What is content marketing?

Content marketing is the strategic creation, publication, and distribution of written, audio and visual content assets.

What do content marketers do, exactly, to increase brand viability and revenue through content? Their workflows typically include:

  • Research
  • Search engine optimization (SEO)
  • Writing
  • Editing
  • Content design management
  • Uploading and publishing web content

Content marketers aren’t just writers – though excellent writing skills and the ability to produce a high-quality piece of content are crucial. They are skilled strategists, networkers (they often manage partner content programs and occasionally influencer content programs) and managers, both for people and projects.


What worked even a few years ago no longer works. What does?

It’s become increasingly difficult for outsiders and the average business owner to tell which content marketers actually have the chops to plan and execute a content marketing campaign that moves the needle for businesses.

Content marketing has major, full-funnel benefits

Content is the backbone of digital marketing. Without it, search engines would have nothing to crawl, ads would have nothing to funnel clicks to, and customers would have nothing to read to get to know your business.

The thing is, content marketing isn’t just about creating content for audiences to consume. It’s also the best way for businesses to learn what their prospects and customers want.

By analyzing what performs well, content marketers can understand their customers better, iterate, collaborate, and build a content machine that accounts for every part of the customer journey – from brand awareness to retention.

Acquiring new subscribers and leads is key for every business, and content marketing is one of the best ways to do this. By creating blog posts, landing pages, webinars, white papers, and video content, businesses can offer answers to prospects' questions and address their pain points, getting their email addresses in exchange for gated content.

Businesses can then nurture those email leads and educate prospects about the services or products the business offers, eventually driving them to take action and become a customer. As a result, content marketers often work well with email marketing and freelancers.

With all the resources that get invested into acquiring a new customer, you better believe savvy businesses will do everything they can to keep them. Luckily, content marketing is a retention tool, too.

It’s a fantastic way to engage with current customers, build trust, and wow them with your updates, insights, and how-to guides. Aside from delivering quality services or products, businesses can use content marketing to continuously educate customers about why their product matters.

Apart from user acquisition and retention, content marketing is also a great way to position your team members as thought leaders. Writing thought-provoking or head-turning articles, publishing reports, and offering new insights or perspectives allows even the newest businesses to flex their muscles and show their audience that they know what they’re talking about. This leads to brand recognition and trust, all of which support customer growth — and your bottom line.


Content marketers need these six skills to succeed

Great content marketers know how to build a content strategy, execute on it, and use performance data to iterate on it. The goal for any content marketing strategy is to acquire, nurture, convert, and retain customer at vary parts of the marketing funnel.

Here are a few of the skills every content marketers uses along the way — all of which White Arrow marketing is known for.

  • Copywriting: A content marketer needs to have a handle on proper grammar and sentence structure — it’s a non-negotiable, and so is storytelling that’s entertaining and threaded with data. If people get bored, they won’t read your content.
  • Research and critical thinking: Being able to dig into reports  and come up with interesting insights to share with your audience is key for content marketing managers. Writing something with no unique perspective or value-add won’t get potential customers to respect your brand or read your content.
  • Data analysis: Content marketers need to know how to use data and metrics to understand which pieces are driving traffic and engagement, and which are falling flat — that way, they can adjust their content calendar and lean into what works for the overall marketing plan.
  • Project management: Content marketers work cross-functionally with other marketers and stakeholders on various kinds of content, content strategy, the content calendar, and wider company marketing campaigns — so they need to be master project managers.
  • Inbound marketing: To build an effective content machine, content marketers need to understand how content, SEO and social media marketing work together to bring in leads — and how timely, relevant content and email marketing nurture those prospects. All of this means content marketers need to know the user experience, customer journey and the marketing channels at their disposal like the back of their hand.
  • Content distribution: Content marketing isn’t only about creating content assets. Expert content marketers work hand-in-hand with social media marketing managers to distribute content on social media platforms like LinkedIn, Twitter and Instagram. Expert content marketers also research and assess new content distribution tools and channels.

Hiring a content marketer is the smart move

Here’s the thing: making a full-time hire is a time intensive, risky affair. That’s the cold hard truth, and here’s why: if you’re not a content marketing expert yourself, it’s really tough to vet talent properly.

Reading some writing samples from an applicant is not enough information to see if they can actually plan and execute a strong content strategy to drive your business forward and produce a positive return on investment in multiple content formats. If you’re not well versed in content marketing, it’s really easy to gloss over superficial answers.

But watch out: You could spend a lot of time and money trying to make the right hire, only to find out a few months in that it’s not the right fit. Then, not only have you wasted resources, you’ve incurred some serious opportunity cost.

Alternatively, you could outsource your content marketing to an agency, but there’s often a large mark-up on agency services, as well as long-term contracts to sign.

With a content marketing freelancer, there is no such thing. Work directly with the expert on a project-by-project basis. Reach out to them when you need more work. Scale down when you don’t. It can be that easy.

If you need to kick off your content marketing strategy quickly with flexible pricing, working with a freelance content marketing consultant is the best way to do it. With digital marketing in constant flux, you need the right expert for your niche and project — not an agency team of all-purpose experts.

Freelance content marketers are skilled in specific verticals of marketing, and can help you with your specific challenges efficiently and effectively. And, they offer the flexible pricing you need. As marketing move faster and becomes more complicated, hiring freelancers gives your business flexibility and agility exactly where you need it.

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