“Content marketing” is such a buzz word these days that it’s almost already played out. Truth is, many of us have been doing content marketing for years – it’s just been labeled a bit differently. Now, the business world is looking at it with new eyes, and understanding it’s a holistic discipline. And I’m thrilled that it’s finally the content strategist’s time to shine.
What’s so great about it being in the spotlight is the value businesses are putting on it today; teaching businesses to create better content is something that’s been much needed for a long time now. In fact, the more businesses can look at content as publishers and creative advertisers, the more engaging, entertaining, quality and meaningful business messaging will be.
Content marketing is a skill set (notice I said “set”) and always has been. But what skills do you need to be a great content marketer, and what are the steps involved in creating a thorough content plan? Let’s have a look …
Attributes of a Great Content Marketer
First, content professionals need to have a more diverse skill set than ever before. I’ve been doing content strategy and development for years, add to this an internet marketing background, and it’s a deadly combination. Seriously, and listen to me here, if you can create a content strategy, develop quality content and know how to market it online, your skill set is going to be in demand.
There are many writers out there who are simply that – great writers. And this is a fantastic niche. But in order to succeed in this new era of content marketing, you’ll need an expanded skill set working for you. Don’t look at writing as just the words on the page; look at the whole picture. If you’re a business looking to hire a content strategist, a good mix of attributes is this:
- A strategic thinker with a business mindset and the ability to interpret data.
- A creative brain with an artistic mindset to view content for business in new and fresh ways (I realize those first two bullets seem to contradict; but this is the sweet spot).
- A background in and thorough understanding of digital marketing and how every discipline fits together (search engine optimization, social media, conversion rate optimization and more).
The Skills of a Great Content Marketer
This is not an exhaustive list, but here are some skills for powerhouse content marketers:
- The ability to think of content in terms of strategy.
- Understands internet marketing and has a generalist background in it.
- The skills of a great writer with attention to detail, a background in the journalistic approach to content (to uphold the integrity of it), plus the ability to have a voice that’s adaptive to different businesses.
- Understands and embraces data aggregated by analytics tools as part of the process, but also knows when measurement can hinder creativity.
- The ability to think visually and strategically so that visual representations of the content can be planned out (graphics, videos, etc.).
- Someone who believes in research-driven content, so that it provides value to the reader and speaks to the intended audience.
- Someone who is well versed in all types of online and offline content, including some of the more traditional marketing communications pieces.
- Someone who has experience in the publishing world is also a bonus, so they understand how to create content schedules and publication-type materials
Did I miss anything? Tell me in the comments below!