03 May 2023 |

A magic assignment for the first 30 days

By Tracey Wallace

I talk a lot in this newsletter about content marketing teams being under-resourced, and that’s true! A lot of them are. But as you move up in your career, and as content marketing gets more and more popular as a marketing channel, it’s likely you’ll get at least some resources and then hire someone (or several) to help you out. 

You’re building your team, woohoo!!

Now, it’s crucial to build a strong 30-60-90 day plan for your new hires before they join. This gives them a roadmap to success on your team, and it can help you, too, know what they are working on and where they are at in a learning curve before you begin assigning the bigger, meatier projects. 

I always like to begin my new hires with a clear 30 day interview plan, which goes something like this:

Gather the list

List all of the people (ideally no more than 15) that they should grab a 15 introduction meeting with over the next 30 days. 

These should be folks on the larger marketing team that often work with the content team. 

Now, I typically really hate introduction meetings myself. They are usually unstructured, and just the new person saying, “Someone told me I should talk to you, so I did!” and then I feel resentful that my time was so disrespected. 

Don’t do this to your peers, and don’t do this to your new employees, either! 

Instead, build the list for them, and then––give them a specific purpose for that meeting and questions to ask. 

The meeting purpose / assignment

Now, make it clear for your new hire that the goal of these meetings isn’t just to meet the folks they will be working with. We want to gather information, and present that information back to the content team. 

We want to know what this person thinks of the content that is already being produced, what they think could be better, what they think is going well, and how they think content currently helps (or hurts!) their own work. Finally, we want to know how they think content could make their job easier. 

So, in these interviews, the goal of the new employee is to gather all of this information, synthesize it, and then present it at an upcoming content meeting to the team. 

They don’t necessarily need to come up with solutions, though they can! But the goal here is to gather information that the larger marketing team might not be so willing to share with the existing team because of personal relationships, awkwardness, timing, etc. 

It’s often easier to get new folks to innocently ask these questions, and then the content team can wrap those answers into our processes and strategy and improve ourselves to help better serve the larger team. 

This is a huge first win for the new hire, gets them introduced properly to folks and thinking about content problems, and gives them valuable information to give to their new co-workers within the first 30 days. 

The interview questions

I always offer a few interview questions for the new hires to take to these meetings. They can always come up with more based on the overall purpose and the assignment. Here we go:

  • What do you love the most about your role at the company?
  • What is the hardest part about your job?
  • How can content help make your job easier? 

That’s it. Those are the three questions I send folks in with. Remember—these are 15 minute meetings, so there’s not a ton of time to go deep. These three questions, I’ve found, help someone open up, find the pros and the cons, and give insight on what they think is working (or not) with content. 

And that’s it! That’s the first assignment I give to my new hires. Well, this and then to also read through the content strategy documents, etc. And if you are a new hire, and don’t have a clear 30-60-90 plan laid out, this is something great to suggest to your new boss. 

Again, it gets you introduced to the right folks, and gets you intel on how they think content could be improved and more helpful. 

It puts you in the position of someone looking and ready to make things better––and it gives you insight into where to even begin to look to fix problems that are ailing the team. 

Good luck!