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So, You Want to Be a Content Marketing Strategist?

So, you want to be a content marketing strategist.

Now what?

Maybe you’ve already downloaded our content marketing strategist cheat sheet and already know you love creating a content strategy.

Maybe you’re wondering to yourself, do I have what it takes to become a professional content marketing strategist, and get paid to build content strategies for clients or an employer?

Good news. You’ve come to the right place.

In today’s blog, we’ve outlined for you the information you’ll want to know if you’re considering becoming a professional content marketing strategist. 

Ready? Check out our guide below.

become a content marketing strategist

Your Ultimate Guide to Becoming a Content Marketing Strategist

1. What Does a Content Marketing Strategist Do?

2. Content Marketing Strategist Roles

3. Content Marketing Strategist Skills

4. How to Become a Content Marketing Strategist

5. Content Strategist Training

6. Content Marketing Strategist Career Options

7. Content Marketing Strategist Salary

8. Types of Content Marketing Strategist Jobs

9. Pros and Cons of Different Content Marketing Strategist Jobs

10. A Day in the Life of a Content Strategist

What Does a Content Marketing Strategist Do?

As you know, the internet is an exceptionally large and diverse place.  At 4.13 billion users and counting, there is bound to be some fascinating, quirky stuff going on.

millennial comedy

The distinct types of content that those users are producing are what makes the internet so wonderfully wild and diverse. And for all the different types of content on the internet, there is also a diverse range of roles that content marketing strategists can play.

Sometimes, companies will hire a content marketing strategist to help relaunch their brand. Other times, they’ll bring on a content strategist to maximize the return on investment of a digital advertising budget for an already established website. 

Every company will have its own objective for hiring a content marketing strategist and each will have slightly different requirements. Therefore, there are several distinct types of functions that a content marketing strategist can fulfill.

Content Marketing Strategist Roles

Here are some of the most common duties of a content marketing strategist, keeping in mind that not every role has each of these functions in equal proportions:

  • Understand business models of the client: You don’t need an MBA to be a content marketing strategist but having some basic business acumen is important. You must be able to understand the challenges your clients face in their business and be able to create customer profiles.
  • SEO and analytics audits: Search engine optimization, click-through rates, traffic rankings, and more are key performance indicators (KPIs) of digital marketing campaigns. Voice searches are quickly becoming mainstream and growing each day as well. As a content marketing strategist, you will have to perform audits of your clients’ KPIs.
  • Generate content topics: A content marketing strategist must generate useful content ideas for a client’s business. You must consider many different elements including competition, audience, client needs, and past performance of content. Research is vital to learn about the client’s audience and content gaps for untapped market segments.
  • Coordinating content creation and delivery: After you’ve created a content marketing strategy, it’s time to execute. You must make sure different experts create the type of content that meets the needs of your strategy. Copywriting and editing skills are crucial for this part of the content marketing strategist role.
  • Developing and maintaining an editorial calendar: For any content strategy to work, it needs to be published and delivered on time. The content marketing strategist is responsible for ensuring it all goes to plan, publishing timely topics based on research for months at a time.
  • Developing SEO and style guidelines: When the content marketing strategist requests content from different content creation experts, it is helpful to have predetermined standards for them to follow. That way, brands can maintain their style, voice, and tone across all their marketing efforts.
  • Promoting content in the right places: A content marketing strategist will need to identify where their client’s target audience is active online. You will research the most effective social channels like Facebook, LinkedIn, Medium, Pinterest, or Facebook and look for high-traffic industry blogs for guest posting.

Content Marketing Strategist Skills

These are the most common skills a content marketing strategist needs to be successful:

  • Creative vision: While you don’t necessarily need to be an artist to be a content marketing strategist, it is important that you can envision the type of content that will evoke an emotional appeal from your audience. You will help set the tone and style of the brand, so you will need to be comfortable thinking outside of the box.
  • Strategic thinking: To compliment your creative vision, you need to be strategic. It’s not called a content marketing strategist for nothing! The most evocative content in the world does no good if it doesn’t generate the desired outcome for the client.
  • Copywriting and editing: One of your main jobs as a content strategist is to oversee content development to make sure it’s meeting strategic goals. To do that, a content marketing strategist must have some content creation ability as well to sense what’s good and what’s not.
  • An eye for design: It also doesn’t hurt if you have an eye for design since some of your content will be visual as well. You may not need to design the graphics yourself but you will often brainstorm ideas for infographics, Instagram shots, Pinterest graphics to promote blogs, and social media image best practices before delegating the task to designers.
  • People skills and communication: Communication is an essential part of the role of a content marketing strategist. You need to be able to understand the needs of the client, communicate with creatives and other stakeholders, and effectively lead a team.
  • Research and Analytical skills: A significant amount of the work of a content marketing strategist involves quantitative reasoning. You must be comfortable interpreting facts, figures, and spreadsheets into meaningful insights about your strategy’s performance.
  • Planning and organizational skills: As a content marketing strategist, your role is to plan, manage, and execute a content strategy, so your planning and organizational skills should be exceptional.
  • Using a Content Management System (CMS): A CMS is a software program that allows you to better manage all the different aspects of your content marketing strategy. This falls into the domain of the content marketing strategist as well.
  • Using content strategy tools: A content strategist must use a wide range of software and tools on a daily basis to find keywords, optimize headlines, schedule posts, and learn about their audience such as BuzzSumo, SEMrush, Excel, Hootsuite, Airtable, and many others.
skills you need for content strategy

Source: Express Writers

If you don’t know what some of these things are, or you feel like your skills aren’t quite up to par in a given area, don’t worry. We’ve got you.

You can check out our in-house training and read on to learn more about how to boost your skills.

front-end and back-end content strategy

Source: Digital Marketing Institute

As you can see, content marketing strategists can have quite a lot of roles to play. To complete these functions successfully, they must possess a range of different skill sets.

How to Become a Content Marketing Strategist

Now that you know what a content marketing strategist does and what skills are required, let’s look at how to get there.

Content Strategist Training

Like all things in life, no one is born great.

To get great, you have to train. Fortunately, you have several training options available.

You may be wondering “Do I need a content strategist degree to get hired?” or “Are there any content strategist courses I can take in college?”. The answer is that most places won’t require a degree in a specific area to become a content marketing strategist, but some large companies do prefer that you have a degree. Marketing, English, Communication, or Journalism are reasonable choices.

If you’re not interested in the degree option, there are many exceptional content marketing strategist courses offered outside of a formal college or university.

Here at Express Writers, we offer our own Content Strategy & Marketing Course, which is perfect for the aspiring content marketing strategist. In just 6 weeks, you can gain real-world experience in content marketing strategy – invaluable training for an aspiring content strategist. Other places, like the Content Marketing Institute, offer excellent courses as well.

brand content strategy cores
enroll in the Content Strategy and Marketing Course

Content Marketing Strategist Career Options

Once trained, you are ready to enter the workforce.

The good news is content marketing strategist jobs are growing in demand. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, digital marketing jobs are expected to grow 8% faster than the average as increasingly more companies spend record numbers of advertising dollars on digital marketing. Marketing is trending increasingly towards digital applications, and content strategists are required to power that digital marketing.

future of digital marketing

Source: Marketing Dive

That said, the range of companies you can work for is vast. There is plenty of room for both freelancers and traditional employees.

At the beginning of your career, you may start out as a freelance content marketing strategist. Freelance work is an effective way to familiarize yourself with the industry, build experience, and gain confidence. Once you have a few clients under your belt, you can progress to more established positions, build your own digital marketing agency, or continue to freelance at higher rates.

When you’re ready, a typical senior content marketing strategist job description includes plenty of exciting challenges and perks.

Content Marketing Strategist Salary

Of course, each type of position will have its own salary range.

On average, content marketing strategists make around $70,175 per year. However, entry-level position salaries start at $49,000 and can increase up to $101,000 for those with significant (20+) years of experience.

Freelancer earnings vary widely, between $19,500 and $146,000 per year.

salary for a content strategist

Source: ZipRecruiter

Types of Content Marketing Strategist Jobs

To gain experience, a content marketing strategist may begin working freelance. “Freelance” is a broad term and can mean many different things.

A freelance content strategist may first use sites like Upwork to find clients, reach out to local businesses with proposals, or connect with potential clients through LinkedIn. It’s useful for new content strategists to start gaining experience in industries they know inside and out based on previous work experience.

Marketing agencies may also contract content strategists to work for them on what’s technically a freelance basis. Working freelance for an agency means that you will work with many different clients any given week so it’s useful to be upfront about your knowledge and experience in different fields like healthcare, food service, tech, etc.

creative and marketing salaries across U.S.

Source: TCG

Working freelance, you will be responsible for paying all your own taxes, healthcare, and saving money for sick time or vacations.

Once you gain experience working on a freelance or contract basis for a few years, you may be qualified to apply for salaried positions in-house at different companies. Some agencies hire in-house content marketing strategists which means you may shift industries and clients based on what’s needed. However, working as a content strategist for a large company like Nike, HP, or Edible Arrangements would mean sticking with one industry and executing tasks with a large team.

Content Marketing Strategist Jobs Pros and Cons

Content marketing strategists working freelance or on a contract basis vs. being employed by a company each provide two completely different environments.

Pros to working as a freelance content marketing strategist:

  • Higher likelihood of working remotely anywhere with a Wi-Fi connection.
  • Ability to take on multiple clients and work as many hours as you please.
  • Freedom to set your own hours.
  • Dictating your rates for each job.
  • Working with multiple industries and fields day-to-day or month-to-month.
  • Diversifying your income sources across multiple clients.

Cons to working as a freelance or contracted content marketing strategist:

  • Clients may request tight deadlines.
  • Inconsistent or unreliable income from month-to-month.
  • Less opportunity to delegate smaller tasks without hiring other freelancers.
  • Covering costs out of pocket for content strategy tools.
  • Responsible for filing and paying your own employment taxes.
  • Must pay for your own healthcare and save for your own vacations, sick time, and retirement.
  • Some clients may require that you do not take on other clients in the same industry.
skill points to learn for content strategy

Pros to working as an employed content marketing strategist:

  • A reliable salary each month.
  • Delegating tasks and working as a team towards common goals.
  • No need to pay out of pocket for content strategy tools or work-related travel.
  • Possible benefits such as healthcare, paid time off, sick time, bonuses, and profit sharing.
  • Opportunity to advance at a company and take on new roles.

Cons to working as an employed content marketing strategist:

  • Fewer remote options available.
  • Typical nine-to-five office hours.
  • Less opportunity for work-related tax write-offs.
  • Smaller window to negotiate your salary.
  • Working with content and audiences in one industry every day indefinitely.
  • Risk of layoffs due to downsizing, poor sales performance, or other factors out of your control.

With nearly a third of B2Cs spending over $100k per year on content marketing, you should have no trouble finding a suitable environment in the right salary range once you lock down some experience.

2019 content marketing budgets

Source: Content Marketing Institute

A Day in the Life of a Content Strategist Working from Home

A content marketing strategist working remotely will need exceptional motivation and organization skills. Using a daily planner to track every hour of time (for clients, personal responsibilities, and free time) is vital.

The content strategist working from home may start their day with a cup of coffee at their desk responding to emails and checking the previous day’s KPIs across different social media platforms and Google Analytics.

Next, the strategist may work on any existing client’s content calendar, researching topic ideas, headlines, and keywords through tools like BuzzSumo and SEMrush.

In the afternoon, the strategist may spend time reviewing datasets looking for patterns and gaps to shape new content. A strategist could work on developing email marketing plans, social media schedules, and blog ideas.

At this point, the strategist will decide which work they will complete themselves and which jobs they may outsource to other freelance writers, designers, or social media managers.

A work-from-home strategist may then look for any gaps in their schedule to take on new clients. They may build proposals and reach out to leads.

Every day is different for a content marketing strategist working from home.

A Day in the Life of a Content Strategist at a Company

A content marketing strategist working for a company may begin their day with a meeting with the company’s social media team, copywriters, analysts, and other content strategists.

Next, the content strategist may focus on high-priority tasks like emails and strategy proposals.

Content calendars are key so the strategist will spend time researching the company’s target audience, looking up trends, and investigating new topic areas.

A content strategist may spend part of their day analyzing KPIs, looking for areas to improve, and delegating proper tasks to other team members for social media, copywriting, or graphic design.

The content strategist may oversee hiring freelancers or contract workers to fill any necessary content creation gaps.

Strategists should also spend time meeting with sales team members to discuss areas for improvement and how to best reach their target audience together.

Is Becoming a Content Marketing Strategist Right for You?

Working as a professional content marketing strategist is not easy. It is fast paced, requires you to work under pressure, and requires handling several moving parts at once. It is definitely not for everyone.

But if you decide it is for you, it can be a very rewarding career. You can help business owners succeed by implementing your own creative ideas, and you will have plenty of room for professional growth.

Ultimately, a content marketing strategist is always seeking to create situations where most people get the most amount of value out of a given interaction — and that is something the world needs more of.

If you’re interested in becoming a content marketing strategist, our 6-week content strategy and marketing course is a great place to start. Of course, we also offer a whole host of free resources as well. Happy studying!

Profitable Content Marketer Cheat Sheet

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