Tuesday, April 26, 2011

The Role of the Content Strategist

Businesses are waking up - albeit slowly - to the value a content strategy can bring to their marketing efforts. And a few are finding it important enough that they're hiring a new breed of editorial professional: the content strategist.

If you asked me 30 years ago how I would define a content strategist, my then daily newspaper industry-limited thoughts would have turned to a managing editor or editor in chief who was planning the next day's edition and asking a reporter why the school committee couldn't settle on a budget.

Well, we know what's been happening to daily newspapers, as well as reader interest in a school committee's budget deliberations.

But there are indeed parallels between a newspaper editor and a content strategist. For example:

  • They have to know the mission. Both the newspaper editor and the content strategist aim to get people to read their stuff. The more people who read it, the more valuable the medium or brand becomes.
  • They need to know the audience. Both need to answer the question: "What do my readers want to know? How can I best deliver that information?"
  • They must know how to get the right content. The "old school" editor would generally lean toward someone with at least a little subject-matter knowledge before assigning a story. Today, the content strategist looks for that same type of expertise. For instance, a content provider who's not skilled in video production will not be asked to produce a two-minute video.
This is just a baseline comparison, of course. Today's content strategist must also be aware of the many different ways a business can deliver its content today, from e-books and white papers to webinars and social media. And sometimes it takes more than one of those vehicles to get the message out. The key is to determine how to get the reader/listener/viewer--aka, the "target customer"--to pay enough attention to convince him or her to buy your company's product or service.

Whether you're thinking 1981 or 2011, the ultimate goal is the same.

What are your thoughts on the value of content strategy? Tell me in a comment below.


  1. Saw your posting in Facebook about the new blog. Looks great. You're off to an excellent start! ~Herb

  2. Thanks Herb! More to come! ~ Rick