What do employers look for in a content marketer?
Columnist Kerry Jones explains why content marketers need to be both technical wizards and artistic geniuses to land a job.
The days of solely identifying with the left side (technically savvy) or right side (highly creative) of your brain are over for marketers, especially for those hoping to land a position in content marketing.
A recent study by Fractl (my employer) on “Today’s Content Marketer” determined employers are now searching for hybrid marketers for content marketing roles.
Of 3,300 content marketing jobs posted on Indeed.com between May 3 and 6, 2016, 51 percent required the candidate to have both technical and creative skills. This includes career levels spanning across positions categorized as intern, junior and senior.
The brain of today’s content marketer: top 10 skills
Through keyword analysis, we determined these are the top 10 most desirable skills for content marketers to possess:
- Google Analytics
- Marketing strategy
- Content strategy
- Thought leadership
- Brand development
Understand hiring managers’ expectations
Are hiring managers expecting content marketers to be superhumans?
It may seem so, but our findings prove that a shallow-skilled employee just won’t cut it anymore. You must be a Renaissance marketer — a self-sufficient marketing machine. Much like the original Renaissance man Leonardo da Vinci, you should be able to paint a picture with your words, develop a marketing philosophy, discover new techniques, sculpt the strategy, construct SEO and engineer an analytics measurement system.
It could be argued it takes three separate full-time jobs or a whole team of people to successfully run a content marketing operation. This includes someone to plan the strategy, someone to create the content and someone to integrate it into various marketing channels.
While boasting a team of content marketers would be the ideal scenario, few businesses have the budget to support it. The average salary for a content marketer is $61,000. As a way to offset the costs of hiring additional employees for content creation, freelancers are often utilized and work side by side with a highly skilled in-house content marketer.
Bottom line: Experience is key
When it comes to selecting the ideal candidate, we found experience takes the cake.
Luckily, an expensive MBA or master’s degree won’t be the determining factor on a job offer. Rather, employers want to see someone who’s had hands-on, real-life experience in the field.
The following breakdown identifies the preferred level of education and minimum years of experience required for the corresponding job level.
A four-year degree is essential. Across the board, an average 76 percent of employers listed a bachelor’s degree as the minimum education level for content marketing jobs found on Indeed. Only 13 percent of senior-level positions preferred a graduate degree.
Take every opportunity to gain experience. While 90 percent of internships require little to no experience, those seeking a junior- or senior-level position need to have some experience under their belt.
How can new content marketers gain experience?
You may be asking yourself, “Does that mean I have to be an intern for five years before I can even think about applying for a junior-level job?” Most likely not. However, an internship is helpful.
Those with internship experience are 20 percent more likely to get hired than those without one. Furthermore, job-seekers holding a paid internship versus an unpaid internship are 28 percent more likely to land a job in the field.
Seek out opportunities for side projects, such as guest blogging. Outside of holding an actual content marketing position, this is a great way to flex your skills and bulk up your portfolio.
Tips for growing your content marketing career
As content marketing positions become increasingly more desirable, the competition to nab one will intensify. From SEO specialists and social community managers to journalists and bloggers, everyone seeking to take his or her career to the next level will be vying for a content marketing position.
To make yourself more attractive to potential employers and ace that interview, follow these tips:
- Stay on top of your game. Whether it’s reading the latest industry articles, joining a webinar or attending a conference, content marketers must be hungry for trends.
- Practice what they preached. After soaking up new knowledge on content marketing strategies, put the wheels in motion; activate these skills or concepts as soon as possible. Acting quickly prevents you from forgetting new concepts, which are typically forgotten within 24 hours.
- Be a team player. Learn to involve your coworkers in brainstorming sessions and ask for help with execution. Solicit and experiment with new ideas.
- Content market yourself. The most important tip? Build your own brand. Get creative when it comes to marketing yourself to prospective employers and showcasing your skills. Don’t be afraid to push the envelope — or ads — to get a hiring manager’s attention.
Content marketing roles are plentiful
The great news? The future of content marketing is ripe for hiring potential. Based on trends spanning from January 2011 to January 2015, the number of available content marketing jobs has continued to skyrocket year over year — by 350 percent, to be exact.
Regarding which states have the highest concentration of content marketing jobs per capita, Massachusetts takes the number one spot, followed by Hawaii, California, New York and Washington, DC.
This list of the best cities for SEO jobs may also give insight into where content marketing roles are plentiful as well; these days many SEO practitioners now make content a primary focus of their strategy.
The opportunity to throw your hat in the ring won’t be an issue. But when a hiring manager asks to see what’s under your hat, a well-rounded marketing mind is what they want to see.