Traditionally, the business world has always valued expertise, and for good reason. Even our educational systems are set up to provide students with a broad base of general knowledge, and slowly work them up to the point where they can be considered the master of a certain field of study. When it comes to marketing, having a single skill set or deep knowledge in a particular field was often enough to get you a good gig writing, or if you were running a website, it was enough to get readers to come to you looking for information. Those days are gone. Today’s internet-surfer is inundated with a barrage of content across all media, and those websites that have adapted to the new environment have thrived, while those that remained stubborn have died away as casualties of the process of natural selection. This new environment has produced a new organism, one more suited to the new world of marketing: the T-shaped marketer. Having T-shaped marketing skills not only improves your ability to earn, and thrive on today’s web in terms of SEO, but also can improve your writing skills dramatically.
That’s great! But what is T-shaped knowledge?
A T-shaped marketer has T-shaped knowledge. In plain terms that means that the marketer has a certain field in which they have expert-level knowledge to go along with a wide array of knowledge or skills across many related fields. For example, a marketer might have skills across blogging, email, and ad campaigns while at the same time having in-depth knowledge of SEO strategies. This makes them the Swiss Army Knife of the marketing world. Having this blend of skills makes them flexible enough to work across many disciplines, and be an invaluable asset as more and more companies are looking to diversify and offer more services.
How does it improve content, though?
Good question. We thought you would never ask. Dry, technical, unresponsive content should be saved for the laboratory and the courtroom. We are talking about the internet here. The internet is becoming the main avenue for communication amongst people, and even though we personally believe that nothing will ever replace real human interaction (we hope…), there is no doubt that digital interaction is increasing more each year. Have you ever tried to have a conversation with someone who talks like a robot? In case you haven’t – it’s boring. As the internet evolves, readers are expecting more creative, meaningful, rich, and personalized content from their providers; old-fashioned content won’t cut it.
Okay, so what tips do you have for me?
– Use your broad knowledge to show correlation – Try to relate to your reader’s work experiences or show them how different areas of a field correlate with each other. For example, if you are writing about link building on a website, draw on your experience with social media to show the correlation between social activity and link sharing. Relating different areas of your knowledge shows expertise and enriches your writing
– Use your experience to provide real life examples – Anyone who is equipped with the Swiss Army knowledge of a T-Shaped marketer is going to have a wealth of experience across a multitude of fields. Provide examples of what you are writing about from another perspective. In a previous post, we highlighted the use of humour in regards to headline writing by using a past example from email marketing. Our personal favourite is using a life analogy, though. Try to compare the SERP to a crowded downtown street where all businesses are competing for your business. You could even compare the recent developments of smartphone marketing to the first mail campaigns run by companies through the postal service in the past. By making analogies across different fields you keep the reader engaged, because it makes their mind work to make connections.
The T-shaped marketer is more than just an SEO expert or an email marketing guru, they are the most flexible and adept employee in the online-marketing biz. This not only helps you to improve your marketability across different fields, but can also be utilized to improve your writing. By drawing on personal experience and knowledge across a broad spectrum, you can create web content that is both informative and entertaining.