What Does It Take To Be An Effective Content Marketer?

Illustrated cover image for the article "What it takes to become an effective content marketer" by MKTR.AI

In my early days as a content marketer, things were a bit puzzling for me. Whether I’m at a family party, out to dinner with friends, or in a situation where I’m getting to know new people, I find myself often times answering the question: What do I do as a content marketer?

The more I’m asked this question, the more I realize that many people don’t understand what a content marketer does in today’s digital world. Well, I’m here to help clear the air.

But first, let me tell a brief story about how I landed on this fulfilling and rewarding career…

Every Artist’s Dream

Ever since I was a child, I always knew that I’m an artist. I loved to write creatively, make illustrations, and even create interesting stories. However, as I grew older, that passion started to wither– I ran out of creative ideas, my hands have gone defiant, and I resorted to working in an average-paying job just to “play safe” in life. 

Years after years and jumping from one job to the other, I realized that it wasn’t how I wanted to live my life. I wanted to do creative stuff. I wanted to write and make art again. But in a highly competitive world, I wasn’t so sure where to start. I had no concrete idea if it’s the right thing to do or if it’s just another poor decision waiting to happen.

Until one day, I decided to gamble… I left my job as a financial advisor, tried my luck, and applied as a writer. Luckily, I met my boss at MKTR.AI who believed in my skills, hired me as a content marketer, and guided me every step of my journey. Boom! My life started to change for the better.

Content Freaking Marketing by MKTR.AI

What Exactly Do I Do As A Content Marketer?

Being a content marketer is not just about writing blogs and sharing them. For me, it’s all about making sure that our potential customers have access to relevant information about our company’s brand at all stages of the purchase funnel.

My goal as a content marketer is not so much to sell but to consistently inspire, entertain and educate our audience with my content. To dig deeper, when thinking about answering this question, my mind goes to a list of 10 core responsibilities:

1. Planning

Being a content marketer should create valuable, share-worthy content that inspires and drives customers to action. To make it happen, it all starts with proper planning. It’s about creating a marketing plan based on a unique business model, company budget, and desired outcomes. 

2. Strategizing

As a content marketer, I must also have a strategy in place to produce cohesive and actionable content. It starts with identifying our target audience, analyzing competitors, up to preparing a content strategy. I believe that a sound content marketer has a list of several goals and ensures every piece of content drives towards that goal. 

3. Researching

After the plan and strategy are put into place, it’s time for me to do some investigative work. A great content marketer should analyze the competition across the industry to get a better understanding of their strengths and weaknesses. Also during this phase, I get to identify the intended audience of the content I’m creating.

4. Interviewing

As a content marketer, I should always be knowledgeable in every subject matter at hand. However, I don’t always have ALL the answers. I need to gather more data and information from the ones who could provide more value to my content. In my case, it’s either I sit down and brainstorm with my boss, or glean technical information from the people who are experts in the subject matter.

5. Writing

Being a content marketer, I realize it’s not enough to be a critical thinker, I should also be a creative writer. I should come up with a way to connect my valuable information to my audience, and that’s through the power of storytelling. As a writer, I should learn to communicate well and understand the tone of voice that engages with the customers.

6. Designing

As part of my role, I am encouraged to create visual content which I consider the best part of being a content marketer. I am a firm believer that content should always include elements of design. It’s important to think visually and It’s even more important to put these visions into eye-catching graphics, infographics, illustrations, and images that connect to my main message. 

Cover illustration of man wearing VR headset experiencing visual content

7. Reporting

As an artist, I thought entering a career with a writing focus would allow me to escape from numbers altogether. However, I’ve learned over the years that numbers can be a content marketer’s companion. It’s essential to track the performance of content such as analytics, views, clicks, visits, shares, conversions, etc. to identify what’s working and what’s not. Reporting is critical to staying in line with the goals and identifying new opportunities for success in the future.

8. Organizing

When I say organizing, I mean more than just simply organizing my thoughts and ideas on a whim. A great content marketer will follow a strict editorial calendar. In our team, we use Trello to keep our content organized and on-track. This is where we get to log fields such as our content ideas, work on progress, draft, due date, title, content type, and author.

9. Refining

To be an effective content marketer, I cannot only focus on the end result of my content. Instead, I should have enough time to refine the details. This is where I refresh, repurpose, and take a long, hard look at my content process. When writing an article, I care a great deal about grammar and spelling; or when I’m doing an illustration, I make sure that the elements are appropriate and relatable.

10. Sharing

One of the most important responsibilities as a content marketer is to publish, distribute, or promote our content. Specifically speaking, I share our pieces of content on social media or any other online platform. But after the publish day, my role doesn’t just end there. The content creation journey is still ongoing and my job as a content marketer is to see every piece of content along its full journey.

6 Things Every Content Marketer Needs

1. Passion

Passion trumps talent. There is no substitute for the love of writing, for the love of the arts, or for the love of communication. You know what I mean. If you’re passionate about learning and creating content or being a good marketer, then you are on the right track.

2. Confidence

Being a content marketer can put you in a state of vulnerability, especially when your work is shared with the public. Sometimes, I compare my work to others and I envy the popularity and success of other marketers. After all, it’s not an easy task to put myself out there in such an honest manner. This is where confidence is needed. Confidence comes from putting the work in to become a genuinely authoritative expert. It comes from research, craftsmanship, and seeing the difference you make to your audience. 

3. Training

Being talented and knowledgeable is a great foundation to become an effective content marketer. However, in this digital world where everything is constantly evolving, we also need constant training for us to keep up with the new trends, marketing tools, and strategies out there. We need to keep reading, practicing, and learning to improve whatever abilities we already possess.

4. Motivation

It’s true, content productivity may wane when you have mountains of other obligations. It’s far too easy to put errands, housework, social time with friends, and catching up on your favorite TV shows ahead of prioritizing your content production. But being motivated is about making time, facing challenges, and sticking to your goal. Sometimes, you have to make your work a non-negotiable necessity. So every content marketer needs to work out what is truly essential and cut back on other distractions, other entertainment there, to find a balance. The only solution here is to be ruthless– we need to look for motivation to keep up in the game.

5. Discipline

You may be the wittiest writer or the brightest marketer, but if you don’t devote yourself to the time needs to produce your quality work, you won’t get where you want to go. As a content marketer, you need to throw in a set of habits that will ensure that you manage your time well, meet your deadlines, and keep the clients updated.

6. Support

One of the toughest things about working as a content marketer is that the path you walk is one you make yourself. Sometimes, it could be a very lonely job where your computer is your only companion day-to-day. And it could be a little lonelier when you don’t have colleagues to bounce questions off of or share your gripes and triumphs with. Luckily for me, my colleagues have always been helpful and supportive in every step of my journey.

How To Become A Content Marketer?

There’s no one set path towards becoming a Content Marketer. However, having a solid understanding of online, digital, and content marketing is the most important factor. 

Content Marketing by MKTR.AI - content marketing that doesn't feel like marketing

If you’re someone who enjoys writing blogs, researching, doing creative stuff, or simply promoting business, well then becoming a content marketer will be an enjoyable and rewarding career path for you!

If you’re managing a startup or own a small business; OR taking the chance to work with marketing teams and agencies, specializing in content marketing is a job that provides many exciting opportunities.

Further, having an online portfolio of your work is an important step in becoming a content marketer. Your portfolio should include all the best examples of your work. These could be posts from your blog, guest articles, or anything that shows off your ability to create coherently and creatively.

So what does it take to be an effective content marketer??!

Well, you can expect to spend a good proportion of your day writing. On that note, one key skill that you need is the ability to write in many different styles. Whether you decide to market your own business or work in an in-house marketing team, you must be able to understand and emulate the brand’s tone of voice and structure your writing to fit different formats.

You should also have an understanding of the digital world. After all, your content is being used online to promote your brand or other brands. You should have some knowledge about Search Engine Optimization and learn the basics of coding language such as HTML, CSS. Lastly, learning the principles of graphic designs, marketing tools, and neuromarketing will also help you establish an edge over the competition.

Here’s a quick note from Mike Nemke, CEO of MKTR.AI about this article:

Ervin is humble. Honestly, as soon I saw his artwork, I knew I wanted to work with him. Then I found some of his writing and saw the raw potential for him to become an excellent content marketer. As a leader, manager, and business owner I am always looking for raw potential and differentiating skills. For Ervin, that was his artistic talent.

My suggestion for people trying to break into content marketing, or any new field, is to find your differentiating factor and maximize it. Outstanding talent is hard to find. Getting ‘good’ at something doesn’t take long. Getting ‘great’ at something takes a long time and is difficult. I, like the rest of the business world, want people who are great.

Mike Nemke, CEO @ MKTR.AI

Tip: The best thing you can do to become an effective marketer is to continue to learn. Whether it’s writing tips, marketing tips, or designing tips, hone your skills by learning from those who have done it before.

So if you’re a small business or startup looking for help with content marketing, our team is always available to point you in the right direction! Leave a comment below or shoot us an email at contact@mktr.ai.

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