What Does a Content Marketing Career Path Look Like?
Are you looking to pursue a content marketing career path? You’re in a good place. Content marketing is blowing up, set to be worth $600 billion in 2024 (Technavio research).
What’s more, 89% of companies that hire content marketers plan to either continue or increase their current investments throughout 2022.
If you have natural writing ability, a knack for creativity, and are driven by data, content marketing may just be your dream field.
But, what does it take to be successful in content marketing? Are there specific hard skills you need to have? Let’s take a closer look.
Why Choose a Career in Content Marketing?
For starters, it’s a growing field with a lot of opportunities. Additionally, it allows you to be creative and work independently – two things that are increasingly important in the modern workforce.
Content marketing continues to grow as an industry for one main reason; it works. In a recent Semrush survey, 73% of companies who increased their content marketing spending from 10% to 70% of their total marketing budget were very successful.
In addition, 72% of companies have stated they plan to increase their content marketing budget in 2022. As the industry continues to grow, the need for individuals in the field also increases.
While having a career that feeds your creativity can be rewarding, the paycheck is a significant factor.
As a content marketer, you can create a stable and solid income. The average base salary for a content marketer in the United States is $56,036. Not too shabby for an entry-level position.
It only goes up from there. According to PayScale, the median base salary for a management position is $70,332 and $168.183 for an executive-level role.
One thing a career in content marketing won’t be is stagnant. The way people consume content is constantly changing, meaning the way you create it will also shift. You’ll need to stay updated with the latest trends and best business practices.
The learning doesn’t end there. Depending on your role, you may be creating content for various industries. This means you may have to educate yourself on topics you have no experience in.
The more you increase your knowledge, the more room you have for personal and professional growth.
If you consider yourself a lifelong learner, this is an excellent career.
What Does a Content Marketing Career Path Look Like?
The content marketing industry is a sprouting field with many opportunities for those willing to invest time and effort. While a bachelor’s degree may help you start on the right foot, it’s not a surefire ticket into the industry anymore. Instead, think of building skills that clients and employers will immediately hire for.
There are specific skills that are vital to your success in content marketing.
6 Key Skills You Need to Succeed in a Content Marketing Career
This rapidly growing field will require essential hard skills to land jobs. While this may slightly vary depending on your specific role, we found the skill set listed below as being necessary for all positions within content marketing:
- Writing skills: This is a must. The majority of content marketing is writing, so it is vital that you can craft compelling copy that draws in your target audience.
- Knowledge of SEO: To ensure you create the content your audience wants to consume, you need a basic understanding of search engine optimization.
- Data & analytics skills: This is essential in determining the success of the content; whether it’s measuring engagement, subscriptions, or clients, you need to be able to quantify your success.
- Social media literacy: You may need to craft and distribute content for a range of platforms, knowing how to leverage multiple channels will set you apart in the industry.
- Research skills: Depending on your role, you may be crafting content for several industries. You need to know how to find reliable and factual information no matter the field.
- Time management skills: Your content is only strong if it’s still relevant. Adhering to deadlines is crucial so employers can publish on time, in season.
Seem to be missing one or two skills from your portfolio? Don’t get discouraged. We offer a wide range of resources that can set you up for success, such as our Head of Marketing Bootcamp.
While the knowledge mentioned above is going to be key to getting you into the door you can’t forget about some essential soft skills.
To truly enjoy your career and continue to grow in your field, the additional skills below are another essential set to add to your content marketing toolkit:
- Good intuition
- Growth mindset
Content Marketing Roles
A career path in content marketing can look different for everyone. In fact, content marketing is a pretty broad term, and you’ll have your pick from various roles within the industry.
Typical roles within a content marketing team include:
- Community Manager: The middleman. The community manager acts as the brand voice through content distribution, community support, and digital engagement.
- Social Media Manager: Responsible for creating and distributing content across social media platforms. This can also include content strategy, analyzing analytics, and digital campaigns.
- Video Marketing Manager: Helps brands tell their story through engaging videos to connect with potential customers on a deeper level.
- Brand Journalist: Produces a variety of written content that communicates the capabilities and values of the company. They grab the attention of potential clients and turn them into customers.
- SEO Specialist: A research and analytical guru that uses search engine optimization to create strategies and in-demand content.
- Graphic Designer: Responsible for the visual aspect. From websites to logos, the graphic designer creates engaging visuals that are brand and captivate the audience.
- Copy Editor: Ensures all written content is in tip-top shape before distribution.
- Managing Editor: Also known as a content manager, this individual often oversees designers, writers, and researchers to ensure the success of all visual and written content.
- Director of Editorial: The boss of the boss. This editor manages a team of producers, along with creating and implementing strategies and upholding vendor relations.
- Chief Content Officer: This is the top dog. The CCO oversees all content creation and distribution, ensuring it is on par with the company’s brand.
Start Your Content Marketing Career
In today’s digital age, content is king. The best way to succeed in content marketing is by producing high-quality content that engages your audience.
If you want to start a career in content marketing, we can help. We offer courses and training that will give you the skills you need to succeed. Check out our Content Marketing Mastery course to start your content marketing career path.
How A Non-Marketing Content Approach Produced Award-Winning Results
And yet, he is a 2022 B2C Content Marketer of the Year finalist.
Though seemingly incongruous, it’s not. Companies don’t all approach content (or marketing) with the same organizational structure.
Matt leads editorial strategy for TD Bank Group as a senior manager in the corporate and public affairs department. Under his leadership, TD Stories took home top honors for Best Content Marketing Program in Financial Services and earned finalist mentions for Best Content Marketing Launch and Financial Services Publication in the 2022 Content Marketing Awards.
Those results prove that department, title, and reporting structure don’t matter if the content works.
“We tell stories aligned with (the company’s) communication goals. We’re not necessarily looking to sell something. It is about brand building, thought leadership, financial literacy,” Matt explains.
Here’s how a non-marketer finalist for Content Marketer of the Year built an award-winning program.
Launching the newsroom
In 2018, Matt joined TD as a content strategist. He was hired partly because of his background in reporting and creating new content products. Matt had worked as a technology reporter at The Globe and Mail and the National Post. He also created the Financial Post Tech Desk, a home for Canadian and international tech news, and was the founding editor of the Post’s arcade video-game news site.
TD leadership had recognized the shifting media landscape. They saw fewer earned media opportunities and turned to Matt to help scale a TD-owned channel called TD Newsroom.
While TD Newsroom aligned with the external communications goals, it ended up with an internal audience – less than 10% of visitors came to the site from outside the bank.
Turning the content program inside out
TD Newsroom’s importance grew when the pandemic hit in 2020, making some forms of traditional customer outreach impossible. No longer just another tool in the communication toolbox, TD Newsroom became pivotal.
“Creating our own content and being able to distribute it became crucially important to us,” Matt says.
The TD Newsroom team focused on creating branded service journalism (content intended to help customers), and traffic to the site increased substantially. Topics such as banking tasks you can carry out online, budgeting for income impacted by COVID, and planning an emergency fund took center stage.
That was the beginning of the TD Newsroom evolution.
“We were rethinking how we did content and where the customer was in their journey,” Matt says. The team also doubled down on data-driven content and refined its content strategy.
In 2021, TD Stories debuted. “It places the customer at the center of the story. It tells stories that resonate with customers and colleagues,” Matt says.
The site’s tagline – “Enriching lives one story at a time” – reflects this mission.
TD Stories organizes content around five pillars (as shown in the site navigation in the screenshot above):
- Your Money features financial tips and advice.
- Innovation highlights new technologies to create more personalized banking experiences.
- Community features stories about TD’s involvement in the communities where it operates and where its employees live.
- Colleagues tells the stories of employees.
- Insights features thought leadership from the bank’s executives.
Making everything count
“We’re a small but mighty team within corporate affairs. It’s a flat team – everyone brings ideas to the table. It really wouldn’t work if it wasn’t as cohesive as it is,” Matt says.
The digital content team also functions a little like an agency. In corporate affairs, they work with relationship managers for categories such as personal banking, insurance, US banking, etc., as well as product, partnership, and philanthropic managers.
“We work with them to create the stories. We may pitch to them, asking for a subject matter expert to help us tell a story, etc.,” Matt explains. “We could not exist in a vacuum.”
He oversees a digital content team that includes a data-driven strategy role that has been critical in the TD Stories evolution. That added focus has helped the team in its content development.
For example, the bank’s editorial calendar revolves around repeating deadlines and patterns. Deadlines for retirement plan contributions and income tax returns occur during the same period every year. And each spring, more people begin house hunting.
With TD’s digital content team amping up the content measurement strategy, Matt and team can analyze how well those yearly content pieces perform. They also can better understand what people are searching for, so they can refine and improve the next content iterations.
“We can take those moments and make those moments fresh,” Matt explains. “We can ensure the customer gets the best and most accurate information possible.”
The metrics reflect the team’s dedication to excellence. In 2021, traffic to TD Stories grew more than 125% year-over-year. Almost all the traffic (98%) comes from external sources, including 25% from organic Google searches.
Knowing the real goal
“At the end of the day, the content is not the end goal. The goal is to help educate the customer and help them feel more informed and financially confident. When you keep that in mind, the actual structure of a story or every sentence is a means to an end,” Matt says.
That’s part of the secret science of brand journalism. As Matt explains: “Take the objectives of the business and marry them with stories that the customers find engaging and useful.”
And that’s an award-winning formula regardless of department name, title, or organizational structure.
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Cover image by Joseph Kalinowski/Content Marketing Institute