According to Joe Pulizzi - and he ought to know a thing or two - the best kind of content marketer possesses 7 key characteristics.
And they may not be the things that you might expect to be underlined as "desirable" skills in a modern content practitioner. Pulizzi's post doesn't form a wish list of must-have competences for candidates, instead he revisits the wisdom of author Napoleon Hill, who wrote "Think and Grow Rich" back in 1937. Crafted from interviews with Andrew Carnegie and other successful people of the era, Hill outlines in the book an "approach to developing the skills and mindset required to achieve exceptional success in any field or endeavour, personal or professional."
And it's the features that Hill identifies as key to those champions of their field that Pulizzi believes resonate with what he sees as integral to the best content marketers.
He cites characteristics such as "specialised knowledge" and "organised planning", which might go without saying, you may think, in any content marketer worth their salt. After all, it takes a confident level of expertise to be able to write with authority about your field. And then planning and organisational prowess, to know what kind of content would most appeal to your audience, distributed via the right medium at the right time.
Then, there are other perhaps more uncommon traits that Pulizzi borrows from Hill: the need for faith in what you are aiming to achieve, coupled with a true desire to be "THE informational resource more than anything or anyone else."
He underlines the need for "imagination" - to be creative and novel in the way that you seek to reach your audience, to not be fearful of trying something imaginative in your content efforts. And he echoes Hill's praise of those that can make decisions quickly and effectively, for as Hill's book highlights: "unsuccessful people...have a habit, without exception, of reaching decisions very slowly, if at all, and of changing these decisions quickly and often."
And lastly, Pulizzi believes one key trait in the successful content marketer is that of dogged persistence. Committing your organisation to content marketing means a commitment for the long haul. Results will be borne from consistent and considered content creation, and a perseverance in seeking to becoming a useful and sought-out resource for your audience. It isn't about instant results, instead persistence is key.
"If you want immediate results, put all your money into immediate and direct response. If you want to create an informational annuity that will pay for years, even decades, invest in some kind of content marketing approach."
Let's see if you have what it takes...
Look, you are competing not only with your competitors, but also with the media, Google, Game of Thrones, and every other distraction in your customers’ lives. To be THE go-to resource for them, you have to want it more than anything or anyone else. This is never easy, but it is much easier for smaller businesses headed by passionate people. Simply put, there is little to no politics to deal with, and a change agent can push through and make change happen. Marketers have to want to be THE informational resource more than anything or anyone else, says @joepulizzi. Wanting it is one thing, but actually believing you can be THE informational expert for your industry is another.