The digital era is characterized by endless amounts of content. It occupies all corners of the internet. Whether you’re reading a news article, shopping online, or scrolling through your social media feed, content is at the center of our digital experiences.
The result? Noise. Lots of it.
For consumers, this means unlimited access to information and entertainment. Brands, however, are struggling to compete with the noise to reach their target audiences. In a time when ”content is king,” content marketers are a primary force in revitalizing a company’s digital marketing strategies and capturing organic traffic.
In this guide, we’ll explore the in’s and out’s of a career in content marketing, including a breakdown of the industry, a variety of career opportunities, as well as what you can expect in your day-to-day outlook, and the skills you need to succeed as a content marketer.
What is content marketing?
Content marketing is a strategy intended to appeal to and attract audiences by creating and publishing high-quality, relevant content. Unlike other traditional forms of marketing, content marketing does not typically promote a brand outright. Rather, companies provide value upfront to their audience through content such as videos, newsletters, and websites. This strategy is a cost-effective means of improving brand awareness, building relationships with your target audience, and generating interest in your company’s products or services.
It’s important to note that content marketing is a long-term strategy. Although you won’t see the fruits of your labor immediately, consistently sharing high-value, no-strings-attached content puts your brand at the forefront of prospective customers’ minds. When the time comes that members of your audience are ready to make a purchase, your company is their first choice.
At its core, content marketing is rooted in storytelling. Whether your content is designed to educate, entertain, or empower, incorporating stories is an incredibly effective way to leverage emotion and cultivate meaningful relationships.
Forms of content marketing
- Social media
- Paid ads
- White papers
Careers in Content Marketing
Because content marketing is inclusive of a broad variety of content types and specialties, marketers in this vertical often hold a variety of titles. Here are some of the most popular roles related to content marketing:
Content Marketing Specialist
Content marketing specialists are responsible for producing, editing, and distributing valuable, compelling content such as blog posts, videos, and infographics to attract and engage target audiences. They may also be responsible for optimizing content and websites for search engines, developing and executing content strategies, as well as managing distribution across a variety of channels in an effort to improve brand awareness, generate traffic, and establish authority in their niche.
People in this role typically have 1-3 years of marketing experience or content creation. Content marketing specialists should be strong writers, skilled storytellers, and be familiar with numerous design and analytical tools.
Digital Marketing Specialist
Digital marketing specialists may be tasked with developing and executing multi-channel campaigns, such as email, social media, and paid advertising. They’re responsible for tracking and analyzing the results of said campaigns, reporting results, and suggesting data-informed adjustments to optimize performance. Collaboration within teams and across departments is also common practice.
Generally, digital marketing specialists are expected to have 2-3 years of experience in a digital marketing vertical. Having a well-rounded understanding of a variety of digital marketing channels, SEO techniques and best practices, and an analytical mindset are central to success in this role.
Social Media Manager
Social media managers are typically responsible for executing social media strategies and assisting content marketing initiatives. People in this role may be tasked with content creation, graphic design, video editing, copywriting, community management, and customer care duties. Data analysis is also vital for social media managers to evaluate efficacy and areas for improvement.
Social media managers often have 1–3 years of industry experience, although some companies offer entry-level opportunities for this role. These positions typically require a bachelor’s degree or equivalent work experience, in addition to a deep understanding of social media platforms, best practices, and current trends.
Search engine optimization (SEO) managers are typically in a managerial role and are responsible for owning the company’s SEO efforts. They often develop and implement an overall SEO strategy, conduct keyword research, audit website health, and identify opportunities to optimize content for search engines.
People in this role have extensive, up-to-date knowledge of SEO best practices (on-page, off-page, technical) and search engine algorithms. Many SEO managers have 3-5 years of hands-on experience with SEO.
Content strategists are largely responsible for providing strategic guidance to the digital, content, and social media marketing teams. People in this role are tasked with developing and implementing content marketing strategies that best align with the company’s objectives. To support their strategy, they typically conduct frequent market research and outline the best topics, channels, and formats to guide content creation and distribution.
On average, content strategists have 2-4 years of experience in content marketing roles, in addition to offering strong writing skills, design abilities, and a working knowledge of SEO principles. Although a content strategist’s duties may include some degree of content writing or editing, the act of creating content is not a primary responsibility.
As you might expect, creating and publishing content are fundamental duties for content marketers. A significant portion of your day will likely be spent crafting compelling content for various platforms, such as blog posts, social media updates, and email campaigns. It’s worth noting that content creation isn’t limited to one format – content spans many mediums. Depending on the day, you can be responsible for copywriting, graphic design, or video editing and production tasks, in addition to editing and updating content.
Alongside content creation and distribution, content marketing also entails a number of interconnected responsibilities, such as search engine optimization (SEO), social media marketing, strategy, and data analysis.
SEO-related duties are also key components of content marketing. Creating content is half the battle. You also need to be sure your content is visible to your target audience. As a result, your responsibilities may include conducting keyword research, updating existing content, and implementing on-page SEO tactics such as optimizing metadata and generating backlinks.
Additionally, content marketing often goes hand-in-hand with social media marketing. Social media plays a significant role in distributing your content, increasing brand awareness, and cultivating a community with your audience. If the scope of your role includes social media, you may be tasked with publishing updates, managing a content calendar, engaging with your target audience, and regularly monitoring social channels.
As with any marketing role, you can expect to monitor and analyze your efforts on a regular basis. Measuring the success of your content marketing initiatives is essential for making data-driven decisions to optimize your performance. You can expect to track KPIs, use analytical tools to assess your site’s metrics, and leverage data to make informed adjustments on a regular basis.
Skills and qualifications
Content marketers wear many hats. Copywriter, email marketer, graphic designer, editor, analyst – the list goes on and on.
To be successful in this field, it’s essential your skillset is well-rounded and reflects the expansive nature of content marketing.
First and foremost, strong writing and storytelling skills are a must in this field. As a content marketer, your ability to communicate effectively is paramount. The best content marketers are skilled storytellers. They can craft mundane information into captivating content.
Mastering the art of writing and storytelling is key to creating engaging content that drives traffic and resonates with your audience.
Content creation also warrants its own set of broad technical skills. Curating eye-catching images, videos, and other visual content requires basic graphic design, video editing, and production skills. You should be familiar with a variety of design tools like Adobe Creative Cloud or Canva, as well as content management systems (CMS). Similarly, social media savviness that includes a deep understanding of social media platforms, their algorithms, and how to optimize content to appear native across platforms can elevate your content marketing efforts.
It’s also important that you are proficient in SEO best practices and techniques, such as keyword research, on-page optimization, and link-building strategies. A solid understanding of SEO fundamentals will help you optimize your content for better visibility and higher search engine rankings.
Additionally, analytical skills are essential for succeeding in this industry. Maintaining a working knowledge of the fundamentals of data analysis and familiarity with tools like Google Analytics allow you to monitor your content and site performance, identify trends in data, and translate your findings into actionable insight.
Is content marketing the career for you?
Now, the big question. Is content marketing the right path for you?
This ultimately comes down to your interests and overall career aspirations. If you’re a zealous marketer with an appetite for content creation and a passion for leveraging high-value content with the technical skills to support your interest, content marketing might be your calling!
Want to learn more about putting content marketing into practice? Read our in-depth Essential Guide to Content Marketing for everything you need to know to get started!