Everyone knows that content is king. Research after research continues to prove that informative content dictates whether or not your website or brand resonates with consumers. Content has been in demand since 2014. So much so that the need for it has created a new position where writing, strategy, marketing and search engine optimization meets. This role, which is a direct by-product of digital media, is referred to as a content strategist.
According to The Creative Group Salary Guide, part of Robert Half, one of today’s hottest jobs is a career as a content strategist. Content strategists can expect a significant salary boost in 2017. While starting salaries for creative and marketing professionals are expected to rise an average of 3.6 percent in the coming year, content strategists are projected to receive a 5.4 percent increase in base compensation. The average starting salary range for a content strategist is $81,250 to $115,250.
1. Content Strategy Helps Generate Leads
“Content marketing continues to gain traction as a lead generation tool amongst companies of all sizes,” says Diane Domeyer, executive director of The Creative Group. “Agencies and in-house teams seek experienced content strategists who can create, curate and syndicate content to increase brand awareness and conversion rates.”
But do you understand the significance of hiring a content strategist instead of a writer, editor or blogger for your website?
If you ask this question to a room full of executives, you’ll probably get ‘no’ as a common answer.
Yes, a content strategist like a writer, editor, blogger or content creator essentially creates content for branded websites, but each position requires a level of understanding in search engine optimization (SEO), story-telling, and persuasion.
In order to understand why your website needs an effective content strategist, an employer must comprehend the basic job duty of a content strategist.
2. Content Strategy Is Another Aspect Of Marketing
According to The Creative Group, the content strategist role has become key for companies that want a robust marketing and communications plan.
The reason behind this is simple. As a content strategist you’re essentially walking a tightrope between writing and content marketing. Content marketing refers to marketing that involves the creation and sharing of online material such as videos, blogs, social media posts and articles. What differentiates content marketing from traditional marketing is that it does not explicitly promote a brand. Instead, content marketing is intended to stimulate interest in a product or service by informing the consumer.
Because of the nature of the position, a content strategist requires a litany of skill sets outside of Journalism & Mass Communications.
The best content strategists are high-level thinkers who are great at project management, says The Creative Group. Content strategists must be standout idea generators and problem solvers with excellent communication and organizational skills. These strategy experts must have the analytical abilities necessary to gather key business and user insights, and apply their strategic planning skills to create a long-term vision for the content that’s generated.
According to MediaBistro, the purpose of a content strategist is to “create content that resonates with [an] existing fan base, yet is differentiated and engaging enough to draw in new, underserved or overlooked consumers,” explained Bradley James Morin, head of content and growth at 12up, a global sports media and technology company. A content strategist oversees the content requirements for a brand by creating a content strategy that includes deliverables across a project’s life cycle.
3. A Content Strategist Improves Social Media Management
A content strategist creates topical content that can also be disseminated across social media.
Again, effective content grabs a reader’s attention because it focuses on an issue and provides a resolution for it. If a brand has a large database of topical content, it can easily be shared on Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest. The most effective social media strategy features content that redirects a consumer back to the brand’s main website where she can see the services or merchandise.
How It Works: At its core basic, the job duty of a content strategist is to plan, write and edit content; ensure it is clear, compelling and properly distributed across web, mobile and social platforms; and adhere to a consistent brand philosophy, MediaBistro says. Day-to-day responsibilities often include creating and managing social media campaigns; monitoring engagement and analyzing data; managing content marketing campaigns; implementing SEO best practices; and building strategic partnerships.
Other desirable traits of a content strategist includes the ability to compellingly communicate a brand’s story and a firm understanding of user experience, search engine optimization (SEO) and search engine marketing (SEM), The Creative Group says.
A content strategist, by nature, most be apt in all skills pertaining to writing. For example, a good content strategist is essentially a copywriter, editor, journalist, lawyer and CEO all rolled up into one position. The role requires versatile writing abilities, client-facing skills and SEO know-how, Jenell Talley in MediaBistro says. It also requires an astute understanding of social media, programming languages and analytics. A content strategist’s duties includes, but is not limited to, creating and maintaining editorial calendars, content audits, style guides, metadata frameworks and content migration plans.
“I firmly believe the best content strategists have a background in journalism and a fundamental understanding of how to tell compelling stories,” says McGee, a former TV news reporter. “You should also love content—all of it. You’re telling your client’s or company’s story, so writing skills, including copywriting, are important.”
To engage underserved, overlooked or targeted consumers, a content strategist is always strategizing. Chantel McGee, a content strategist, suggested to MediaBistro that an understanding of psychology plays a role in creating and developing effective content. “As a content strategist, I use data, research and my understanding of psychology to shape my client’s narrative and create content experiences tailored to the company’s target audience,” McGee said. According to MediaBistro, it’s also important for content strategists to have a knack for multimedia.
An important aspect of creating content strategies as a content strategist is putting yourself in the mindset of a consumer. The consumer is the person or reader that you want to take an action, whether its buying a product or signing up for a newsletter. The core function of the content strategist’s job is developing a content strategy based on a company’s or client’s business objectives and a customer’s or end user’s needs, says MediaBistro. The consumer’s needs and business objectives must align in the content to make it efficient in brand awareness.
4. An Effective Content Strategy Makes A Consumer React
An effective content strategy increases a website’s profitability. How? Targeted content can generate new leads or clients for a business. In fact, the best content strategy incorporates a sales funnel into the writing.
How It Works: The purpose of strategized content, similar to branded content, is to cause an action upon reading the material. Does the content ask the reader to subscribe to a newsletter? Does the content encourage the reader to purchase a product? Does the content direct the reader from a social media tool to the company’s website, where they can now review services or merchandise? If the answer is yes, then the content is viewed as an effective marketing tool that not only persuades but informs a consumer to take action.
For example, let’s consider a brand that focuses on selling cosmetics such as foundation and concealer. The brand wants to increase its presence and awareness on the Internet.
In this scenario, a skilled content strategist will create a blog vertical on the company’s present website in order to attract new leads or consumers. The content on the blog will only focus on relevant topics relating to foundation and concealer, which is an important aspect of creating an efficient content strategy. As a content strategist, you do not want to spend time writing articles that are irrelevant to your topic as it affects your blog or website’s Google algorithms. Irrelevant information also causes your content to lose credibility with your targeted consumers.
When it comes to brainstorming article topics, this is where the creativity aspect of the position comes in and differs from other writing positions. In order to create an editorial calendar and strategize needed topics for the blog, a content strategist must understand SEO. Once the content strategist researches relevant topics associated with concealers and foundation, she can now put herself in the mindset of the typical consumer who needs both products. Again, good content aligns a company’s goals with a consumer’s needs. For instance, a person, both man or woman, can suffer from acne which leaves acne scars and dark spots. In this case, the content strategist can now create content that’s relevant to the topic of covering or masking skin issues with concealer or foundation. Within the article, the content strategist would pitch the foundation and concealer in an informative language which makes it read less like an advertisement and more like a helpful tool for someone with a skin issue.
Developing a content strategy also requires a journalistic approach. Journalism teaches you to add credibility to content by including quotes or citing references. When creating a strategized or marketed content, its important to keep that approach in mind.
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