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Best content manager training resources for first-time content managers

Best content manager training resources for first-time content managers Blog Feature

Liz Moorehead

Director of Web & Interactive Content, Speaker, Host of 'Content Lab' Podcast

March 9th, 2020 min read

A long, long time ago in a galaxy far, far away... 

OK, not really. 

One afternoon five years ago, I was sitting across from Kathleen Booth in her office at Quintain Marketing — before we merged with IMPACT in 2017. 

At the time, I was a senior account manager at our little platinum HubSpot agency. While I had the chops to do the job, it was becoming abundantly clear that I was the right person in the wrong seat.

I wasn't marketer who was also a great writer; rather, I was a storyteller and writer who also happened to have a strong inbound marketing backbone.

Up until that point, however, I didn't know there was another seat open for me to take. 

"Liz, I want to put you into a new position I've been hearing about called a content manager."

In my new role, I would not only be able to exclusively focus on content creation, thought leader development, and brand storytelling, I would also get the chance to build out processes from the ground up and develop the role as I saw fit. 

You know, all the genuinely exciting stuff that comes with stepping into a role that didn't exist before. 

There was just one small problem. 

Content managers weren't really a thing yet

Kathleen had heard about the role from Marcus Sheridan. At the time, Marcus was preaching about the importance of content managers over at The Sales Lion before they merged with IMPACT.  (The first edition of Marcus' revolutionary book, They Ask, You Answer, hadn't even come out yet!)

Still, however, content managers were very much the exception to the rule of digital marketing teams, because they hadn't really existed until that point. 

So, back then, people like myself — and the content managers from the real world success stories we talk about today at IMPACT — were essentially pioneers on the frontier of a completely new role. 

Again, on the one hand, I love rolling up my sleeves (so to speak) and building something from nothing. 

On the other hand, that meant there was a complete absence of existing training materials on how to actually be a content manager. 

There were no scripts, no cohorts of more seasoned content management professionals I could turn to for help, no HubSpot certifications... nothing

tumbleweed

Figure 1: All of the available content manager training resources in 2015.

So, off all of us first generation content managers went off into the great unknown, experimenting, going through lots and lots of trial and error, developing news processes and best practices, making lots of mistakes, and so on. 

As sincerely fun as that experience was for me — heck, it's how I developed my own content style guide workshop and templates for brand voice and tone development — I don't want you to have to go through the same process of learning everything the hard way

While there is still a ton of opportunity for development of even more robust training materials out there for first-time content managers, a lot has changed since 2015.

Now, instead of a vast wasteland of nothingness, there are some great content manager training resources out there. 

Let's get into it.

Content manager training resources

Content management 101

Working with subject matter experts

Tools and templates

HubSpot certifications 

Also, check out our full (and recently updated!) ultimate guide to HubSpot certifications.

Content manager training books

Y'all, just read these three books in this exact order:

There are lots of other great marketing books out there, but these are the three you need to start with. Also, you need to read They Ask, You Answer as soon as possible — specifically, the chapters on "The Big 5." (There are a lot of chapters that talk about how to hire content managers like you, so you can just skip over those.)

Content manager training events

OK, we've already recapped some of the best digital marketing events and conferences for you — almost all of which have a lot of valuable content for content managers looking to level-up their skills

But I do want to call out something specific that I, personally, am very excited about. Digital Sales & Marketing Wold (previously known as IMPACT Live) made a huge pivot this year from a single-track event to a multi-track event

As part of that pivot, we're running an exclusive content managers track with content manager-only content

Am I talking about our own company's event? Yes. Yes, I am. 

Am I also talking about a part of an event where I'm going to be a speaker. Also yes.

But the reason why I'm tooting our own horn, so to speak, is because I would have killed to have something like this back when I first got started at as a content manager. The learning curve for me would have been much shorter, and I would have started getting better results much, much faster.

I don't know of any other event that has this kind of hyper-tailored curriculum that's just for content managers. 

Again, as I said at the start of this, conferences like...

...are also valuable to attend, but you'll have to do some strategic planning about what sessions you'll go to. Also, what you'll get out of these conferences as a content manager will depend greatly on what pitches are submitted from speakers.

Meaning the volume and quality of content manager-specific topics at those events will often drastically vary from year to year.

One last resource for you

Look, our industry still has a lot of work to do in terms of creating training resources for first-time content managers — and I'm not excluding IMPACT from that narrative. But trust me when I say I'll be updating this article very, very soon with new materials from IMPACT just for content managers.

Until then, however, I want to let y'all know I am here as a resource.

So, if you're a first-time content manager, shoot me an email at lmoorehead@impactbnd.com.

I know how hard it is to feel like you're totally adrift without guidance when you first start out as a content manager. I've been in your shoes. So, know you're not alone, and I've got your back if you need anything.

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