What Makes a Great Content Marketer?

Congrats! You've been hired as a content marketer. The powers-that-be saw something in you, and they thought you would be a good fit for the role. Do you know what that something is?

Let's discuss the characteristics of great content marketers. After all, great content marketers have an assortment of key skills in common. The more content you create and the more you market it, the better you’ll become at most of these.

Skills of the best content marketers

They do their research: Conducting proper research before starting your campaign is crucial to its success. Building a campaign on a poor foundation is the quickest way to waste your time. And your audience’s time.

They write well: All content marketers write. They might be writing their own content, or it might be social media posts or networking emails. Using proper grammar and knowing how to structure a sentence is important. Most of us would like to think that we are skilled writers, but that isn't always the case. Try using a tool like Grammarly to proofread your content before you publish it.

Writing involves communicating persuasively as well as clearly. Snappy and clever is fine, but not at the expense of clarity. And, of course, good writing is done in an informative way while making every reader, no matter their skill and knowledge level, feel welcome.

They aren't afraid of analytics/data analysis: It's crucial to track the engagement of readers and the performance of content. Not tracking can lead to making the same mistakes over and over. Being able to interpret data and perform analysis is a critical skill that great content marketers master.

They're good storytellers: Being able to tell a story is challenging. Most content exists to tell a story, whether we realize it or not. Learning how to build interest through content is key to creating pieces that stand out.

What makes a story great in terms of content marketing? It has the following characteristics:

  • Makes the customer care
  • Is original
  • Effectively presents a resolution or solution
  • Is persuasive
  • Is empathetic and relatable
  • Uses statistics and data to provide evidence to support its claims and ideas
  • Leaves the audience remembering how it made them feel

They can handle criticism: Stand-out content marketers are graceful, honest, and real under pressure in full view of everyone. They understand that criticism and critiques of their writing are not personal. And they can learn and grow from feedback. 

They know how to connect with people: Content marketers have to create content, but it’s not enough to just create content. It has to be helpful content that their audience actually wants.

To be good at this job, you have to put aside what you want and turn marketing into something they want. And in the end, you really connect with people and forge loyalty.

They think visually: Great content marketers can take complicated information and make it simple to understand with graphics.

They ask questions: They also zero in on what’s before them and ask questions in order to understand better.

They recycle: And, they reuse content in a way that makes it fresh again. They don't spend time reinventing the wheel. Great content marketers know how to take something old and make it new. They use what’s available and make it work.

Great content marketers avoid these mistakes

Use the foregoing best practices and you, too, can be a successful content marketer. Overlook today's concluding list and you will sabotage and likely lose some of that success:

  • Writing Lackluster or too long headlines. Be pithy but brief. We've written a whole post on blog headlines. You can find it here
  • Inadequately using social media. You want to make it as easy as possible to share your content. Being a content marketer isn’t all about creating killer content. You also need to learn how to effectively distribute your content to ensure it achieves the maximum and most relevant reach possible. This means you need to understand how to grow and cultivate your social media followinghow to keep your fans and followers engaged through well-timed and personal posts designed to capture their attention and add value to their daily lives.
  • Speaking to the wrong crowd. Don’t assume that your audience is familiar with the ins and outs of your topic. Create content that delivers the information they need to better understand the issues you discuss. And never, ever talk down to them. You also need to know what motivates your audience. If you are well-versed in their behaviors and goals, it is much easier to create and deliver content that they will enjoy and share.
  • Trying to be everything to everyone. It follows, then that good content marketers know their lane. They know where their expertise lies. And they understand what they need to accomplish with their efforts. So, don't try to have your content be everything to everyone. Be content with letting your content serve the right crowd.
  • Failing to take risks and make changes. This is going to seem to contradict the point above. But while good content marketers understand their niche, they also know when to pick their moments and take a leap of faith—to push the boundaries and make a necessary statement or a change. Whether that be with the type of content they are creating, the medium they're using, or the audience they are targeting. If research is showing that a change needs to happen, great content marketers don't sit on their hands. They take a risk and make a change.

Finally, remember readers click on your content initially for the information (so make sure you're doing the thing we talked about at the beginning of this post!), but they come back for the personality you alone can provide. Great content marketers clearly identify when it's their voice.

If you want to be a great content marketer, be confident. Give your readers additional, useful information. Your own thoughts and opinions can go a long way in building rapport and trust with your audience. And that is, perhaps, what makes the best content marketers of all.

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Shelley's been in Seattle practically since the dawn of time. She enjoys having fun (seriously) with research and writing. In her off hours she reads and walks, although not at the same time -- because tripping over sidewalks is embarrassing.

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