Content marketing has become a top priority for B2B companies of all sizes. According to research by the Content Marketing Institute, 91% of B2B marketers use content marketing with 94% of them creating content from scratch, as opposed to repurposing or reposting third party pieces. Further, Sprout Content reports that 68% of Chief Marketing Officers plan to increase their content marketing budget in 2013. Clearly, the importance of content marketing is rising as B2B companies realize its potential to generate leads and drive engagement.
Although falling under the general umbrella of marketing, the role of a content marketer is quite different and unconventional from traditional marketing. The Content Marketing Institute defines content marketing as:
"a marketing technique of creating and distributing relevant and valuable content to attract, acquire, and engage a clearly defined and understood target audience - with the objective of driving profitable customer action."
From this definition, you can likely think of numerous important skill sets that a successful content marketer must embody; here are 5 skills that are executed by content marketers on a regular basis:
1. Strong writer and storyteller
As the title describes, a content marketer's role revolves around working and managing content. Although writing content such as blog posts can be outsourced, it's still imperative that content marketers have strong writing skills. And regardless, it's highly unlikely for a content marketer to survive in their role without actually writing their own original content! As such, the ability to write interesting content in a clear and concise manner is crucial for a successful content marketer. Depending on your industry, this might mean taking complex topics, such as HTML5 and responsive design, and breaking them down into easy-to-understand stories. Other times, a content marketer might need to take popular (and usually over-done) industry topics, such as social media, and find ways to provide a unique and valuable perspective on it.
Along with being a strong writer, successful content marketers are also fantastic storytellers. The best types of content are generally ones that your audience can relate to; it tells a story that connects with people's emotions and provides insight into questions they've been having or problems they've been struggling with.
2. Strong editing and grammar skills
Writing and editing are two very different things and a good content marketer must possess both skills. Editing other people's work requires being patient and detail-oriented: you need to have an eye for noticing minor grammatical errors or juggling words and sentences around without altering the text's meaning. Often times, editing also requires making alterations to a piece of text while retaining the original author's tone and style. This means having the awareness to recognize the elements that comprise an author's voice; it's then important to make edits that enhance the quality of the text and communication of the message while retaining the integrity of the author's voice.
3. Good research skills
Connected to writing and editing, a content marketer also needs to have good research skills. Often times, it's important to back up your content with credible stats and research; in these instances, you need to know what you're looking for and where to look. Anyone can research a topic if provided an infinite amount of time, but a great content marketer can research quickly, effectively, and can consolidate their findings into meaningful key takeaways.
4. Thinking creatively
People these days are bombarded with all types of content from the millions of mini-publishers that are brands, organizations, and individuals. Getting your content to stick in such a saturated market is no easy feat and that's precisely why content marketers must be able to think creatively. Aside from having a deep understanding of the types of content that are relevant and interesting to your target audience, it's also important to think of creative ways to get your message onto people's screens.
5. Seeing the big picture
It's easy to get wrapped up in the world of content, but effective content marketers always understand the role they play in the bigger context ofmarketing. In essence, they remember that they're creating content with the objective of driving profitable customer action. They see the big picture and have a strategic approach to aligning content with their overall marketing goals.
What other skill sets are important for content marketing? Let us know in the comments!