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Content marketing is no longer a new strategy that only in-the-know marketers think about it. Instead, it is the one marketing strategy every business needs to incorporate if they want to remain competitive. That is true across industries, businesses, and organizations of all sizes.
However, very few companies know how to do it, and even fewer know how to do it well. That provides a world of opportunity for the savvy Content Marketer. If you are interested in becoming a Content Marketer, there are a number of skills you can focus on to help get your resume up to snuff.
An Exciting Role
Content marketing focuses on creating valuable online content that will remain relevant to consumers. It is intended to attract customers and retain an audience that will become dependent on the information. Content can refer to any form of information including blogs, articles, videos, social media posts, images, white papers, case studies, and more.
Content marketers develop a content strategy with the goal of arousing and maintaining interest in a brand, product, service, or even a cause. You can hold a position within an organization to create content specific to their needs or work for a content marketing service and provide content for multiple clients. At the heart of the position, you will require excellent writing skills but also have a keen understanding of consumers, online habits, analytics, and a general understanding of the many platforms used in the industry.
Your career can blossom into many different areas depending on your own personal goals. However, the growth rate in the industry allows you to set lofty goals, with 51% of companies forecasting they would require an executive to oversee their content marketing in 2017. That is a 42% increase from 2016, and these numbers will continue to rise. It is a clear sign there is room for promotion in this industry.
Productivity: Proving Your Worth
Content marketers are under the gun to remain productive, providing valuable content that people can use. According to John Rampton, founder of the production tool Calendar, just about anyone can produce content, but very few can do it effectively. "Companies and individuals who do content marketing haphazardly usually find it ineffective, and often give up," says Rampton. A career in content marketing can be lucrative if you can prove to be a productive content provider.
The skills required to remain productive include:
- Idea-Driven: Content marketers must have an arsenal of ideas. You must be able to provide a plan that continues to generate new ideas for topics and subject matter that will keep your audience engaged.
- Planning: Planning the what and when of content is just as important as creating the content itself. You have to understand how much material is enough, so you keep your audience interested. Your readers should never feel put upon to read your info. Your plan needs to include the topics you will cover and when you will post your content, and you must follow through with the program you've laid out.
- Focus: In order to write excellent content, you need focus. Your plan has to be followed up with scheduled time where you sit down and write. Be wise with your time management, and you will find you get your writing completed to plan.
- Delegation Skills: Understanding when it's time to delegate is vital to help keep your plan flowing. If you are too busy to write, then outsourcing or hiring a writer makes good sense. That is how many a content director or VP has been born. They saw the need for growth, addressed it, and made it happen.
- Distribute Wisely: Your content is of no use to anyone if it can’t be found. Your role must also include a plan to get your content noticed. That involves many avenues from working with other thought leaders in your industry to leveraging your social media accounts. Most of all you have to understand SEO.
The Skills of a Successful Content Marketer
Content marketing is continuously evolving. Although you have your basic skills as a writer, telling a story is just one aspect of the job. Successful content marketers share the following abilities:
- Techie Tendencies: If you can combine excellent writing skills with technical skills, you will have an edge over the competition. A good start is to become familiar with common platforms such as WordPress. You should also look for courses in SEO, HTML, Google Analytics, CSS, demand generation, and coding. Being able to answer questions and understand a discussion about all or a good variety of these areas will come in handy when you are interviewing for content marketing positions. There are plenty of online courses you can take to add tech skills to your resume. You can also create accounts such as Google Adwords so that you can get some practice.
- Creativity: A well-rounded person makes an excellent content marketer as they can approach the work from many different angles. Creativity is the driving force behind content even in the driest of industries. You must be able to engage people using a combination of creative approaches that are both visual and text-based.
- Branding: If you can come at content marketing with some brand development under your belt, you will be offering a more strategic aspect to your skills. That works in hand with creative skills and can help you show potential employers that you offer more than just writing skills. It will also assist in planning out the content strategy.
- Research: The only way to create content is to research, research, and research some more. But research serves another purpose. It teaches you how other people will be seeking the info you are providing. Every search you do for your own content is a lesson learned in SEO. Your research skills will prove that you know how to create content your customers need, as well as how to identify pain points that can be solved with the content you create. You also need research skills to investigate your competitors as well as how your own products and services are used and needed by consumers.
- Creating Your Own Brand: Creating an online presence of your own goes a long way to showing potential employers what you can do. Having active social media accounts will help profile your skills. Your LinkedIn page is particularly important. Posting industry related blogs and other posts will help set you up as an industry expert. Showing you have followers of your own speaks volumes of what you can do for your employer's social media pages.
Your Day as a Content Marketer
A content marketer’s job will vary greatly from company to company. However, there are a few common roles and duties most content marketers share including:
- Strategy: In most positions, you will develop a content strategy and set measurable goals to ensure your plan is working. You will determine the type of content you (or your team) will create, where and when it is published, and how it ties into the company goals.
- Identifying Targets: In order to generate excellent content, you must understand your audience. Empathy is important, so you can understand where your audience is coming from and answer their questions.
- Research: This will take up a lot of time as you have to investigate trends, identify opportunities, and look for holes in the content your competitors are providing. Because content must be unique to be successful, it is often a good idea to be working with your sales team or customer service department to get information that is specific to your own customers’ needs. And of course, you will also spend time researching keywords to ensure your SEO is effective.
- Planning: An effective content marketer uses a content calendar and plans to keep on top of their tasks. You will prepare the subjects you wish to cover, schedule them strategically on your calendar and ensure you are not overusing the same information too often. Rotating information, repurposing older blogs and looking for new ideas are all part of the plan. You can also switch things up with a mix of video, editorial, blogs, memes, and infographics.
- Brainstorming: A good content team spends plenty of time brainstorming to continue to generate the best quality content. It is a creative process that keeps the juices flowing and keeps people passionate about the subject they are addressing.
- Writing & Editing: Depending on your level, you can expect to put in quite a bit of time writing, or at least editing content. You will either do it yourself or oversee a team of writers both in-house and freelance whose work will require review. If you do have a group of writers, you will also assign work and manage workload.
- Analysis: You will assess metrics for everything you post to help ensure your plan is working. You will review data and adjust your content based on what you learn. That is to ensure you get the best ROI from your plan.
Content marketing is still a relatively new career providing ample opportunity for growth. Whether you are a writer, a recent graduate or are looking for a career change, content marketing is the perfect solution for the self-starter who is creative at heart.