Content, Content and More Content!“Right now our clients are looking for anything to do with content,” says WunderLand Midwest Talent Engagement Director Tara Hurley. “They need good, relevant content, and they need it all the time. Not just Facebook and Twitter updates, but a constant stream of creative, multimedia, original content.”
Content can mean many things to many companies, but Hurley says her clients’ main need is for written work that can be repurposed and repackaged for multi-channel distribution. She points to three content-related skill sets in hot demand:
As a company grows, pivots and adds offerings, the demands on its website evolve constantly. Eventually they’ll need a new site altogether. “If a company is rebuilding its site, or moving from one platform to another, they need people with the technical skills to get the data from the old site to the new one.”
“We’re also seeing a lot of mergers and acquisitions, where you’re combining content from two companies,” she adds. “Someone needs to direct what gets included and what gets omitted, and most importantly, making the decision as to why.”
More on content migration:
Clients want writers with versatility and experience.
“We’re looking for someone who can write anything well,” says Hurley. Ideally, “they’ve worked with reputable companies and done plenty of web content and emails. Clients especially want someone with specific experience, like business-to-business.”
Even with the growing popularity of podcasts and video, she says most of the demand is for written content. “There’s growing demand for visual and web design, and increasingly more for video and other forms but writing is still the biggest.”
More on Content Creation:
Like content strategy, content management—and the skills it requires—can be hard to define.
“Clients are generally looking for mid-level people with previous experience,” says Hurley. “They should be somewhat tech-savvy—someone who knows a little HTML, say, not someone who’s going to code a site from scratch. And they should be familiar with a content management system like WordPress, Joomla or Adobe CQ5.”
“They could come from a marketing position or a quality assurance background,” she adds. Editing and proofreading come into play, but project management skills and personality are the most important. “They know how to be a liaison between multiple groups, and they’re personable enough to work with anyone right up to the business owner.”
More on Content Management:
User Research and Usability Testing
Beyond content-related jobs, Hurley says most clients are looking to find talent in User Research and Usability Testing. “For a few years now, clients have recognized that these are separate disciplines from User Experience.”
“Candidates don’t have a design background—it’s more likely to be psychology or some other research-intensive field,” she adds. “They do qualitative, ethnographic research—interviews and focus groups—to gather information before the design process, and test designs as they’re developed.”
She says this sort of upfront discovery is connected to the rising popularity of design thinking—a method of addressing all sorts of business issues through the design protocol of defining problems, proposing and testing solutions, and executing the best-performing option.
“It’s all about improving customer experience,” she adds. “Basically, the companies that are doing the best are the ones who are actively engaging their customers.”
More on UX Careers:
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Editor's note: This article was originally published in October 2014 and has been updated to include recent trends and data. Tara Hurley has also moved into a different role and is currently Director of Recruiter Training with the parent company of WunderLand Group, Advanced Group.