A Recent Graduate + Content Marketing = A Career?

Less than a month ago I was lurking behind the scenes in the Bradley Center awaiting my turn to walk to “Pomp and Circumstance” and become a graduate of Marquette University. I took my seat among fellow graduates and looked toward the stage as the commencement speaker Hank Aaron took the podium. Immediately I reached for my cell phone to take a picture of the illustrious slugger and post it on Twitter. As I eyed my other classmates, it was obvious the majority of them were doing the same thing. At the time I didn’t think anything of it, however, after starting my new job three weeks later I realized the world of social media and online content creation is a growing career path.

Marquette University is at the forefront of colleges and universities using social media. They have a Twitter profile for nearly every building on campus, each college, club or organization, including one for the university’s namesake, Father Marquette.  They have a presence on Pintrest, Tumblr, Foursquare, Flickr, Google+, LinkedIn and YouTube; all are updated constantly.

Yes, Marquette University and I have had occasional disagreements — sometimes a printer doesn’t work and they don’t call snow days very often — but they always respond to questions with a personal, insightful answer.  And in the ever-changing world of social media and content marketing that can be the most important aspect — being responsive and engaging with individuals.

After graduation, the only thing on my mind was getting a job so I could pay rent and wouldn’t have to live with my parents.  I wasn’t sure how my affinity for social media and writing could pay the bills.

Throughout my time at Marquette there were countless speakers who shared insights into their career path. The one piece of advice they all had was, “know how to write.”  If cash is king, the ability to write in an articulate and concise manner is gold.

This was always in the back of my mind, but I was unsure how to turn that into paychecks.  This is where the relatively young world of content marketing comes into play.  All of the blogs, tweets, pictures and posts online are considered “content.” People read content and companies will pay for the eyeballs consuming that content.

I had experience providing written online content from student internships at 1500 ESPN Radio Twin Cities and 540 ESPN Radio Milwaukee. This background came in handy when an opportunity arose at Brandpoint, a digital marketing company in Hopkins, Minnesota. In my new job as an associate content editor, I assist our experience team of writers with a variety of projects including blogs, website content and articles.

In a recent Content Marketing Institute survey, 70 percent of marketers say they plan to outsource at least one form of content in the next 12 months.  The nexus of content, consumers, and companies is where my new employer Brandpoint plays.  We connect brands to consumers through the power of content.

It is no secret Americans spend an excessive amount of time surfing the Web, in fact a 2011 Nielsen study states Americans are spending nearly a quarter of their time on social networks and blogs.  That’s nine times the amount of time spent perusing news sites.

Content creation has a major benefit beyond attracting readers and views; it’s SEO (search engine optimization). Using keywords, phrases and links in content helps a company climb the search engine ladder so that consumers will be more likely to find them.  This has the potential to generate bottom line business results. Content marketing is 41 percent less expensive than “paid search” based on a study done by the Content Marketing Institute.

Content marketing is strategically thoughtful and measured usually within an integrated digital marketing approach. The tactic is expected to grow nearly eight percent in most companies’ marketing budgets based on an October 2011 study done by Maverick Research.

My four years walking the campus and lecture halls of Marquette University taught me the power of the written word.  Now that my career path has begun and I am learning new tactics and strategies every day about an evolving industry, I am thankful to Marquette for answering Twitter questions and posting the thoughts of the university’s new president, Rev. Scott Pilarz on Tumblr. Those interactions helped me appreciate the power of social media and gave me a good foundation for developing content marketing skills, experience that will help me continue to keep a roof over my head.

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