Solopreneur Content Marketer Skills that you will need to master are many. Solopreneurs in the content marketing sphere would need elementary practical skills in things like writing, photo editing, sound recording, coding, data management – and the knowledge of how to work with WordPress. But beyond the Content Marketing Basics, for which there are plenty of books or outsourced help, there are also some soft skills no one talks about that are crucial.
Jeff Bullas, who is among the top voices in content marketing explains, in the FirebrandTalent.com blog, this need for a macro approach in the marketer’s repertoire: “Being a content marketer means understanding the nuances of the new web paradigms and how they interact. It’s about knowing about how each of the social and digital channels operate and interact with each other and the synergies that creates.” It’s that kind of savvy you need, more than just skills.
The 3 skills you need to handle volumes of data, information and content
This is an age of information. Information that you, as a content marketer, have to access, read and ingest …. plus information as content that you have to create. It’s all in huge volumes. The ability to handle all this with calm assurance (without getting overwhelmed), and being able to “separate the wheat from the chaff”, is essential. Here are three skills related to information handling that you need to have …
The skills to handle, read and understand data
Content marketers now have to handle not just any data but Big Data! This involves all aspects of data mining – including how to set up research parameters, how to get out of research the critical numbers that will help business objectives and business decision-making, and the visualization of data to bring yourself up to speed on the results of research.
Analytical skills, needless to say, are vital. You can get professional help in this area, but you still need to know enough to be able to assess whether the professional help and tools you have to hand are of the right kind to give you the right information.
The skills to be able to create and manage volumes of content
The primary skill needed for content-creation would be writing. You have to be able to write freely, informally and in short copy as well as long copy. Apart from writing skills, the content you create has to be prioritized, systematized and housed in a content management system like WordPress.
You need to know how to handle a system like WordPress and all its plugins, and also know enough about web design and web layouts to see that content displays well. Some knowledge of HTML, CSS, PHP and technical issues like virus-protection, hosting and backing up data are also important.
The skills to handle all kinds of media
Content also goes beyond just writing. We have to be comfortable with multimedia and mobile-friendly content (which includes responsive visual content such as still images, videos, animated images and so on) and audio content (which includes webinars, online meetings or podcasting). We also need familiarity with “repurposing content” in a variety of formats such as slide decks or infographics.
Image editing of a basic level is an absolutely necessary skill, and you also need sufficient understanding of the basics of video production and podcasting.
Increasingly, you have a lot of new technologies surrounding visual content such as innovations in visual filters and live streaming … and as each new technology brings with it new possibilities to be unique, you have to reorient your skills to capitalize on the new creativity options, to give your brand a competitive and differentiated edge.
The 2 skills you need to handle the capture and retention of targeted audiences
At the center of your business success will be the ability to attract traffic, capture subscribers and nurture them to convert them into customers. This is very heart of the marketing process. You simply cannot afford to be deficient in these two types of skills below …
The skills to attract and sustain traffic levels to your site
Knowing how to build a substantial traffic base for your site includes four separate disciplines these days – SEO, SEM, SMO and PR. SEO is Search Engine Optimization or the art of getting high Google rankings to bring a flood of visitors to your site via keyword searches.
SEM is Search Engine Marketing (also known as Pay-Per-Click or PPC advertising on the search engines like Google). Be careful, because SEO and SEM are not what they used to be. They’ve morphed into something else after Google’s algorithm updates!
SMO is Social Media Optimization (which includes the methods of obtaining traffic to your site from the social media channels) – and PR is about Digital Public Relations.
Of late Digital PR is seen as a very important arm for traffic creation, because in the slow-returns culture of inbound and content marketing, Digital PR helps spike your authority and domain rank, which in turn moves prospects a lot faster towards you.
The skills to handle email for customer contact and nurturing
There are many email and autoresponder services that we may know of by name – like Constant Contact, Mailchimp, Aweber and so on. But it’s not enough to be able to just handle their formats and intricacies, it’s a key skill to be able to handle email writing (a separate art in itself) for all forms of customer contact.
You need email to be able to prospect for customers, for customer management, for customer nurturing, and for sustaining customer loyalty.
You also need email for influencer prospecting and nurturing and for outreach in various forms. Email is not just a tool for correspondence, it’s a vital marketing tool for subtle persuasion, so the skills you need in this area also include direct marketing and copywriting knowledge.
The 2 skills you need to handle the challenges of a changing technology landscape
Earlier marketers online used to rue the fact that technology changes so rapidly that its hard to catch up. That was when technology was changing about every 6 months. We are now on the threshold of change all the time, so to speak. We have currently a huge onrush of mobile-related trends shaping the way we all do business online, and besides voice-search is also becoming the next “big thing”.
It’s not technology, per se, that you need to know, for you can learn this. The real challenge is to cultivate the skill of staying unshaken in a world that shaking from the very foundations we stand on … all the time!
The skills for customer conversion and marketing automation
Until recently Marketing Automation seemed like a concept for big brands and big budgets to adopt, but of late many different tools and software have come on the market to help small brands and blogs transition from basic CRM to full-fledged Marketing Automation.
It’s no longer a luxury to be able to automate the process of customer conversion, it’s become a necessity – because customers are hard to hold on to when they make fleeting visits to your site, and barely read your content with attention spans long enough to allow you to begin relationships with them.
They have to be automatically tracked and followed with an email sequence or retargeting – something brands cannot do manually at all. So a content marketer these days needs to get his hands into all aspects of Marketing Automation, even if the onboarding costs of many of the tools available are on the expensive side!
The skills to handle the rapid advances in mobiles and voice-search
Not only are we getting a steady stream of innovations in devices like mobiles and tablets, but there are constantly shifting changes to the grammar of responsive-web design for these devices. We keep churning out new generations of “responsive-web designers”, but even to the most advanced of them all, the whole science is still new.
You, as a content marketer, have to know enough to be able to accept or reject designer recommendations, and also know what is feasible and what is not, with the changing technologies at play. Mobile, especially, is already being named as the “first choice device” of millions of users, so if you haven’t yet caught up with the issues surrounding mobile content delivery, you have no time to lose!
And then there is voice-search which hasn’t yet evolved into a usable format for most small marketers, but you have to keep an eye on this space. When this big wave comes right up to your feet, you’ll have to learn to negotiate its power. I have a feeling it isn’t going to be a small shift.
The 3 skills you need to be a star at the bleeding edge of the online world
If you’ve been reading articles that talk of living “perilously at the cutting edge” of the online world, it’s time to change your perspective. Think about changing from being a “fearful one” into a “fearsome one”. You may be living on the edge of an exciting landscape, but you can’t afford to do that while you stay a nobody. You have to become a star, a somebody! You haven’t come into solopreneur content marketing to be anything less. Here are three skills you need to cultivate …
The skills to rock on the social media channels
The social media channels are close to becoming the number one traffic channel for a lot of entrepreneurs, especially those who aren’t seeing enough quick traction from Google.
At the very least you have to be a star of some noticeability on Twitter, Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Instagram and YouTube – these are my seven “must-be-on” social channels! And you’d better know the “silent rules” and etiquette of all these channels.
It’s not just about whether you are able to capitalize on the social media and make your brand and your own personality felt, or even about how well you engage or participate. You have to have exceptional social skills to be able to rock the social media. Anything less than that, and you just melt facelessly into the crowd!
Apart from having the basic skills of cordiality, geniality, friendliness, flexibility and so on, you have to have that subtle ability to cultivate “presence”.
When you are online on the social channels, your words have to be heard and valued. It comes from knowing when to talk and what to talk and how to talk. I guess it cannot really be a taught skill, it’s a skill to be honed by more and more experience.
The next time you are socializing, try to see how the ones who are being listened to more are “commanding attention” and not just hoping for it. Look, listen and learn.
The skills to catch trends at their inception and use them to gain huge traction
Most content marketers don’t quite see “newsjacking” as a skill set they need, but I can tell you that the ones who do make huge gains, and leave the others behind in the wink of an eye.
Being able to catch “happenings” and “trends” and “news” while it’s still red hot, and then being able to jump on the back of that to pitch a timely campaign at your target audiences is no mean achievement.
It’s part of the armoury of creativity and innovation that every brand needs to have. As a content marketer, you have to reserve some part of your personal bandwidth to regularly know and watch what’s happening around you. Just signing up for alerts isn’t enough, the big part of the game is knowing where the action is likely to happen, and anticipating that rather than waiting to be alerted!
The skills to be a lifelong learner and a great networker
Content marketers need to be constantly on a steep learning curve, and simultaneously, they also need networking skills. You need soft skills in communication.
You need to be able to mingle with others, learn from others, or tutor and mentor others. And even though you are a solopreneur, you need the aptitude for leadership within your business-facilitating-networks.
The interesting challenge here is to have the ability to be a learner and a leader at the same time. You also need enormous patience and self-discipline when you are working on your own in a business that involves content marketing!
So what are your thoughts on this topic? Do share!
This post is incomplete without your input. The community of content-marketer solopreneurs would feel galvanized to hear from you … so do share your thoughts on this topic with us, in the comments field below this post.
Other articles in our series “Content Marketing Basics”:
- Content Marketing Definitions: 15 Smart, Thought-Provoking Angles!
- What Is Valuable Content? Well, It Depends On Who Is Reading It!
- Your Content Marketing Business Model … The Choices You Have!
- Content Marketing And Solopreneurs Are Just Made For Each Other!
- 4 Classic Mistakes Most Content Marketers Make – And Their Fixes!