Meet your new team member: the content librarian

If you’ve ever seen my presentation Content Marketing: Driving Business in a Post–Mad Men World, the image above will no doubt look familiar.

In that talk, I share my experience working as a librarian at the New Orleans Public Library during and just after college. I loved my job and I learned a lot … and once I moved on, I was pretty certain that that skillset could be shelved (pun intended) as more “practical” capabilities took precedence.

I may have been very, very wrong.

Last week this post by Arik Hanson on the Business 2 Community site caught my eye. Arik posits that, as organizations develop mountains of powerful, brand-building content, the need arises to organize, label, and manage all those assets. Sounds great, right? So, um, who’s going to do it?

Enter the content librarian.

We know that content is one of our greatest assets, but we’re not treating it like one. We crank out our blog posts, infographics, videos, podcasts, tweets, and slideshows week after week, and then we’re on to the next thing. But when a question arises like “Hey, what all have we done on [Topic X]?” we fumble, scramble, and grope, often turning to Google to come up with an answer — an answer that’s likely far from complete.

We’ve each created our own leviathan — a good, friendly leviathan, but a leviathan nonetheless. Now we need a beastmaster to tame it for us.

As Arik notes in his post, the job of “content librarian” doesn’t yet exist, but it fills a very real need. So how do we start looking for one?

This is just off the top of my head, but if I were looking for a content librarian, I’d be on the hunt for someone who:

  • Loves content. I mean lu-u-u-u-uvs And not just the sexy creative part, either. We need people who will lovingly evaluate each post, graphic, and clip, assign labels that reflect its value, and create distinct place for it on an easily accessible virtual shelf.
  • Is hyper-organized. Someone who will create a solid, robust system and use it consistently. No creating tags on the fly or assigning massive piles of content to the “Miscellaneous” folder.
  • Is a “finisher.” The initial task of getting all that legacy content organized is going to be huge, and it can’t be trusted to someone who will let it slide as other tasks come along.

Arik is predicting that “content librarian” will be one of the hot jobs of 2016 and it will be interesting to see how right he is.

OK, your turn: Will you find yourself looking for a content librarian before this year is up?