I had just been hired by Skyword as the new content marketing specialist for the Content Standard, and I had two weeks until I started the job. Each time a friend or family member asked, I found myself giving a different answer: “Content marketing is telling stories to attract customers. Content marketing is giving people more of what they love and less of what they don’t.” And so on.
I know what creating content means, and I know what marketing means. But together? As Skyword Senior Content Strategist Christine Warner explains, “Content marketing is the creation and sharing of digital content, such as articles and videos, that informs, educates, or entertains you.”
Okay, I think I got it. But what do I need to know to grow into my new position?
Here are a few lessons learned from my time so far as a content marketer:
A very smart person once told me that writing is thinking on paper (hi, Mom). And reading other people’s writing? That’s absorbing how other people think. As a freshman content marketer, because soaking up fresh ideas is vital to generating my own, nothing seems more important than taking the time to read. As Robert McKee recently said at Skyword’s inaugural Content Rising Summit, “Creativity is nothing but the discovery of the hidden connection between two things that already exist.”
I’m not talking about reading internal content guidelines, style guides, or product overviews—though you should read those, too. I’m talking about reading articles the best magazines and media companies publish: Ad Age, Fast Company, The Atlantic—the list stretches down my browser bookmarks bar. On day one, ask your coworkers what they read, and save all those resources so you can’t forget about them on day two…
By immersing yourself in the lexicon of digital trends, emerging technologies, and creative dialogue, you place a proverbial foot in the content marketing pool. Sink or swim is the mentality; quality content resources are your floaties.
Sysomos is a disease, right? It’s a social media analytics company? Oh.
Telling great stories is complicated, but telling great stories to the right audience is even more complicated. I came to Skyword from a primarily creative writing background where timing is important but not critical. Audience mattered, but I approached stories by making my words shine and waiting until someone noticed the glare. Prior to starting my new job I assumed there was little more to content marketing than whipping up compelling content, delivering it through social media channels throughout the day, and building a loyal following.
While that may be a basic scaffolding, I now know that I must be well versed in social media analytics, marketing automation, and SEO. Tools such as Sysomos and Marketo provide audience insights that enable marketers to deliver more relevant content to the people who want to see it.
I’m not an expert in either, but I’m ready to learn.
From my first day as a content marketing specialist, my manager Ted Karczewski, managing editor of the Content Standard, has encouraged me to not lose my writing voice. At Sound of Boston, a music blog I help manage, I make lame dad jokes with rap stars. “Hey Big K.R.I.T., were you called Small K.R.I.T. when you started rapping?”
Do we have a brand voice at the Content Standard? Of course. But the combination of many voices and ways of telling, drawing from our various personal and professional backgrounds, brings unique value to the Content Standard. Humor has been my servant, or more likely, the other way around. I don’t plan on ditching that relationship.
So it seems pretty simple then: I will succeed as a content marketer by consistently creating original, amazing, relevant content delivered to the right audiences at the right times.
Who knew it was so easy?
Want to hear more day-in-the-life stories about content marketing? Subscribe to the Content Standard Newsletter.