How to become head of content (definition and job duties)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 4 July 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

The head of content is the person who oversees all of the content on a website or blog. They're responsible for making sure the site's voice and tone are consistent and work with writers to develop new ideas and ensure those ideas are properly executed. Most importantly, they keep track of what's been previously published so they can make decisions about what to remove or add to the site. In this article, we look at how to become head of content and what's included in the job description.

How to become head of content

Follow these steps to learn how to become head of content at an organisation:

1. Get the right qualifications

To become head of content, it's necessary for a candidate to demonstrate a strong understanding of how content fits into an organisation's overall marketing strategy. It's also important for them to work with a variety of teams, including those in marketing, sales, research and development, product management and engineering. A good candidate generally also has experience managing other people, as this role often requires employees to manage their own team whilst also working with others on cross-functional teams. For this, a candidate often has journalism, media or creative writing and business qualifications.

Getting these qualifications

Candidates obtain their creative writing qualification, for example, by completing a course either at their local college or at university. Each course aims to teach students how to create high-quality content for a client's websites and social media profiles and/or other marketing materials like brochures or flyers. Whilst undertaking this qualification, students can, depending on the institution, combine their creative writing studies with business studies. This can help students to ensure they have the acumen necessary for this role. Some students decide to participate in regular workshops or online classes to achieve this.

Related: What can you do with a creative writing degree? (With salaries)

2. Get some experience as a writer or editor

As the head of content, you're responsible for creating, editing and publishing your company's content. This can include things like blog posts, press releases, product descriptions and even social media posts. This means it's crucial to have experience as a writer or editor before becoming the head of content. This is because knowing the basics of writing helps you understand what makes for good copy. As an editor, this is especially important because you work regularly with writers who may not have experience writing professionally. It's also essential to pay attention to grammar and spelling when editing content.

Getting experience as a writer/editor

To become the head of content for an organisation, it's useful to have relevant experience. There are many ways you can gain this, including:

  • writing for your own blog and publishing it online

  • writing for your school newspaper/publication

  • editing another person's work

  • working for an online magazine or newspaper

It often helps candidates get into this role by attaching examples of this work to a CV or a cover letter as this gives employers an idea of what you can do. You can also talk about these experiences in an interview.

Related: How to start your writer career (plus skills and FAQ)

3. Learn how to manage people and projects efficiently

The ability to manage people and projects efficiently is a vital skill for a head of content. For example, it's important to understand the kind of environment a team thrives in, what kind of feedback they need and how often they need it and how they like to receive recognition for their work. It also means knowing who on your team has certain strengths and weaknesses so you can put them in the best position possible to succeed.

Managing projects is another major component of being the head of content. This is because it's important to carefully plan out the aspects of any project before beginning work on it, from defining its scope and goals to setting deadlines and milestones. A head of content is responsible for this and for setting up an environment where people can collaborate effectively as they work towards achieving those goals together.

Learning how to manage people and projects efficiently

If you haven't had experience managing people and projects before becoming the head of content, it's important to learn how to do so as quickly as possible. This is because it helps you develop the necessary skills for this position and stand out from other candidates. The following are some tips on how to do this:

  • Read books about managing people and projects efficiently.

  • Join a forum where you can discuss different topics related to managing people and projects efficiently.

  • Take online courses on managing people and projects efficiently.

Related: Project management skills and how to improve them

4. Apply for head of content roles

With all of the aforementioned steps complete, candidates generally start to apply for head of content roles. There are various types of companies that might need a head of content. For example:

  • Start-ups: Start-ups are often looking for people with experience in marketing and content creation who can help them grow their business.

  • Marketing agencies: Some agencies look for heads of content to lead their teams either full-time or as independent contractors.

  • Content management systems: Content management systems often advertise for a head of content who can both build up and lead teams.

Related: 6 careers in content marketing (with job info and salary)

How to apply for a head of content role

Here's how to apply for a head of content role:

1. Research the company and the role

It's important to research the company and role when applying for a head of content role because it helps you to understand how your skills, experience and personality fit with what the company needs. This way, you can tailor your application to show recruiters you're a good fit for the position. When researching the company, find out about its mission, vision and values. You also want to learn about its history and any major milestones achieved in recent years. The more familiar the candidate, the more effective the application.

Related: How to research a company for an interview

2. Write a cover letter

Writing a cover letter for a head of content role is important because it helps you showcase your skills, experience and personality in one document. It's also an opportunity to show what you can do for the company, which gives the recruitment officer a reason to hire you over other candidates. Cover letters are usually sent alongside a CV, so it's important that it's well-written and highlights any relevant details that the CV doesn't. Good cover letters use keywords from the job description to show you have done some research and understand what they're looking for.

3. Prepare for an interview

Preparing for an interview when applying for the head of content role is important because it allows you to get an idea of what that organisation is about. You can then take this information on board and present yourself in a way that matches up with that organisation's image. To prepare for an interview, start by researching the company's website and social media accounts. This helps you to understand what type of content they produce, which can then inform your answers to questions related to your own experience.

Related: How to prepare for an interview

4. Complete the assessment test (if necessary)

Assessment tests are typically designed to give the employer a sense of your strengths and weaknesses and how they might play out in the role you're applying for. It's also useful because it helps you understand how the company wants to see its employees perform. In general, it's important to complete all parts of the application process for any job that you're interested in as this shows an employer you're a serious contender for the role. For heads of content positions, an assessment test may ask you to edit an article provided by the employer, for example.

Head of content job description

Job descriptions advertising for a head of content usually asks for an individual who is able to lead the team that produces content for an organisation. They work with the CEO, COO and CFO to develop a strategic plan for content marketing. Their responsibilities also include overseeing the editing and approval process for all articles that appear on their website.

For some, the ideal candidate has three to five years of experience managing a team of writers, with experience with SEO best practices and social media marketing. Attached to this is a list of responsibilities specific to the vacancy. For example, they want a head of content to be able to:

  • write blog posts, articles and press releases

  • create high-quality visual content such as infographics, videos and graphics

  • manage a team of writers

  • communicate excellently (both verbally and written) with stakeholders and the C-Suite

  • oversee the production process from start to finish

  • hire and train new content producers

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