In 2015, the Harvard Business Review proclaimed that marketing is dead and loyalty killed it. What does that really mean for established marketers and those looking to forge a career in the field of marketing?
In today’s business climate, consumers are frequently seeking solutions to their problems. Often, they’re able to find multiple possible solutions just from running a simple Google search. These solutions often come in the form of online tools that make us more productive at work, products that make our lives easier, and experiences that help us grow in both our personal lives and careers. On the flip side, you deserve to pursue meaningful work.
This means that the tools, products, and brands that are willing to offer as much value as possible to their prospective customers without requiring them pay or sign up for a seven-day trial with their credit cards, are going to build the most meaningful customer relationships.
As an active consumer and experienced content marketer myself, I can attest that establishing genuine, value-driven consumer relationships is the core of how the smartest companies are seeking to grow their influence and business today.
In order to fit the new mold for becoming a relevant marketer today, your focus and skill sets need to reflect your ability to build engaging, powerful consumer relationships with your users.
Here are the skills it’ll take to land (and excel at) your dream marketing job in today’s age.
1. Outsourcing & Managing Content Creators
Core to scaling your success as a content marketer will be commanding an ability to outsource content creation of blog posts, eBooks, infographics, and case studies to a pool of freelance contributors. Depending upon your content production benchmarks, you could be responsible for delivering anywhere from two to 10 high-quality blog posts per week, an infographic or two per month, an eBook every month, and a case study each quarter.
At CreativeLive, we publish around 15 pieces of content to our blog each week and have varied deliverables on the other content categories throughout the year. To help stay on track, I personally manage several freelance writers and keep them stacked up with two posts at all times, so they can keep working on new topic concepts that we either pitch them or they bring to my attention. I prefer to manage these relationships internally, but I’ve also used Upwork and Scripted with great success for outsourcing content production.
2. Task Management Apps
As a content marketer, you’re going to be juggling a lot of different tasks, external communications, relationships, contributors, and content initiatives all at the same time. To stay sane, you’re going to need to enlist the help of a task management app that can keep your daily, weekly, and monthly deliverables on track. Above is a snapshot of the Trello board I use to plan out the blog content for my personal blog at ryrob.com.
I’ve personally used Trello, Wunderlist, and Todoist to keep my personal task management on track, and they all have their own strengths. The company you end up working for will likely already be using one of these task management tools, so be sure to familiarize yourself now.
3. Project Management Tools
Whether you’re a content marketer or growth marketer in your future role, you’re going to need to know your way around the most common project management tools that growing startups and established companies are using. At CreativeLive, we use both Asana and Jira for submitting feature requests, product updates, enhancements, and bug tracking. Understanding how to use these tools is essential for a new age marketer because you’ll likely be interfacing with many different teams and functional units within your company. On a daily basis, I work with content producers, our growth team, engineering, product, and instructor recruiters.
I’ve also used Basecamp, Podio, and Google Drive for project management at previous companies. I use an elaborate system of Google Drive spreadsheets to track a lot of the blog content I produce while it’s still in the ideation phase and hasn’t quite made it into Trello.
4. Cloud Storage
The large gorilla in the room for cloud storage and online collaboration is Google Drive. With docs, spreadsheets, and presentation decks all available to use within Drive, I’ve completely cut Microsoft Office out of my workflow, in favor of saving everything in the cloud as I go. The customizable file organization structure is also a major perk to using Drive. It easily allows group collaboration, commenting, sharing access levels, and editing from your computer or mobile device.
Yep. There’s still no way around needing to be a master at communicating, sorting, and managing a growing Gmail inbox as a content marketer. Even if your company uses an internal chat platform to cut down on email volume, your primary contact medium with the outside world will be email.
Bonus points if you’re familiar with Gmail’s Rapportive and Boomerang extensions for Chrome. Rapportive scans all email addresses in your inbox, and when you hover over one within a conversation, provides you with information about the contact, pulled from their LinkedIn profiles. It’s an amazing tool for guessing email addresses and getting informed on who you’re reaching out to. Boomerang allows you to schedule personalized emails to send at a later date and also lets you trigger emails to resurface in your inbox, for a reminder to follow up with a contact.
6. Team Chat
In recent years, there has (thankfully) been a new wave of companies getting on board with using team chat applications to cut down on the amount of internal email we all receive. I’ve very happily traded an overflowing inbox for messaging platforms like Slack, Google Chat, and Skype.
7. Video Calling
Sometimes it’s quicker or more effective to just hop on a video call and offer feedback, chat through changes, or answer a question that would otherwise require a time-intensive email. This will be especially important if you’re looking for a remote working situation, or the team you’ll be working with is dispersed across the country or world. Get familiar with Google hangouts, Zoom.us, and Skype.
8. Analytics Platforms
In content marketing, it’s critical to be able to communicate the effectiveness of your content to executives and fellow co-workers. This is also known as an ROI on content marketing. There’s an art and science to learning how to accurately track how much traffic your content drives, where your visitors are coming from, how many leads you’re capturing, and if you’re generating revenue from your content.
This is a snapshot of my Mixpanel event tracking for signups to my personal online course waiting list over the past month and a half, which shows the flow of users through my signup and confirmation process. By using a combination of Google Analytics and Mixpanel or Kissmetrics, you’ll be able to piece together all of the above metrics that’ll help support your cause and show you the types of content that perform best with your audience.
9. Optimization Tools
Powerful A/B testing and landing optimization tools like Optimizely and Unbounce are more within the wheelhouse of a growth marketer, but it will certainly be within your job description to make sure the pages and content you create are designed to convert visitors into subscribers and customers. With these two A/B testing tools, you’ll be able to implement in-depth tests on your own, to see whether or not visitors are more likely to convert into one of your “magic events” based on being shown different variations of your page, or even differences in things as small as CTA button color and copy.
10. Content Management System
Unless you know the company you’re targeting for your dream job is using a CMS platform other than WordPress to power their blog and content engine, it’s safe to assume they’re on WordPress. The best way to build your skills with WordPress is to start your own blog and install WordPress as your CMS. Check out this in-depth guide for getting started with your own WordPress blog, if you need the practice today.
11. Basic Knowledge of HTML and CSS
I’m by no means a true technical marketer, but I have a basic working knowledge of writing HTML and CSS. It has been essential for me in working with WordPress, in order to manipulate page layout, install useful code snippets, and alter the visual appearance of content on my blogs.
Once you can comfortably command a knowledge of these 11 essential skills for content marketers, you’ll be ready to go out and land your dream marketing job. For more tips and resources on how to become a more effective content marketer, join me at ryrob.com.
Get the skills you need to be a successful marketer in the digital age with GA’s part-time Digital Marketing course, on campus or online. For companies, explore GA’s corporate training programs to assess and re-skill your workforce to be on the leading edge of the field.