Have you ever wondered how a tiny percentage seems to be able to find success in their careers as content marketers when most of this percentage struggle like crazy?
Do they have some secret sauce for success or do they possess some badass content marketing skills?
Like it or not, in today’s marketplace there are over 5 billion people online every day, meaning competition is fierce and consumers are smarter than ever before.
If you want to build a successful career in content marketing, it’s important to hone certain skills that will take you from simply being good to a great content marketer.
These eleven content marketing skills are key for anyone who wants to excel in content marketing today.
Mind you, a few if not most of these skills require time, patience, and dedication.
Successful content marketers are in it for the long haul.
They understand content marketing is not an overnight success, but rather a long-term strategy that takes time to develop.
It’s a marathon, not a sprint.
However, if you invest the time and are willing to put the work in, you can see amazing results from your content strategy.
11 Critical Content Marketing Skills for A Successful Career
Unfortunately, knowing how to develop a content strategy nowadays is not enough because as a content marketer you will certainly need more than just this skill to succeed in the content creation industry. These content marketing skills are:
Without any further ado, let’s dive into these skills that will help you stand out from the crowd in a noisy content marketing world.
1. Research skills
The first pillar of content creation is no other than research. So, you definitely need some good research skills.
It is crucial for successful content marketers to be able to conduct research and understand the principles behind it.
To develop a strong content strategy, you need a plan and that starts with getting your hands on all the data you possibly can.
Research in content marketing is a big word that can actually be divided into three main subsets of research which are:
Developing these 3 essential skills in your content marketing career can take make you one of the very best content marketers in the industry.
Competition research is crucial to understanding where ‘your’ audience is consuming content, what they are reading, and how much value they are getting from the content.
In other words, it’s essential to find out who your competitors are and how they’re performing.
Once you have done sufficient research on your competitors you will know exactly how to construct content that is relevant to your potential audience.
You will then have a clear idea of what types of content will be successful for your content marketing campaigns.
As a matter of fact, competition research will help you build high-quality content that targets your general audience, but skews more towards your own niche audience.
Competition research is all about figuring out how to get your content in front of eyeballs so as to outrank your competitors.
As a content marketer, one of the first tasks you’ll ever have in your career is keyword research.
Before you even start creating content, you need to understand what your audience is seeking in this industry.
And it is one of the most critical aspects of content marketing and content creation, and should not be overlooked.
In fact, content marketing managers will more likely hire someone who knows how to build a keyword strategy and write than another one who only knows copywriting.
It’s all about knowing which relevant keywords to target for your blog posts, articles, and other pieces of content you are creating.
In some rare cases, you will also want to use your own intuition and judgment to determine which keywords are best suited for your niche.
In fact, keyword research is often coined as the backbone of content marketing, and content marketers who don’t know this process are often seen as a dime a dozen.
If content marketers don’t know what keyphrases your target audience is using to find the information they need, they will never be able to create content that will resonate with their audience’s pain points.
Creating random content is the worst thing you can do as a content marketer.
Content creation should be well thought-out before you even start putting words on paper.
Otherwise, you will never be able to create content that will generate leads and customers.
Content marketers who know how to sift through a list of keywords and find those golden nuggets will always be in demand.
The second pillar of content marketing is understanding your audience and how to market to them effectively.
Content marketing is all about giving your site visitors the information they are searching for and a content marketer should be able to dive deep into a target audience to find out what they want and how they want it.
You can research a large number of different people and use their attributes to tailor your content to this audience.
However, it is also necessary to have a solid understanding of your competitors’ audiences as well.
Knowing the reasons why people purchased or subscribed to your competitor’s content will help you develop better content that resonates with your audience.
If you want to catch their attention, first you need to know what they’re looking for!
Audience research is not only the process of creating user personas but content marketers should go beyond this in the ways mentioned below:
Audience research is about getting inside the head of your audience so that your content sells itself.
If you can create the perfect combination of relevant, targeted content, your audience will become loyal readers and potential customers.
When you think about it, being skilled in audience research is really a win-win situation.
Not only will it improve your content marketing performance but it will also give you a profound understanding of your potential customers and what they really need from you.
This is something most content marketers and business persons forget about in their race to make a fast buck.
2. SEO Skills
Developing SEO skills is absolutely essential for any content marketer nowadays because it is the pathway between your audience and your business.
In other words, if you want to thrive as a content marketer, you need to know how to optimize your content for search engines, period!
Content marketers sometimes make the mistake of thinking that their content will be read by any search engine without their input.
This is not true.
SEO is an ongoing, never-ending process of researching, learning, and implementing best practices to get your content discovered by your audience.
SEO (Search Engine Optimization) techniques are used by thousands of content marketers across the world, yet many people still don’t fully understand or take them seriously enough to put in the time and effort to learn them.
These skills are essential to understanding how search engines like Google and Bing work.
Once you understand how they work, it becomes easier to create content that is both appealing to readers and search engine friendly.
SEO is made up of three core elements.
- On-Page SEO: This includes the techniques used to optimize your content for search engines such as keywords and meta description.
- Off-Page SEO: This consists mostly of doing outreach and building relationships with other authoritative sites in your niche so they can link back to your site.
- Technical SEO: This is all about proper site architecture to ensure that search engines can easily crawl and index your site and finally rank your site.
The most important factor to keep in mind when learning SEO skills is that you need to be genuine when it comes to producing content.
There is no point in producing content that will rank on top of Google if all it does is spam your potential customers with sales pitches!
Another thing that most people forget about is consistency. It is paramount to keep producing quality, consistently updated content.
This ensures that your target market will always find you there and they know that you are a source of valuable information.
When you have the skills and knowledge, it becomes so much easier to sustain yourself through content marketing.
In a nutshell, SEO is the process of optimizing content to rank higher in the SERPs (search engine results pages).
The best way to learn about SEO skills is by simply spending time studying the subject.
Take it slow, and make sure you actually put the skills into practice.
Here are a few great SEO courses for any new content marketer:
- The Beginner’s Guide to SEO
- Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Training Course by Simplilearn
- Yoast SEO Academy
3. Writing Skills
Content writing skills are a crucial component of content marketing.
In fact, it is hard to imagine any content marketing strategy that doesn’t involve writing in some form or another!
Considering that most industries these days rely heavily on online customer traffic, copywriting skills have taken on a completely new meaning than in past decades.
Nowadays people spend a huge part of their time online, which gives writers a great opportunity to tap into this massive base of potential customers.
A copywriter’s main job is to craft blog posts, content for landing pages, social media posts, and even ad copies.
Basic writing skills include copywriting, technical writing, and editing.
- Copywriting – it’s is all about creating compelling and persuasive content that the right audiences will want to read and share.
- Technical Writing: it’s is all about providing quality information to the people who are reading your content. This can include URLs, instructions, FAQs, factsheets, and other similar types of information.
- Editing: it is the skill of correcting mistakes, fixing grammar and spelling errors, and ensuring that your content is free from any kind of error.
Writing a piece of content that convert a reader into a customer needs a few ingredients such as knowledge, expertise, creativity, and also a writing style.
So, developing your copywriting skills is crucial if you want to be successful in content marketing.
As mentioned earlier, content writing is the cornerstone of content marketing, so it is definitely something you need to put in the time and effort to learn!
4. Editing Skills
Editing skills are vital to ensuring that your content is polished and free of errors and blemishes.
Editing skills are required for buffing your content so that it stands out!
It is one of those boring tasks that nobody wants to do, but if you don’t do it, your content is not going to be good enough to rank on the first page of Google.
When it comes to editing your own work, you can either get a professional editor to do it for you or learn how to do it yourself.
There are two different types of editing skills that help make your content better: structural editing and copy editing.
Structural editing is all about making your content flow better.
It is basically the art of writing well, not just with words but with the way they are structured.
The word “linking” in this case to content marketing would be used as a tool to help you learn how to do it right.
But basically, it is writing that flows and doesn’t bore your reader to death (which most non-fiction on this list will).
You can read a great guide on crafting your content in this article.
Copy editing is all about fixing typos, grammar, and spelling errors.
This will increase the credibility of your brand because your writing will reflect who you are as a business or a brand.
If your content is full of errors and lacks professionalism, this will say a lot about you to your audience.
There are many free tools on the Internet that you can use to edit your content so it’s error-free.
Good editing skills are the key to editing and correcting errors in your content.
This gives it a polished feel and makes it look like a professional piece of content that is well researched, written, and edited.
Editing skills also apply to video content if you plan to step into video marketing. This is truly another level of editing that requires much creativity, art, and knowledge to pull off.
5. Marketing Skills
Any content marketing consultant looking to develop a results-driven marketing strategy won’t be able to succeed without some marketing knacks.
Who says content promotion says marketing skills, right? In fact, many people will say that content promotion is just peddling your “piece of mind” to the world.
Marketing skills are a must-have in the content marketing world and it’s good to note that it does not pertain to content promotion only.
You can use marketing skills in the content marketing arena for many other purposes as well.
However, your marketing skills should not stop you to content promotion only but to more conversion-driven results that move the needle for your business or your client’s business.
These are all the skills that will help you get your content out there with the goal of promoting your business and selling your product.
If you think about it, marketing is a huge part of any business and should be part of your content marketing strategy.
Whether you have a brick-and-mortar business or an online business, without marketing, you will not be able to grow your business at all!
However, there are many marketers out there who make the mistake of not writing useful content for their audience but instead just trying to get people who visit their site to buy their products.
This is a mistake because you will never convert people who come to your site to buy your products, but rather it is all about making a connection and building trust by producing content that is valuable to your readers.
As the old saying goes, “give the people what they want”. You can fulfill this saying only with marketing skills.
6. Project Management Skills
You might want to be a content strategist, a professional editor, or lead acquisition specialist in the content marketing landscape and it’s a great ambition!
But if you don’t know how to manage your tasks, projects, and plans, then you can go crazy!
Content marketing in itself has a gazillion of big and small tasks.
If you are not careful, you can be overwhelmed with the number of tasks that need to get done.
There is quite a lot to do from the initial writing phase to the actual production and finally publishing it on various channels.
Project management skills are about keeping your work organized, prioritizing tasks, and learning how to get the most out of your time by managing it effectively.
It is a very important skill to have, especially if you are trying to build a brand and stand out from the competition.
Note that if you do not manage your projects well or stick with one single channel, your work will not be seen by the target audience.
Project management skills will contribute greatly to the smooth running of your content workflow.
7. Data Analysis Skills
One of the main goals of content marketing is generating valuable traffic and building an audience. A tool that will help you with this is the use of data analysis.
Data analysis in content marketing, also known as web analytics, is used for various purposes such as measuring content marketing KPIs and understanding your audience’s behavior on your site, and many more.
It will tell you exactly what your content marketing strategy is doing for your business and what kind of content is working best for you.
Google Analytics is the most popular web analytics tool out there and is used by many to read and track what’s happening on a site.
I’m also talking about social media analytics here since social media content can also be tracked and analyzed.
But whatever you do, make sure to track and analyze the most important key performance indicators so that you can see what exactly is working and what isn’t.
One idea would be to have a spreadsheet for all your data and then you can use Google Sheets or Excel to analyze and prioritize your findings.
You can even create charts and graphs for a visual representation of your Google Analytics data.
This will save you a lot of extra work and give you an idea of what is working and what isn’t.
And, at the end of the day, this will help you figure out what kind of content your audience is looking for.
If you really want to become a content marketing consultant, you should be able to read data, present and explain them to your client.
8. Social Media Skills
A great way to drive more organic traffic, leads, and sales to your business or for a client’s business is through social media platforms.
Getting success on these platforms requires social media skills because it’s not simply a thing of pushing out good-looking posts.
It requires a content strategy, understanding the algorithm and its demands, what practices are best and which ones you should avoid in order to avoid getting banned from the social media platform, and so on.
As a content marketer, social media skills are also beneficial to you because it gives you a chance to get exposure to more channels than just publishing on one channel and hoping for the best.
It allows you to be creative and see what will work best for your audience.
But remember to be social too. The internet takes no prisoners and if you are not engaging with your audience, they are going to go elsewhere.
So it is important to make sure that your content is valuable, interesting, and adds value to the people on these social media platforms
9. Critical Thinking Skills
One of the most underrated content marketing skills most marketers tend to overlook is critical thinking skills.
This is not a skill you learn overnight but it is something that you get better at the more and more you practice.
Do you want to be a successful content marketing manager, work on this skill and you’ll thank me later!
Critical thinking skills can be described as the ability to look beyond what seems obvious, see things from new perspectives and identify issues or opportunities.
Critical thinking skills can be used to question everything and make sure that you are doing everything right.
When you’re working on content marketing, you have to be confident in your own research and process because if you guess wrong or are not sure about something, it can have disastrous consequences for the business.
It is therefore very important that you develop critical thinking skills as a good content creator and entrepreneur in order to stay confident and make sure you are taking the right decisions for your business.
Critical thinking skills are essential, as you can go wrong in any decision you make if you don’t think about them properly or if you just take a quick decision.
You need to be able to challenge your own thought process, anticipate when things can go wrong, identify possible problems and make sure that you are making the right decisions.
10. Storytelling Skills
Storytelling has taken the content marketing world by storm and for good reasons.
It can captivate an audience and influence them to take action.
In fact, storytelling is becoming a much-loved marketing strategy for marketers around the world.
A great story not only gives information to your readers but also has a moral lesson behind it.
And nowadays, with social media playing such an important role in marketing, you need to know how to tell a good story on social media and use it to drive traffic and engagement.
Lately, I’ve noticed that a lot of brands are turning to short stories and even mini-series to get their message across.
This is because storytelling can be very engaging and with the use of social media, natural storytelling has become more popular than ever.
Humans are so drawn to storytelling because of their emotions and we can easily relate to it.
In fact, stories allow us to put ourselves in the shoes of a character and imagine how we would handle similar situations or react.
So if you want to increase your impact on social media, storytelling is one way to do it.
11. Communication Skills
You will find yourself in a lot of situations where you will have to communicate with other people.
This can range from creating content for a client to writing content for your blog, or even talking with people you know about your business.
A good communicator will be able to listen, communicate in simple terms, be honest (but not whining or complaining) and very open-minded.
But a bad communicator can be really annoying by being difficult to deal with and having terrible manners.
Communication skills are important because you need to be able to talk with other people and get your point across.
You need to be able to listen and understand others, and be friendly and open-minded but aggressive enough when the situation calls for it.
You also have to be able to present yourself in a good way too, so that people see you as someone who has potential and is worth listening to.
To gain better communication skills, you can always use tips or advice from other people.
With all that being said, I guess it’s fair to say that content marketing skills are really fundamental and that content marketers should always strive to improve those skills.
If you don’t have any of these skills, then maybe it’s time to start working on them and developing yourself not only into a great content creator or content marketing manager but an entrepreneur as well!
In fact, very few content marketers have them all, so don’t stress about it!
As a said, the game of creating content is a marathon, not a sprint. Just as you would learn to market on one social media, learn one skill at a time.
Progress is better than perfection.
You can always work on developing your skills however you like and don’t be afraid to ask for help from other people and to continue learning