How To Be A Better Content Marketing Expert Than ChatGPT

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Content Marketing

Content isn’t a single facet of digital marketing. One could argue that it’s closer to every facet – words, colors, images, videos, links, social, the whole shebang. Creatively capturing attention and keeping it has been at the heart of digital marketing from day one.

Generative AI looks like a cheap way to churn out content and ideas, but the “results” that some brands are seeing won’t last forever. 

Large Language Models (LLMs) like Gemini or ChatGPT aren’t intended to be plug-and-play solutions – but so many businesses are already using them that way.

As one study put it: “A Shocking Amount of the Web is Machine Translated”. 

So… is the end of the content marketer in sight?

Nah

If anything, it’s another round of BS that’s shining a light on just how wide the gap is between a content expert and a fly-by-night AI-generated word salad buffet. If you want to be a content expert (or hire one), this blog post will cover the basics and point you in the right direction. 

What is a Content Marketer? 

A content marketer is anyone who creates materials to capture attention and encourage a commercial exchange. You can create content to explicitly sell a product, promote a service, teach a concept, develop an audience, entertain an audience, or grow a brand. 

It’s a wide discipline – and it’s going to keep growing. The world’s major streaming services spent $23 billion on content in 2022, and it seems to be working for them. 

How The Identity Of A Content Marketer Has Changed With Generative Tools

Content marketing is almost always teetering on the brink of a race to the bottom

While content is a keystone of all digital marketing, it’s also hard to produce, difficult to strategize around, and can get expensive. It’s designed to be consumed, which means the famous iron triangle applies:

Image Source

Despite this, businesses continue to seek after cheap content that will do just enough to drive revenue. The latest version of this has been heralded by generative tools like ChatGPT and Gemini (formerly Bard). 

Lest you think we’re completely anti-AI, here are our favorite ChatGPT prompts and an entire article on how you can use generative tools for content creation.

Consider:

  • Artificial Intelligence tools were an enormous part of the 2023 Hollywood writer’s strike.
  • Article after article has been penned fearing that the end is nigh for scrappy content writers and designers. 

But LLMs aren’t intelligent or creative. They’re sophisticated prediction models. They’re also prone to hallucinations, can develop distorted worldviews, and outright lie. 

This quote from Ellen Lichtenstein summarizes the problem perfectly:

“Everyone and their dog think they can use LLMs (large language models) to create content to drive their sales funnel and build their reputation. 2024 will be the year where we see what happens when they try. It’s going to be rough for a while as businesses cut down on hiring human writers or don’t hire them altogether.
But there will be light at the end of the tunnel when this strategy proves to be a race to the bottom for brands – and customers stop responding to content the way we’re used to. Maybe by the end of 2024, human creators will be even more valuable than ever as a backlash against bad content begins.” 

When a company or person starts to consider the weight and impact that content can have, it’s natural to want to produce as much as possible. 

Taking shortcuts is never a good solution to this problem. 

Until true, bonafide AI is running the world, hiring a human creator is a necessary part of building an online brand. 

Yes, it’s an investment, but considering the lifetime value of content — you’re getting a good deal no matter how much you pay. 

Key Knowledge For An Expert Content Marketer 

If you want to become a content marketer (or hire one), you’ll need to get comfortable with some level of production

If you do it all yourself, you’ll be a sole contributor and need to develop a system that allows you to create, edit, and distribute your material.

If you’re looking to join a team of creatives, you’re going to need some comprehension of content’s mise en place. That’s French for put in place – referencing cooks on a line.  

For example, here’s how a content creation process can be broken down (starting with a content brief) with roles for each unique phase:

There are billions of voices on the Internet. A good deal of the SERPs and high-value ad spaces are already competitive. Social media is crowded, noisy, and unfriendly to newcomers with tight purse strings. 

In most cases, the only way you’ll make a dent anywhere is by producing high-quality content at some level of scale. 

To that end, you’ll need to make some decisions about how to approach your content creation:

Decide Between Freelance And Full-time

Content marketers looking for work will follow one of two paths: they’ll either be independent contractors/freelancers, or they’ll go to work full-time. 

Decide Between Freelance And Full-time

Content marketers looking for work will follow one of two paths: they’ll either be independent contractors/freelancers, or they’ll go to work full-time. 

Freelancing Creators

Freelance copywriting, freelance design, freelance editing – you name it, it’s content marketing. 

Benefits 

  • Make your own schedule
  • Build your own pricing
  • Work with brands and businesses that you want to work with
  • Total creative control and autonomy

Drawbacks 

  • Inconsistent income
  • DIY insurance
  • Unique tax implications
  • Difficult to scale or “progress” in a typical fashion

Full-time Creators

Working full-time as a creative doesn’t mean you’ve sold out – there are actually some great reasons to go this route!

Benefits  

  • Stable income and career progression
  • Access to insurance and other benefits
  • Access to mentors, training, and feedback

Drawbacks 

  • Less autonomy in who you work with and the messages you want to create
  • Stricter working schedule
  • Higher rates of grind/crunch.

Keep in mind that you can choose to do both – or oscillate from one to the other throughout your career. Many talented creators spend time in both worlds throughout their careers. 

Choose Either In-house Or Agency

Another fork in the road for many in content marketing is the decision to do in-house work for a single company OR settle into an agency where you can work with multiple brands. 

Just like the full-time vs. freelance question, there are pros and cons to consider:

In-house Creator

Working as an in-house creative is a great way to learn the ropes and build chops with a dedicated marketing team. 

Benefits 

  • Immersion in a single brand or niche
  • Recognition  as an industry expert, “thought leader”, or influencer, 
  • Intimate knowledge of your target audience
  • Access to tools, experts, and first-hand growth experiences

Drawbacks 

  • Concepts and topics can feel rote, repetitive, or overdone with time
  • Career growth can take you away from opportunities for creative expression

Agency Creator

If you like a bit more variety, agency creatives have plenty of opportunities to create great content. 

Benefits

  • A wide variety of clients makes flexibility and research skills a top priority
  • Production systems in agencies typically empower progression through numerous roles 
  • Exposure to a wider variety of people, brands, personalities, styles, preferences, and more

Drawbacks 

  • Agencies typically have less control over branding, messaging, and other core concepts than internal teams 
  • The fast-paced nature of agency work can be stressful for creatives
  • The competitive nature of agency work can be hard to manage for some creatives

Again, content creation can take individuals and companies down both paths. There are plenty of ways that each can yield an expert content creator who produces lasting, meaningful results. 

For companies looking to hire content creators, the decision usually boils down to needs, costs, and alignment. The best agencies work with creators who listen well and take time to understand your brand – and yes Intuitive Digital provides content services!

Build Your Brand

It may feel cliche, but most content creators need to build a portfolio or “personal brand”. Said portfolio should show creative expression and display some type of mastery. 

What qualifies as a content portfolio? Literally anything:

  • A website
  • A graphic
  • A blog post (or list of blog posts)
  • A video / YouTube channel
  • A social media presence

If you can publicly show your work, do it. 

Get Good

Creating content isn’t exactly like being a movie star, but it can feel like going from one big break to the next. That kind of grind takes determination. It requires taking feedback and a strong belief in one’s ability to do the work better than the next person. 

People will judge you based on the quality of the content you produce. 

Roles and Jobs For Content Marketers 

Content marketers need to do a lot of different tasks throughout their careers. Some places are looking for a creative who can help them produce high-quality content – others need an expert who can handle content operations at a high level. 

A word of warning here: people don’t always know what to look for when hiring a content professional. Many businesses that think they need a content marketer also end up including “wishlist items” that don’t fall under the content marketing umbrella. Be aware of what’s being requested of a creator to avoid burnout. 

Whatever your aims, you’ll want to start with the basics. 

Role #1: Content Creator

The baseline role – working as a content creator encompasses anything from writing, speaking, creating music, creating images, and more. 

These individuals focus solely on content production. Give them a creative brief and a reasonable deadline, and they’ll deliver.  

Role #2: Content Editor

When you want to help others shine and polish their work, you’ll find yourself taking on an editorial role. 

Some people see editing as a natural progression of creation, and that’s often (but not always) true. 

If you like to tell other people how their ideas could be even better, consider editing. 

Role #3: Content Strategist

Some people don’t want to create content or edit – they’d rather look ahead and help steer the ship. These people become strategists. 

A content strategist’s goal is to get comfortable with metrics and performance tracking. Most learn how to research and interpret analytics – and develop a process that lets them generate ideas from said data. 

In many cases, strategists also help develop brand-level concepts and steer stylistic conversations. 

Role #4: Content Manager

The content manager role is responsible for the individual(s) handling creation, editing, and strategy. You might also hear them called a content specialist. 

They often act as a liaison between creatives and clients – or may have an internal role in keeping a team tied to a production schedule. They’re going to be familiar with various content platforms and useful tools to help mentor and guide creative expression. 

This is where “content operations” or production really starts to ramp up. 

Role #5: Content Team Lead

A content team lead is responsible for helping support Content Managers and preserve the production environment for creatives. Their role is typically an “in and on the business” approach. 

A content team leader may find themselves working with leaders to balance budgets and drive larger initiatives, while also acting as mentors to their managers and senior editors. 

Role #6: Director of Content

Director-level content marketers (and up) are much more focused on utilizing their expertise to operationalize big ideas. They’ll play an integral role in high-level content strategy, 

Role #7: Subject Matter Expert

Not all content marketers are purely content marketers. Some just have a lot of experience, specialized knowledge, or access to information that needs to be shared. These people are usually more motivated to hire a content marketer than become one. 

Key Skills For Content Marketing 

Any job that requires thoughtful expression is going to require skill. Content marketers should look for ways to add these seven skills to their toolbox. 

These aren’t in any particular order. 

Skill #1: Communication

It’s one thing to have great ideas – and another thing altogether to bring them to life. 

If you want to pay the bills and bring great ideas to fruition, you’ll need to be able to make them resonate with others. That involves communication at some level – and it doesn’t have to be perfect. 

Remember: in a world where most people don’t get past an idea, a rough draft is a monumental achievement. 

Skill #2: A Medium

Content is more than words, images, or video. It’s the concepts you address with those mediums, the style you choose to express them, and a myriad of other intangibles. 

It’s important to have a medium that you’re skilled in – whether you’re a content writer, a videographer, or a designer. Learn the tools of the trade!

Skill #3: Analytics and Research Chops

Love it or hate it, marketing is a data-driven world. Content marketers should spend time learning the basics of analytics for their chosen discipline. 

A good place to start for most people is Google Analytics. Other top picks are heat mapping tools, A/B testers, keyword density checkers, and research platforms. 

Oh, and becoming an expert Googler helps too. Learn your search modifiers and you’ll have infinite ways to search for knowledge, inspiration, and community support. 

Skill #4: Resilience

This was originally under the header “a thick skin and a BS meter.” It’s true. 

Unfortunately, even if you produce great work you can’t please everyone. Some people won’t like your style, and other people are just jerks. 

If you’re talented, work hard, and are a little lucky, you’ll hopefully find great people to work with and enjoy the fruits of an expression-based career. 

Skill #5: Creativity

Last but not least – a content marketer needs to find ways to stay true to their creative expression. For most, this is the seed that prompted them down this past in the first place. 

Whether you fell in love with writing at your public library, escaped into drawing thanks to an art class, or fell in love with your unique creative expression – that creative spark is an essential asset. 

Foster it, protect it, and give it to brands and people who will do the right thing.

TL;DR

Content is the core of digital marketing. 

Shortcuts might get you ahead, but if you don’t know what you’re doing you’re just as likely to turn around and go backwards as you are to turn the right way. 

Content marketers are more essential than ever. Don’t fall prey to the concept that LLM’s and other generative tools can act as viable substitutes for a well-paid, confident creative. 

It just so happens that Intuitive Digital has a whole team of talented creatives – and you can hire us, join us, or find other ways to connect. 

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