Up until recently, I told people who asked about my job that I was a content marketer.
Then I realised that I was really more of a content writer + copywriter. With a bit more experience in the former. Now I want to gain more expertise in the latter.
Let me explain.
“If someone wanted to hire a person who has the kind of writing-for-digital-marketing-platforms skills that you have, what search terms would he or she use?” asked my friend E.
To my embarrassment, I was not too sure. “Well, I’ve been working in content marketing, and ‘content marketer’ was my official job title … ” I replied. Damn. Why did I just go along with ‘content marketer’, without clarifying if anyone recognised it? I could have done a simple keyword research to check on the viability of the job title I used!
Right then and there, we did a Google search for ‘content marketer Singapore’ to see what sort of results turned up. Within the first three pages of search results, the exact phrase ‘content marketer’ shows up only twice. Two results out of 35.
“Looks like it’s not a commonly used term in Singapore” said E. “Let’s confirm with Google Trends.” Here’s what Google Trends told us about search interest in ‘content marketer’ in Singapore:
“Well. There seems to be negligible interest in ‘content marketers’. Are there any other roles in content marketing that are similar to the work you do?” asked E. “Content writer? Copywriter? Whenever I search for content marketing-related jobs on LinkedIn, these two tend to turn up” I suggested. We compared interest in ‘content writer’ versus ‘copywriter’ versus ‘content marketer’ in Singapore, using Google Trends:
We then expanded the comparison to include worldwide interest (because the Singapore market is pretty small):
“Here’re the takeaways from our little experiment” E said “First, forget calling yourself a ‘content marketer’. That may be the job title you used at your old workplace, but it won’t work when you pitch your skills directly to people. There’s too little interest in hiring a ‘content marketer’! Second, decide if you’re more of a content writer, copywriter, or both. Third, you might want to do more copywriting, since interest in it is the highest.”
I thought of all the content marketing work I’ve done so far. All the blog posts, eBooks, landing pages, thank you pages, email newsletters, lead nurture emails, drip emails, social media copies, social media ads, and infographics that I wrote.
I also clarified the differences between content writing and copywriting. In short, content writing aims to generate interest and awareness, while copywriting aims to sell.
It turned out that I have experience in both content writing and copywriting, albeit a bit more experience in content writing. Now I know what to tell folks who ask me what I do for a living.
As for E’s suggestion to do more copywriting, why not? I have always been fascinated with the arts of persuasion and selling, which I feel are two of the most underrated life skills. I say underrated because many people find persuasion and selling icky so they don’t bother with learning how to do them well. That’s a shame. I believe these are two key ingredients in any successful hustle, so I want to get better at persuasion and selling through the power of words.
Oh, and there’s a big demand for excellent copywriters? I’m on board!
I wrote this post to share a few lessons for folks who are interested in working in content marketing, or writing for the web. In sum:
1) Understand the different roles and responsibilities. The problem with calling myself a ‘content marketer’ is that the term is too broad; it just means that I ‘do’ content marketing. But there are different jobs within content marketing e.g. Chief Content Officer, Content Strategist, Editor, Writer. Be specific!
2) Use a job title that is clear and meaningful. Different organisations have different titles for the same job junction. My kind of role is sometimes called “content marketing executive”, “content services executive”, “content executive”, “content specialist”, or even “digital content architect”. But titles are just titles. People care most about what you can do for them, so when marketing yourself, choose a job title that reflects what you actually do or the value you bring. In the words of UX expert Steve Krug, “don’t make (people) think!”.
3) Know whether your skills are marketable. A simple Google Trends search can yield loads of info about search interest trends. In the end, it doesn’t matter what you know, or what job title you hold. What matters is whether what your skills and expertise are relevant, helpful, and valuable enough that people are willing to pay you to do. There are so many technological and digital developments underway. You can cling on to what you know, or adapt and grow.
So, over to you, my reader: what do you do?
Image source: TeroVesalainen @Pixabay