content marketing training

A Content Marketing Training Guide for Freelancers & Marketers: Skills You Need to Know & Tips to Get Hired

Today, the interest and investment in content marketing are at an all-time high.

Within the last two years, it has reached peak search interest on Google and continues to hover near that mark (in the graph below, the “100” line represents peak interest):

That’s exciting.

Content marketing is a hot industry to get into in 2018 – and it’s only going to get better moving into the future. Getting your feet wet in content marketing training couldn’t be a better time.

Job opportunities are hopping, and roles are continuing to expand as businesses of all kinds start to truly understand the value of content.

Just look at the diverse array of content marketing positions from a cursory search of Indeed.com – and this is just from the first page!

And, according to PayScale, entry-level content marketing managers make an average median pay of about $59K per year.

Entry-level content marketing freelancers, on the other hand, have a yearly income that depends largely on dedication and location. But, PayScale estimates that the average freelance writer nets about $24/hour, while the median income for content writers is about $42K annually (and plenty make much, much more).

Finally, according to Marketing Profs and Conductor, the average annual salary for a number of content marketing roles all look pretty darn good:

With the promise of a decent paycheck and innovative, creative, exciting work, it’s truly an incredible time to dive into this field.

Of course, to become a savvy, skilled content marketer and nail that hot position (or net desirable clients!), you need the right content marketing training.

If you agree, you’re in the right place. First, we’ll run through key skills you need to go far in content marketing. Then, we’ll cover application tips and tricks to help you win an incredible job or high-paying clients.

Let’s get into it.

content marketing training guide

Content Marketing Training Bootcamp: Hone These 5 Critical Content Wizard Skills

To succeed in this industry, there are skills you need that remain constant, no matter your role or experience level.

For example, the skills a content strategist needs closely intertwine with those of a content manager, content writer, and social media marketer.

Sharpening the skills listed below could help you stay relevant and help you maintain the ability to wear many hats in the industry, whether you’re strategizing content, managing content, creating content, or all of the above.

Content Marketing Training Skill #1: A Relentless Drive for Results

Whether you work for a company or for individual clients, they will all have the same goal: They want to see results from content marketing. They want that ROI pie-in-the-sky.

However, most have no clear idea how to measure it. In Content Marketing Institute’s 2018 research on trends in B2B content marketing, only 3% of those surveyed said their organizations were doing an excellent job aligning their metrics with their goals:

cmi2018_metrics-goals

That means you have to be driven to align metrics + goals so your clients or bosses can see those results.

Every action you take has to reflect back on eventual return-on-investment, and you have to prove that connection.

The ROI has to be quantifiable. You must know how to measure your content success, gather and analyze data, map it to goals, and present it to your clients or company in a way that’s easy to understand.

Content Marketing Training Skill #2: Creative Problem-Solving

If you want to be a top content marketer, get ready to hone your creative problem-solving skills.

Depending on who you work for, you’ll be presented with challenges as varied as implementing fresh content strategies for businesses who don’t have them, researching the best keywords and blog topics for specific niche industry brands, and figuring out how to improve a company’s content so they hit high rankings for their best keyword opportunities.

You’ll have a lot of challenges thrown your way, each their own particular color and flavor. As a content marketer, you’ll need to thrive on each individual hurdle.

Content Marketing Training Skill #3: Thorough and Meticulous Communication

Good communication is an essential skill for success in most industries. Content marketing is no different.

You’ll particularly need thoroughness and meticulousness when relaying ideas and data back and forth to your higher-ups, clients, and other stakeholders.

This isn’t just about writing, either. You also need to be a skilled presenter, a good collaborator, and a team player.

  • If you work for a company, you’ll need compelling communication to help you get buy-in for your content marketing initiatives.
  • If you work as a freelancer, your clients may need some data-backed examples to get on board with what you propose for their content.
  • If you work with a team and have a great idea for driving engagement forward for a brand, for instance, you have to be able to explain your vision.

Content Marketing Training Skill #4: An Instinct for Audience Defining and Storytelling

A huge part of being a content marketer is the content creation aspect. You have to understand how to tell stories that will win over a vast array of different audiences in different industries.

Your job will be to define these audiences and tailor content just for them, using the right keywords, tone, language, and topics to get them interested and invested.

Your storytelling skills will definitely come into play, here. You’ll have to think about the right delivery for each group of people you’re creating content for, making sure you’re telling stories they need or want to hear.

This involves part instinct, part research, and part creativity.

Content Marketing Training Skill #5: A Savvy Promoter

As a content marketer, you need to be internet-savvy to promote and distribute content as effectively as possible.

You also need to understand techniques to get your content the widest possible audience. This means you have to:

  • Know best-practices for posting to social channels, including optimal times, types of posts, word count, hashtags, and image types
  • Understand how to speak to and target different audiences on social media, including the best platforms where the brunt of them hang out (this can differ depending on the audience!)
  • Know how to create a promotional strategy for each piece of content you put out

Put Your Content Marketing Training to Real Use: 6 Tips for Applying to & Winning that Job

Your content marketing training doesn’t end with honing your skills. You also have to do some legwork to position yourself as a desirable hire:

1. Get Your LinkedIn Profile in Order and Do Some Social Media Housekeeping

As we all know, we live in an interconnected age where our online social profiles often serve as our first introduction for potential employers, clients, and colleagues.

Hiring managers and clients may absolutely check out your LinkedIn profile or Facebook whether or not you provide links in your resume. If your profile is lacking, you may leave that person with a negative impression of you, which can spell disaster for your job chances.

Here’s a good example:

linkedin_ghost

This just looks lazy and unprofessional. Don’t be a LinkedIn ghost – if you can’t be bothered to upload a profile picture, you shouldn’t bother having an account.

If your profile looks like this, or if you have some inappropriate posts or pictures hanging out in your feed, make sure you do some housekeeping before applying for any jobs. These will affect your first impression.

Lastly, make sure your profile is complete and optimized. You should include keywords for your industry in your summary, work experience, and skills sections, including keywords for the job you want.

Here’s an example of a complete and professional profile from Money:

linkedin_complete-profile

2. Look for Opportunities in All the Right Places

Don’t just depend on job boards to find open positions. Instead, do some deeper digging in the right places to unearth more potential jobs or clients.

Here are some ideas:

  • Post an open call for hiring opportunities on your social media profiles. Ask your friends/followers if they know of any leads, open positions, or opportunities for content marketing, and mention that you’re actively looking. Lots of your contacts may keep you in mind if they see anything pop up! Or, there may be an open position or client opportunity waiting there for you – you never know until you ask.
  • Attend industry events and network. The professional connections you make at conferences and meet-ups could lead to job opportunities down the road!
  • Look up companies you’ve heard of or admire on Google and check their hiring pages. If you see an opening that looks desirable, apply and make sure to mention how much you respect the company in your cover letter.
  • If you’re a freelancer, make sure you have an up-to-date profile on the hottest freelance job boards. These give you access to millions of companies/clients actively looking for people to fill positions. Two great options are Upwork and Toptal.
  • Another tip for freelancers: Create a portfolio website. This is something you can include on your business card or link on your resume/social profiles. It’s an easy way for potential clients to check out you and your past experience. You can also keyword optimize it so clients can discover you in search.

3. It’s Not About You, It’s About Them

When it’s cover letter time, do you sit down and think about what you want out of the job position you’re applying for?

If so, you’re doing it wrong.

Instead, you need to approach cover letter writing from a perspective of what the company/client needs from you, and how you can contribute to solve their problem or increase their success.

In the end, it’s about what you can do for THEM, not about how their company or project can help you advance in your career.

Dive into writing the cover letter from this perspective, and you should be much more persuasive.

4. Do Not Mention Skills You Don’t Have – Focus on What You CAN Do

A huge rookie mistake many people make with cover letters is mentioning how they don’t have X skill or X experience.

You should never, ever draw attention to what you can’t do or haven’t done in what is essentially your first pitch to the company/client.

Example:

This is like sticking your foot in your mouth. Don’t do it.

Instead, highlight what you CAN do.

Example:

5. Highlight Key Parts of Your Resume… But Don’t Regurgitate

Your resume is a tool, one you should definitely refer to at key moments in your cover letter to better explain your experience or skills.

However, don’t just copy your descriptions from your resume and use them in your cover letter. Instead, briefly reference the point, but use the extra space in the cover letter to include additional details about the experience you weren’t able to fit on your resume.

For instance, your resume might say “Implemented and managed a content marketing campaign focused on a series of how-to guides.”

Your cover letter could go into more detail, like: “Creating, implementing, and managing a content marketing campaign taught me how to target a niche audience segment and measure the results from XYZ data.”

6. Double-Check Instructions and Include All Requested Information/Attachments/Samples

This one may seem like a no-brainer, but it’s amazing how many people forget to attend to the tiniest details when applying for a position.

It’s straightforward: Read the application instructions carefully, including the fine print. Follow them to the letter.

Many companies actually use this as a litmus test of sorts. Candidates who don’t follow initial directions for their application are immediately tossed in the trash.

Think of it this way: Hiring managers have a ton of applications to weed through – they don’t have time to deal with incomplete or missing information. You have to make it easy for them to advance you to the next round, so to speak.

So, carefully note what materials you need for each job application. Some don’t want your resume but would rather have work samples. Some want the whole kit and caboodle, including cover letter, resume, samples, and references.

Don’t forget to use their preferred submission method, too.

Some want an email with attachments, and others may want you to use their online system or form.

If you’re on an applications-spree, keeping track of all this can get hard.

It’s worth it, though, because you’re showing potential employers or clients you’re hirable at the most basic level.

The Final Word: Your Content Marketing Training Will Never Be “Over”

Content marketing is a wild and wily industry. Standards for success are constantly changing, and the lightning speed at which technology is developing has a huge role.

To keep up, once your initial training is over and you’ve nailed a position, you can’t sit back and get complacent. You have to keep learning, keep training, and keep leveling-up to stay relevant.

Here are some final tips that can help you keep current in such a fast-paced industry:

  • Follow top blogs that cover trends and news in content marketing, SEO, content creation/copywriting, and social media. (A few excellent picks are Search Engine Journal, Content Marketing Institute, BuzzSumo, and Copy Hackers. And don’t forget to subscribe to the Write Blog!)
  • Pick a few essential content marketing books to read during the year. Grab classics in the field or read a newer publication. (See: Epic Content Marketing by Joe Pulizzi, The Content Code by Mark Schaefer, or They Ask, You Answer by Marcus Sheridan.)
  • Keep in touch with colleagues in your industry on social media, email, and other methods. Catch up every once in awhile to discuss what’s happening in the field. Think about attending CMWorld if you can, because in-person conferences are just so amazing to make that dynamite connection even realer (this will be the second year I’ve gone).

The wonderful world of content marketing is opening up like never before. There are so many opportunities out there. Start up your content marketing training, and grab your place in this exciting atmosphere of incredible growth and possibilities.

julias masterclass cta

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