How to Advance Your Content Marketing Career
Let’s cut to the chase. As the volume of content continues to increase year-on-year, so does the demand for qualified content writers. And what happens when demand increases? Potential remuneration increases. And that’s good news for those thinking about (or already embarking on) a content marketing career.
Last year, a marketing executive report by Conductor showed that 87% of marketing executives were increasing their focus on content marketing. An earlier survey conducted by Linkedin and Curata cites similar numbers: 75% of companies were planning to increase their investment in content marketing, with 43% of them planning to increase staff levels. Linkedin claims there were over 19,000 content marketing jobs available on the site in 2016.
It is no surprise that many companies are looking for content marketers to run their campaigns. It takes a special kind of person to get the tone of a business down perfectly and use it to improve visibility somewhere as crowded as the Internet.
Given its high demand, it turns out marketing is a lucrative job as well. There are estimates all over the web about how much the annual average salary of a content marketer is.
But how much is it really? Amanda Pressner made an attempt to answer it and found that content marketers are making as much as $150,000 a year, based on several surveys.
Finally, the fact that content remains the top performing form of marketing in a time of so much access and so many options is the number one reason to hop into a career focusing on it.
What Do I Need to Succeed?
A great deal of what you need comes from experience. You need to show that you have worked in the industry before, whether for pay or not. Some of the best resumes contain a link to a blog where content has been routinely posted and used to draw traffic, with or without monetization.
The profit isn’t necessarily the important part. The amount of traffic and regular readers, especially their engagement, is. It shows that you can create relevant, valuable content and bring people to the site to read it. Seeing them share it is even better, so have those analytics available!
There is no faster way to prove you know what you are doing than to put the proof in the pudding. While a work history of former positions in nice, for many marketers this tactic is better. Saying that, you can combine the two formats.
Company or Freelance?
This is the big question for marketers – and it isn’t an easy one to answer. The above-mentioned look by Amanda Pressner at how much content marketers make was aimed heavily at freelancers. They seemed to be the ones making the most money when their income was broken down.
But there are pros and cons to both.
Freelancers are able to work remotely from anywhere, during their own hours. They have total freedom over the projects they take and their rates. On the negative side, you have no stability as a freelancer. Work comes and goes. There can be sparse months. And when a mistake is made, there is no safety net.
As for company writers, they have that stability of a paycheck that they know is always coming. If a mistake is made, there is a safety net between them and catastrophe. Work is guaranteed. But there is little freedom. Days and hours are set, and often that work is done on location. However, some companies have been hiring remotely in recent years.
Build Up and Diversify Your Experience
None of this is going to happen all at once, regardless of how you go about it. Freelancers have to slowly build up references, happy clients and experience. Company marketers have to climb their way up the ladder like any other corporate job – including in startups that have unique hierarchical structures and limited funds.
Whether you are already employed as a content writer or looking for a job, use any opportunity to gain some new tactical experience:
- Try high traffic sites that pay for work to get good samples (Listverse, Cracked, etc).
- Contribute for free! Get connected to blogs already holding some brand recognition as a guest or full-time writer.
- Help a cool startup or a non-profit for the sake of gaining experience. Here’s a list of job boards that list jobs in startups. And here’s a great site to find a job in the nonprofit sector. Start by exploring remote job options to build up your experience:
While working on expanding your experience, don’t forget to:
- Have a solid ever-growing portfolio with plenty of work to show: Add your part-time tasks, positions and projects you are working on
- Make your own website and set up an ‘About Me’ page linking to everything you have been involved in so far.
Look for Online Education Possibilities
Luckily, we live in a world where the opportunities to learn are endless. You don’t even need to leave your home to get a new degree or get certified.
Here are just a few options for you to consider:
- Finishing a couple of courses can really help you. Don’t limit yourself to content-focused courses only. Content marketing is very integrated. These days, PR people use SEO, PPC success depends on content, and so on. Some courses come with price tags, but many are free. Udemy has a huge variety of content marketing courses. Search for courses on:
- Google Keyword Planner/keyword research
- SEO, SERP and featured snippets
- AdWords (soon to be renamed Google Ads) and monetization on the web
- Content marketing skills
- Social media skills… the list of potential courses that can grow your career over time is long.
- Get certified! Look for official certification opportunities from notable SaaS companies, including Adwords certification, Google Analytics certification, Salesforce certification and more.
- Get a new degree. Many high-paying content marketing jobs require some sort of degree. Luckily, online education makes a degree both affordable and accessible. Here’s a good list of online marketing degrees to consider
Learn From Others
If you get the chance to get onto a team with a more experienced content marketer, I highly suggest that you take the opportunity. One of the best ways to learn the tricks of the trade is to do so from someone who has been in the game longer than you have. Not only that, but there may be a potential for further projects or a position with a company.
Don’t have direct access? Learn from work that is out there already. Do content research. Find out what people are writing and why they are writing it. Read everything you can that has been written for specific industries – from business copy to blog and social media posts.
You can certainly also learn from what you don’t like reading. Some of the best learning in anyone’s career comes from examples of what they feel they must not do!
For constant self-education purposes, I combine the RSS feeds of all of my favorite content marketing blogs into Cyfe. You can set up a separate self-education dashboard within your Cyfe account and add as many blogs as you feel like following. It makes my morning coffee much more productive as I can scroll through all the feeds and quickly check what seems interesting, relevant or new within minutes.
There is a wealth of information out there. You just have to find it.
Marketing the Marketer
Finally, market yourself! Marketing the marketer can be a hard task. But if you don’t know how to sell yourself, how can you hope to sell anything else?
I see this as a chance to write your own work and post it everywhere you can. It is a lot of work, but it is also fun being able to choose your topics and just experiment with different websites. So always be on the lookout for sites that take guest posts and be sure to have your own site, as well.
Over To You
Have some information to share on content marketing as a career? Let us know in the comments!
You may also want to read: 5 Editorial Guidelines Based Tips To Writing Better Content
Featured image: Copyright: ‘https://www.123rf.com/profile_antonioguillem‘ / 123RF Stock Photo
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