If you're considering a career in marketing, you've likely found that there are many different paths you can take within the field. The diversity of roles in marketing is one of the reasons the field is so popular; there are opportunities for people with all kinds of different interests and skillsets to be successful.
One of the fastest-growing marketing career paths is in content strategy. Content strategy has emerged as one of the most effective marketing strategies in recent years, and many organizations are now looking to hire content marketing professionals to oversee these efforts.
What is Content Strategy?
At its core, content strategy is the process of using various types of content (written, visual, or auditory) to engage an organization's audience or customers, and to further organizational and business goals. While content strategy does involve the actual creation and delivery of content, there's also a significant focus on the marketing approach behind the kind of content being created, the audience that it targets, the methods used to share it, and the key goals it's designed to achieve.
Put more simply, content strategy is a way to match the right piece (or pieces) of content with the right target audience to educate, engage, and ultimately convert that person into a lead, a brand advocate, or a user.
Types of Content Marketing Jobs
An organization committed to enhancing its content strategy might have an internal person (or team) dedicated to overseeing their content marketing efforts, or they will outsource the work to a marketer skilled in content strategy. A few of the most common content marketing jobs are:
- Content Marketing Manager
A content marketing manager is not only proficient in writing, editing, and search engine optimization (SEO), but is also fully responsible for overseeing the entire content strategy team. A person working as a content marketing manager usually maps out goals for the team to expand a company's digital footprint and increase brand awareness. Additionally, it is the responsibility of the content marketing manager to receive customer feedback, inspire team members, delegate tasks, ensure the team is producing high-quality content, and analyze web traffic metrics to direct (or redirect) the team in an effort to meet specific campaign goals and business targets.
- Web Content Specialist
A web content specialist is often tasked with creating, writing, publishing, and overseeing the content on a company's website. This role requires skills in writing, editing, SEO strategy, and more. A person working as a web content specialist must understand how to keep the visual elements of a site's home page, blog, or video content interesting and appealing so that web visitors return to consume more content time and time again.
- Content Marketing Strategist
A content marketing strategist is responsible for both the decision-making behind content creation, and the execution and promotion of the content itself. A person working as a content marketing specialist helps identify business goals, coordinates with their team on content creation, targets audiences based on keywords, and launches marketing campaigns. Once campaigns are launched, the content marketing strategist will then measure results, optimize content as needed, and provide an analysis regarding a campaign's performance once it ends.
So, You Want to be a Content Marketing Strategist?
If the content marketing strategist role stood out to you as an ideal career path within content marketing, then you're in the right place. There are specific elements of content marketing that you'll be responsible for in this position, as well as necessary skills you'll need to gain or brush up on in order to be an effective content marketer.
Responsibilities of a Content Marketing Strategist
For starters, as a content marketing strategist, it's critical that you understand your audience - typically, you'll work to develop a persona (or multiple personas) that represent your target customer or user. You'll then brainstorm the types of content that might resonate with that audience. Content can take many different forms - some of the most common include blog posts, ebooks, webinars, white papers, podcasts, videos, emails, social media posts, infographics, quizzes, checklists, demos, and more. It's your job to figure out the best ways to get that content in front of your target audience, and how to further engage them once they've seen it (a process also known as mapping a user journey).
Additionally, as the content marketing strategist, you'll also be responsible for creating much of this content (often in partnership with other team members or external partners, depending on your skillset and the type of content at hand). This means that you'll need to have strong writing skills, an eye for visuals, and an ability to think big-picture as well as focusing on details. Content marketers are creative, can be effective editors of both their own work and others', and good project managers, juggling many different pieces of various campaigns at once. You may also be responsible for coordinating content submissions from subject matter experts, assigning projects to others, and working closely with specialists in graphic design, video, email marketing, and paid media to get things done.
Examples of Content Marketing Skills
Content marketing strategists should have a foundation in key marketing skills, such as SEO, social media, and email marketing, for starters. Additionally, other ideal content marketing skills include:
- A knack for writing
- The ability to think about customer motivations and challenges
- Being a strong problem-solver
- Thinking strategically to be able to both create big-picture plans and fill in the steps to reach the end goal
- Conducting research
- Being comfortable working both independently and as part of a team
- The ability to express ideas clearly and concisely to others
- Adopting various voices and tones while writing to connect with different audiences
How to Become a Content Marketing Strategist
To become a content marketing strategist, you will need to have a bachelor's degree and a solid foundation in marketing. A bachelor's degree in marketing and communication, for example, will help you build key marketing skills and, depending on your area of focus, will teach you how to develop a content marketing strategy. However, many people enter the marketing industry with degrees in other areas. The most important thing is that your degree program gives you the chance to develop your expertise in writing, critical thinking, problem-solving, and other important soft skills.
Many people can obtain their first marketing role with this core skillset; if you can communicate well and demonstrate creativity, that will be enough to help you obtain an entry-level role in the industry. You will typically need to build on-the-job experience through several years in marketing generalist roles (such as marketing coordinator or marketing assistant) learning the foundations of content creation, marketing strategy, and campaign management before you're qualified to move into a specialized role like a content marketing strategist.
Although it may take a few years to get there, starting out your marketing career with the goal of securing a content marketing strategist position is a great way to motivate yourself, keep yourself focused on the key skills you'll need to build to prepare yourself for such a role, and give you something to work toward.
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