Writing is a key part the content marketer's toolkit, but there are other critical areas. See the other skills and how to acquire them.
There’s the impression in some circles that a content marketer is a glorified writer.
Having come from a non-writing background, I like to think that the best content marketers blend a variety of skills sets.
Their extensive knowledge base allows marketers to develop unique ideas for content, to create amazing content of all types, to promote that content via a variety of channels, and to repurpose or curate content effectively. The following skills are the most important for content marketers to master in order to be successful.
Related Article: Developing a Content Marketing Strategy...That Actually Works
Essential Skills for Content Marketers
Social Media Marketing
Social media exposure is at the top of the funnel for many businesses. Social media generates more awareness therefore a content marketer needs to understand how content will play in social media. In addition, finding and curating content in social media is a part of a content marketer’s role in many cases.
Search Engine Optimization
Search results can generate traffic from visitors who are at all stages in their buying process. From the most basic questions at the top of the funnel (e.g. “What is project management?”), to closer to purchase (“What is the best project management software”). Content marketers need to understand at least basic SEO and include it in their content marketing strategy.
Ability to Use Analytics
Content marketers need to measure their progress in a variety of ways. This includes using tools that track website analytics, search rankings, A/B testing results, social media engagement and reach, etc. Ideally the content marketer doesn’t depend on an analytics team to check stats in every case and is able to find and analyze data on the fly in order to be effective.
Strong Research Skills
Finding answers, new data or hidden insights can help the content marketer develop a better content strategy and allow their content to stand out from the crowd. A great content marketer needs to be able to find the proverbial needle in the haystack and not give up after the first Google query gone wrong.
Influencer Engagement Savvy
In today’s world top bloggers, thought leaders, journalists and analysts play a large role in the content marketer’s sphere. The ability to engage with influencers is critical in becoming better content marketers.
The content marketer needs to be involved in a variety of design-related tasks including those related to websites, landing pages, videos, images, infographics, ebooks, presentations, social media posts and webinars. A visual sense is essential. It’s harder to measure but I’m sure you can get a good sense by looking at a portfolio of past work or by showing what you consider bad design and asking for feedback.
Of course writing is essential, but I included it last to make the point that it’s not the only skill required. To be a great content marketer, writing for a variety of media and styles is essential. Great blog posts, website copy, ebook content, social media updates, presentations and other writing-related tasks are critical areas for a content marketer to master.
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Great Resources to Develop These Skills
There are many options to help develop the skills listed above. Some resources include shadowing more experienced content marketers, taking classes, listening to podcasts and watching how others market online. In addition, there are a lot of great books that dig into detail about various aspects of marketing.
The set of books featured in the slideshare below were specifically chosen because they focus on different aspects of the content marketer's world.
Some highlights from this curated collection of books:
- Epic Content Marketing: This was chosen as a powerful introduction to content marketing by the head of the Content Marketing Institute himself, Joe Pulizzi.
- The New Rules of Marketing and PR: In this great book, David Meerman Scott explains how marketing and PR has evolved and how to establish authority online.
- Social Media Explained: Mark Schaefer covers the psychology of social media use and the book helps you build your company's social media strategy.
- Optimize: Lee Odden does a great job of explaining how SEO, social media and content marketing can be combined for optimial business results.
So, read the slideshare below to see these and along with other great book recommendations!