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There are certain personality types that characterize a great number of online marketers. It's important to clarify that 'online marketing' is a category of work that involves an extremely wide range of skills. There are the esoteric analytical stats gazers, the flamboyant social managers and the idiosyncratic content maestros.
Much of what falls under the umbrella of 'online marketing' would seem to appeal to quite different personality types. I tend to fall on the social and content side of things, yet in the earlier years of my career I spent a great deal of my working hours gazing into the cosmos of web stats to see if the SEO changes I'd made to various sites would manifest into blossoming traffic numbers. There's an easy difference to see in fundamental strengths–some people are strong mathematicians with shrewd sensibilities, while others command language and media.
Yet, I've observed through working with diverse professionals over the years, and amongst the online marketing thought leaders who post content prolifically on various online channels, that there are certain traits most of us seem to have in common. I've also observed this through working at Stikky Media, where I often work with a number of small businesses, frequently in a training capacity. Some of the clients easily and eagerly grasp what they can from working with me and then run with it on their own. Small and medium businesses' online success often depends on how much they will work with us as an agency rather than simply hoping we'll do all sorts of magical things with minimal effort and involvement from them, but ahem, that's a different blog post to come.
Back to where I was going with this: I have seen what I'm about to describe as common personality traits of online marketers in coworkers, thought leaders, and clients who take what we teach them and successfully run with it. Here are the traits I've observed in successful online marketers.
The information age has created a business landscape that changes so quickly that no matter what area of online marketing an individual specializes in, the ability to adapt to change is essential for success. Whether it's search engine algorithms, social network modifications, web access by a broadening range of devices, or trends and opportunities that send the entire industry aflutter, there's no use getting into this business unless you're prepared to adapt easily and quickly, because "things will change" is a given.
The people that do well in all areas of online marketing seem to have active, often restless minds that hum with the whirring gears of curiosity. They are often interested in many eclectic things; just follow some of the top online marketers on Twitter to see for yourself. Though online marketers can be stereotypical white-collar executive types or counterculture oddballs, they have similar dispositions where the tendency to want to know more about more and more things is concerned.
Love of learning
Being adaptable and curious fishtail right into this trait. It's not enough to be adaptable and curious because in order to keep up on the racetrack of this rapidly changing business, marketers need to constantly keep their proverbial 'car' up-to-date and fine-tuned. The mechanics of this trade are always changing, so how we do things changes from year to year. The only way to keep up is to keep learning new ways of doing things. I find that many of my peers and the clients who make the most of the training I provide are people who are not only willing to learn constantly about how things are done, but they actually love learning. It's a personality trait that shines brightly and serves them well as online marketers.
Do you have it?
Different careers call for different personality strengths from the people who excel at them. I have tried to train some people who don't have the personality traits as I've described them here. Unfortunately, they do not easily grasp and run with their online marketing skills as fast or as well as the others who are adaptable, curious, and who love learning. It doesn't matter whether the online marketing direction we choose is the mathematical/analytical one or the creative and social one or somewhere between them both; neither of those directions will offer a career that does not not require adaptability, curiosity and love of learning.
Does your personality include these traits? If so, you very well may have what it takes to be not only good at this sort of work, but to be happy within this field of business.