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How to get an entry-level Content Marketing job?

Role Basics: Content Marketing?

Content marketers write – typically blogs, white papers or newsletters – to acquire website visitors and convert them into leads. 

Flavors of Content Marketing roles: 

Most content marketers focus on writing blogs to acquire visitors through Search Engine Optimization. Some content marketing also includes social media content or writing newsletters or web copy (so it can be very close or similar to Social Media Marketing, Brand Marketing, or Product Marketing roles). 

Example projects in Content Marketing:

  • Create a company blog that gets 10,000 monthly visitors
  • Manage an existing blog to grow traffic by 20% month over month
  • Create an ebook that a product marketer can use as part of a lead generation project
  • Write a style guide (possibly in collaboration with the Brand Marketing team) for other content marketers to use
  • Decrease the cost, or increase the quality of the content marketing team by improving documentation, training, hiring practices and more on the content team

Common activities in Content Marketing:

  • Develop and manage a content calendar
  • Research and write blogs, ebooks and white papers
  • Collaborate closely with (or even take on responsibilities of) an SEO expert
  • Manage and build distribution for your blog 
  • Recruit, screen and hire contract writers
  • Manage and edit contract writers 
  • Write content briefs describing for pieces on the content calendar

Content Marketing metrics:

  • Site traffic from blog / other content 
  • Content production cost 
  • User acquisition cost / lead generation cost
  • Page authority, Domain authority, Backlinks, and other SEO metrics

Content Marketing compensation:

Entry jobs pay $40-60K. 

Content marketing career path:

 This can be an entry point to other marketing roles, but content marketing is a tough career – the marketplace of good, fast writers is commodified, so it’s better to use this as a launchpad into other marketing roles (i.e. SEO, product marketing, brand marketing). 

How accessible are Content Marketing jobs?

  • Time to learn. 0-6 months. This just depends on how good and fast a writer you are.
  • Selectivity. Low. It’s all about the quality and speed of your writing. Expect to share a writing sample and perform writing tests. 
  • Ease of working remote. Very remote-friendly. 

Job Requirements: What you need to be competitive for content marketing roles?

Key skills for Content Marketing:

  • Writing. This is essential. You need to be a clear writer and thinker. 
  • Writing speed. Content marketing is usually a game of output. Companies will take a solid writer with reliable, fast output over a brilliant writer who takes much more time (if you strive for perfection and have fantastic style, aim for Brand Marketing in the long term). 
  • Editing. You need to be able to edit other people’s writing, give feedback and manage content production in addition to doing it yourself. 
  • Basic SEO knowledge. Often, especially at smaller companies, you will have to do your own SEO (see here for more on SEO skills).
  • Content Marketing domain knowledge. You need to understand the ideas and language of the company you want to work for – if, for example, you’re applying to an aerospace firm, you should understand relevant business and engineering concepts.

Professional background for Content Marketing:

Often content marketers are former journalists or people who’ve trained in journalism or communications, but the experience and portfolio is what matters. If you haven’t written and/or edited at least 100,000+ published words (at least on your blog, Medium, or papers from school that you’re actually proud of), you’re at a big disadvantage. 

Prior accomplishments to be competitive for Content Marketing:

  • Successfully launched or managed a blog, acquiring significant visitor growth (typically 10,000s in increased monthly traffic)
  • Portfolio of work that demonstrates skill 
  • References that demonstrate skill, speed and reliability

Personal characteristics for success in Content Marketing:

  • You love writing, and treat it like a craft
  • You’re interested in learning new things, and sharing that learning through writing

How to prepare for and get a job in Content Marketing? 

Projects to learn and prove yourself:

  • Launch your own blog or newsletter, and reach 10,000 monthly visitors. 
  • Write and submit articles, Op-Eds or blogs to publications. You can start by submitting to Medium publications. 
  • Create a content portfolio. Include op-eds, newsletters, brand copy, company blogs. 
  • Manage the blog for a small business in your network, and grow it by at least 5,000 monthly visits (or 25%, whichever is greater). 
  • Create a mock editing portfolio. Find content (blogs, website copy, emails, newsletters, social media posts, etc.) from products or companies you love, and create a portfolio where you edit their writing to make it better, more compelling, funnier, better optimized for SEO – more effective at building an audience and a brand. 

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