Content Strategy, In Their Words

10 leading Content Strategists share candid insight, experiences and advice.

Google Searches for “Content Strategy” from 2011–2016 (Lol @ the dips every Holiday season.)
  • “What’s your method for dealing with X problem?”
  • “Ugh, it can’t just be me, right?”

Meet the Strategists

We reached out to 25 practitioners in total, and these 10 folks responded right away because they’re awesome. They have 127 combined years of experience in a variety of settings, from in-house to agency, with some even running their own companies. (Scroll all the way to the bottom if you just want their answers, straight-up.)

This map demonstrates the locations of our 10 Strategists, and doesn’t reflect the entire industry. We know you’re out there somewhere, West Coast...

First Things First. What Is Content Strategy?

Something we’ve all experienced is the difficulty explaining what we do and why it’s valuable. So we asked for their go-to examples on explaining it to clients.

The Good, the Bad and the Fantastic

We asked about their favorite and least favorite experiences so that you can read this and think, same! Or if this is new-ish to you, you’ll know what to avoid, look forward to, or set realistic expectations for. No two jobs follow the same exact path, but many of them have similar detours.

Favorite tasks:

Our interviewees covered the full range of Content Strategy, starting from:

Favorite experiences:

Worst experiences:

No matter how long we’ve done this or how much we prepare, sometimes we get burnt. This section is basically just a big batch of empathy brownies.

The Issues We’re All Working On

These are some of their responses to the biggest challenges, or things they would change overall. And Margot Bloomstein basically summed up the entire purpose of this article with her answer:

We put up barriers to access: vocabulary that’s impenetrable, techniques that are overly proprietary, and communities that don’t always support new people.

‘Content Strategy’ as a title

One divisive issue within the Content Strategy community is when one can begin writing ‘Content Strategist’ on a business card. Is there a magic number of years required? There’s no way the nearly half a million people currently listing Content Strategy as a skill also have a B.S. in our field.

The words we use

We know that terms like ‘Content Audit’ can generate fear or boredom, depending on the situation. The intricacies of our tasks and deliverables are hard to grasp, and we don’t do a very good job making our services sound sexy on their own.

That whole Content Marketing thing

An oft-mentioned frustration is the co-optation of our practices by content marketers.

Google missing the mark a bit here.
Content Marketing Institute telling it like it is.

What Aren’t We Focusing Enough On?

This is a chance to step back and figure out what we’ve been neglecting. And specifically for new people — or teams just beginning to offer Content Strategy as a service — to start on the right foot.

Words of Advice and Resources

One thing you’ll discover about Content Strategy is that the community is super friendly and welcoming (case in point: the act of responding to our survey). We’re all rooting for each other — one company’s success is success for all of us.

Advice:

Resources:

Books:

Websites:

Some Key Takeaways

Passion Projects

Did this post give you all the feels? Why not keep it going and check out all the things that get our interviewees out of bed each morning. We asked for their passion projects, side gigs and anything else they’d like to plug.

Events

Content Strategy Applied in London

Education

Content Strategy School On-demand, right from your desk. Available Fall 2016

Blogs and Resources

Further Engagement


Antics in Semantics

The antics involved in great digital content.

Antics in Semantics

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General antics from the Content Team at Greenlane

Antics in Semantics

The antics involved in great digital content.