What’s the role of a content strategist?

Most B2B companies have stuck a toe in the content marketing water by shifting some of their resources to generate white papers, thought-leadership articles, infographics, and video— primarily for use in the marketing automation systems that they’ve purchased.

At this first stage of content development, it’s usually not too difficult to assemble your company thought-leaders in a conference room and come up with 10 to 20 topics that align with the high probability pains of your prospects and then produce some blogs and articles.

That process has worked fairly well, but as competition for attention heats up with companies doubling down on content marketing for 2016, publishing once or twice a month isn’t going to be enough.

In fact, Hubspot and Moz have both published recent studies that suggest that if you’re serious about content marketing, you need to be publishing at least 2-3 times per week. The companies that are already meeting this schedule are receiving over three times the number of  than companies that publish only once or twice per month. 

So after awhile, whether you’re an email marketer, blogger, or inbound marketing specialist, generating an ongoing narrative is a much more difficult proposition because you quickly run out of thought-leadership topics that can be re-spun into different angles.

This is why a new critical role has emerged in the world of content marketing—the content strategist. 

The content strategist’s job is to develop a deep understanding of the needs, wants, and desires of your target audience so that he or she can create an ongoing narrative that addresses these issues through content. 

Companies should view the role of the content strategist much like the editor of a magazine or newspaper. In fact, many companies are hiring an editor-in-chief with journalism backgrounds to lead their content marketing efforts.

For example, if you’re the Wall Street Journal, you have to hit the presses every single day with content (stories) based around consistent themes and topics. You have to find different ways of telling stories, new angles and points of view to stay relevant on a daily basis, or no one is going to subscribe or pick up on the newsstand. 

In addition, the content strategist must be responsible for a distribution strategy by staying on top of consumption preferences for their audience by asking: 

  1. What channels have will have the largest impact for reaching our prospects?
  2. What is their media preferences do they prefer? (video, long-form content, graphic etc.)
  3. How can we build readership of our prospects and maintain a high level of engagement?

So the content strategist’s job is not only to identify the high-level topics in which you’re going to create content and the channels and medium preferences of that audience, but also how to actually tell stories that weave all of these topics together into a common narrative—that’s what keeps the content fresh.

This ongoing relationship that the content strategist has with readers is necessary to maintain engagement, which means that they must constantly be talking to readers to understand their issues so they can continuously develop content that addresses their concerns. 

All in for content marketing means that you’ll be publishing at least3-5 times per week, and without a content strategist that owns the overall narrative, you’ll run out of stuff to say pretty quick.