How to Hire the Best Content Marketer

Stop hiring walking cliches to create your marketing content.

People tend to resemble what they believe the characters they play should look like.

A bank manager looks like this


bank guy


…a student like this,


….a crazy person looks something like this,


…and writers look like this.

writer creates marketing content

That’s cool, except is that the person you really want creating the content for your business? Is a writer the ideal person to hire for writing?

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Maybe. Perhaps your business is a library, an accounting firm or something equally as boring, but if your product requires marketing and content that excites your audience, and not bores them to death, then let’s reevaluate the paradigm of the writer, and for that matter, everyone who promotes your business.

Importantly, I love libraries, and if I want to hire an accountant, I want one that looks like the cliche. The last thing I want is my accountant coming up with ‘crazy’ ideas on how to get funky with the tax department. I want him to fit into the standard, if not somewhat patronising habit of speaking to me like I’m a child and telling me what’s best.

But when I hire a marketing content creator, like a photographer, for example, I look for someone different; as in a different thinker who chooses to shirk tradition. Someone who will look at the world differently, and capture it in a way that nobody has before, and then the audience will be interested; because a unique perspective shakes the psyche and encourages new ways of thinking, challenges beliefs and encourages action – and purchases. It’s why iconic and simple campaigns, and slogans such as, “Just Do It,” make you stop and think, and then want to be involved.

All of that from an image, or a few words.

So if you shouldn’t hire a traditional writer to create your marketing content, and if a “standard” photographer, graphic designer or salesperson isn’t the right human to get extraordinary results, then who should you hire, and how should you hire them?

Hire a rockstar.

Literally? Yeah, if possible. Try and get this guy –

steve marketing content creator
And if he’s not free, go for this chap.

dave marketing content
If Hendrix wasn’t dead, he’d also be perfect, but I can totally see how Kanye West could sell the s#$t out of bathroom fixtures and even Taylor Swift could translate her boyfriend hating, teeny-pop into some pretty compelling prose targeted at new home buyers. Also marketing content by Ozzy Osbourne would be incredible, and possibly illegible.

Assuming these people turn you down, and you’re forced to look at the existing talent pool, what are the characteristics to look for?

In other words, what is a rockstar?

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1. They’re Fricken Fearless

I’m not talking in a drug taking, jumping off the roof to cheat death, riding a motorbike at 200 just to win a bet type of way…or am I?
Rockstars don’t care about fitting into anyone’s idea of who they should be, how they should behave, and tend to dislike structures that serve no purpose. For example, they’ll rehearse; because playing like a monster is who they are, it defines them, and they love it like an alcoholic loves that first drink, but they don’t want to go to a meeting about the venue or speak to the stage manager regarding safety. Because those things are dumb.

Those things suck

Next, rockstars do what it takes to get the job done. They don’t let anything stand in their way; not because they’re positive and upbeat, but because they’re f%#king rockstars and get out of the way!
Rockstars don’t fake positivity or try to falsely motivate themselves, they move the world on its axis by being a force of nature, and if the world doesn’t move for them, it’s getting a chair thrown at it.

Rockstars don’t need motivation. They don’t define themselves by how they feel -they are awesome- and whatever they do is the right thing. They never make mistakes, because those things only matter to people who think too much about stuff that goes wrong and choose to define them as mistakes. They wake up, kick a crazy amount of ass, fall asleep, then wake up and do it again.

To a rockstar, their job is their identity. They don’t do something to compliment their life – the job is their life. They fight to get where they are and know they need to keep fighting to stay there. As a result, when you ask what they do, it’s not a soft response – they know clearly who they are, why they do what they do and it’s no laughing matter.

Conversations with rockstars don’t go like this –

“So, what do you do?”
“I play guitar in a band; it pays the bills, but my real passion is gardening.”

But like this –

“So what do you do?”
“I’m a #$%W @#$@!!$ ROCKSTAR!!!!

It’s the same in the corporate world, when asking a rockstar designer what they do, you’ll be met with a passionate monologue on marketing content creation and why it’s important and why they’re the greatest.

Now you’re convinced the last thing you need is another boring writer, graphic designer, or barista, but how do you work out if the person you’re speaking to is a rockstar? First, throw out that recruitment manual, or preferably set it on fire and throw it into your bin. That’ll get you in the right mindset.

Next, forget everything you know about interview techniques, you’re looking for a rockstar, not a timid little baby who can effectively answer behavioural questions.

Ask the marketing content creator these questions instead –

What do you love?
What do you hate?
What are you afraid of?
What do you want?

If they can answer these big questions in an epic fashion, and without turning their answers into questions such as “What do you mean?” or “In what circumstance?” there’s a chance they’re a rockstar.

Next, break their interview pattern. Ask them to join you at the park to kick a ball around, or play Hungry Hungry Hippos. Rockstars are forces of nature and adapt easily if a change occurs, usually taking over, adjusting the rules to suit themselves and genuinely having fun in situations that others may find uncomfortable.

Hungry Hippos

Finally, throw them a guitar, set it on fire and ask them to play it with their teeth.

Just kidding.


Now, and most importantly, you need to make sure your rockstar can shine, and this could mean changing the way you manage. Rockstars like to know what you want them to achieve, and then to be treated like the epic human they are.

You see, rockstars see achievement differently; they only have one goal – be rockstarawesomecake.
They don’t try to be the “best singer” or the “most capable guitarist,” because those things are subjective, temporary and therefore stupid.

Awesomeness lasts forever.

When rockstars do whatever it is that they do, it’s not to break records or top a leaderboard. It’s not for bonuses or a supportive email – it’s to change the world because that lasts forever, you can’t undo it.

In the movie Troy, starring Brad Pitt and some other people, King Agamemnon is struggling with how to control Achilles; his greatest warrior. One of the King’s advisors says –

“We don’t need to control him, we need to unleash him.”

Don’t be Agamemnon.

Rockstars are attitudinal change in human form; you don’t minimise what they do, try to explain outcomes in too much detail or offer structure like it’s a positive thing. They’re not motivated by the same things as others and don’t care about perks, the best desk, or a new title. You don’t manage greatness, you unleash it into the world, and then support and encourage it.

When Axel Rose (before he turned into an idiot) got on stage, he did whatever he wanted, not to show that he could, but so that the concert itself would be an epic experience. He pushed boundaries, changed the rules of what a “good” performance was, and as a result, a capable band became iconic. The same as U2, the Red Hot Chilli Peppers, and numerous others.

After a show, you don’t pull a rockstar aside and say, “That was very good, you’re coming along nicely; we’ll discuss areas for improvement at Monday’s meeting.” You slap them on the shoulder, and acknowledge your own confusion at their courage, intuition, and creativity. Then the rockstar learns that to keep changing the world, they must continue to improve, be more epic, louder, more extreme…the pressure is overwhelming.

And they have enough pressure, so don’t lump your own managey nonsense on top of it. They’re putting enough pressure on themselves, but for more important things than simply impressing the boss, or getting a job done satisfactorily. They’re worried about their place in the world, their legacy and identity. Support them when they’re down, don’t berate them, that’s already happening internally. Your job is to remind them of their brilliance if they ever lose sight of it.

The best thing about having a rockstar to write your marketing content, or create your design, sell your product or manage your team – other than business growth – is that they attract other rockstars who want to be involved with like minds. Through creating a suitable environment, you gain loyalty and longevity from the most valuable of employees, who will do anything and everything to help you and your business be successful. A rockstar team is unstoppable and creates an energy of its own.

Look for the rockstar, throw out the rulebook (they can write a new one) and watch your business transform, as suddenly everyone knows about your business and wants to bang down your door and give you their money – because if you’re looking for a unique differentiator, choose being better over being different, and you can’t get awesome from just anywhere.

That requires a rockstar.