It is not necessary to obtain a specific degree if you want to become a content marketer. Having relevant experience can be good enough. However, if you have a degree in marketing, journalism, communication, advertising, or publishing, you will be at an advantage.
How to Start a Career in Content Marketing (Without Experience)
In this guide, I will explain how you can get into content marketing even if you do not have any experience. You’ll learn what skills you need to develop, how to best position yourself in jobs, and what to expect from the career path.
Content marketing continues to grow in popularity because it is effective. A report from HubSpot states that content marketing is 13 times more likely to result in positive ROI than other marketing strategies.
Content marketers of all experience levels earn a solid income. This is because content marketing can bring a lot of revenue to a company and those responsible for its implementation and execution are paid in kind.
Content Marketing Career Path
1. Understand how content marketing works
2. Build your writing skills
Once you have the basics down, practice writing on a regular basis to begin building your skills. Look at the works of your favorite writers and analyze their writing for inspiration you can use for your own content.
A great way to improve these skills is to take a copywriting course. With the right course, you can learn from an experienced copywriter and gain insights into the current best practices to ensure that your writing style is up to date.
3. Get a content marketing certification
4. Start a content marketing blog
Begin by planning the overall strategy of the blog and researching the target audience you are trying to reach. By writing on topics related to content marketing, you’ll be able to drive relevant visitors to your site to grow your network of content marketing professionals.
Once you’ve generated some ideas for topics, you can create a content calendar. This will help you visualize your publishing schedule and will help ensure that you are publishing content on a consistent basis.
You can then start creating and publishing your content. Look to create a variety of content types as this will help prepare you for some of the work you may be responsible for throughout your content marketing career.
5. Learn how to do keyword research
Along with finding topics and keywords your audience is searching for, you must be able to understand the intent of the searcher. This will allow you to create the right type of content that matches what the searcher is looking for.
Consider the search term “content marketing”. Is the searcher looking for a definition of what content marketing is? Do they want to know how it works? Or do they want to learn how to pursue a career in content marketing?
6. Build your research skills
You’ll need to be able to distinguish between high-quality and low-quality sources. When you’re writing about a subject that you may not be an expert in, you have to trust that the sources you are using are accurate.
Another important part of effective research is organization. When you’re combing through data sources, you’ll end up collecting a lot of information. You’ll need to keep this information organized so that you do not lose valuable insights.
7. Learn how to create popular content types
Find a topic that works as a listicle – Listicles can work well for every niche but they won’t necessarily work for every topic. Research the top-ranking content for the topic and see if you find other listicles. If there are other listicles ranking well, then you know that creating a better listicle is the best option for ranking for the topic.
Add proper formatting to the list items – Listicles require the proper use of headings. You should use H2 formatting for the title of the list. Each individual list item should have H3 formatting.
Know what types of content work best for pillar pages – Pillar pages work well for topics that are broad but not too narrow. There need to be enough sub-topics to create long-form content. You should also stick to topics that have a high search volume as pillar pages take more time to create.
Choose the best formatting – There are two ways to format your pillar pages: as a single pillar page or through topic clusters. With a single pillar page, you simply have all content on one page, broken into different sections. Each section is marked as an H2 or H3.
With topic clusters, the main page has a list of all the sections and each section has its own webpage. All the sub-pages must have a breadcrumb menu so that users can easily navigate to the main page and the previous sections.
Infographics are particularly useful for pillar pages. This is because infographics are an effective tool for gaining high-quality links back to your site. With a pillar page, you have enough content to repurpose the post into an infographic that other site owners can add to their site as a valuable visual asset.
Build links to your page – Once you publish the pillar page you need to get plenty of links to the page. This includes both internal and external links. Start by linking to the pillar page from your homepage, blog page, header, footer, and sidebar (if applicable).
How Do You Become a Content Specialist?
1. Understand what content marketing is and how it works
The digital marketing strategy of a company will define the content needs for each of the channels participating in a campaign. It’s the job of the digital marketing manager to design the strategy and the job of the content marketing manager to implement the strategy with content.
2. Improve your writing skills
3. Learn how to use content marketing tools
4. Master the keyword research process
5. Learn SEO copywriting
6. Start your own blog
Through a course you can learn the theory and go through examples, senior content marketing professionals in your team can help you with the process but the best way to find out what you really know is to start a website and publish content.
7. Apply to work in a digital marketing agency
Digital marketing agencies are always looking for good content specialists. I know this from experience. In our agency, we’re always in search of passionate content marketing specialists and sometimes we consider applications even if we don’t have any job openings.
If you’re starting out now, you’ll get a chance to see how content marketing works in real-life scenarios – Established agencies have processes in place, dedicated job roles for each task and this will help you understand how content marketing works.
You can advance the ladder and make more money – You may get an entry-level job as a content marketing specialist and then become a content strategist and eventually a content marketing manager.
8. Work as a content marketing freelancer
2. Apply for job postings fast and provide accurate information. When you post a content marketing related job on any site, you get hundreds of responses in a matter of hours. To increase your chances of being considered for the job, reply as fast as possible, and answer any questions precisely.
3. Be prepared to participate in a pilot project. Employers before hiring a content marketer, ask for writing samples on their chosen topics so be prepared to accept the invitation and deliver the work fast.
9. Publish your written work on reputable websites
For example, if your work is published on Forbes, Entrepreneur, or other popular publications, it will be very easy for you to get hired by a company or get paid a higher rate for your work as a freelancer.
10. Stay current with the latest trends in content marketing
If you ask any successful content marketing expert on what is important to do on a daily basis in order to survive in the industry, they will tell you to stay informed of the latest trends in content marketing and digital marketing in general.
The digital marketing industry is not a static industry but it’s continuously evolving. New content platforms rise to the surface, SEO ranking factors are changing and you need to follow these changes if you want to become more than just a content writer.
The best way to do this is to follow websites that cover the changes in our industry. If there is something happening, you’ll be the first to know it. These are the websites that I follow and visit on a daily basis:
How Much do Content Marketing Specialists Make?
Becoming a content marketing specialist is a great career option. Content marketing professionals can work from home as freelancers, start their own digital marketing agency, work for a digital agency, or work in any kind of business that uses content marketing.
Alex Chris is a digital marketing consultant, author, and instructor. He has more than 18 years of practical experience with SEO and digital marketing. Alex holds an MSc Degree in eCommerce and has consulted with Fortune 500 companies in different industries. He blogs regularly about SEO and Digital marketing, and his work has been referenced by leading marketing websites. Connect with Alex on Twitter and LinkedIn.