This is based on my contribution to a recent LinkedIn discussion (started by Boston web designer Craig Huffstetler) about what a content strategist should do.
1. A content strategist is responsible for knowing 4 things:
- The communications needs and expectations of the target audiences
- The strengths and weaknesses of the available communications tools
- The resources (time, money and expertise) the client organization has to use the tools
- The messages the organization wants to communicate
2. Based on that information, the content strategist builds realistic communications strategies and options.
When creating those options, it is important to:
- Resist the lure of the tools. I see a lot of content strategists insisting that organizations use the hottest social media tools and channels — even when the organization’s audience has zero interest in receiving information through those channels.
- Build on the existing strengths. I keep encountering organizations that have committed to content plans that, in order to succeed, would require 20 times the amount of time, money or expertise available carry them out. The plans fail — and the tools get blamed (“Facebook just doesn’t work for us!”).
The hallmarks of a great content strategist are a firm grip on reality and the ability to help the client face that same reality.
When the results come in, your client will thank you.