Among the many impacts of COVID the past two years has been a reassessment by millions of workers, including marketers, of their professional careers. For individuals considering a move to content marketing (and those who may not have thought about it), the space has evolved in recent years, and career trends in content marketing have been positive and are expected to continue in 2022 and beyond.
A survey by SEMrush indicates that 94% of marketers were currently incorporating content marketing as part of their overall marketing approach, and 68% aimed to increase their content marketing budgets in 2021.
As the digital world evolves, brands need to find newer ways to stay top-of-mind with their customers. Content marketing has become the engine driving many a company’s marketing strategy. In today’s marketplace, it’s almost unthinkable for modern brands to operate, let alone succeed, without a robust content strategy and the marketers who must execute it.
Factors to consider
While the prospects for building a career in content marketing are encouraging, it’s essential to gain a deeper understanding of the space.
Here are some important factors to help you decide if content marketing is a good fit.
Writing creatively in your brand’s voice
I recently fielded a LinkedIn survey to understand why professionals chose a career in content marketing. Responses are below.
Forty-two percent said they chose a career in content marketing because they have strong creative writing skills. While writing is a crucial skill in the content marketing function, marketing content is different from creative writing.
As a creative writer, you’re writing in a tone and style that’s truly your own. But that’s not always true for content marketing, where you’ll need to adopt your brand’s voice and tone. While the principles of storytelling are common across content marketing and creative writing, the focus of content marketing is on the target audience’s needs and business goals. Also, writing marketing copy is much more data-driven, focusing on the results and business impact.
After writing, it’s not surprising that research is an integral part of any content marketer’s day-to-day life. A study by SurveyMonkey shows that 82% of people prefer data-backed content compared to reading the author’s opinion. A brand improves its chances of standing out and capturing its audience’s attention when content is relevant and backed by research.
To produce such in-depth original content, marketers need to understand the audience truly, and then go more deeply into the topics that matter. This is done effectively through a mix of qualitative and quantitative research from primary sources (e.g. interviews you conduct with subject matter experts or the LinkedIn survey I mentioned earlier) as well as secondary sources like trade publications, government reports, and academic studies.
Willingness to adapt
Content marketing continues to evolve at a fast pace. This means content professionals need to keep an eye on these changing trends and adapt quickly.
The pandemic is a classic example of how the best-laid plans can become irrelevant. With the global threats of uncertainty and economic slowdown, most brands needed to reassess their marketing strategies. Getting the proper messaging, voice, and tone helped companies engage with empathy and win over their audience’s trust. Read more about how content teams can step up their game during a crisis.
The meteoric rise of short-video sharing platforms like TikTok is another excellent example of how content marketers need to be ready to adopt new ways to communicate with their target audience. Within four years of its launch, TikTok has grown from 0 to 1 billion active monthly users, warranting video-sharing platforms a seat within B2C and B2B brands’ marketing channel mix.
Organization and planning
Content marketing usually involves working on multiple projects simultaneously and collaborating with different teams. For example, you might be writing a blog while working with designers to get creatives for an ebook and also editing guest blogs from your contributors. Add managing numerous internal and external communication channels, and it’s easy to feel overwhelmed.
In short, content marketers need to stay organized. Successful content marketers can identify what needs to be done, set a plan, and see tasks through to completion. Thankfully, a variety of content marketing tools exist to help content marketers improve their operational efficiency and still produce high-quality content.
Data-driven decision making
Successful content teams lean on data at each stage of content marketing – from SEO and keyword research, traffic analysis, audience insights, to leads generated. Content marketers are also expected to present performance analysis and justify past and future decisions to the larger marketing team, including senior leadership.
More and more companies are beginning to realize the benefits of cross-functional collaboration instead of creating content in silos. For example, if you’re building case studies, you’ll need to collaborate with customer success, product marketing, design, data science, communications, and possibly more. Companies such as HubSpot encourage a content culture and encourage employees outside content and marketing to contribute to the content creation and distribution process.
This means the content team now works across functions as an editor’ guide to support and enable teams with content creation and storytelling.
If you’re considering stepping into content marketing, be prepared to interact with and draw support from teammates representing a variety of perspectives.
Openness to feedback
Content feedback, including criticism, can surface frequently and from a variety of sources. You might receive suggestions from your audience, feedback from your higher-ups and colleagues as part of the editorial process, or it might even come from the competition. Often, feedback is in full public view, and it can be brutal. People new to content marketing can and often do take negative feedback as a reflection of their abilities.
Successful content marketers must be able to listen to and handle feedback objectively. When valid, they use it to improve their craft. When there’s disagreement, it’s essential to know when or how to constructively communicate objections and move forward.
Whether you’re a seasoned marketer considering a change or a recent graduate looking to start your marketing career, it is crucial to understand the skills you’ll need for sustainable success as a content marketer. Among them: writing, research, willingness to adapt, data analysis, collaboration, and openness to feedback.
If this list sounds familiar and comfortable to you, you just might be ready for a career in content marketing.