You’re ready to move on from your current content marketing job. There is little room for growth, the pay is so-so and the work is mind-numbingly boring. Congratulations! You could not have picked a better time to begin your job search. The economy is growing at a steady clip and, most importantly, companies are showing little reluctance to hire, especially for content marketing roles.
As you can see, the jobs are there; the only question you have to ask yourself is “How can I present myself as the perfect candidate for my ideal role?”
Standing out opens doors in content marketing
How are you planning to set yourself apart?
This is a question I get asked often, especially by people who are new to the digital space.
When one of those friends asked, “What would you do, if you were applying for work at a content marketing firm right now?” it occurred to me that others likely have that exact question.
My favored approach is summed up nicely in the following three steps:
#1 — Anticipate the questions prospective bosses are likely to ask.
Before applying for any specific role or with any one company, do your homework and peruse the company’s website. Try to find out as much as you can about the company, the culture, and the people who comprise the core of the entity.
If you can find content that the likely interviewer has written or shared, make a note and bring it up during the conversation. As a bonus, delve into one or two pieces of content on the site—does not matter who wrote it or what it’s about—and add your perspective during the conversation.
Make the content your own by going into some detail about the topic, then pivoting to similar projects or tasks you’ve completed.
Also, bring up a piece of popular content that is making the rounds on the Internet, then talk about what made it significant (e.g., BuzzFeed’s success and how it relates to writing effective headlines that tap human emotion).
#2 — Bring out your inner politician
Prepare a few soundbites—strong, emphatic sentences that make the person interviewing you aware that not only can you do the job, you can thrive in the job as well.
- “It’s no longer about search or social or content. It’s about successfully navigating the coalescence. Those are the brands that’ll be successful moving forward.”
- “Content marketing is the buzzword everyone is happy to discuss. But when I look around the Internet, what I see is confused marketing—brands throwing lots of content at the wall in hopes of finding something that sticks.”
- “The brands managing social media effectively are in the best position going forward. Brands like Red Bull, Hilton Worldwide, GoPro, and Buzzfeed. Through being engaged with their audiences, they are able to amass a wealth of information that serves to help feed the content machine.”
- “It’s not about content management. It’s about using content to help businesses achieve their goals. That’s what I’m interested in helping brands accomplish.”
# 3 – Help your prospective boss see you in the role you desire
Expect anyone who applies for the job will have done their homework and shown up over-prepared. Many might even look better than you on paper. You cannot control that. What you can control is making it difficult for them to consider anyone but you.
Let’s say you’re looking to jump from communications, PR, or traditional journalism to content marketing.
Speak to their pain points.
Highlight the main areas of their business that are likely to be bottlenecks (e.g., content management, content assimilation, content strategy) and add how you would alleviate this by being strategic from the start, creating content around the needs of the business.
Use your background to your advantage.
No group is better suited to tackle the rampant fire drills of content marketing than “traditional media” folks. They thrive in the cat-herding environment. Make the interviewer aware of this by sharing how many projects you successfully manage simultaneously.
Highlight how your skillset is a perfect fit.
Show them you’re bright and enterprising, calling their attention to how you manage strategy (story selection), execution and implementation daily. “I’ve always thrived in jobs where keeping multiple balls in the air was the focus.”
If you nailed each of the points above, you’ve undoubtedly set yourself apart from the pack, making it very difficult for anyone to unseat you.
Now, close the deal.
When asked, “Are there any final questions or anything else you’d like to add?” provide a distillation of the position that speaks to the likely pain points surrounding the position. As an example, someone applying for the job of content marketing editor could offer the following closing:
“You describe the role as editor. In my mind, I see wrangler. The person in that position must be effective at helping determine strategic direction; set the tone for relevant, meaningful curation; be effective at managing, whether time, personnel, or projects; and be lights-out at delivery, ensuring the department is producing content at a rate that’s sufficient for the business to meet its goals.”
What are your tips for setting yourself apart and landing a content marketing job? Share them in the comments!