How to Become a Content Marketer – The Complete Guide

So you want to find out how to break into content marketing and score your dream job.

Luckily for you, I’m a Content Marketing Executive for a recruitment platform. So if anyone knows how to get my job, it’s me.

It might sound cheesy, but knowing that you want to work in content marketing is half of the battle. Once you know what job you want, you’ll find it much easier to edit your CV and build a portfolio.

Why should you become a content marketer?

Take it from me; content marketers have fun in their jobs.

Content marketing jobs are about producing readable, likable, and shareable content. Your job will involve a healthy amount of planning and analytics alongside creativity, so there is always variety in your day.

Marketing is a great field to get into, and when you start out in content, you can really go anywhere after that.

You’ll get a taste for being a content creator, social media manager, video marketer, SEO expert, and so much more. These little parts of a content marketer’s day job are entire specializations in marketing – so this job is a great way to test out different role types!

The career path for a marketer can be lucrative. You could end up as a CMO (Chief Marketing Officer) for a big company, a consultant, or even a VP of Marketing too.

These roles bring in big bucks, especially in industries like tech.

What exactly do content marketers do?

My day-to-day responsibilities as the only Content Marketing Executive at my company are vast.

I start out my day:

  • Checking and updating our socials
  • Scanning the news for anything relevant to our industry
  • Doing a final proofread of yesterday’s content before scheduling it to go out
  • Getting ready for my morning meeting with the team

Then after my meeting, I make a cuppa and get onto the good stuff:

  • I quickly scan through our PR requests to see if there’s anything relevant
  • I start working on my project for the day
  • Then after a few hours, I head off to lunch

I tend to feel quite drained around 2 pm, so I tackle some easier bits like:

  • Chipping into my longer-term projects
  • Social media management and engagement
  • Updating my campaigns

And then I log off for the day!

As you can tell, my day is heavily focused on content creation and big projects. These can be blog posts, in-depth case studies, promotional videos, fun quizzes, strategic email sequences, helpful resources, or even ebooks.

What are the roles and responsibilities of a content marketer?

Your role can be incredibly vast when you’re a one-person marketing machine. This is still true even when you’re part of a big marketing team – you will always have lots of varied responsibilities.

On any day you could work on:

  • Writing, editing, proofreading, and uploading content to the company website.
  • Managing the editorial calendar, commissioning articles, and planning new content.
  • Creating visual assets for articles and social media.
  • SEO (search engine optimization) including optimizing the website, articles and reaching out to other organizations.
  • PPC (pay per click) campaigns and paid social (promoted posts on social media).
  • Social media management and PR duties.
  • Email marketing campaigns, for example, weekly newsletters.
  • Creating ebooks, downloads, resources, quizzes, and infographics from scratch.
  • Looking into industry statistics and reporting company analytics.
  • Influencer marketing and general strategy.

What does a content marketing career path look like?

Your marketing career path will undoubtedly be unique to you. With so many specializations you can go for – email, social media, SEO, PPC, the list goes on – your experience will be different from mine.

You might even have a non-linear career path, where you work your way up to becoming an SEO Manager and then decide it’s not right for you. You could then get a job as an Influencer Marketing Assistant and climb the ladder all over again.

Entry-level content marketing roles

The average content marketer will start their career as a Marketing Intern, Marketing Assistant, Editorial Assistant, or even a freelancer in the field.

These are very exciting roles that allow for a lot of fast growth. You’ll likely work on social media, blogs and even dabble in email marketing in your first role.

What do Marketing Interns and Assistants make?

On average, these roles tend to be paid roughly £18,000 in the UK and can be shorter, fixed-term contracts. In America, the average salary is $31,000, but this varies drastically from state to state.

Executive-level content marketing roles

You can expect to secure a job as a Marketing Executive or Content Writer once you have a little experience under your belt. A role at this level comes with more independence and room to come up with your own ideas.

In a smaller company, you might be a one-person team. This would give you a lot of responsibility and let you manage campaigns from start to finish. You can expect to gain a lot of experience very quickly in a role like this!

If you take on a role in an agency or bigger company, you might be part of a content team. You would likely specialize in one area of content production and become a very valuable cog in a creative machine.

What do Content Marketing Executives or Writers make?

On average, Content Marketing Executives tend to be paid £29,000 a year in the UK. In America, the average salary is much higher at $64,000, but these results could be skewed due to the use of ‘executive’, which can apply to very senior roles too.

Content marketing manager roles

From there, the clear way up is to then become a Marketing Manager, Content Editor, Content Strategist, or Content Specialist. At this level, you can expect to start managing your own interns and assistants along with campaigns.

Marketing roles at higher levels tend to be more focused on strategy and analytics, so you need to be comfortable reporting campaign success and coming up with plans for future work. You can definitely expect to manage a marketing budget and other employees. In return, your ideas should be heard and valued at this level.

What do Marketing Managers make?

On average, manager-level content marketers tend to make roughly £37,000 in the UK. But in America, the average salary is $106,000. You can expect this to be much higher if you live in a state like New York or New Jersey.

Senior content marketing roles

From there up, you can become a VP of Marketing, Senior Content Manager, Chief Content Officer, or some other iteration of a senior job title!

In these kinds of roles, you’ll be strategizing, planning, budgeting, and overseeing other staff members. You might not make every social media post anymore, but you will be able to shape your company’s content strategy however you see fit.

What do Senior Content Marketers make?

On average, senior managers make roughly £48,000 a year in the UK. In America, they make a massive $124,000. This number varies drastically between the states, but these roles pay the most in Washington.

What next?

Once you hit this glass ceiling, anything is possible. You could become a Marketing Consultant, CMO, or even start your own company.

What skills do content marketers need?

To succeed in a content marketing role, you need to have a solid skillset.

1 – Excellent writing skills

Content marketing is all about writing. Whether it’s for a company blog, social media account, website, or commercial copywriting, you need to be great at getting words onto paper.

You need to be:

  • Able to spot a typo from a mile away
  • A grammar wizard
  • Great at writing exciting copy and choosing the right words
  • A smooth code switcher with the ability to write for different audiences
  • A keen fact-checker

2 – Basic design skills

As content marketers tend to manage blogs and social media accounts, you’ll need to have an eye for design too. You should be able to pick the right image to grab attention and create a basic promotional graphic.

You need to:

  • Be skilled in basic design with a tool like Canva or even Adobe
  • Aware of basic copyright laws for digital use
  • Be aware and attuned to the employer brand
  • Have some experience designing social media posts

3 – Love of learning

Digital marketing jobs are always evolving with the latest tech and trends. Right now, video marketing is all the rage, but in a few years, you need to be ready to adapt your skills to bring in your target audience.

You should be:

  • Passionate about upskilling and professional development
  • A fast learner who isn’t afraid to ask questions
  • Able to take on feedback and quickly adapt to it

4 – Technical skills

There are a few strategies and technologies that you can learn to stand out in a sea of job hunters.

Try to learn about:

  • Using WordPress to manage and publish content
  • Basic video editing
  • Basic SEO and PPC strategies
  • Any Adobe programs that you can get your hands on

5 – Basic data and analysis

Knowing how to find, manage and interpret data is key to impressing hiring managers and scoring your dream role.

Data is incredibly valuable in marketing and can completely drive the content strategy and measure success, so try to learn some of the basics as soon as you can.

You should practice:

  • Using Google Analytics and Search Console
  • Understanding social media analytics
  • Working with basic data on Microsoft Excel or Google Sheets

6 – Endless creativity

Have you seen countless job descriptions list a ‘self-starter attitude’ as a must-have? This ability to come up with ideas and make them happen is essential for a successful career in content marketing.

So to impress, try to get experience in:

  • Pitching ideas to senior management
  • Coming up with an idea and making it happen
  • Researching industry trends
  • Creating something unique

How do you become a content marketer?

There is no one clear path into a marketing role, and every job is different.

The best way to stand out is to find yourself a little bit of relevant experience. Whether that means volunteering for a local company, running your own blog, or securing an internship is up to you.

But to get your dream job, you will likely need some experience and some writing samples in your portfolio.

There is no one content marketing certification that you need to break into the industry. You just need the content writing skill and the ability to be consistently creative.

What degree do you need to become a content marketer?

You usually don’t need any particular degree to become a content marketer.

Some jobs might require a degree in a relevant field like humanities, marketing, or communications. Other roles might not require any formal education at all. The best way to stand out in your applications is to take the time to upskill online.

There are lots of free courses out there that you can take to improve your industry knowledge and impress interviewers.

What are content marketing interviews like?

In your interview, be prepared to answer a range of questions about your skills and experience in creating great content. It’s best to come ready to talk about your past writing, coming up with new ideas, and how you execute a big creative project.

To ace your interview, you will need to demonstrate your enthusiasm for creating quality content and great brand awareness.

Be sure to focus on how your passions align with the company you’re interviewing for. Your genuine, long-standing passion will determine your success in a role like this, so take the company’s mission personally.

Expect questions like:

  • How do you keep yourself motivated to finish a big project?
  • What do you know about SEO?
  • What ideas do you have for our website and social media channels?
  • How do you usually come up with writing ideas?
  • Are you self-motivated?
  • Tell me about a project that you’re particularly proud of.
  • What role do you play in a creative team?
  • What are your long-term career goals?
  • Talk me through a recent project that you completed.
  • Do you have any experience growing an audience?

You could ask your interviewers questions like:

  • What are the long-term goals for this position?
  • Which of the responsibilities in the job description is the main priority?
  • Who are your key competitors, and how does your marketing set you apart?
  • What is your current content marketing strategy?

Related: 50+ Good Questions to Ask in an Interview as an Interviewee

Be wary of job adverts that don’t have a salary. Lots of smaller businesses don’t like to pay their junior content marketers, but trust in the fact that you can and should get paid for your work.

Becoming a professional content marketer is no easy thing. But if you’re lucky enough to get hired, you’ll find digital marketing to be an endlessly fulfilling and fun career!

Whether you start your career as a freelance content marketer, an intern or an assistant, good luck!

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Website: DigitalGrads

Daisy Hanson is a Content Marketing Executive at DigitalGrads, the graduate training and recruitment platform. We're on a mission to match talented university grads with innovative employers.