A few years ago, the companies winning with content were those that had the capital to produce content at scale. As long as the company produced enough decent content, it likely received plenty of impressions, a handful of which would turn into customers.
Now, AI has removed the barrier to entering the content game, and anyone can produce content at scale.
As a result, companies can’t rely on content volume to win.
This means the skill used to create the content is more important than ever.
Below, we’ll discuss the content marketing skills you need to build to ensure you and your company succeed in the next decade of content marketing.
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There are hundreds of new content marketing tools and strategies thanks to the rise of AI.
It’s important to learn how to use them so that your company can keep pace with competitors, yet the reality is that the landscape is changing so quickly that some will likely be irrelevant in a few months or years.
For example, you might learn how to use one video editor only to discover a new video editor with better AI features a few months later. As a result, you’ll have to be adaptable and quickly learn how to use the new video editor.
The same is true for strategies and platforms.
One strategy or platform that may have been working a few months ago may not work as well today, and you have to be able to quickly adapt to the current market demands.
For example, you may have relied primarily on search engine optimization (SEO) in the past.
Yet now it might make more sense to diversify channels and invest more in social media marketing or video.
So, how do you learn how to be a more adaptable person?
First, it’s important to identify content trends and learn how to separate signal from noise.
Talk to people at conferences or on social media to learn how they adjust and apply new tools and techniques.
Note: While staying on top of major trends is helpful, a consistent content marketing strategy is still critical. So learning about new trends is important, but don’t make significant changes to your strategy every few weeks.
In addition to learning from other people about the latest trends, spend some time playing with new tools and running minor experiments.
Even this awareness will make you a much more adaptable content marketer, and you won’t worry about losing your job or your business falling behind the competition.
#2: ChatGPT Prompt Proficiency
New AI tools will come and go, but ChatGPT and the general skill of prompting will likely remain a staple skill that content creators need to master.
Similar to training employees, learning how to create prompts that produce the content you envision will be critical.
While a mediocre prompter will generate written content that is factually accurate, a great prompter can make AI create a piece of content with a unique perspective and tone of voice.
For example, let’s say your assignment is to create a social media post about how to drive more organic traffic to a website.
Here’s something that a mediocre prompter might generate:
Here’s the exact same topic, though with a much more detailed and specific prompt:
Notice that it’s the same topic, yet with more specificity and direction, the quality of the advice is much higher.
The best solution to improve your prompting skills to play with it and simply ask colleagues and other industry experts for assistance when you get stuck.
You can also search Google or LinkedIn for hundreds of prompting templates.
#3: Audience Research
Many content marketers focus on KPIs like traffic and engagement. Yet, these metrics aren’t always the best way to measure content marketing success, as none of them will turn into customers if they don’t have the pain point that your solution solves.
Even if you’re a content creator without a product, it’s still a good idea to consider who you’re attracting to monetize it in the future.
Therefore, conducting audience research to figure out what kinds of questions your target audience asks before making a purchase is critical so that you can reverse engineer those questions and create content on those topics.
In addition, it’s important to factor in the awareness level of the audience you’re attracting with each piece of content. People who are further up in the buying process are just browsing for information and typically require more nurturing and education before they will make a purchase. In contrast, those further down the funnel are actively looking to make a purchase and convert much faster.
For example, if you’re selling cribs to new moms, an awareness level search might be “how to choose a stroller for a newborn baby.” In contrast, a bottom of the funnel keyword search might be something like “Bugaboo vs. Chicco strollers.”
Some keywords are rather obvious, but you’ll find that there are usually a lot of questions your audience is asking before making a purchase that you currently don’t have content answering.
This is why it’s important to become excellent at audience research. Some specific action items you can execute to become better at audience research include:
- Email your audience and ask them about their biggest challenges.
- Offer a gift card or discount to get on the phone with your audience and talk about their challenges.
- Ask customer support to provide a list of all the complaints/pain points that customers send and then ask ChatGPT or another AI sentiment analysis tool to parse out the most common pain points.
- Scrape all of your competitors’ reviews and use ChatGPT or an AI sentiment analysis tool to identify common pain points
- Read forums like Reddit to learn about commonly asked questions
- Run customer surveys and offer an incentive for customers to respond
#4: Data Analysis And A/B Testing
Even if you are excellent at audience research and deeply understand your audience’s pain points and the content that resonates with them, it’s still important to use data and test aspects of your content strategy.
This is also an excellent strategy for team management as you can let the data choose the strategy if team members disagree on a few aspects of a marketing campaign.
A few different things you can test include:
- Title tags/meta descriptions
- Thumbnail images (if you do video)
- Types of content you create (blog posts vs video vs social media content)
- Keyword topics you target
If you create YouTube or social media content, learn how to use their proprietary analytics tools as well.
Then, make a point to look at your analytics on a weekly basis and analyze the engagement metrics to learn what type of content is performing the best. It’s also important to use a CRM like HubSpot or Salesforce and track where your leads are coming from. You’ll often find that most of your lowest engagement content drives the most leads.
This is because fewer people are at the bottom of the funnel, yet they convert very well because they’re actively looking to make a purchase.
#5: Strategic Planning
Beginner content marketers create individual pieces of content.
Expert content marketers use content as a medium to move the buyer through the customer journey.
The difference between the beginner and the expert is that the expert can see the larger picture and realizes that each piece of content will be more valuable if it fits into a broader strategy.
Therefore, content strategy is a critical skill to acquire.
To become a great content strategist, use the audience research you already gathered and then outline the customer journey. Add specific questions customers have at each step in the journey and then do keyword research to match a content topic to answer each pain point.
Then, design a content calendar that outlines a plan to create a piece of content that addresses each of the pain points within the customer journey.
Begin at the bottom of the funnel as those pieces of content will likely convert best.
Then, work your way up towards the top of the funnel, where the content is designed to increase brand awareness and pull prospects into the buyer journey.
By creating content in a strategy that follows the customer journey, you can add a logical call to action at each step of the funnel. This makes it easy for you to take a visitor through the entire buyer journey with your brand, ultimately increasing your visitor to customer conversion rate.
In contrast, creating random content without a clear strategy might result in a lot of traffic, but won’t result in conversions or a long-term follower, because they’ll simply leave after consuming your content.
In short: a content strategy allows the ROI of your content to compound as you create more content whereas content created in silos without a strategy will remain flat.
For example, in the graphic below, you can see that both scenarios target keywords that will likely drive traffic. Yet the traffic going to the site without a content strategy will likely just leave and never turn into revenue.
#6: Team Management
A solo content creator can only have a world class skill set in one or two content mediums. In addition, a single person can also only produce a limited amount of high-quality content.
The key to unlocking the next level of growth through content is to create and manage a team of talented content creators.
Yet becoming a great content marketing manager is very different from being a great content creator.
First, you must learn to spot excellent creative talent and recruit them to join your team.
The easiest strategy is to simply analyze your competitors’ content and steal the creators from their marketing teams.
You can also poach talent from creative agencies.
This works very well as a junior employee (e.g., junior video editor) at a creative agency will have limited opportunities as they’ll be in much deeper talent competition than working as a solo video editor at your brand.
Even if you’re not ready to hire a new employee full-time, you can still ask them if they’d be interested in part-time work.
Once you’ve assembled a team of content marketers, the next step is to ensure they work together to create content.
Otherwise, the content will still be created in silos and won’t compound.
The solution is using a project management tool like Monday.com or Trello. These tools allow you to assign an individual task within the larger project to each team member, and everyone can see who is responsible for each part of the project.
By leveraging a project management tool, you can turn your content plan into action and ensure each piece of content is delivered on time, as you can assign individual due dates to each creator that’s on the project.
This improves consistency, which is essential to creating a strategy that delivers compounding results.
#7: Storytelling Skills And Innovative Ideas
If you want the platforms to give your content more reach, you’ll have to align your content to help the platforms achieve their goals – delivering engaging results to users so that those users continue using their platforms.
So if your content keeps users engaged on the platform, these platforms (Twitter, LinkedIn, Google, Facebook, etc.) will happily show your content to more people.
Leveraging storytelling is the best way to captivate your audience and keep them engaged.
Here is the basic storytelling framework:
- Introduce the initial problem
- The journey to solving that problem and challenges encountered
- The resolution and relief
Here’s a great example of a blog post that leverages storytelling to effectively sell a somewhat boring product (concussion treatment):
If you don’t have a full story to share, you can also include anecdotal stories along the way.
While storytelling is one of the most effective methods to captivate audiences, you can also use shock and suspense if your audience is more of a general consumer.
There are plenty of examples of this on social media, like this one below:
Though it’s important to use this tactic sparingly and deliver the exceptional content or surprise you promise your audience. Instead, pique the interest of a scroller without making an outrageous claim and then deliver the value you promised at the end of the video.
It’s also worth noting that good content is really just great ideas well packaged.
With ChatGPT and other AI content writer tools, insightful ideas won through personal experience are scarce.
So simply talking to an expert about how they solve a common challenge (or even telling stories about how you’ve solved a challenge) can captivate an audience that feels that particular pain point.
#8: Content Promotion
Aligning your content with the platform’s goals can help you achieve more reach, but there’s still no guarantee that you won’t get canceled or lose your audience overnight due to an algorithm change.
So content promotion is one of the most essential skills to build in 2024.
Content promotion involves building real relationships with other influencers so that you can do content collaborations (webinars, podcasts, email swaps, etc.), earn links, and build general industry credibility.
You’ll also want to sharpen your writing skills to learn how to effectively reach out to influencers and develop relationships online.
However, the key to creating real relationships is to provide more value to the other person before asking for anything in return. Ideally, all your content promotion strategies should be mutually beneficial and require little to no effort on the other person’s part.
#9: Seek Feedback And Be Receptive
Content marketing will continue to evolve in the coming months, and you’ll have to evolve with the industry to remain relevant.
So, if you launch a campaign and it doesn’t succeed, just look at the data objectively and make adjustments to your content accordingly.
The most effective content marketers welcome feedback from their team, customers, and the data.
The easiest way to collect feedback from your team is to have weekly meetings or daily standups. During these sessions, ask for feedback on both the content marketing campaigns as well as your communication.
To collect feedback from your customers, you can talk to them directly and analyze your analytics to see what’s working and driving the best results.
Once you receive the feedback, realize that it’s objective and isn’t a reflection of who you are.
Just accept it and adjust the strategy accordingly.
How To Start Sharpen Your Content Marketing Skills
Following these tips will help you build the important skills you need to succeed in the next decade of content marketing, but knowing how to get started can be difficult.
If you feel stuck and want additional help, consider joining the Copyblogger Academy, where you can receive one on one content marketing coaching from the Copyblogger team. You’ll also have access to video courses on copywriting, content marketing, personal branding, and much more.
Though most valuable of all, you’ll have access to a network of peers experiencing the same challenges as you. To see for yourself how a community can help you grow as a content marketing specialist, join the Copyblogger Academy today.