One of the biggest marketing assets today is content.
While this content is essential to promoting a brand and reaching a vast audience, it also needs to be strategic.
Instead of just reacting to what competitors put out or topics you hear about in your industry, businesses need to create a content marketing strategy to guide their efforts.
This guiding strategy includes the planning, creation, delivery, and overall governance of content that will not only be valuable to readers but can raise a brand’s visibility, result in more conversions, provide more leads, and increase revenues.
To accomplish all this, you’ll first want to consider bringing on board someone who specializes in devising such a valuable strategy. In other words, you need a content strategist.
Keep reading to learn more.
What is a Content Strategist?
A content strategist is a marketing specialist whose role is to develop, establish, and monitor a content marketing strategy to meet the needs of business goals and targeted audiences.
Before jumping into content planning and placement, however, a content strategist takes a wider approach by first understanding those business goals and customer desires with research, interviews, and analysis.
As the importance of content marketing continues to rise, companies and agencies are relying more and more on these specialists, making this one of the fastest-growing jobs in the marketing world today and an essential role in the development of digital marketing strategies.
What Specifically Does a Content Strategist Do?
While this role will vary across organizations, specific responsibilities often include some or all of the following.
1. Conduct Initial Research and Analysis
The content strategist takes a step back to gather an all-encompassing view of a variety of factors, including:
- Business objectives.
- Brand guidelines.
- Prior performance.
In addition, the strategist will perform research on customer behavior and current trends.
2. Meet with Stakeholders
Prior to developing a content strategy, the strategist will meet with stakeholders.
These stakeholders are usually at the executive management level and are able to provide the insights needed before moving forward.
During these meetings, the strategist and stakeholders may establish success metrics, project goals, and specific objectives for the marketing content.
Key performance indicators (KPIs) may also be referenced and discussed.
The content strategist will continue to update the stakeholders along the way, keeping them informed on the progress and success of the developed content marketing strategy.
3. Identify the Targeted Audiences
The strategist will identify and compile data on targeted audiences, which may include interviews, questionnaires, or polls.
Buyer personas will either be created or revised according to what is found, and the stages of the buyer’s journey addressed for each.
4. Get to Know the Competition
A study of the competition and what is already successful online can provide valuable information for the development of a content marketing strategy, so you can expect a strategist to conduct a thorough competitive analysis.
5. Conduct a Content Audit
A review and analysis of all content of the organization’s marketing efforts to date will take place early on.
This content audit analyzes your existing content, identifying what is working effectively, what needs revising, and what needs to be removed.
6. Conduct a Gap Analysis
A gap analysis is essential for locating what is missing among your existing content. It will answer questions such as:
- Are you meeting the needs of your customers at each stage along the buyer’s journey?
- Is your content written for existing customers only, or does it include compelling content to reach new audiences and potential customers?
As a result of what is found, the strategist may create a content matrix as a framework to follow going forward.
7. Establish Brand Governance Measures
Consistent branding is essential, especially for your content across multiple channels.
A content strategist will establish content governance guidelines for all staff to follow, with the ultimate goal of ensuring consistency of brand voice and tone across all content.
These will most likely include:
- Content standards.
- Brand guidelines.
- Editorial and style guidelines.
- Editorial calendars.
- Content marketing tools and software.
8. Develop SEO Strategy Guidelines
SEO will be imperative to any content marketing strategy.
The strategist will establish SEO strategy guidelines to optimize all online content, including keyword research, metadata creation, and even local SEO measures if required.
9. Recommend Content Types
A strategist may recommend content types valuable to your targeted audiences based on research and analysis of customer behavior and successful content trends.
The goal is to engage your online audience more, such as with the inclusion of blog posts, videos, infographics, and interactive content.
10. Select Marketing Channels and Platforms
In addition to the importance of your content is the placement of that content for maximum effect.
The content strategist will research marketing channels and platforms and select those that will provide the most value for content delivery.
11. Continue Post-Strategy Development Monitoring
Even after a content marketing strategy is created and implemented, the job of the content strategist doesn’t end.
Post-strategy development tasks may include:
- Continuous monitoring of analytics (including content traffic and engagement, leads, and conversions).
- Tracking of content ROI.
- Ensuring the content strategy continues to meet business objectives.
- Finding ways to improve content delivery and its promotion.
- Identifying what is working and what needs revising.
Why Would You Need a Content Strategist?
A well-planned and effective content strategy can make all the difference in how successful you are online in reaching more customers and driving conversion rates.
It’s no wonder then that focusing on the development of that strategy is paramount for organizations today.
You want to get this right and maintain it to achieve the highest positive results.
For this, a content strategist will be a valuable addition to your marketing team, not just in the creation stages, but as a continuous presence, ensuring you are doing everything you can to reach your targeted audiences and meet their needs over the long term.
Who Should Your Content Strategist Report To?
A content strategist position is usually a more senior role in the organization or marketing department. They can be a full-time employee or an independent contractor, depending upon your organization’s needs.
While every organization is different, the content strategist will need to report to someone with authority.
The most common practice is to report to either a Director of Marketing or a VP of Marketing. In some situations, they may even report to the CEO of the company directly.
What are the Skills and Traits of a Good Content Strategist?
While the backgrounds of content strategists may differ, there are common skills and traits to be on the lookout for.
For example, a content strategist needs to be a high-level thinker, seeing the big picture and knowing how to compartmentalize for higher effectiveness.
They also need to be effective communicators at various levels, including with executive management and individual marketing teams.
In addition, a good content strategist will have the following.
- Problem-solving skills.
- Analytical and research skills.
- Knowledge of SEO strategies and best practices.
- Familiarity and comfortability with technology and web analytics.
- Exceptional writing skills.
- Project management experience, including budget tracking.
- Knowledge of content presentation and delivery best practices.
While this is not considered an exhaustive list of the traits and skills of a good content strategist, it can give you an idea of what to expect and look for in your own search.
Luckily, you can find skilled content strategists on the WriterAccess freelancing platform. With over 15,000 strictly vetted professionals, you can build the dream content marketing team with little effort. Try it for free!
How Can One Become a Content Strategist?
For those considering a career as a content strategist, job opportunities will continue to rise as organizations more and more see the value in what such a role has to offer.
To become a content strategist, you may need any or all of the following, depending upon the organization you apply to.
- A university degree in Marketing, English, Communications, Information Management, or other related areas.
- 3-5 years of experience in a content-related marketing position.
- Strategic knowledge of SEO best practices.
- Experience creating, editing and promoting content.
In addition, observe what a content strategist does and compare your skills to identify what you can improve upon to better your chances.
Wrap Up: A Content Strategist is a Valuable Asset to Your Organization
When it comes to the success of your organization today, content plays an extremely important role.
To ensure this content is providing you with the highest possible benefits, you need a content management strategy devised specifically for your needs and that of your targeted audiences.
The best way to accomplish this is by working with an experienced content strategist who can research, analyze, plan, deliver, and monitor the strategy and keep stakeholders updated on its progress.
A good content strategist can also ensure that your brand’s voice and tone stay consistent across all marketing channels.
To learn more about the future of marketing and a diversified approach to content marketing, unlock our eBook today!