Things I wish I'd known before I became a content marketer
Hi, I’m Jamie. I’m Storm & Shelter’s content marketing manager. You may recognise me from the last time I appeared in front of the camera for the sake of #content and embarrassed myself, well I’m back with something a little more helpful this time.
Here are a few things that I wish I’d known when I started.
There is a difference between writing and communicating
When I was back at school, there were two things that I remember very vividly being told I was bad at — writing and dancing.
I’m a content marketer by day and a drag king by night, so it’s kinda funny that those two things are what pay my bills… but it’s those the comments you’re told as a child stick with you. When I started marketing at my old job I was mostly managing outsourced content, so when my boss told me we were taking it in-house and I was going to be doing it myself, I freaked out.
I spent the first few years of my career second guessing every word I wrote thanks to the voice of my GCSE English teacher telling me “Oh you’re not a good writer”.
And he’s right! I’m not.
But I don’t have to be.
Marketing is less about being the next poet laureate and it’s about being a good communicator. Work out what you want to say, say it in a way that people will understand, and do that in a quick and engaging way.
Statements are boring
Especially if those statements are about you.
A golden rule about creating any piece of content is asking yourself ‘why would my audience care?’ and one way of easily finding a reason is by taking what you’re saying and contextualising it to be about them.
- What does that product list actually mean for people who aren’t technical?
- How does the experience on your CV make you better for the job you’re applying for?
- Are you just saying ‘award-winning’ to make yourself feel good? What does that actually mean?
It’s kind of simple to say, but people care more about what you have to say as a marketer if you make it relevant to them. So just remember you’re not speaking to yourself, you’re speaking to your audience.
Stop putting double spaces after a sentence
Basically, I was taught how to type in the same way that people were taught how to type on typewriters. Which includes putting two spaces after a full stop.
I now know it’s not the done thing, but muscle memory is a b*tch, making it take so much energy for me to not type like a 1940s secretary (writing this blog alone, I’ve had to correct myself at least 20 times).
Even though it sounds silly, one of the first things I would tell young me is to just never learn the double space rule in the first place.
Just because a channel exists doesn’t mean you have to use it
Since I started doing in-house marketing for marketing (or marketing adjacent) companies I have been asked to make:
- A company Snapchat
- A company Instagram Filter
- A company Subreddit
- A company Clubhouse account
And I just had to smile & nod and say I’d look into it. Spoiler: I wasn’t.
When a new channel comes along it can be very easy to get distracted and think you have to shift from what you’re doing to keep up with the times. And of course, you should at least investigate and try out things with your personal work, but not every company needs a TikTok… in fact, I would say most don’t.
Sit back and genuinely ask if this is where the target audience is and if is this in line with the brand you’re representing. If the answer is no, then don’t.
Bring your actual self to work
It’s so tiring not to.
Now when I’m saying this, I know I’m being extremely privileged as not everybody has the environment where they can be fully themselves at work, but if you can I highly recommend it.
The moment that I stopped hiding myself at work, was the moment that I actually started to connect with my coworkers and started believing more in myself because I wasn’t wasting all this energy pretending to be something that I’m not.
So that’s it! Hopefully one of those is useful for you, and if not then no worries there are plenty more videos in this series from the rest of the team so hopefully, the next one will be 😉