Being a marketer requires that you work hard to ensure the success of your business. One way to improve your chances of success is through professional development. Professional development skills will vary based on your marketing niche, your industry, your niche skill, and the areas you wish to improve.
But when it comes to professional development for content marketing, the priorities are bespoke. You might be told to do everything and anything to get a step up and stay ahead of your competition. So, how do you direct your efforts?
Unfortunately, professional development for content marketing might pull one in too many directions. To help, we’ve identified some of the best things that content marketers can do to stay on top of the industry.
Importance of Professional Development as a Content Marketer
One of the best ways to develop leadership skills, interpersonal skills, and other consulting skills is professional development. This is the case in content marketing as the field, trends, and insights can change at the drop of a hat.
If you are seeking future employment, employers are looking for new hires who are constantly learning new skills and are passionate about knowledge, so staying on top of professional development is a must.
According to Mike Monroe, digital strategy manager for Vector Marketing, “A passion for knowledge is the ultimate competitive advantage in the marketplace. It keeps me up to date on my industry, and ensures that I can take on new challenges, and equips me for a future rife with innovation and enthusiasm.”
When a content marketer prioritizes professional development, they can clearly see the areas where improvement is needed. This is because they can identify where the pain points are, reasons why a client walked away, or the key skills or work experiences the industry is looking for.
Organically, content marketers might pick up on the latest trends simply through the day-to-day of the job. However, without a career development plan that maps out the skills, training, or educational courses already completed, it may be hard to identify and appropriately apply the new or niche skills, industry knowledge, or personal traits that have been learned along the career path.
Professional development training will improve a marketer’s candidacy for long-term positions and apply skills learned from professional development training. This can improve the chance of being hired on as an employee, being wanted by multiple firms, and enhancing the likelihood of being offered more hire opportunities.
Types of Professional Development for Content Marketers
There are several professional development paths that anyone can take. Still, these paths may differ depending on the organizational development programs offered to employees by a large company or by the individual interests of the marketer.
Common professional development programs might include:
- Taking online courses
- Completing multi-day workshops or seminars
- Earning a specialist certificate
- Completing a specialized program
- Goal setting
- Teaching and volunteering in training programs
- Continued learning
- Small task setting
How you acquire additional training will vary depending on the industry. For marketing, you should keep an eye on popular podcasts, webinar series from industry leaders, and training academies like Hubspot.
However, on top of industry-specific and technical skills, you should also develop soft skills like problem-solving, communication and interpersonal skills, and networking.
10 Best Professional Development Practices for Content Marketers
If you are seeking to land a position with a major company, you need to be working on professional development to build your resume.
In the workplace, professional development, learning, and upskilling are slowly shifting to become the responsibility of the individual.
And because top employers struggle to find new hires that are well-suited with the skills needed to complete the job, an individual who learns for their professional and personal gain (i.e., independent learner) is more likely to be a stand out in a tight labor market and provide a unique business value.
Here are the ten best things that a marketer can do for professional development:
- Stay up to date on the updates and news from within your industry through news websites, podcasts, and audiobooks.
- Stay connected to an association or professional networking group related to your work, such as the Content Strategy Collective Slack channel.
- Consider a certification course to promote a specialized skill you want to target, like Hubspot Academy’s free courses.
- Meet with the HR team at a company to learn about the things that big companies are seeking new hires
- Meet with a coaching professional to develop a new skill and work on your professional development plan
- Go to meetups with other marketers closely related to your field or even in associated industries to branch out
- Try to take work on that is outside of your area of expertise, be sure to do so for a lower price
- Don’t take free jobs
- Set attainable and realistic goals related to your professional and personal development (such as where you want to be in 5 years or 10)
- Spend more time microlearning
Naturally, doing all of these things at one time can be overwhelming. So you want to make sure that you break them down and go through each one step-by-step.
Start with a personal list of the things that are most important to you, and then start to document the ways that you can tackle them. For example, you may want to start with a coach as they can provide key insight into how to create a professional development plan and help to identify additional professional development opportunities.
Connecting to associates may also open additional opportunities for you, so you want to reach out and see what associations, local networking groups, marketing groups, and industry meetups are in your local area, friend group, workgroup, or in a related and trustworthy online forum.
How Learning New Skills Can Help Marketers With Their Professional Development
Your work as a content marketer might vary from day-to-day. If you are seeking a long-term position, working on professional development can provide stability and routine. If you prefer to work as an independent consultant or with one-off contracts, working on professional development can improve your client interactions.
Professionals cannot succeed in life or evolve alongside society without learning something new. According to a LinkedIn survey, employees who spent time learning at work were 47% less likely to feel stressed, 21% more likely to be self-assured and cheerful, 39% more likely to feel successful and productive, and 23% more willing to take on additional responsibilities.
Successful professionals are passionate about the work they do rather than just showing up to collect a paycheck. According to the LinkedIn survey, professionals tended to leave jobs when they felt like they couldn’t learn or their professional growth was hampered. If you are working in a field that inspires you and you find development opportunities, you are more likely to feel inspired by your job day-in and day-out.
It may seem challenging to find the time to work on your professional development, and this makes sense. If you are an independent contractor within the content marketing field, then you are constantly securing clients, working on projects, and running your business. But if you approach professional development as a long-term and ongoing process, you’ll feel more open to this approach.
Consider adding bouts of microlearning and small daily or weekly tasks associated with your professional development goals.
Professional development during a busy schedule is possible! As many as 7% of professionals are finding five hours in a week (or more!) to learn and work on professional development! And 47% contribute at least one to five hours per week, a reasonable amount put towards your future growth!
Seek Professional Development Opportunities
When working on your professional skills, you might find that you develop more emotional intelligence qualities.
Emotional intelligence qualities allow you to handle stressful situations better and with more ease, something that can come in handy as a content marketer. You will also be able to identify more areas for improvement in a company, showing that you can contribute significantly to their growth and that hiring you brings additional value.
Furthermore, you will want to provide more than just the minimum skills required to satisfy the job description.
Planning out a course for professional development will help you to identify the areas where your industry is lacking and also where you can grow. Not only will you find the areas of yourself that you wish to improve but you will also potentially identify (and fill!) gaps in your field that need to be addressed.