Content creation expertise requires training

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One of the most common refrains we hear in the digital economy is that everyone under 25 is a digital native, and thus teaching skills like digital content creation is pointless, redundant, or counter-productive. While SHIFT wholeheartedly embraces hiring people of all ages and backgrounds, the need for content creation training is universal. A 25 year old account coordinator needs just as much media creation training as a 45 year old account director or Vice President. Why? Despite publications’ fondest wishes to the contrary (see the Chicago Sun-Times questionable decision to lay off all of their staff photographers), owning a digital device isn’t a guarantee of an ability to create content on it.

The simple analogy I make acknowledges that digital natives have grown up in a connected world. Likewise, all of us have grown up eating food. However, just as growing up eating food does not make everyone a chef, neither does growing up in a digital, connected world a guarantee that you can create compelling content. The skills of composition, marketing, writing, and coherency are as varied as our individual abilities to cook. Moreover, just because you can make sushi doesn’t mean you can make Beef Wellington; just because you can write doesn’t make you a photographer.

If you want to exceed the bounds of mediocrity, you must train in your chosen content creation profession. Take courses, find a mentor, study great content creators in your field, and skill up until you gain proficiency. If you’re operating a business and you’re looking for someone to handle your content creation, look for actual skills. Don’t assume that being a member of any demographic is by itself a guarantee of expertise of any kind.

Christopher S. Penn
Vice President, Marketing Technology

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Posted on June 25, 2013 in Advertising, Content Marketing, Marketing

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About the Author

Christopher S. Penn is an authority on digital marketing and marketing technology. A recognized thought leader, author, and speaker, he has shaped three key fields in the marketing industry: Google Analytics adoption, data-driven marketing and PR, and email marketing. Known for his high-octane, here’s how to get it done approach, his expertise benefits companies such as Citrix Systems, McDonald’s, GoDaddy, McKesson, and many others. His latest work, Leading Innovation, teaches organizations how to implement and scale innovative practices to direct change.

Christopher is a highly-sought keynote speaker thanks to his energetic, informative talks. In 2015, he delivered insightful, innovative talks on all aspects of marketing and analytics at over 30 events to critical acclaim.

He is a founding member of IBM’s Watson Analytics Predictioneers, co-founder of the groundbreaking PodCamp Conference, and co-host of the Marketing Over Coffee marketing podcast.

Christopher is a Google Analytics Certified Professional and a Google AdWords Certified Professional. He is the author of over two dozen marketing books including bestsellers such as Marketing White Belt: Basics for the Digital Marketer, Marketing Red Belt: Connecting With Your Creative Mind, and Marketing Blue Belt: From Data Zero to Marketing Hero.

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