Content marketing can be a tough job.
Apart from creating content on a regular basis, content marketers also have to deal — directly or indirectly — with many other aspects. Some of those include keyword research, on-page SEO, off-page SEO, user engagement, sales funnel and buyer journeys, conducting subject matter expert interviews, and data analysis.
That’s why if content marketers need to be successful, they need to equip themselves with additional skills to become a complete package.
Here are 10 skills that content marketers must have in 2020.
Storytelling is the bread and butter of a successful content marketer in 2020. Almost all writers can compile a bunch of sentences together. But there is so much content out there that it is extremely hard to compete and stand out.
To do that, you need to be able to tell engaging and interesting stories that would hook readers, pique their interest, and encourage them to keep reading.
Read this post about mastering the storytelling technique to learn more.
2. Creating engaging long-form content
Depending on your niche and the type of business you are in, the length of your content will likely play an important role in your success.
While it is generally easy to write a 400-word blog post, it takes a lot of time, effort, consistency in tone, and persistence to write long-form content, i.e., from 2,000 to even 5,000 words and maintain readers’ engagement.
Studies have proved that search engines as well as readers prefer long-form content. Here is a study by SerpIQ that reveals that the top 10 results in the search engine results pages (SERPs) have, on average, more than 2,000 words.
If you want to get ranked higher in the SERPs and get consistent free organic traffic, you will often have to create long-form content that has more than 2,000 words.
3. Understanding the buyer journey and sales funnel
When visitors land on your website, they do not always convert right away. It often takes multiple visits for them before they decide to purchase your product or service.
In other words, a buyer usually goes through multiple stages — or phases — before they take the desired action. These stages are commonly referred to as the buyer journey or the sales funnel.
Understanding and interpreting this buyer journey is a crucial skill that every content marketers must have.
This understanding allows you to craft unique content for potential customers at different stages of the buyer journey. By giving them the right information at the right time, content marketers are more likely to convert random website readers into paying customers.
4. Data analysis
Data, insights, metrics, and KPIs: These are all important pillars of any successful content marketing strategy. If content marketers do not know what’s working and what’s not, they cannot refine and optimize the content strategy and maximize the ROI.
A combination of Google Analytics and Google Search Console gives content marketers ample information and valuable insights to make data-driven business decisions. However, these tools may seem overwhelming to some.
Read the following posts to learn how various reports work:
- Exploring Google Analytics Audience reports and data
- Exploring Google Analytics Acquisition reports and data
- Exploring Google Analytics Behavior reports and data
5. Keyword research
Keyword research is a cornerstone of content marketing. Without the right keywords, you won’t be able to create the right type of content for your target audience.
In 2020, every content marketer needs to have a thorough understanding of what keyword research is, how it works, and how it is evolving in modern-day SEO — especially after the introduction of Google BERT.
Here are a few resources to help you get started with keyword research:
- 6 common keyword research mistakes you might be making
- An unconventional approach to unique keyword research
- Keyword research or intent research: What is the future of keywords in SEO?
6. On-page and off-page SEO
A content marketer’s job does not end with keyword research. Even if there are dedicated SEO professionals in a team, content marketers must have a working understanding of how on-page and off-page SEO work.
This includes keyword inclusion, creating unique and engaging meta titles and meta descriptions, website loading speed, page size, backlinks, internal links, the concepts of do-follow and no-follow links, etc.
7. Editorial planning
Content marketers are generally expected to produce a lot of content in each quarter. Search engines and readers prefer fresh content on a website. That’s one of the reasons why content marketing teams often have very comprehensive editorial plans that stretch to multiple quarters and, in some cases, even a year in advance.
However, that level of meticulous editorial planning requires a certain set of skills and project management prowess.
Content marketers need to be aware of the different cogs that work simultaneously in an organization, how long it takes for a piece of content to be finished, and the time other departments usually take, e.g., design, product, legal, etc. to green-light a blog post.
8. Outsourcing and delegating tasks
It is becoming more and more common for businesses to outsource a significant percentage of their content. This requires content marketers to understand how outsourcing works. Moreover, the ability to successfully delegate tasks — as per the editorial calendar — is an important skill that content marketers should have.
In 2020, the demand for high-quality content is on the rise. Well-planned outsourcing can ensure that new content is available at the right time and at the right cost.
9. The art of conducting interviews
A content creator or writer cannot be an all-in-one expert. That’s not very realistic or practical.
So, if the writer isn’t an expert, how would he/she write on a topic? In such a scenario, the answer often lies in “subject matter expert interviews.”
Mastering the art of conducting interviews is a skill that content marketers and writers should acquire. Here are a few tips that could be useful:
- Be prepared. Research the topic, learn more about the subject matter expert, and make a list of questions ahead of time.
- Combine a mix of open-ended and closed-ended questions to come up with as much information as possible.
- Prepare a detailed content outline and bring it with you during the interview.
- Record the interviews so you can get back to it.
10. The ability to repurpose content
Content marketers are supposed to produce a lot of content. However, it is not easy to produce unique content on different topics all the time. That’s where repurposing of content comes in.
Repurposing refers to re-using your existing content into different mediums (e.g., video, infographics, e-books, whitepapers), publishing older blog posts on different third-party websites (e.g., content syndication on Medium or LinkedIn), or taking a few smaller blog posts and converting them into a big 5,000-word guide.
Because content marketers are bound by various constraints, effectively repurposing content is a crucial skill that comes in handy throughout the year.
A successful content marketer has to wear multiple hats because the job includes much more than writing blog posts.
The above-mentioned ten skills are needed to be mastered by content marketers if they want to succeed in 2020 and beyond.