Content Strategist Overview
The role of a Content Strategist would start with understanding the Business goals and objectives of the client, asking clarifying questions about what the company hopes to accomplish with their website.
They would begin as an auditor evaluating the effectiveness of the current site
They would move to an evaluation and analysis stage and identify problems, weaknesses or inconsistencies.
Makes Everyone More Efficient…Even Clients
This role is the “oil” between the gears that are necessary to build an effective web solution. This person simplifies the process of creating a website by keeping a clear focus on the company’s goals and objectives, and making sure that communication channels are clear between the different disciplines.
By defining these needs in as much specificity as possible, it gives very clear direction for everyone down the line. It set’s the proper expectation from the beginning and thus, makes clients much happier with the result.
When metrics are defined from the beginning, it’s easy to see when you hit the mark, and when you miss. Adjustments can be made that are informed by the data, and results can be quantified.
This role would also be where a case would be made for constant fresh content. We’re not building brochure websites. The savvy clients know that the web is a dynamic and fickle medium, and can be rendered irrelevant very quickly. Compelling Content Strategy turns project clients into retainer clients.
Why content strategy?
Content is EVERYTHING!
Content is everything from text, images and video, to the color choice, button placement, and navbar location. The role of the content strategist is to evaluate the success of a site based on the business goals as defined by the client.
Driven by Business Goals
Content strategy sets out to determine the best way to accomplish goals. This presumes that the website has a clearly stated, and focused purpose that can provide us with the ability to measure success, and learn from shortcomings. Every decision regarding content/design/cms/IA/UI/UX is filtered through the grid of the business goals. This insures that the website is focused and effective.
Because each decision is driven by business goals, we can set up metrics to determine if it’s actually working and make adjustments accordingly. With measurable results, a website suddenly becomes a more effective tool, a thus a better investment.
What does the strategist do?
If there is an existing website, evaluate the quality and effectiveness of that content. This would include reviewing each page on the site, reading all of the content and grading it all based on business goals. If google analytics is available this is could be very helpful in evaluating the quality of the page based on page visits and bounce rates.
Once the initial evaluation is complete, the content strategist would make recommendations to improve, remove, or rearrange content to be more effective at meeting business goals.
The implementation of these recommendations would be carried out by the appropriate person whether they be a copy writer, editor, photographer, developer, etc.
The role of the content strategist is to set things in motion that will keep the site relevant over time. An important aspect of this role at the outset would be to explain that the strategy that is being created is not a one time thing. It will recommend and a plan for the creation and maintenance of fresh relevant content on an ongoing basis.
What skills does a strategist need?
The content strategist must have a clear understanding of how all elements of content interact together. That includes:
Copy – define relevant topics, determine the right voice for the copy, headlines, & taglines. Define primary and secondary messaging based on business goals.
Design – Define the feel of the site based on business goals. (The moodboard is a primary tool to help us define this in the beginning)
Imagery (photo, video, infographic, iconography, illustrations)
CMS (recommendations for a cms solution as well as determining when to use specific page templates, and plugins, managing both the admin side and the user-facing side of the site)
Information Architecture(IA) – Create a sitemap. Primary, secondary, tertiary navigation (determine which are necessary and where they might go)
SEO & Digital Marketing – (including the metadata, keyword choice, and site structure to support easy access to site crawlers, and a sensible approach for users i.e. pretty urls)
UI/UX – define how the user will find what they’re looking for, how do we guide them to the specified conversion point and convince them to make the decision (i.e. download the pdf, purchase the product, or fill out the form). Define user life cycle (e.g. learn, try, buy, maintain) Identify channels and plot within life cycle.