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How Your Role As a B2B Content Marketer is Changing This Year

content marketingYou might be on a familiar hunt for content marketing talent. Or, maybe you’re a content marketer yourself looking to improve your skills in 2014. Regardless, the game changes over time and the expectations for great content marketers are growing.

The magnificent Internet has made it easier for brands to be publishers, for marketers to have an outlet for shared expertise and for constant learners to have access to a wealth of regularly updated content. But if you’re attempting to grow as a content marketer in 2014 or looking for ways to weed out great marketing talent from the rest of the pack, keep an eye out for these traits that will be increasingly important for content marketers this year:

  • Work smarter, not harder, with effective targeting: Content marketers, more and more, are coming out from behind the curtains of content generation and into the trenches of customer segmentation — finding the right audience for your content online. Not only are content marketers responsible for finding the right audience, but for creating content that effectively speaks to the audience’s needs, and, ideally, giving them the tools they need to move into the purchasing funnel. Content marketing without results is absolutely a thing of the past and most brands are looking to see solid ROI for their content investments this year. Content marketers will be held responsible more and more for understanding behavioral and demographic targeting, audience segmentation, retargeting, web analytics and social media.

  • Offer support through paid media: Great content without eyeballs is a sad, sad sight. If you want to improve as a content marketer this year, brush up on your understanding of paid media opportunities out there. Do you understand native advertising and how it can get your content in front of the right audiences? Do you understand retargeting? Search engine marketing? Display advertising? Industry media? How do you plan to keep eyeballs on your content this year? Plan for 2014 to be the year your content gets seen and think about what you need to know to make that happen. While content marketers rarely need to be versed in execution across paid media channels, at the very least, understanding how those paid channels can support your content strategy is going to be a must this year.

  • Leverage customer advocacy: You may not be ready to roll out a full-on customer advocacy program this year, but content marketers are becoming more and more essential to telling customer stories. Whether you’re considering customer needs and experiences to develop content that moves a prospect through the marketing funnel, leveraging customer-focused content like case studies or testimonials, or creating customer-centric communities through your content, don’t let customer advocacy pass you by this year. Your job as a content marketer has always been and will always be to tell your brand’s story … and customers are often, if not always, the key to that story.

  • Curate like a pro: Take a couple of hours this week to brush up on the wealth of content curation tools that are out there and ask yourself if you are making your job a lot more difficult than it needs to be trying to reinvent the wheel every day. Can you supplement your content strategy with curated gems from around the web?

  • Start with the target audience: It is already your job as a content marketer to understand the various communities that interact with your brand. If you’re creating content because you have an idea and trying to promote it across all of your communities, you’re likely missing the point. Instead, this year, work from your target audience backwards — what keeps them up at night? How can you answer their burning questions through great content?

  • Learn to “speak data:” Some marketers get away with claiming to be right-brained over left-brained … to be more creative than they are analytical … but those days are coming to a close. Learn to lean into data — while you may not need to be an expert at in-depth analytics, you will need to understand what basic metrics you should be watching to inform your content strategy. Whether you’re using a marketing automation suite, Google Analytics, or another content management tool, take the time now to learn the language of data and how it impacts your work in content.

It’s an exciting time to be a marketer. This year promises a lot of growth within the role of content marketing. This is your year. Now go be the best at what you do, you smart marketer, you.