“Oh, you write stuff on the internet? What, like, fake Yelp reviews?” These are the questions you face when you’re a content marketer trying to explain your job to your friends, family, and acquaintances. Though the profession is more commonplace than it was 5 or 10 years ago, it can still require some explanation for people who aren’t familiar with the intricacies of search engine optimization and inbound marketing. And to clarify, no, it’s not like writing fake Yelp reviews.
Content is essential to the internet experience (where would we be without cat videos and Kanye West’s Tweets?), but the people who don’t produce content don’t tend to think much about where it comes from. As it turns out, there are people being paid to create content all over the world. In fact, 73% of major organizations are hiring employees to manage their content marketing strategies, according to the Content Marketing Institute. Smaller companies often turn to marketing agencies to manage their content, who may employ their own content writers or outsource to freelancers and specialized content marketing companies like Pennington Creative.
Beyond the bigger picture of editorial calendars and AdWords metrics, there are content marketing specialists like myself who work on the ground floor of the inbound process. We create the building blocks of larger campaigns, like blog posts, newsletters, pages on a client’s website, or keyword optimized landing pages to pair with PPC ads. Here’s a closer look at what that’s like:
Research is more important than writing.
Blindly churning out generic content will not offer much to an effective digital marketing campaign, which is why research is such an essential part of the process. Not only is research required for background on each piece of content, but it’s also necessary to study the fundamental elements of inbound marketing. A regular part of the job is reading about effective keyword strategies, getting to know SEO updates, and learning about user experience—which is what brings content to life. Without this knowledge, there wouldn’t be much intention with each piece of content, creating a disorganized and ineffective campaign.
Product development is part of the job.
In doing so much meta marketing, reading about SEO and challenges that companies face in creating content, it becomes necessary to remain open to creative content opportunities. An afternoon of research might yield new ideas for the company blog or custom concepts for the design team to explore. Keeping a notepad next to the keyboard is essential for keeping track of the ideas that begin to flow throughout a normal workday. It’s also important, however, to filter these ideas before bringing them to the rest of the content team, because not all creative impulses are good ones.
Working remotely can get weird.
Content marketing offers a great deal of flexibility in work environments, since the basic materials required are a laptop and an internet connection. My workplace of choice is a home office, which means that I’ve attended a few remote meetings with the content team while wearing pajamas—and become a little too accustomed to talking to people exclusively through computers. Working from home can also mean working odd hours, facing regular distractions—mostly a dog who wants more belly rubs—and taking frequent snack breaks. Though this environment presents unique challenges, it’s also ideal for the creative spirit required in content marketing. The comforts of home can be a surprisingly effective cure for writer’s block, and the freedom to leave the office at any time can help to fend of that late afternoon productivity lull.
Sometimes the writing gets weird, too.
Working in an unconventional environment isn’t the only thing that can get weird in the world of content marketing. Some clients offer oddball services, and they need content perhaps even more than those providing more mainstream offerings. As a result, it might be part of a normal day’s work to write about strange surgical procedures, the many creative potential uses of mat board, or the latest technology in equine hydration. People definitely start to think you’re crazy based on your Google search history after just a few months as a content writer.
It becomes natural to judge other people’s websites.
When you spend all your time at work thinking about the most effective types of content and ways to display that content, it is painfully obvious when a website is not designed well. As a content marketer, browsing the internet can be a tedious experience, because it’s so tempting to correct typos on a sloppily written web page or become distracted by the glitchy flash components of an outdated website.
With some insight on the people who create your content, you can move forward in your content marketing campaign with confidence. If you’re interested in seeing how posting custom content can benefit your business, contact Pennington Creative to discuss your advertising needs.