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.
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.
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.
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.)
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.
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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