Why Us Content Marketers Have to Better Market Ourselves

Over 30% of B2C and B2B marketers revealed they find it challenging to find trained content marketing professionals, an increase of 320% since last year, according to Content Marketing Institute research.

Just considering that number alone is a problem. Coupled with the fact that 55% of B2B marketers plan to increase spending on content marketing in 2015 and a greater problem emerges: if there are not enough trained content marketing professionals, what exactly are you spending money on?

Content marketing continues to grow as a formal business discipline. In fact, the Content Marketing Institute even changed their definition of content marketing this year to reflect this – now defining content marketing as:

“A strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly defined audience – and ultimately, to drive profitable customer action”

Formerly, they defined content marketing as the “creation and distribution of educational and/or compelling content in multiple media formats to attract and/or retain customers.” This change shows what content marketers have known for years: quality content can build awareness, drive revenue and impact your company’s bottom line.

Yet successful companies are searching for these trained content marketers – to no avail. So where are they (or rather, us?)

Bring ‘em Out

There is no shortage in those passionate about and interested in content marketing – consider the Google Trends chart below that reveals the growth of content marketing as a search term in the past five years.

Content Marketing Trends

Rather, the shortage is in the lack of trained content writers, strategists and marketers. As content marketing continues to grow, content marketers apparently have not followed suit. Why not?

I believe that the issue lies, not in a lack of trained content marketing professionals, but a lack of trained content marketers who know how to market themselves.

Here’s why.

5 Key Skills You Need to be a Content Marketer

Like any other discipline, you need certain skills to be successful at content marketing. Google Trends charts and other research may make you believe that content marketing is a new field, but it really is just age-old wisdom marketed in a new way.

Content marketing = the importance of telling a story, to the right people, at the right time, on the right channels.

This is something we’ve been doing since the dawn of time. When it comes down to it, successful content marketers must have five key skills – the ability to:

  1. Write well and for different audiences, in different tones and voices
  2. Strategize – and document it
  3. Understand different mediums (social, websites, ad copy, blogs etc.)
  4. Learn to constantly evolve
  5. Manage it all

All together, these five skills make a successful content marketer. By now, you might be reading those skills and thinking “I’ve got that” and “I’ve got that one too,” yet you don’t call yourself a content marketer. Perhaps you refer to yourself as just a writer or just a social media marketer. Perhaps you’ve never written email copy before, or tested out subject lines. Perhaps you’ve done it all yet no feel qualified to join the ranks. Does a lack of confidence in your own skills mean you can’t call yourself a content marketer?

That’s what it all comes down to.

There isn’t a lack of content marketing professionals because content marketing isn’t a new field. Content marketing is a new term for a field that we’ve been mastering for years: the art of storytelling, and doing it well, to multiple audiences, on multiple channels.

What there is a lack of is people willing to step up to the plate and put on the content marketer’s hat. I know I was reluctant to call myself a content marketer. After all, what did I know about strategy, ROI and social media engagement? It turns out, a lot. I had been doing it for years and slowly learning and growing along the way. Once I wore the title, I was able to open up new opportunities for myself and position myself as a real content marketer.

Fellow content marketers, it’s time to better market yourselves. It might be easier to market a new product, software, or even a blog – but the most important marketing is showing the world – and those 32% of B2B and B2C companies – that trained content marketers do exist. We’re trained writing professionals. We’re trained in management and organization. We’re strategists and critical thinkers. We’re on the pulse of social media. We’re content marketers.

think. research. write.

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