What Is Content Marketing?
Today’s consumers eat up useful information but have built up immunity to the “hard sell.” Thanks to inventions such as Google and smartphones, it has never been easier to do personal research on a company. Consumers regularly research products and services online before deciding on their purchase. Not only do we research the company, we compare and contrast that business with its competitors and read what other customers have to say about their experience. Because of this accessibility, customers are not as naive or easy to convince as they may have once been. They want help with their decision, but they do not want to feel forced into that decision by the company. Further, not only do they demand advertising be entertaining and informative, but they also wish to know that a company is trustworthy and that their product or service will come as advertised.
Because of this quickly evolving digital age, a seismic shift has occurred in the world of marketing. Without exciting and unique content, Google would not have material to crawl, and customers would not have the information required to sway their consumer habits. As a result of Google’s algorithm and an evolving customer base, content has become the king of all things digital. This simple ingredient shapes a brand and impacts the success of every digital channel.
As mentioned above, consumers regularly utilize search engines to remedy any of their problems or needs. Because of this, Google can be a goldmine of potential new customers. An SEO-focused content strategy consists of long-form articles and data-driven keyword research.
SEO, if you were not already aware, stands for Search Engine Optimization. To understand SEO, you must first have an idea of how search engines rank websites. Google and other search engines regularly update or make changes to their search algorithms to improve the quality of results that we see when a search is performed. In the last few years, Alphabet Inc. (Google’s parent company) has emphasized rewarding quality sites and punishing low-quality sites.
- Quality, Relevant Content – The more high-quality content you can provide, the more information Google has to crawl and index. Including keyword research and an internal linking strategy to this content will further support your ability to increase rankings but the most important thing to focus on is providing informative content for the consumer. Google believes in putting the customer first and the more your content provides a solution or value to their query, the more Google will reward you.
- Black Hat SEO – This term refers to any Google disapproved SEO practice that can be used to increase SERP rankings without adding appropriate value to the user. These tactics violate Google’s terms of services. They include: abusing rich snippet markup, automatically generated content, cloaking, creating pages with little or no original content, creating pages with malicious behavior, doorway pages, hidden texts or links, keyword stuffing, participating in affiliate programs without adding sufficient value, and scraped content. Google does not want to reward spammy or pages that are intended to manipulate the optimization algorithm, so if your page makes for an awkward read, it likely will be flagged by Google. Instead of using these tools to manipulate your rankings, focus on writing for the reader and providing them with new or relevant information.
Engagement Based Strategy
An engagement strategy consists of short, sharable content. This type of content is easy to digest and is typically used as the first touch for cold traffic. The purpose of Engagement marketing is to open up lines of communication with potential customers and to build their trust. Since an engagement-based strategy is typically paired with paid advertisements, the goal is to produce content that will spark the user’s attention and get them to take the next action (typically visiting your website.)
What Type Of Careers Are Available?
If you are interested in bridging the gap between brands and potential customers, there are two main career paths within content marketing may be of interest to you:
- Copywriter – If you love writing and crave a career that has flexibility, copywriting is a fantastic opportunity. Digital marketing and advertising agencies utilize copywriters to produce content supporting the strategy for each unique client. Core frameworks include web copy, short and long form blogs articles, ghostwriting or bylined opportunities, and email campaigns. Though monthly workflow can vary, this career path can even work in conjunction to a full-time job.
- Agency – If you want to be integrated into the overall strategy of a marketing campaign and measure the results of your work, working as a part of a marketing agency is a fantastic option. At an agency, you will be given the opportunity to learn the ins and outs of the marketing world and interact with a variety of brands and service offerings. At an agency, you will be responsible for crafting the strategy, reviewing the content, reporting to clients, and making sure you’re aligned with other campaign initiatives. Working at an agency also provides many different career advancement opportunities and continued professional growth and education.
What Skills Are Required?
If the content marketing world is of interest to you, having the following skills is extremely important to succeed:
- Strong written and verbal communication skills – Having these are an absolute must-have for an industry so reliant on persuasion. Being an eloquent and compelling communicator allows you to convey ideas or concepts in easily digestible manners that will entice potential customers.
- Passion for storytelling – Humans respond to story. Like it or not, we are more likely to be persuaded via emotion than logic. Because of this, stories convey a message much more efficiently than a list of facts.
- Ability to adapt to feedback – Optimizing content requires constant feedback, editing, and change. Content can be subjective, so flexibility and adaptation are required for such a fast-paced, results-based career.
- Able to span multiple industries and brand voices – You have to be a student of life, in that you are continually pushing yourself to learn about different subjects and brands. To sell a brand, you must be able to absorb what it is a brand does, what they are selling, whom they are selling to and what voice must be utilized to reach that audience. Each strategy is specially crafted to attract a brand’s audience. Therefore, a content marketing strategy designed explicitly for a Yoga company will not be as effective when used for a financial institution.
How Do You Start Your Career As A Content Marketer?
If you wish to start a career in content marketing, it’s important to educate yourself on the ins and outs of the industry. Start by researching digital marketing and the two core strategies of content marketing (and the verticals they support.) Building your writing portfolio is also helpful if you are new to the industry!
Thanks for taking the time to read this article and learn about the world of content marketing. If you still have questions about content careers or how to craft a content strategy, please don’t hesitate to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.