I get asked quite frequently how I became a content marketer. Not only is content marketing a newer role within an organization, but there has also been a lot of backlash against bad content marketing. A lot of companies remain in the dark when it comes to making the right hire because it isn’t necessarily something you can major in. Choosing the right person to create your content is the difference between great content that inspires and bad content that sends buyers running in the opposite direction. If you decide to invest in content marketing as a strategy, you want to make sure you staff your team with the right mix of skills.
So, who do you choose? Do you choose someone who is a writer, someone who is a content expert, or someone who is a marketer? I think you need a really solid mixture of all of them. To write great business content you need not only a good grasp of language, but you also need to be able to understand the nuances of business and what it means to be a marketer. Being a good writer is simply not enough. That person has to be intertwined with your business for his or her writing to really resonate with your audience. Truly understanding who the right content marketer is for your organization is important because you likely won’t find someone with 10 years of content marketing experience on their resume.
A content marketer’s career
That brings me back to my initial question, how did I become a content marketer? I actually started as a writer with an English degree and a specialization in technical writing. A pretty good start, but I had no understanding of business, let alone tech. Luckily, through a personal connection my first job was in sales which introduced me to the business world and eventually that led me to a marketing role. But, I felt that because I had an English degree I was missing some fundamental business skills, so I decided to go get my MBA.
During most of my early career I had actually abandoned my writing for the most part, until I really honed in on marketing. But even then I was still doing more general tasks like generating and managing leads and social media. However, I found that really what I loved was the writing piece of being a marketer, and once I decided to specialize in content marketing I had found the perfect mix of writing and business.
Content marketing is more than writing
My story circles us back to who you should hire for your team. I would say, go for a great marketer first and a great writer second, because you have to do so much more than write when you are doing content marketing. Take a look at a blog we posted last week from my colleague Jason Miller, If Your Writing Sucks So Will Your Content. In it, he talks about how to really work on developing your writing skills and how to succeed in content even if you don’t have a writing background. You have to be able to tell the story of the business, understand customer pain points, not to mention have a solid understanding of what it means to project manage. If you are a writer that doesn’t seek out learning more about how to use writing in a business context, you will be at a disadvantage. And conversely, if you are a marketer that is interested in content marketing but doesn’t care to learn how to write, you are also at a huge disadvantage.
Additionally, don’t underestimate the importance of hiring someone with passion. As a writer, personality often translates to paper, so if you aren’t passionate about what you are doing, it will reflect in your writing. I am lucky. I am very passionate about what I do and the industry I am in and I believe that having that love for the craft truly makes a difference when it comes to creating great content.