The 3 Essential Skills of a Content Marketer
Content Marketing is increasingly becoming a part of the toolkit for startups and brands to establish themselves as leaders in the space as well as increasing brand recognition. The difficult part about it, is not so much how to do it, but more around who should do it.
There are three essential skills every content marketer should have in their repertoire: highly persuasive writing, a solid grasp of social media platforms & how they work, and incredible organizational skills to stay on top of trends. From SEO algorithms, news, to the next best thing like the latest meme gone viral. If you are hiring for this position or seeking a career as a content marketer, make sure the following are checked off your list:
Artistic, Persuasive Writing
At the core of content marketing is great writing. There are many other skills and areas of expertise to develop, but attention-grabbing, high quality persuasive writing is one that no good content marketer can do without.
Writing is not the only form of content, but it pervades everything.
Learning some fundamental elements of persuasive writing is essential for online marketing success. Let's take a look at a few ways to write more persuasively.
Grab the reader's attention right away. Use a provocative and/or interesting example, anecdote, call to action, etc. to draw the reader in by the end of the second line.
Be clear on your mission. What is the point of your piece of writing? If it's to sell someone a product, never stray far from that idea. Establish your point early and clearly in your writing, and stick to it.
Use short sentences for power and impact. Don't overuse this tool. But keep it in mind.
Keep paragraphs short. This keeps readers engaged and makes for more powerful writing by emphasizing sentences more.
Write conversationally, as if you are having a casual conversation with one person. This is far more inviting to a reader than if you write in a generalized way for a huge group of readers. Know your audience, and write specifically to them.
Be specific. Use precise details, numbers, and figures when appropriate to strengthen your argument. Vague writing does two detrimental things: it bores readers, and it makes them believe you less. Don't say that your service is helpful, point to exact numbers of users who have used it, figures on the percentages of traffic or other metrics it has helped them attain, etc.
Use repetition to solidify your point. However, use it in the right way – don't use the exact same argument over and over. Stick to one message, but vary the ways you say it.
Try reading what you've written out loud. Doing so will quickly make it clear how smoothly your writing flows, and if there are any clunky areas.
Give readers solid “why's”. The point of a piece of content marketing writing is to convince the reader to do something. After you let them know what that is, make it crystal clear why they should do it. This is where the persuasive element comes in. Be clear and concise in your convincing arguments. “Why should you buy this product? Because 10,000 people use it to do A and B.”
One great way to build up a “why” statement is through social proof, as shown in the example above. Countless studies have shown that people are more likely to make certain decisions if they know a lot of other people have already made the same decision.
You should be able to recognize these characteristics rather quickly in the writing samples of prospective content marketers. Even if you use freelance writers for some of the work, the reviewer needs to be able to practice what they preach. Quality writing is a hugely important skill, but once you've published an amazing piece, you need readers for it to be effective. This is where social media savvy comes into play.
Personality That Shines
The thing about social media is that it’s a great tool to let really enthusiastic personalities grab the right attention. It’s really an art and THE art of conversation in today’s marketing world.
The pervasiveness of social media today is truly something to behold. In only a few short years, various social media platforms have come to dominate a huge amount of the web traffic, and have changed the face of internet marketing completely.
What we are learning fairly quickly is that there is more to being savvy with social media than just having a few followers on Twitter. A glowing social presence can increase not only brand recognition but trust and authority. Here are some points to keep in mind to increase your social media effectiveness:
Be consistent. Post daily on different platforms. Respond to comments from readers, comment on other people's articles, link to your own and other people's articles. By having an actively consistent online presence on social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and others, you increase not only your readership, but your own authority and influence in your particular area of interest.
Go deep. What I mean is, understand and dominate one channel at a time: Twitter, Google +, Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, the list goes on. Don’t be everything to everyone, choose one platform and do it well. Learn the features of that platform and see where your story can be maximized.
Use helpful add-ons. For example: Crowdbooster is a site that lets you sign up for personalized emails that contain a wealth of information, including how many people have seen your tweets, how many have retweeted them, and who your most influential followers are. They can even recommend the optimal times each day to post depending on your followers.
Buffer is a utility that allows you to add up to 10 tweets at a time, which are then posted automatically for you at intervals throughout the day.
Follow the analytics behind your posts with tools like Google Analytics. There are a ton of tools out there to track all sorts of information for you, from which links are working best to which sites link to you the most.
These are some relatively simple ways to increase your social media clout. Look for these programs in the skills section and don’t be afraid to ask directly about the other skills. Candidates that are involved in social media are accustomed to sharing their knowledge.
A meme seeking missile
Who thought being the one who knew every meme or YouTube hit would be worthy of a Content Marketing career? Well, say it ain’t so!
In a field that changes as rapidly as online marketing, it's extremely important to keep up on the newest trends and developments in the industry. It can be daunting to stay abreast of all the constant shifts in the tech landscape, but it is absolutely necessary to maximize your effectiveness as an online marketer. Regularly following tech news will assure you are aware of the current events in the industry - and the newest memes.
Development of these 3 skills – a solid grasp of persuasive writing, social media savviness, and a constant awareness of the newest tech news and trends – will direct you to the candidate, or career, that will rejuvenate your efforts.