5 Dang Good Reasons Why Writers Should Think of Themselves as Content Marketers

content marketing's bright future

Perhaps you are a journalist by trade, dreaming of working in a big, bustling city like Seattle or a cozy college town such as Athens, Georgia.

Maybe you are a die-hard copywriter, having cut your teeth on direct response campaigns through snail mail, but you’re looking for a faster-paced challenge.

Or maybe you are like me: an English Literature graduate from the Midwest who wanted more out of life than days waiting tables and nights working on poems no one would read.

No matter which category you belong to (or maybe you defy all categories), you know you are a writer because you love to write. You love thinking about writing. You love to have people read your writing …

And, more importantly, you’d love to get paid to write.

The bad news is you won’t find “writers” on the list of the fastest growing careers. The good news is, I think that’s going to change pretty soon.

Why? Simple: the rapid and powerful rise of content marketing.

Because of the content marketing boom, we are now living in the age of the online writer.

Who exactly is the online writer? What does she look like?

She is a person who has an:

  • Average understanding of SEO
  • Average understanding of usability
  • Above average understanding of social media
  • Outstanding understanding of copywriting
  • Above average understanding of storytelling
  • Average research skills
  • Average caffeine appreciation
  • Above average combative work ethic

You can carve out a pretty satisfying career as a web writer if you have all of these skills. If you do, congratulations. However, I want to encourage you not to stop there.

The rewards of evolving into a content marketer

I want you to go further and turn yourself into a content marketer. A content marketer is a person who has an:

  • Outstanding understanding of content strategy
  • Above average understanding of SEO
  • Above average understanding of social media
  • Average understanding of subscription assets
  • Average research skills
  • Average understanding of conversion skills

As you can see, there is some overlap between the two lists.

If you already have all the qualities of a web writer, that means you are ahead of the curve. You just need to bone up in a few other disciplines, and you’ll be on your way toward becoming a full-fledged content marketer.

Some of you might have a little farther to travel: you don’t have all of these skill sets yet. But don’t fret. We all start somewhere.

The good news is that if you keep going, striving, learning, and practicing, you’ll build the natural authority that makes you an in-demand content marketer.

But no matter how far you have to travel, a little encouragement never hurts. Besides, for those who have a longer road to travel, encouragement makes the journey more enjoyable.

That’s why I want to share five reasons that will encourage you to think of yourself as a content marketer.

1. The demand for content creators is still growing

What’s driving this demand? According to a late 2015 update to a previously published Forrester report, research suggests consumers demand more content (if it’s good):

“Marketers who create valuable content and stories that attract audiences … build valuable relationships with customers and generate positive business outcomes.”

In this digital age, consumers are in control of the purchase process and want information before they make decisions. Any company that relies solely on traditional advertising tactics will likely struggle.

According to Content Marketing Institute’s research report, B2B Content Marketing – 2016 Benchmarks, Budgets and Trends – North America, 76 percent of B2B companies said they’ll increase content creation (slide 14). And to accommodate this increase, 51 percent of companies said they’ll increase their budgets (slide 26).

As a result, businesses will need more writers with a flair for content marketing.

2. Ad blocking will increase content marketing budgets

Late last year, the number one most downloaded app was for ad blocking.

This fast adoption of ad blocking software has caused publishers to spin out of control. According to an often-quoted Adobe and PageFair study, ad blocking software was estimated to cost publishers $22 billion in revenue during 2015.

That’s a lot of money.

But a bloodbath for independent media is probably overstating the case. More than likely, publishers will shift gears and adopt a content marketing strategy over a traditional advertising one, with a particular focus on content distribution.

As a result, businesses will need more writers with a flair for content marketing.

3. More companies will invest in content distribution

As Contently stated in their 2016 State of Content Marketing report, 70 percent of content marketers spend less than $1,000 on content distribution.

That percentage is expected to change once companies realize that the most successful content marketers spend a higher portion of their budgets on content distribution (like sponsored content) than their less-successful peers.

As a result, businesses will need more writers with a flair for content marketing.

4. More SEO budgets will shift towards optimizing content for discovery and conversion

In the last five years, Google has aggressively focused on rewarding high-quality content. A by-product of this intense focus is that we no longer think of SEO as a standalone practice.

Instead, consider Sean Jackson’s phrase “OC/DC” (Optimizing Content for Discovery and Conversion). OC/DC encapsulates the idea of amplifying the overall reach and results of content creation.

Yes, great content may well result in traffic from Google, which is important. But a more holistic strategy pulls in traffic from a variety of sources — social media, related blogs, content distribution (see section 3), and so forth.

Optimizing content for discovery and conversion requires a writer to think like a content marketer — the person who, as I listed above, has experience with social media, subscription assets, republishing, and conversion copywriting.

As a result, businesses will need more writers with a flair for content marketing.

5. More social sites are becoming publishing platforms

First it was Medium, a social site that gives people an unlimited space to write (even if it’s not original content). Then LinkedIn opened its publishing platform to everyone.

Since then, Facebook released Instant Articles, which allows publishers to share content directly inside the Facebook app — last year to a limited group of brands. They’re slated to open it up to everyone soon, even your grandma.

And longer tweets may be coming soon to Twitter.

While social platforms may encourage content syndication, there is also an opportunity to tailor content for an audience on a specific platform. BuzzFeed is one such pioneer.

As a result, businesses will need more writers with a flair for content marketing.

Avoid digital sharecropping

I should point out, soon-to-be content marketer, that if you set up your content marketing strategy properly, it doesn’t violate our long-time advice not to overbuild on someone else’s land.

Rather than building mini-empires on other platforms, focus on creating definitive articles on your own site. Once that’s in place, use social platforms to drive traffic back to you.

You’ll optimize your related social media content for each specific platform where you publish, but all roads lead back to you and your original authoritative content.

Who’s hiring content marketers?

These five reasons suggest that the demand for content will continue to increase. But who’s actually hiring content marketers? Here are a few places:

And of course, Copyblogger has a certification program that finds, trains, and promotes highly qualified content marketers.

Are you ready to capitalize on the rapid and powerful rise of content marketing?

Take the next step to sharpen your content marketing skills

To discover how to create in-demand content marketing, check out Authority, our training and networking community designed to help you become a superb content marketer.

Enrollment is closed for now, but put your name on the Authority interest list by clicking on the button below. We’ll let you know when doors open again.

Join the Authority interest list

The post 5 Dang Good Reasons Why Writers Should Think of Themselves as Content Marketers appeared first on Copyblogger.

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