Read 7 minutes
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur Contributors are their own.
Are you looking for a seasoned content marketer but struggling to sort through the mass of marketers who say they are good at writing? You're not alone.
"Everyone – and I mean EVERYONE – thinks they're a writer," says Rebecca Reynoso, senior editor at G2.
Lots of marketers are writers, but there's a huge difference between a great copywriter and a great content marketer – and this one isn't being discussed as often as it should be.
Copywriting is what you see gets people massive followers on LinkedIn and Twitter – and it's even what is most featured in marketing tutorials. For example in the popular newsletter Harry's Marketing Examples, you will see several rewritten website headlines allegedly helping to increase conversion. And they probably do just that. But that's not content marketing. This is copywriting.
So what is content marketing and what skills should you look for in the person you are hiring? Let's get that straight.
Related: 7 Steps to Start Your First Content Marketing Campaign
The difference between content marketing and copywriting
Many content marketers are great copywriters too, and vice versa. Many experienced copywriters are admirable content marketers. But just because there's a crossover doesn't mean the two are one.
Content marketer Create a content strategy for a brand, then put together the plan and monitor the execution of that plan to bring the overall strategy to fruition. The plan includes content research, content descriptions, content creation, content editing, SEO optimization, graphic design, and finally content distribution.
Copywriter are often helpful in writing the plan (although in the past copywriters wrote content in a shorter form than is typically required for search-optimized blog posts these days) and the content distribution section of the plan. After all, copywriters know how to tell a story and appeal to an audience. And, right now, there's no better place to do this for a business audience than on social media platforms like LinkedIn and Twitter.
The best skills experienced content marketers can master
If you are looking for a real content marketing expert, you want someone who is also a great copywriter. But that doesn't stop his skills. Here are the eight most important skills great content marketers can master and how they can help your business grow.
1. Content strategy
The ability to formulate and present a clear and coherent content strategy is a must for seasoned content marketers. Many content marketers can implement a strategy, but not all of them can do the research necessary to put together a long-term strategy, detail the waterfall method used to execute that strategy (and thus create a plan), and Have the ability to present this plan to founders or executives for signature.
This is a skill that senior content marketers have honed over time, and if you are looking for an expert be sure to ask questions in the interview that will help you understand if they succeeded in doing this.
2. Project management
The second most important skill for a seasoned content marketer is project management skills. Many organizations are content driven, but they don't necessarily know it. That said, successful businesses often use content from the blog, case studies, and more for their ads, email marketing, promotional materials, etc.
This way, content can't just be measured in terms of SEO success, which is really good as it can take six months or more for SEO to work.
Content-first organizations need a strong content strategy that takes into account the whole funnel, and they need a strong project manager who can clearly report when the content is ready and help the team independently source expert content for each stage of the To create funnel.
Related: 5 Ways To Improve Your Startup's Project Management
3. SEO basics
Having a clear content strategy and excellent project management skills doesn't release you from the requirement to understand the fundamentals of SEO. A great content marketing strategy will build organic search traffic over time and will help reduce CAC and build brand awareness and trust.
Now, your seasoned content marketer doesn't need to know the technicalities of SEO (or how to implement them), but he or she should understand Google's algorithm well enough to develop a content strategy that will rank you on relevant terms . so that he or she can tweak content before it goes live.
Ask him or her about the content marketing tools he or she uses specifically for SEO. The answer shouldn't be "none".
4. Creative production management
Every single piece of content that is produced, be it for your blog or for your sales team, requires a graphic design. After all, you want to be your best with your content, and great design helps create brand cohesion across all of your assets.
Similar to the project management experience mentioned above, seasoned content marketers have experience managing a creative production pipeline to ensure blog hero's images are delivered on time and PDFs are designed as needed for further down the funnel.
Here we are again at copywriting – it's a critical content marketing skill. Good copywriting will do the following:
- Increase the CTR from organic search results to website.
- Expand your brand audience on social media platforms.
- Make presentations much more engaging and likely get approval.
Great content marketers have honed this skill over time, but don't think that all seasoned content marketers have massive social following. That's just not true.
Many content marketers have spent more time focusing on A / B testing headlines on high traffic pages, for example to increase conversions. Or, they've focused lower down the funnel to help email marketers with great copy to increase engagement. Social media is the top of the funnel – and this isn't always the best place to focus on increasing revenue.
Related: The 10 Commandments of Great Texting
Seasoned content marketers are also great editors. However, this does not necessarily mean that they prescribe a particular style book. Instead, it means they know how to edit a story for the sake of clarity, readability, and branding style.
Don't worry – there are plenty of content marketing tools out there that can help with spelling and grammar. While this is a nice thing for seasoned content marketers, this ability is quickly outsourced to the bots.
7. Write a blog
Great content marketers probably rose to their position through fantastic writing and editing on their own blogs. It is true that it takes far more than a blog and a dream to become a skilled content marketer, but all content marketing professionals should be able to publish great blog content – even on a team run by people who normally do that for them these days.
Check out their clips. Make sure they are able to write, source, and credit correctly. Otherwise, you risk your brand reputation.
8. Analysis and Tracking
After all, seasoned content marketers don't just publish and pray. They distribute and measure. And they don't just measure traffic to the website. Seasoned content marketers are adept at understanding website behavior, performing content-specific CRO tests, and measuring the impact of organic search traffic across the funnel to conversion.
Experts don't just give you a blog post to publish. You create a complete strategy, execution plan, and analytics dashboard so you can stay on top of what's working where and why.