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What Makes a Great Content Marketer? [Video]
Congrats! You've been hired as a content marketer. The powers that be saw something in you and 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 various critical skills in common, no matter if you are an expert or just landed your first marketing job. 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. As such, research and plan, plan, and plan. If you spend less time planning and researching than writing, you must research and plan more.
They write well: All content marketers write. They might be writing their content, or it might be social media posts or networking emails. Using proper grammar and knowing how to structure a sentence are essential. Most of us would like to think we are skilled writers, but that isn't always the case. Use tools 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 feel welcome, no matter their skill and knowledge level.
They aren't afraid of analytics/data analysis: Tracking readers' engagement and content performance is crucial. Not tracking can lead to making the same mistakes over and over. Being able to interpret data and perform the analysis is a critical skill that great content marketers master.
They're good storytellers: Being able to tell a story is challenging. Whether we realize it or not, most content exists to tell a story. Learning how to build interest through content is key to creating outstanding pieces.
What makes a story great in terms of content marketing? It has the following characteristics:
- It makes the reader care and engages;
- is original;
- effectively presents a resolution or solution;
- is persuasive;
- is empathetic and relatable;
- it uses statistics and data to provide evidence to support its claims and ideas; and
- it leaves the audience remembering how it made them feel.
They can handle criticism: Stand-out content marketers are graceful, honest, and accurate 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: It is not enough to just create content. It must be helpful, relevant, and engaging content their audience wants.
To be good at this job, you must put aside what you want and turn marketing into something they want. And in the end, you 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 to understand better.
They insert experience: Already before Google's E-E-A-T update, Experience, in addition to Expertise, Authenticity, and Trust, is what educates and engages your audience. Give examples with data, stories, and case studies to which your reader can relate.
They use state-of-the-art tools: From research tools and subscriptions to relevant industry publications to AI-based content creation tools to writing tools such as Grammarly, to ensure your copy is flawless. Use them. Judiciously.
They recycle: And they reuse content to make 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.
Using the best practices mentioned above gives you a good foundation. However, overlook the following 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.
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 must also learn how to effectively distribute your content to ensure it achieves the maximum and most relevant reach possible. This means you must understand how to grow and cultivate your social media following—how 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 your audience is familiar with the ins and outs of your topic. Create content that delivers the information they need to understand better 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, creating and delivering content they will enjoy and share is much easier.
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.
Copy/Paste from AI tools. While all so tempting to copy/paste the results ChatGPT gives you... Don't. Unless you want to terminate your Content Marketing existence faster than having created it, AI-created content is and likely will be for some time to come dull, lacking Experience and Expertise, and shallow. We've seen more than one website's traffic and attraction tank when saving their way to content. Exceptional, epic content that creates attraction will continue to have its price, regardless of its creator.
Failing to take risks and make changes. This is going to seem to contradict the point above. But while marketing good content means understanding your 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 create, the medium they're using, or the target audience. If research shows that a change needs to happen, great content marketers don't sit on their hands. They take a risk and make a change.
- Thinking you're done when published. Maybe publish their content on a site and think they are done. Perhaps your career as a content marketer is, but your content must not be. It is a little like putting children into the world. You don't just send them off with a final "go flourish." Just like that, you should monitor your post, improve it and its elements, add to it, and update it. No web content should be untouched for more than six months.
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!). Still, they come back for the personality you alone can provide. Great content marketers identify when it's their voice.
If you want to be a great content marketer, be confident. Give your readers additional, helpful information. Your 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.