If you want to succeed in content marketing today, you can’t get by with just a basic understanding of the discipline. There are many moving parts to oversee and practitioners need to master a broad range of specializations.
Aside from possessing a broad skill set, content marketers also need to keep an eye on current trends in both digital marketing and technology, as well as understand how audiences consume content and how this influences their buying decisions.
To ensure your success, here’s our list of the eight essential skills every content marketer should have.
8 Skills Every Content Marketer Should Have
In content marketing, writing is foundational—almost everyone is going to have to write at some point. You might end up writing blog posts, copy for emails, and other types of content. Whatever it is, a content marketer must know how to structure coherent and grammatically correct sentences. If you need help in these two areas, you can use Grammarly to polish your content prior to publishing.
Here are additional tips you can use to improve your writing skills:
- Make sure your content is easy to read.
- Simplify complex topics.
- Use the appropriate vocabulary and style for the specific context.
- Create smooth transitions and hard-hitting conclusions.
- Craft compelling and attention-grabbing openers and/or headlines.
Of course, writing isn’t just about putting words together, as it’s also about telling a story that will resonate with your readers. Piquing your audience’s interest through your content is what makes you and your brand stand out. In short, to be an effective content marketer, you have to be a good writer and an even better storyteller.
Before developing campaigns, thorough research is important. Studying successful campaigns and analyzing how they’ve made an impact is part of the research process. You may also want to compile a list of the bloggers and influencers you’d like to partner with to broaden the reach of your campaigns.
A campaign that isn’t grounded in solid research is a waste of time and resources. So when researching, you’ll have to gather information like a journalist or academic.
Listed below are three quick tips that will help you gather information more effectively:
- Filter your search: When looking for hard data and facts, make sure to use Advanced Search on Google. Look for statistics and studies that come from sites with .gov or .edu domains so that you can be sure that you’re getting your information from reputable institutions. Filtering your search can also weed out unreliable sources or your competitors’ sites.
- Search for news articles: If you’re researching about current events, read news articles that can deepen your understanding of the topic and watch out for developing stories about the subject.
- Check the quality of the website: There are some sites that may seem like a reliable reference at first sight. But if you notice glaring grammatical, syntactical, and spelling errors, then it’s better to not use them—especially if you’re looking for authoritative sources.
Here are additional pointers to keep in mind when you’re researching:
- Know the interests and pain points of your audience.
- Identify your competitors, determine what they lack in their content, and strategize how you can differentiate your content from theirs.
- Understand your product or brand and how you can develop your content around it.
In order to continuously churn out quality content ideas, you’ll have to be in research mode at all times. The content you create will become more targeted and effective, as a result.
3. Marketing Awareness
Mature content marketers know their target audience well and empathize with their needs. One concept that will help you master these skills is the Buyer Persona, a semi-fictional representation of your ideal customer. Knowing this will provide you with a better picture of your target audience’s motives, psychological drives, and interests, which in turn can help shape your content.
Understanding data and metrics will help you measure the impact of your content. Your analytics can also be used to improve your content. If you don’t know how to interpret the data being generated by your content, it’s going to be impossible to fulfill these objectives.
5. Content Marketing Strategy
Organizing and planning are integral skills that content marketers need to master, especially when more clients enter the picture. You have to make time for each project without sacrificing quality. This means providing deadlines (and strictly following them), planning posts for a specific timeframe, and committing to a publishing schedule. In other words, you’ll need to document your content marketing strategy to boost your chances of success.
6. UX Awareness
What you write is going to show up somewhere—a mobile device, on social media, or on a blog—so your content must fit that specific context. This is what you call user experience or UX, which is the overall interaction between a user and a website or product.
Use keywords that are relevant to the user and focus on the overall impact of your content on its audience. While knowing how to craft effective UX design isn’t an essential skill for content marketers, being aware of its principles is important.
7. Basic Design & Coding
As a content marketer, knowing how to do basic design can help. Graphics draw attention and make your content more attractive. Your designs don’t have to be complicated to achieve these objectives. What’s more, creating simple designs will prevent your content from relying purely on text to engage and convert. If you’re not a whiz at design, Canva and similar websites can help you create compelling graphics and simple layouts.
8. Verbal Communication
Since many content marketers and writers work remotely, it may seem odd to think that one should develop this skill. But verbal communication skills are important in content marketing as you may work with clients and team members from different parts of the world.
As a content marketer, you must be sensitive to cultural differences because certain expressions or words may mean something positive to you but negative to someone else. Making sure your verbal communication doesn’t come across as offensive is crucial for multicultural professional relationships to work.
Bonus: Video Production
We’ve written before that video content marketing is going to be one of the top trends in 2019. As attention-grabbing videos and ads are already being produced by brands, you’ll need to learn video production to add value and potency to your content marketing strategy. You don’t have to be an expert filmmaker but knowing how to craft short ten-second videos or Facebook ads will give you an edge over your competitors.
To be a content marketing specialist, develop grit & perseverance.
As previously stated, content marketing is a continuously evolving discipline and you’ll need to add new skills to your arsenal to stay relevant and competitive. According to a recent report from the Content Marketing Institute (CMI), 56 percent of B2B content marketers invested in content creation in 2018. As the content creation space becomes more crowded, standing out is going to get tougher.
Eventually, your content is going to receive criticism and some people will make negative comments about your work. To become a truly successful content marketing specialist, you’ll need to develop perseverance and grit. Brush aside those negative comments, learn from constructive criticism, and focus on growth and improvement. Also, take the time to research and learn new skills.
Fortunately, you don’t have to do this alone. If you need help with strategizing and developing content for your brand or business, consider reaching out to experienced content marketers to drive your business goals.