Essential Skills Every Great Content Marketer Needs

By Pierre de Braux

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Going online to learn more about a product or service has become innate behavior for most of us. Inevitably, in the era of information, consumers have become more informed about how marketing works. Any brand can claim they’re the best, but the market will always uncover the reality… Well, eventually anyway.

That’s why you need an excellent content marketer on your team. They have the ability to curate the perfect campaign to captivate and speak to the market on a much deeper scale than with traditional branded messaging. Imagine yourself canvassing for a product. Would you settle for a product review that says “great quality, a must-buy”? Probably not.

You’d likely desire more information so you can make an educated decision for yourself. A good content marketer understands this and uses the momentum to drive consumers from awareness to purchasing. If you don’t capitalize on this critical phase, you might just lose potential customers to your competitors.

Finding the right person for this delicate task can be tricky, often likened to finding a unicorn. But, if you know what you’re looking for, identifying potential candidates becomes a whole lot easier. Here are a few skills you should keep an eye out for, so you don’t fall for empty words meant to butter you up.

The 10 Skills Every Great Content Marketer Must Possess

1. See the bigger picture

One of the key characteristics of an excellent content marketer is the ability to decipher what a 50% bounce rate means for a business. Whether a brand should be focusing on lead quality or lead quantity, or how prospects make the journey through a brand’s content marketing funnel.

They should be capable of interpreting the numbers behind a campaign. There are a handful of online monitoring tools like Google Analytics and BuzzSumo that can help content marketers understand the market. Without the ability to see the bigger picture, they might just spearhead a campaign that hurts your brand more than it helps.

2. Be quick on their feet

What sets a great content marketer apart from the rest is how good they are on their feet. Spontaneity should never throw them off-course, but rather inspire them to come up with something new and exciting.

These days, brands leverage trending topics to springboard their campaign into whatever people are talking about. Reacting to emerging trends needs to be timely if you want to maximize the effect. People online have relatively short attention spans so newsjacking has to be fast and furious.

3. Visualize Content

Content marketers should know how to transmit information effectively and efficiently. They need to determine if a marketing message is best delivered textually or visually. Depending on your audience, users tend to appreciate data that is represented visually because large amounts of plain text can be overwhelming and tedious to interpret.

A good content marketer knows how to make numbers easy to consume. They know very well that vast amounts of information are far easier to consume when delivered in the right format. Say, an image-heavy infographic. We all know that a picture is worth a thousand words but what we might not realize is that thousand words takes mere seconds to transmit when the vehicle is a picture.

4. Be a good storyteller

It all starts with a story. Everyone can write, but not everyone is a writer. The beauty of marketing is taking your customers through a journey, and there’s no better way to do that than through a story.

When a content marketer is a great storyteller, they can provide your brand with an opportunity to connect with your audience on a far more personal level. Something that simply cannot be achieved through content that is overly promotional or brand/product focused.

Great storytellers usually have a writing background, like bloggers and journalists. That’s your cue to find yourself a content marketer with a great writing history (or the potential for one).

5. Know the right questions to ask

Content marketers must channel the toughest questions a consumer could ask. Keep in mind that consumers tend to search online prior to making a purchase. One way to produce content that addresses this is by asking the right questions.

For instance, if you’re selling alkaline water, a good content marketer would position the campaign as a go-to resource hub for what consumers are really wondering about—why opt for alkaline instead of distilled?

In this case, don’t just expound on how much you can save or how clean the water is, but dive deep into what the market is concerned about—the health benefits.

6. Resourcefulness

Imagine shooting a ton of heartwarming and heart tugging brand videos. Instead of releasing them all at once, you could publish them in a series of posts. This allows you to capitalize on the campaign and have adequate time to analyze which ones get the most engagement.

Every marketer wants to come up with the next best thing such as a trending campaign that gets everyone talking. But, if you’re not smart about this, it could be costly for the company in the long run. Good content marketers know how to anchor the campaign and optimize the efforts of the team.

Remember that content marketing is a marathon, not a sprint. The more you’re able to engage your audience over the long-term, the better your results will be.

7. Persuasiveness

Good content marketers know what to ask, but excellent content marketers know how to converse. The person you are looking for knows the right words to say at the right time. Think for a second about your clientele. Are they millennials or old souls? Do they respond to formal or informal communications?

If your content marketer doesn’t understand your target market, they will not be able to relate with them, or more importantly, get them to relate to your brand. There’s nothing worse than a brand shooting off the mark with their content. Ensure you pick the person that knows how to build your brand's rapport among your target audience’s demographic/psychographic.

8. Look at the glass half-full instead of half-empty

The pyramids weren’t built by one person. Just like a compelling marketing campaign, it takes a team to build and execute it. Your content marketer needs to handle criticism and welcome constructive feedback.

Everything can be a learning opportunity. The person you’re looking for must know how to respond to both positive and negative feedback. Otherwise, it would only brood resentment amongst the team, and no one wants that. The rules are constantly evolving and many traditional content marketing tactics that worked before are no longer effective, so it really helps if your content marketer is always trying to improve themselves.

9. Have good general marketing skills

Having a well-rounded content marketer that understands many aspects of marketing is a huge advantage. In this age of multi-screen advertising, having the expertise to tap different audiences in various channels can help your brand go places.

Of course, you should always look for someone with experience in your brand’s industry and its most prominent channels, but general marketing knowledge demonstrates that they have the ability to learn and expand their skills.

10. Be an analyst

When a campaign fails, no one settles for a “it just didn’t work” explanation because that’s never the case. Consumers do not respond to a campaign for a reason, and good content marketers know this.

Using the tools available online, the content marketer you are looking for desires to understand the root of each result, whether it’s a success or a failure. You simply can’t improve what you don’t measure, so it’s a good idea to hire a content marketer who knows how to measure the success of their efforts.


A content marketer marries the brand's mission with consumer vision. It takes a lot of skills to grasp the market and craft content that is both compelling and captivating. Good content encourages them to go out there and try out your products, so an excellent content marketer onboard your team, is an absolute must-have.

Don’t just go out and hire a good marketer because apparently, 96% of them suck at content marketing. Look for someone who has the specific skills or potential to grow from a content executor into a fully-fledged content master.

The content marketing role hasn’t exactly been around for a long time, so experienced people are hard to find. Lower your expectations for your new hires (especially entry-level roles) since everyone needs proper training prior to becoming a perfect employee.



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You might like these blog posts Starting Up Part 2: Conquering the Lean Startup Phase, How to Turn Leads on Social Media Into Customers, Why Blogging is Worth Your Tight Budget and How to Make it Work, and Three Qualities of Successful Marketing Team Leaders.

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