Hands up who answered ‘content marketer’ when faced with the age-old, primary school question: what do you want to be when you grow up?’

I’ve often suspected that we’re actually a bunch of wannabe astronauts, failed vets and once-upon-a-time hopeful teachers (clearly only in those pre-Michael Gove days). But even back when the role was just a twinkle in its father’s eye, some of us were showing all the necessary attributes that a born content marketer should possess.

In my case, these innate qualities have manifested in a number of skills I wear with pride, such as my ability to deliver a passionate speech on the value of content marketing at the drop of a hat and the way I can work hyperlinks, bullet points and an emboldened font into any email, on any subject.

However, there are also a few deeper qualities that successful content marketers seem to have in common. If you’re umming and ahhing about your business hopping on board the content marketing train, here are a few to muse on. You might just find you score a full house…

1. Belief

I often hear of a business throwing in the towel due to a crisis of confidence when they didn’t get the immediate results they were expecting. Well, content marketing is a marathon as opposed to a sprint and it’s an investment of time, energy and money. If you’re looking for a quick fix, this route may only lead to disappointment.

However, at your darkest hour, when your faith is being tested, bear in mind that, according to the Content Marketing Institute, 70% of B2B marketers plan to create more content this year than they did in 2016 – they can’t all be barking up the wrong tree.

Obviously, I’m not advocating blind faith – make sure your strategy is informed and you have a plan that aligns with your organisation’s goals. But without the belief and drive to fire it up, your content marketing just won’t have what it takes to go all the way.

2. Research skills

Whilst it’s true that to position your brand as a thought leader in your field, you need a certain level of specialist knowledge, a true content marketer knows that the power of research can make their life a whole lot easier.

I’m not just talking about hitting up Google for facts; I’m talking about the power of researching your target audience so that you can truly understand the questions they’re asking, the pain-points they’re wrestling with and the platforms on which they prefer to communicate. It’s in this way that you can identify your niche and make sure your content has value enough to hit its intended mark.

3. Imagination

Focus on churning out ideas instead of churning out content and you’ll be one step closer to content marketing success. In this age of content saturation, it’s quality not quantity that will get your brand noticed, and treating your content marketing as a chore or a dry-as-dust checklist to tick off isn’t going to get you noticed in a positive light.

However, imagination doesn’t mean being a one-man ideas factory. Sometimes using a creative approach with a topic you’ve covered before (or that one of your competitors has) and re-purposing it in a brand new format could provide just the spark you need for a slew of new content.

If you’re looking for a spark of inspiration and itching to get creative with your campaign, consider the story your brand seeks to tell. Effective storytelling in 2017 is authentic, original, humanises your brand and offers something of value to your audience. Consider what’s unique about your company, the way your business has evolved and the inspiration behind it. You’ll know you’re a born content marketer if these words help get those creative juices flowing.

Of course, if it turns out you’re not a born content marketer, there are plenty of us out here that can help you out – 73% of major organisations hire professionals to manage their content marketing strategy. Contact us at M2 Bespoke if you’d like to find out more.