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Jul 7, 2014

The 5 Faces of Content Marketing

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The 5 Faces of Content Marketing

Content marketing is on the rise, there’s no doubt about that. We also know that it’s not only because of Google’s Hummingbird. In reality, content marketing has been around for ages. It is simply that it was never embraced as heavily in digital marketing as it is today. One of the oldest examples of content marketing I could think of is The Locomotive. In November 1867, Hartford Steam Boiler Inspection and Insurance Company debuted The Locomotive. It is a very old magazine that has continued to been published under the same name. The Locomotive is and now still available and maintained online. The Locomotive is a great content marketing example not only because it’s a very old case study, but also because the switch to maintaining the efforts online was a success. If you’ve ever done content marketing offline and switched to online, you’ll quickly discover that content marketing for the digital audience is the same in theory, but very different in practice. Why?

First, there are many channels to consider, ranging from personalized emails to blogs, social medias, videos, presentations, whitepapers and more. Not only are there many channels but within each channel there’s the detail of technical incompatibilities and technology to consider. When you send out a digital newsletter, it’s not just mailing the printed content to your customers’ home address but to consider when they are more likely to check their emails and to ensure your newsletter displays properly on all the possible browsers and the various versions, be it IE, Chrome or Firefox. And that’s not all. Your newsletter should display well on mobile devices and tablets that has different screen sizes as well. As such, the digital landscape quickly brings forth the appearance of the many types of content marketers; all with their own unique sets of skills.

Let’s take a look at some content marketer profiles here. Take note that this article is about the people, not so much the channels, so we’re skipping roles and titles such as Social Media Manager or Web Editor.

Content Marketer Type I: The Curator
Content Marketer Type I: The Curator
Content Curator: Image credit: ShutterStock
The curation process is about collecting and organizing data and information. This is exactly what the content curator does; a lot of researching and collecting online content to organize and redistribute in its new forms. The core skills of the content curator are research, information processing and creatively coming up with tie-ins. The content curator is also very active on the social front in terms of gathering the latest news and updates. If Google were to roll out a new algorithm update, it’s the content curators who would be the first to re-share that update.  

Content Marketer Type II: The Writer
The writer is exactly what the type is called, ‘The Writer’. This marketer is skilled in writing. They say, anyone can write, but not just anyone can write a great piece. The content marketer who is a writer relies heavily on his/her own skills to enthusiastically bring information, fact and figures to life. The writer is always thinking: who, what, when, where, why, how. The purpose of their writing is not only to share information, but how to get their content to engage with the reader, whereby the goal is every sentence; how, it should relate to the previous sentence and how it should ensure the reader wants to read onto the next sentence all the way to the end of the article. The writer is not only about facts and information but about creative writing.  

Content Marketer Type III: The Strategist
The strategist’s role and skill-set is not as clear cut as the curator or writer. The strategist tends to have an in-depth understanding of how the internet and search engines work. They are always trying to come up with new plans to increase user engagement. Their content might not be the best, nor are they always on the lookout for the latest news but they’re the ones who maximizes the use of tools and strategies such as social listening campaigns, native advertising, creating unique campaigns such as giveaways, contests and sponsorship to increase content and brand visibility. The strategist almost always comes from an SEO background.

Content Marketer Type IV: The Technical Marketer
How does technical have anything to do with content? Apparently, quite a lot. The technical content marketer is all about using digital technologies to create visually and functionally stunning content that has that wow-factor. The technical content marketers are the designers and the coders. Long gone are the days where the coders and designers have little to no marketing knowledge. The chasm between the disciplines is closing fast. You’ll notice that this 2014, infographics are a big thing in content marketing world. Contrary to beliefs, a lot of digital designers are now coming up with the concept, storyboard and doing information research themselves. So not only are the coders and designers preparing the materials, but a lot are in fact coming up with the marketing concepts themselves as well to produce the amazing visuals and interactive web materials.  

Content Marketer Type V: The Hybrid
And we come to the fifth type of content marketer: The Hybrid. As the name suggest, the hybrid content marketer is capable in many different areas but is also not an expert in any of those areas. If you’re a hybrid content marketer, chances are you are a writer who could manage some coding, a writer who could manage some design, a strategist who could write or a content curator who also creatively writes a lot of thought provoking pieces.

You’ll notice that for the hybrid content marketer, writer is always paired up with another skill. This is because essentially, writing is one of the core skills of a content marketer. Although strategist and the technical marketers do produce content as well, text and Language content (whichever you want to call it) is a very important part of content marketing. There cannot be a content strategy if there were to be no text content in any of its forms be it simple text, in infographics or even video scripts.

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