9 of the Best Skills You Need if You Want a Career in Marketing
Earlier this week I was doing a workshop with some Journalism students. Afterwards, I caught part of a talk from the Editor of Woman’s Weekly magazine and one of the questions she was answering was, “what do you need to break into the industry?”
The answer is varied. But I do know one thing you need to break into any industry - skills.
The marketing industry is forever changing and I feel like it’s at a really exciting time right now. There are so many opportunities to experiment, endless things to try and it’s growing everyday.
Over the years, I’ve learnt that my skills have played a big part in helping me get to where I want to be. And the truth is, you need a lot of skills to get the breakthrough that you want.
But as you’ll discover, sometimes a skill is not just a skill.
Before we get started, I just want to clarify that you don’t need a marketing degree to get a job in marketing. Working in marketing isn't as simple as just “working in marketing”. It means you’re holding onto a skills set that will make you go much further than the average marketer.
So the next time you wonder how you get a job in marketing, or even what you actually do as a marketer, here are the nine skills you want to talk about.
#1 You are a Creator
The skill of creativity is huge. Don’t ever put yourself down as a marketer, because your ability to create things is very special. Whether it’s the written word, images, social media posts or planning strategies, you are actively creating things all the time.
Oddly enough for me, being on social media every day can make me forget that not everyone knows how to use it effectively. It’s the same with writing – I write every day and I can forgot that it doesn’t come naturally to some people.
Over the past few years, the marketing and publishing industries have really changed. We've all had to grow with the times and that has meant trying new things and learning new skills. In order to make our online presence the best it can be, we've got to make sure we’re using marketing tools in the best way possible.
It’s easy to think that you can just snap, instagram and tweet like there’s no tomorrow and that’s how you use social media. Or that for writing a great blog post, it’s just about putting the right words together.
But you and I both know there’s so much more to think about.
Good creators have to be able to analyse their own ideas. They have to be able to see where there’s room for improvement and be able to take inspiration from others too. It’s about communication, research and a hell of a lot of practice.
And, if you’re a blogger, then you’re doing this already aren’t you? You’re getting inside the mind of your readers and giving them what they want to know. You’re practising these things daily, because a big part of being blogger involves a marketing role. You are actively marketing yourself and your personal brand on a daily basis.
Sometimes when I come across bloggers who don’t mention any of these things, I get surprised. It’s like they don’t realise that everything they do relates to being a marketer.
Your ability to be creative puts you ahead of a lot of others in this industry. Remember that.
#2 You can Work Under Pressure
We’re our own boss when it comes to our blog. Yes, you’re managed by someone else in your day job. But once you’re working on your blog, you’re managing yourself.
Something that every blogger can experience is trying to format a blog post just before it’s due to go live. Or getting those photos taken before the good lighting disappears. You know how to work under the pressure you give yourself as your own boss.
In a marketing career, you’re constantly aware of change. Whether it’s the latest trends, new platforms or better technology, you feel the pressure to keep up to date with everything that’s going on. It’s even as simple as looking at social media – your audience is always on there and that means you want to be, even though that’s a lot of pressure. But that doesn’t change how you work, because you know your readers are everything.
But working under pressure doesn’t just mean what you think it does. It means you can rise to a challenge. It means you’re proactive and enthusiastic. It means you can show leadership and delegation. It means your employer will think, “They’ll definitely hit the ground running”.
#3 You can Handle Negativity
In a workshop I did on Monday, one student said the thing she struggled the most with on social media was all the negativity.
We don’t beat around the bush – we know not everyone is going to like what we have to offer. But as a blogger and marketer, the most important thing is about how you handle the negativity. You've had practice with knowing how to respond and if you should even respond at all. You know when people mean what they say and you can hold your own. Being able to give a positive outcome from that will have a big impact.
#4 You get People to Trust You
Branding is usually thought of as how something looks. Even for bloggers, there’s so much pressure put on us to have a good-looking website. If I said Facebook to you, I bet you’d think of the logo right now. And yes, design really does help in building your blog and personal brand. But that’s not actually the best way to develop it. The main thing you need is trust.
Building an audience is tough. But when someone reads your blog post, leaves a comment, follows you on social media or signs up to your mailing list, you’re building trust. This doesn’t just happen because your writing is great or you’re using social media well. It’s because you understand your readers.
Part of being a good marketer means you know what your audience needs and what to offer them. It comes with research, observation and a lot of listening. You know that you can provide people with all of these ways to say “I trust you”, and with your brilliant content, they’re going to do just that.
#5 You’re a Planner
The way you create your blog posts, map out your editorial calendar, schedule social media – you’re a planner, my friend, and a good one at that! Planning is a crucial skill of any job and will help you become very successful in marketing, and in blogging too.
When I was doing my Masters Degree in 2014, one thing I was asked by all the people on my course was, “how are you so organised, Holly?”
And the reason was because of my blog. I’d spent so long planning it and I was working on it every day which meant it was improving my organisational skills daily too. Running a blog alongside anything is tough, but it’s unbelievable how much it will teach you.
Being a planner means you can work to structure, you’re independent, can create a process and that you’re a self-starter too. You know that before starting any project, no matter how big or small, that you need to plan.
#6 You’re a Good Communicator
You and I both know that blogging doesn’t work if you’re not talking to the people that are actually reading what you have to offer. It’s the same with marketing. In my day job, I’ve got to make sure I'm connecting with students, but their parents too. If I'm ignoring one of them, that doesn’t mean I'm marketing the College very well.
It’s all about recognising who you’ve got to communicate with and how you’re going to do it. Marketers have to create things, but that’s not enough. Whether it’s a tweet, a blog post or an event – it’s got to be something that your audience is going to be interested in.
If you can show that you create these things, you’re going to be really admired. Because you’re showing that you’re not just doing this for you – it’s about your audience more. And that’s how you know you’re going to get the best results, by building up that trust.
#7 You Think About the Big Picture
When you’re writing a blog post, you’re not just thinking about hitting publish and that’s it. You’re thinking about everything. How it’s going to look on the page, how your headline will make people click through, how sharp your images are, when you’re going to share it to social media, where else you’re going to share it – you understand that it doesn’t just start and end with your blog.
Being in a marketing career means you think about #alltheplatforms.
You know you need something different for Instagram than you do for Twitter. You know you need something different for Facebook than you do for Periscope. You know your audience is made up of different types of people, so you create text and visuals too.
You know how to create different types of content.
#8 You Ask for Help & Feedback
We’re always in need of support, advice and feedback. Whether it’s a new design, help with a technical problem or new blog post ideas. Employers like to know that if you’re stuck or need advice that you’ll ask for it. As a blogger, this is something you do already.
Your end of year survey, reaching out about templates on Squarespace, running a poll on Twitter about when people would like to see your new video – you do it all the time!
You know that instead of struggling to find the answer, you’ll get much better results when you reach out to someone. Plus, you’re more likely to learn something that way too.
#9 You Give Value
Bloggers always struggle with the numbers. We don’t know how to measure our success. Marketers struggle with this too. We wonder why our efforts aren’t really paying off.
But whatever you’re doing, you’re already giving value. Because you don’t just stick with something. If you’re not happy with a category on your blog, or you feel you’re not engaging enough on social media, you change it. You make changes in your plan daily, because you want to get the best out of what you’re doing. That my friend, means you’re providing value. You’re seeing what you can do to give your audience more value all the time.
So, if you’re ever wondering whether you have the right skills for a career in marketing, now you know.
And it’s your blog that’s got you there. Blogging has helped you create an amazing skill set that is unique to each of us – because we all do it in our own way. Instead of looking for jobs including “blogger” or “blogging”, look for the skills we've just talked about instead.
That way, when you see them you know you’ll be able to do the job. And you go in as confidently as you’ll ever be.
Let's chat in the comments - do you recognise that you have some of these skills? What else would you say blogging has taught you?