If you are not sure what a content strategist does, do not worry, you are not alone. For starters, he does not write articles or send mailings. He does not edit texts or spell-checks. He does not deal with programming and typesetting. He does not advertise or draw mems. The site may contain not a single line he wrote himself. He is a kind of "poltergeist from the world of marketing".
Some even think that this profession exists in Russia only. No, not really. On the HH.ru site, someone is always looking for content strategists (hereinafter – CS). But we were pioneers in this regard, the first ones who place this profession on the digital market. If you want to learn what content strategy is, check our six years old article "Content strategist in the new era of the Internet" out. It describes the core functions of the CS’s job. Since then many things have changed though. There are new tasks and responsibilities as well. That is why we decided to update and supplement the data for you.
Content strategist: Job description
CS is a difficult job to explain. In general, this profession can be divided into two parts: strategy and tactics (a good strategist should be a good tactician). These areas require opposite skills because the result of the work is very different.
What about strategy?
In terms of the content, the CS is searching for a direction where the project is most profitable to move forward.
What all these difficulties for? Good old days, when 8 for the blog, 2 external and 1 mailing were guaranteed to make a project successful gone away. Now it looks as if Napoleon at Austerlitz says: "I need to enter two divisions into the battle every hour and hit the artillery at the beginning and in the middle of the battle."
“Metaphorically speaking, the CS is kind of a commander-in-chief, who draws a red arrow on the map, saying: "Here!"”
What is the outcome of the CS's work on the strategy? It could be:
Content strategy has been described as a step-by-step plan to achieve the client's business objectives using content marketing. (based on the needs of the audience and analysis of competitors)
Email-strategy – the same step-by-step plan to accomplish desired marketing goals but using email advertising.
Digital-strategy is a detailed outline of every step of the company's development on the internet. It has nothing to do with a content strategy on maximum. The digital strategy includes independent expertise in market analysis, technical site audit, usability audit, advertising campaign plan, etc.
What the CP is required to do in this part?
- Define the niche of the client.
- The customer journey map (CJM) and schemes of RDB (Relational Database).
- Memorize huge amounts of information.
- Owing a toolkit for competitor analysis.
To give a good TP to the author, he needs to have a strong general understanding of a certain area. It comes at the expense of communication with experts. If possible, the CS participates in private meetings, asking questions and listening carefully.
The customer journey should include all possible branches of different segments. They reflect at what stage what communication channel is useful. Each stage is vital for the sales and marketing departments.
The customer journey helps to make a customer aware of your brand. For example: discussing the long list of potential counterparties, it is worth to remind about yourself on Facebook.
For example, when the CS monitors the market, he is dealing with dozens (if not hundreds) of publications. They provide information concerning market development for the past, present, and future. Here the knowledge of the economy couldn't be better.
E.g., to write the following paragraph (an item’s name is changed), it was necessary to study the niche of 27 competitors and 25 publications.
"Industry experts claim that there are thousands of toilet push buttons manufacturers in today’s market. Including those who changed the activity. When the demand for goods increases, each company is trying to enter the market as quickly as possible. Not to mention the fact that they offer all products that at least minimally correspond to the purpose"
It may seem like nonsense but this is a warning: soon the market will be flooded with goods that are worse in quality than yours but are called the same.
A competitor is an endless source of inspiration for the strategist. But how to check what gives the result, what is worth to invest in, and what will not be good enough? Due to the lack of access to the web-analytics systems, you have to use SimilarWeb, Serpstat, MegaIndex, Be1, Pepper, Ninjas and others. The list is endless.
”Read about the most popular tools in the article "27 Best Competitor Analysis tools"”.
The CS is supposed to be good not only at the client's business. He has to monitor Internet marketing trends and the results of the projects. Are there new channels you can join? Go ahead, if you got potential. New mailing? We need to check the effect. Does the article bring a lot of traffic or sales?
A great day has come: the CS has written a good concept and the strategy. Attaboy. What to do with it next? Paste in the root folder? To frame?
The process of putting the idea into practice just begins. Now the CS divides big tasks into small ones like the operational chief, ensuring the offensive is successful.
If we go back to the analogies, at this stage the CS is similar to Marshal Berthier. Have you heard about him, right? The chief of staff under Napoleon. His task was not to win but to prepare to win. <...> His genius lay in the ability to imagine any complex troop movement, read maps like nobody else and quickly sum up the results.
To make the strategy work, the CS needs another quality – neither a flight of fantasy nor strategic thinking. The responsibilities of the CS at this stage are the following:
- Make a publication plan for the next month and choose the appropriate author for the planned content.
- Make a TP for every text of the work plan.
What should the TP be like to make an article remarkable? Read here: How to create a technical writing project for the content.
- Choose reliable sources, if a client does not give expertise on this material.
- Read and check if the received material matches with the TP and the facts. If the CS is not satisfied with the article (mailing, infographics), he sends the material for further development.
- If there are some corrections, the CS makes them or asks the author for revision. Such corrections are not always reasonable, so the CS must prove that only those that can improve the text should be made.
- Send an ended up text to the client for publication.
What qualities does the CS need at this stage?
- Communication skills. The work of the CS involves staying in touch with the project team. Correspondence, phone calls, and, of course, live communication. Sociopaths are completely wrong for this position.
- Problem-solving skills. The client may dislike the informational style or adore keywords. The CS should kindly but convincingly explain that non-informative texts do not work, and the keywords have the potential to bring big troubles. That is why the CS must have diplomatic communication skills as well.
- Multitasking. During the day, the CS works with totally different projects. First thing in the morning he sends an article about cakes for editing. Later, he will discuss new smart terminals for small businesses. After, he makes a UPS content plan in data centers. Late at night, he studies economy digitalization consequences. Obviously, multitasking is one of the key skills for any CS.
- Punctuality. The CS must meet a deadline. It is not so easy, taking into account that he is working on several projects.
Hardly anyone points this out, but still, the CS needs nerves of steel. It is impossible to make the TP for the author for 2 minutes and prepare a market analysis for half an hour.
What does not a content strategist do?
- Does not write SEO texts (there are exceptions though). A commercial author deals with the site. But the CS must have excellent writing skills – how else would he appreciate someone else's texts?
- Does not post materials on the site. Here works a content manager (aka coder).
- Does not edit texts or check them for spelling/punctuation. This is done by the editor and proofreader.
- Does not define the monthly scope of work for the entire project. This is the account Manager (but the impact on the scope of work of the COP can).
- Does not look for new clients. This is the work of the marketing Department.
When it comes to posts for social media, they are also out of the CS hands. The guys from SMM Department cope with it. But content and SMM departments can cooperate on the same project. The content plan for social networks is made taking into account the plan of publications in the blog and vice versa, articles from the blog can be mentioned in the group and so on.
How to become a content strategist?
In universities, there is no such specialty, so it does not matter what is written in your diploma. In theory, a person with any education can become a CS, but for marketers and humanitarians will easily get used to it. It is crucial to understand the niche of content marketing – all these content funnels, warm and cold customers. If a man is a dark forest, KS he was not to be.
"Good strategist – humanist with a mathematical mindset" © Folklore content Department
But those who follow the niche and "burn" marketing movement, there is every chance to take this position. In "Texture" the selection is based on the tests. If the future CS passes this stage, an experienced specialist takes him under the wing for the internship. Here comes is a small adaptation period for a newbie to join the team and get used to. After he works just like "Oldies".
How much does a content strategist make?
I bet many readers are curious about this question :-) The salary of the CS, like most content marketing professionals, depends on the number of projects he leads. There is a base rate of + % for the amount of work. The rate is usually 30-40 thousand rubles, but no one agency needs a CS who works for one rate.
The fee for projects is decent, not 1-2 thousand. Therefore, to be the CS is profitable – in terms of earnings and development both. He will be able to easily master related specialties: become a marketer, editor, public relations specialist. Of course, much will have to learn, but it's still easier than to master the profession from scratch.
In some companies, CS is fully responsible for the creation of content, from the selection of topics and ending with the creation of images. This is a complex, extensive work, but it is paid accordingly.