By Jodi Harris published August 23, 2013

What It Takes to Excel in a Content Marketing Job: 12 Experts’ Advice

best advice bookAs the digital industry continues to evolve, new skills, expertise, and experience must continually be added to the core competencies of any organization looking to keep pace. This is particularly true for professionals in content marketing — a discipline too new on the scene to have an established career path yet, or even a clear consensus on what it will take to advance the industry and its practitioners.

CMI asked a few of the experts who will be presenting at this year’s Content Marketing World to share their answers to the question, “What is the best advice you’ve ever received about having a career in content marketing?

Here are their recommendations on what it takes to excel in a content marketing job:


Stephanie_Leffler_Photo-150x150The best advice I received is to always provide useful information and never forget about the reader. Although content helps our business grow, it would be impossible without the support of customers.

Stephanie Leffler | @Crowdsource 


amandaclose_web-90x90The best advice I’ve ever heard is always listen before speaking, look outside of your industry/space for new ideas, and don’t be afraid of experimenting and failure.

Amanda Maksymiw | @amandamaks


Heather MezaDon’t wait. Just start doing it!

Heather Meza | @HeatherMeza


headshot_moler_funny-90x90The best advice I ever received was to spend time learning the business model and strategy of the company you work for/with. Content marketing can only be successful if you understand how it fits into the bigger picture of your organization.

Lauren Moler | @merrymoler


Paolo MottolaAre you sure that is a real career?” – My dad

Paolo Mottola | @paolojr 


JodiNavta-headshot-V2I don’t recall getting any advice on this, ever. Most people are looking for help and direction with content marketing, so usually I tell the story of content marketing as it relates to my organization. I built my marketing team and scaled it around a content marketing strategy.

Jodi Navta | @jodinavta


PHIL-PARANICAS-90x90“Show me, don’t tell me.” I picked up this gem from my 10th grade English teacher, and it’s as applicable today as it was then. It’s particularly helpful when explaining technical or “foreign” concepts. Illustrating a point with an analogy is one example. For instance, I am often asked what a social community is, and how one can be built. Rather than saying “It’s the people that follow and engage with you on your various social media channels,” I explain by sharing something they can relate to: “It’s just like a real life social circle. People will hang out with you if they have similar interests and get along well with you.”

“Show me” also applies to demonstrating products — instead of just showing the product, show the application — let the results speak for themselves. If you are marketing a service, showcase jobs you’ve done and focus on testimonials. Nothing sells your product/service better than a happy customer!

Phil Paranicas | @Flip2Market


Roger C. ParkerThis is a difficult question to answer, since I’ve never received advice about a career in content marketing. I now realize that most of my life I’ve been doing content marketing, but the approach, based on offering helpful, relevant buying information, never really had a name, though several were tried.

Names like “knowledge marketing” and “education marketing” were tried, but didn’t adequately describe the philosophy and the process that many pioneers intuitively followed (while everybody else was having50 percent off!” sales.)

One of the most important services that the Content Marketing Institute provided was to give a name and legitimacy to what early content marketers did as a matter of obviousness, since the results made so much sense in the marketplace.

Roger C. Parker | @RogerCParker 


Justin PremickThe best advice — and it’s not new advice, but it’s so easy to lose sight of — is to create every day.

The way to get past a creative block is to power through it. Write, record a short video, sketch, build something. Just don’t let the millions of daily distractions out there keep you from flexing that content muscle every day. Creativity begets creativity.

Justin Premick | @justinpremick


Jeff RohrsGet to know Joe Pulizzi.

Jeff Rohrs | @jkrohrs


Buddy ScaleraMy boss once told me that the most valuable thing in my wallet is my library card, and he was right.

I’m at the library once a week, checking out the new books and magazine articles on a broad range of topics. Sometimes you need to go back to the source material, and there’s plenty of stuff out there that’s not on the internet.

The public library is a great way to be a life-long learner. The library makes it easy to just try something new and not feel pressured to make a purchase. And if it’s really good, I can choose to buy a personal copy, so I can highlight it or share it.

Buddy Scalera | @MarketingBuddy


Craig WallerBe nice to people on your way up — you may be meeting them again on your way down!

Craig Waller@jcraigwaller 


Michael WeissThe best piece of business advice I have ever gotten works for a career in content marketing as well: Hire people smarter than you. If you are managing a content team, or you need to hire people to create content, or you have to create content for multiple tactics, then you are going to need help. And who better than people who are smarter than you and who are trained to do what you need. You need a video? Hire someone who does it well. Need to plan an event? Hire an event planner. Need an infographic? Hire Joe K! :) The reality is that you cannot do it all, so build the team with the best talent.

Michael Weiss@mikepweiss 


Rob YoegelI moved away from a career in journalism in 1996, right around the time the web was taking off. Devoting a career at the time to working entirely online was something some would have considered a risk. Two years ago, I had a similar opportunity entering the world of content marketing. I have no doubt that I’ve made the right decision.

Rob Yoegel | @RobYoegel


Have you received any essential words of wisdom from your own colleagues and mentors on your content marketing career? We would love for you to share your content marketing career advice in the comments, below. 

Don’t miss additional insights and information from our fabulous roster of speakers at Content Marketing World 2013. Register now. 

Cover image via Bigstock

Author: Jodi Harris

Jodi Harris is the Director of Editorial Content & Curation at Content Marketing Institute. As an experienced content management consultant, Jodi focuses on helping businesses analyze their content needs and resources; build infrastructure and operations; and create and distribute relevant, engaging brand messages across multiple media channels and platforms. Jodi has developed and managed print and digital content projects for marketing, entertainment, automotive, health care, and biotech publishers, as well as for entertainment industry and media brands. Follow Jodi on Twitter at @Joderama.

Other posts by Jodi Harris

  • Shawna Lisk

    Seriously. Treat people the way you’d like to be treated. Everyone is a subject matter expert in something.

  • http://www.forestview.gr/ nikoss80

    good piece of advice

  • rogercparker

    Strong piece, Jodi,….many voices.

    I’m going to hang Justin Premick’s advice up on my wall, though! Inspiring reinforcement.
    Roger

  • Joseph Kalinowski

    Great advice from some great folks!

  • Alex Clifford

    Just got to add one more thing… write for the CMI 😛

    http://contentmarketinginstitute.com/2013/05/successful-content-marketing-2023-expert-advice-trends/

    My best client came through this site.

    http://alexclifford.me/

  • http://www.seobooklab.com/ Ram Babu SEO

    Thanks Jodi for bringing such advises. Let me tweet and follow all of these experts.

  • elbee

    Some great advice here, but I don’t understand Stephanie’s comment:

    “Although content helps our business grow, it would be impossible without the support of customers.”

    Am I missing something?

  • Innovative Marketing

    When we think about content marketing strategy, we first think about the sales process. The relationship between content and the sales process is fundamental to content marketing. The sales process is like an engine that defines the steps to take a prospect from an information seeker to the point of sales readiness. Content is the fuel that makes the engine go. If you wouldn’t put gasoline into an engine that wasn’t built, then you also wouldn’t create or publish content if you don’t have your sales process automated on your website…. and if you have a sales process, even a good one, without content, you’re not going to generate any leads. Too often we see people making the mistake that content marketing is first and foremost a creative activity and ignore the sales process completely. They may blog every day or have killer white papers, videos or webinars but not generate any sales qualified leads from these activities. While quality content does require good writing, the direction required comes from a clear understanding of your sales process and by extension, your audience.