7 Useful Marketing Skills (Which I Have Used Successfully in My Career)

There is always a debate about what skills marketers should learn.

One person says it is copywriting. Another says it's coding. One person argues that it is branding. Another argues that it is strategic thinking. Add in performance marketing, data science, and soft skills like management and you will see the list is endless.

Is there a right or wrong answer? I do not believe that. Think about it: Careers counseling is autobiographical. It will depend on the marketing role you are in and the skills you acquired along the way that helped you. After all, we cannot predict the future. we can only look back on our past.

And this is how I deal with this post.

Instead of telling you what to learn, I'm sharing the skills that helped me on my journey as a digital marketer – six years and it matters.

  1. Copywriting
  2. Content Marketing
  3. SEO
  4. Email reach
  5. Networking
  6. Work prioritization
  7. Experimental way of thinking

Seven years ago I read a book called The Education of Millionaires. The book emphasized the importance of copywriting, which interested me. I later read a few books on the subject, practiced making my own newsletter, and ended up posting most of the copy on my website's blog, landing pages, and emails. And I've been doing that ever since, writing copies and content for the companies I work for.

When you work in digital marketing it is almost impossible to avoid writing. Whether you're creating a blog post, tweet, ad copy, or scripting video, write.

So, if you are unable to capture and hold someone's attention with your words, your marketing campaigns are always less effective than they could be. People won't click your Facebook ad, abandon your blog posts, and ignore your tweets.

This is why learning how to write well is so important.

Do you want to improve your writing skills?

My unconventional advice: skip the usual books and learn to write texts.

Copywriters write with clarity and simplicity. No fluff. You get straight to the point.

We recommend.

– David Perell (@david_perell) March 28, 2019

When you learn copywriting, you will become familiar with the basics of marketing. To make a great copy, you need to know who you are selling to. You need to research customers – know what they want, need, and how to speak. All of these make you a better marketer.

How to get started

The first is to forget what you learned in school. Writing online is different from academic writing. If you write like you did for school, your blog audience will be zero.

Next, pick up some resources that will teach you the basics of good copywriting. Here are some that I have personally used:

You should also read a few books on psychology and persuasion, as they are the foundation of a good copy:

After all, you have to write. There's no way around it. To learn to write, you actually have to write. Build a website, apply for an internship, tweet – it doesn't matter which medium you choose. just start practicing.

At the time, I didn't have a lot of resources to work with. So blogging seemed like a great way to get visitors to my website without spending a lot of money. Of course, that brought me to content marketing.

Content marketing is hot today. Check out the meteoric surge in interest over time:

Data from Google Trends

According to HubSpot, 70% of marketers are actively investing in content marketing. There are tons of examples of people using content marketing to build successful businesses. Ahrefs is one. But there are others like Luxy Hair, Beardbrand, Shopify, etc.

Why is content marketing so popular? A few reasons:

  • It promotes and converts leads. Most people don't buy right away. Instead, they go on a “journey” – they search around, read reviews, consume content, and talk to other people. Content marketing helps you fine-tune every stage of this journey.
  • It trains potential customers. Customers are better positioned to buy your product when they know how to use it to fix their problems. Content marketing solves this problem.

Recommended literature: Why is content marketing important? 5 reasons

How to get started

Writing well is just one aspect of content marketing. You also need to know the rest – strategy, topic research, creating the right type of content, promoting content, etc.

Start reading this amazing post from Fio to get a good head start on understanding the subject.

Next, check out this free course on Blogging for Business.

It takes five hours, but it's worth it. Here's everything you need to know to get traffic to your blog. Even seasoned marketers have learned a thing or two.

Me an hour ago: I guess I'll check out @ timsoulos Blogging for Business Classes … but I doubt I'll learn anything.

Me right now: * eyes glued to the screen, desk covered with notes *

Well played, Tim.https: //t.co/k3AnL3laos via @ahrefs #seo #contentmarketing pic.twitter.com/KkXGOxCJYH

– Kyle Byers (@Kyle_Byers) May 8, 2018

Would you like to learn more about content marketing? Here are more resources:

3. Search engine optimization (SEO)

After blogging for a while, I noticed that there was a pattern. Most of the articles had traffic in the beginning but faded to nothing after a while.

In contrast, the blog posts that received steadily more traffic were the ones that ranked in Google.

The investigation led me to it SEO.

Learn SEO has skyrocketed my understanding of content marketing. Instead of wandering aimlessly on the hamster wheel for content creation and trying to get more traffic by posting more, SEO taught me how to create evergreen content that will get passive traffic over time.

In addition, SEO-driven content marketing is often cheaper in the long run.

For example, the Ahrefs blog spans ~ 175,000 keywords and generates an estimated 373,000 monthly search visits.

If we had to track all traffic through Google Ads, it would cost us $ 965,000 per month (or $ 11).58M yearly). Given that we don't spend nearly that amount on content production, it's reasonable to say that this is cheaper than paid ads in the long run.

Recommended literature: Why SEO Is important: 8 undeniable facts and case studies

How to get started

Check out this video to understand what SEO everything is about:


Then, from there if you want to explore the various subtopics below SEOI would recommend going through these resources:

Email contact is the foundation of most things in marketing. For partnerships, events, networking, business development, and link building, all you need to do is send a cold email.

Needless to say, knowing how to send a good contact email makes the difference between getting what you want and ignoring it.

How to get started

Just because you can email anyone at anytime doesn't mean your emails are always welcome. The busier or more famous a person is, the more "spam" email they get in their inbox. If you don't practice good outreach skills, your email belongs to this group – straight to the trash.

How you do that? You have to think about it What's in it for the person you email them to?. Sure, you hold out your hand because you want something … but what's in it for you? Why should they help you?

Take a moment to think about it every time you compose an email. It could be because:

  • You have presented them or their work in a piece of content.
  • They have something new, interesting, or unique to show them.
  • You invite them to your platform that has> X viewers / listeners / readers.
  • They used their advice and it worked.

And so on.

Learn more about how to send good contact emails from this post or watch this video:


I got my job at Ahrefs through networking.

I first met Tim, our Chief Marketing Officer, at an event here in Singapore. Then, later, I:

  • Consumed all Ahrefs content and promoting it on social media, Reddit, GrowthHackers, etc.
  • Interviewed Tim for a guest article on another blog;
  • Helped launch Blogging for Business by promoting it and connecting Tim with influencers.

Most importantly, I did all of this for free. Tim didn't ask me for it and I didn't ask anything for it. And the rest is history.

As the saying goes, "It's not what you know, it's who you know that matters." Most people hate to admit it, but it's true. (With the exception of the first part, skills are also important.)

People want to work with people they know and whom they trust. And networking is short for that process. It's not just about getting jobs, either. With a decent network, you can:

  • Receive feedback on your product, your work or your company.
  • Get shortcuts to troubleshoot issues you are facing as people on your network may have encountered similar issues.
  • Get alternative points of view.

As Matthew Howells-Barby writes:

There is a limit to how much you can teach yourself. Additionally, there are some issues that you are unlikely to ever face. Here, learning from others is essential.

For the past few years, I've met someone almost once a week who I didn't know beforehand would work in a similar role to me in another company. This could be a 15 to 20 minute phone call where I have a coffee in person or when I go on a trip to their office. During these meetings I ask a question:

"What are the toughest problems you faced and how did you solve them? "

Matthew Howells-Barby

How to get started

Most people get on wrongly connected. You start off on the wrong foot by having an ulterior motive. They want to befriend you because – and only because – you are beneficial to them in some way. In Adam Grant's book "Give and Take," these people are called "takers." They take and never return. And let's be honest: we can smell these people from afar.

It's a surefire way to be terrible while networking.

Instead, you should be a "giver". You're not doing anything because you're expecting a favor. They are just really helpful and always give value. These people, Adam Grant's research found, are the most successful at networking.

Everything starts with your mentality.

If you want to learn more about networking, I recommend the following resources:

Most people mistakenly believe that productivity is doing as much work as possible within a limited time frame. However, you can easily be mistaken by making a list of trivial tasks and quickly ticking them off.

Is that real productivity? I do not believe that.

This happens because we don't have a clear idea of ​​what work to prioritize. We don't plan what we want to accomplish before entering the office / turning on our laptop and being dragged into the day's emergencies.

So if you want to be productive and do real work, you need to learn how to prioritize.

How to get started

Getting Started, Eisenhower Matrix, Bullet Journal – there are tons of models, books, and courses to teach you how to use this particular skill. you all Job. However, it depends on your personality, preferences, and implementation whether they work for you.

Personally, I follow a system for myself known as that Weekly / daily goals. It consists of three rules:

  • Create a weekly task every week.
  • Create a daily task every night (based on the weekly task).
  • Focus on doing the daily chores every day.

It's incredibly easy, but here's the secret. A productivity / prioritization system has to be simple or difficult to adhere to. So far it has worked out pretty well for me.

Learn more about the system here PDF Here.

Digital marketing is a constantly changing industry. What works today may not work tomorrow. What works for a company may not work for your company.

Hence, you always need to test and find out what works and what doesn't.

To do this, you have to think like a scientist; H. Have an experimental mindset. Think of it all as an experiment. Error is not an error, just a data point. It's only temporary, and what you learn will help you learn more about your company, your customers, and your industry.

How to get started

This is not actually a skill, but a mindset change that you need to adopt. I like the way Derek Sivers puts it:

Ask yourself:

  • What experiment could you try for the next 30 days?
  • What if you tried to do the opposite for only 48 hours?

Then test it out and see what happens.

How to practice and improve your marketing skills

In Ultralearning, author Scott Young talks about a concept called directness. Basically, you should know how you are going to use the skills you have learned. Then practice using that skill in that particular situation.

Simply put, do the right thing.

For certain activities we understand it intuitively. In order to learn how to do a push-up, you need to do push-ups. However, when it comes to marketing, many of us give up the directness to bogus alternatives, like spending all of our time-consuming articles and believing that we are "learning". It's not just you – it's my fault too.

Passive learning is fun and feels like learning. And while it can be helpful, it doesn't actively improve your skills. In order to learn or improve marketing skills, you actually need to do so.

Copywriting? Write. Email reach? Send emails.

If your job allows, incorporate practice into your work. For example, if you want to learn copywriting, volunteer to write a blog post for your company blog. Or you could come up with suggestions for ways to improve a landing page's heading. If you're already a creator, see if you can incorporate the new copywriting principles you've learned into your content.

If it is difficult to practice while you work, don't fret. On the side, create a website and then practice it.

Now remember that I am not stopping reading or studying. They are great and can uncover ideas that you might want to test. But taking up all of your time is not exercise. And we can always do more of it.

More thoughts on skills

Discussions about marketing skills eventually come up against this topic: Should you be a specialist or a generalist?

As with the debate about what marketing skills to acquire, I don't think there is a "right" answer. It depends on what you want from your career.

If you are looking for monetary success, it is probably better to be a specialist. As Kevin Indig argues:

As a specialist, it is easier to add value than as a generalist. You can connect with people better and faster because the field is smaller. You can build hard skills faster from deep knowledge of one thing than from shallow knowledge of many things. Soft skills are required for both functions, but more important for managers. These are good reasons to start as a specialist.

Kevin Indig

Develop a competence circle and focus on serving that circle.

If you want to be a leader, consider being a T-shaped marketer. This means that you have extensive skills / knowledge in all areas of marketing but excel in one specific area.

You can even consider going further and distinguishing yourself in two (π-shaped) or three (M-shaped) marketing areas.

Another way to think about what skills to acquire is to create a unique talent deck only you have. Dilbert's Scott Adams promoted this idea.

He said he wasn't the best artist, the best comedian, or the best businessman in the world. But he had above-average skills in all three, and combined them to create Dilbert, one of the most successful comics in the world.

Mastering two or more skills that are seldom combined can create a unique niche for yourself and become more valuable as a marketer.

Tim Ferriss elaborates on the concept here:


Final thoughts

There are no marketing skills that you have to "acquire" to be successful.

The skills you need or want to learn ultimately depend on your marketing role, interests and inclinations.

The skills I shared were the ones I believed helped where I am today. Hopefully they struck a chord with you and gave you an idea of ​​where and how to go about it.

Any questions? Let me know on Twitter.

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