‘The Big 5’ and learning how to build a Content Matrix 

Resources Your Content Manager Should Learn in Week 3 

Day 6-7: SEO & The Healthy Content Pipeline 

Coming into Week 2, your Content Manager needs to start thinking about developing a healthy content pipeline.  

That means writing and publishing three blog articles every week. On top of this, it’s also a good point in time for your Content Manager to be introduced to basic SEO principles and the use of AI in their role.  

Sometimes when we coach clients, we recommend holding off on introducing SEO at this point. This is because it’s more important for your Content Manager to master some of the fundamentals we’ve already covered first.  

Whether you choose to introduce this during the second week or not will be up to you.  

Here’s what day 6 and 7 might look like:  

  • Understanding how to write blogs with SEO principles in mind 
  • Using ChatGPT to speed up the workflow and develop a healthy content pipeline 
  • Using AI SEO tools to enhance SEO efforts 

Resources Your Content Manager Should Learn Beyond Week 2 

Expected Outcomes 

Here are some potential outcomes you might want to look at (but note they most likely won’t have this down pat after the second week):  

  • Your Content Manager should understand how to optimise their content for search engines and they should apply this to the blogs they write  
  • Your Content Manager should develop a plan to get 1-2 weeks ahead with articles so that they have a steady flow of content available 
  • A healthy content pipeline should have a content manager always working two to three weeks ahead 

Beyond Onboarding: Video, Social Media, and Email 

In the months following Week 2, it’s important for your Content Manager to start thinking beyond blog articles.  

A great Content Manager’s role extends beyond just writing and publishing articles. It also involves social media management, email marketing, content reporting, and historical blog optimisation to improve SEO. 

Here are some things you might want to introduce into their role beyond the second week:  

  • Creating a strategy for video, social media, and email newsletters  
  • Setting KPIs for publishing video content, social media content and email newsletters  
  • Implementing video, social media and email strategies 
  • Creating marketing reports and analysing these on a regular basis  
  • Updating and managing website content  

Resources Your Content Manager Should Learn After Onboarding 

Note that you shouldn’t expect your Content Manager to go through all of the above materials in Week 2 (or even Week 3 or 4), especially since they’ll need to be producing articles and sticking to their weekly KPIs.  

However, perhaps creating a plan around how they consume this content over the following months would be a good idea.  

On top of that, if your Content Manager wants to improve their career in general, we recommend them regularly watching the Marketing Mentors Podcast. 

To summarise, your onboarding should take around 1-2 weeks, and here’s what it should look like each week:  

  • Day 1-2: Understanding the Company and the Role 
  • Day 3-4: Forming the Revenue Team & Content Production Process 
  • Day 5: Assignment Selling & The Big 5 
  • Day 6-7: SEO & The Healthy Content Pipeline 

So, What’s Next?

Once your Content Manager is smashing their targets, you’ll want to track their progress over the months and ensure they’re on target.  

Since this article only covers the first two weeks of onboarding, here’s a short guide on what the first six months and beyond of your Content Marketing timeline should look like when you hire a Content Manager.  

Read: What Should My Content Marketing Timeline Look Like When I Hire a Content Manager 

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