So you want to work in content marketing? Excellent choice!

While developing smart content as a marketing strategy is not new, “content marketing” as a recent buzzword and career choice is taking the digital marketing world by storm. Consider these stats from the Online Marketing Institute’s State of Digital Marketing study:

    • Content marketing is the third most critical skill for digital marketers behind analytics and email marketing.

    • 68 percent of advertising and Fortune 500 marketing leaders believe content marketing is an important skill for applicants.

Clearly, there’s a need in the current marketing and digital landscape for smart, savvy and passionate content marketers.

Think you have what it takes to become a content marketer? Here are five must-have qualities for success.

Curiosity

To work in content marketing, first and foremost, you need to be curious. Content marketers should have an unquenchable thirst for new knowledge and information about a wide variety of topics. You may not always be super passionate about what you’re writing depending on the client and topic, so a natural curiosity and love of learning can go a long way in keeping you interested, engaged and on your toes, no matter what it is you’re writing about.

A passion for writing

If you want to work in content marketing, we’re going to assume you enjoy writing. A love of words and writing is a given here. While you’ll certainly spend time brainstorming, reading and researching, the majority of a content marketer’s time is spent putting words down on a page for others to consume. Even for the most skilled writer, the act of writing does not always come easily, so a true love of the craft is a must for those who choose content marketing as a career choice.

Focus

Content marketers spend a lot of time writing; this often requires an extreme amount of focus. It’s important for content marketers to be able to eliminate distractions (both digital and otherwise) to zone in and complete a project. It’s also useful for content marketers to be able to figure out the time of day and environment in which they are able to focus best for maximum effectiveness and efficiency. Need help finding focus while writing? Check out these great tips from writer Jeff Goins.

Strategic thinking

Content marketing is more than simply researching a topic, learning as much as you possibly can about that topic and writing about it. Put your thinking caps on; content marketing is much more strategic. Once you have all the information you need for your assignment, it’s up to you, the content marketer, to compile and present that information in a compelling and interesting way. That means thinking about the best way to visually present the information, whether it’s in a bulleted or numbered list (like this post), written as a longer-form narrative or even developed into a different medium like a video or podcast.

A marketing mindset

When the words “content marketing” come up in conversation, many people immediately correlate the term with writing. And yes, while content marketers spend the majority of time writing, there are other marketing skills that will make a content marketer even more successful. Those who work in content development and marketing must also be excellent researchers, strong interviewers, strategic thinkers, adept at social media and PR-focused. The entire goal of a content marketing campaign is to get important information in front of a target audience; smart content marketers will be able to take a project from beginning to end successfully if they consider all the moving parts, strategies and tactics that make up a content campaign.

Jessica Lawlor is a public relations professional and freelance writer in the Philadelphia area. Her work has been published on Ragan’s PR Daily, Muck Rack, Brazen Careerist, Mediabistro, Business Insider and AOL Jobs. She blogs at JessicaLawlor.com about getting gutsy- stepping outside your comfort zone to reach your goals and live a life that makes you truly happy. Connect with her on Twitter.