How to Acquire and Keep the Best Talent in Content

I was working with a client this last week and heard a fascinating statistic. My client was telling me about his audience, senior-level professionals in large companies, and how studies show how deeply unsatisfied they are in their jobs. In fact, 80% of them would be willing to change companies if an equal offer came along. Think about that. Three quarters of them would rather go do what they do for someone else. These people feel that what they’re doing in their jobs isn’t strategic, isn’t respected, and isn’t having a material effect on the business.

I asked the inevitable question: “Why don’t they leave?” The answer floored me. My client told me that it’s because “so many of them believe that it won’t be any better than where they are.”

Boy, is that a space ready for disruption.

I’m seeing the same thing in the marketing groups of the businesses I work with. We’ve come far enough in content strategy and content marketing to see fatigue begin to show. In many instances, we doubt our ability to make our strategies work. In fact, CMI’s recently released research found that only 20% of B2B marketers feel like their organizations are “extremely committed” to the practice of content marketing.  

We often fret about our inability to measure success in content because it’s difficult to prove how much the content contributed to solving a business challenge. We should also consider how that inability to measure is discouraging our teams from being motivated to even stay.

One of the challenges I see is that there is no clear career path for the content creator, the managing editor, the blog manager, or the content strategist in today’s environment. To advance in their careers, content practitioners may have to branch out into other more established areas (such as a classic marketing role), switch companies, or break out on their own. To do those things, they may have to leave behind the parts of their job they find most exciting.  

In short, our businesses are building up content practitioners as powerful, skilled communication experts only to provide them with dead-end careers.

I suspect that before long (if we’re not already there), 80% of content practitioners, like today’s executives, would be willing to switch companies but don’t. Why? Because they too will believe that it won’t be any better than where they are now.

If you’re among those who hire these amazing professionals, their generally low level of job satisfaction could represent opportunity for you. Consider that one of the questions I’m asked most these days is “How can we acquire the best talent in content?” Implicit in that question is “How do we keep these people once we have them?”

I answer both questions the same way: Show these people that the company values their contribution. Build strong content teams. Provide clear advancement paths. The best content practitioners don’t doubt their ability to advance the business. Their companies shouldn’t either.

Robert Rose
Chief Strategy Officer at The Content Advisory
As the Chief Strategy Officer of The Content Advisory, the exclusive education and consulting group of The Content Marketing Institute, Robert develops content and customer experience strategies for large enterprises such as The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Oracle, McCormick Spices, Capital One, and UPS.

Robert’s book, Experiences: The 7th Era of Marketing was called “a call to arms and a self-help guide for creating the experiences that consumers will fall in love with.” For the last three years, he’s co-hosted the podcast This Old Marketing, with Joe Pulizzi. It’s frequently a top 20 marketing podcast on iTunes and is downloaded more than a million times every year, in 100 countries around the world.
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Author: Robert Rose
As the Chief Strategy Officer of The Content Advisory, the exclusive education and consulting group of The Content Marketing Institute, Robert develops content and customer experience strategies for large enterprises such as The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Oracle, McCormick Spices, Capital One, and UPS. Robert’s book, Experiences: The 7th Era of Marketing was called “a call to arms and a self-help guide for creating the experiences that consumers will fall in love with.” For the last three years, he’s co-hosted the podcast This Old Marketing, with Joe Pulizzi. It’s frequently a top 20 marketing podcast on iTunes and is downloaded more than a million times every year, in 100 countries around the world.