Blog Content Strategy

What is a Content Strategist?

Mark McElroy
Written by Mark McElroy

Content strategists are involved with content from conception to publication.

In this seven year-old post, Dan Zambonini presents one of the earliest definitions of the work of a content strategist I’ve found:

Content Strategists achieve business goals by maximizing the commercial impact of content.

He goes on to break out all the different roles a content strategist plays: researching and analyzing content (your own and the competition’s), developing editorial strategies, designing workflow, defining information architecture, establishing information storage and archival practices, creating and classifying content, optimizing and editing content, organizing content for delivery across a variety of channels, monitoring responses to content, and evaluating success.

In other words: content strategists get involved with every single stage of an organization’s messaging, from conception to execution.

I credit this post with triggering my own realization that, within my own organization, I play this role — though I’ve never considered wearing this title. I have strong suits: analysis, content creation, content optimization, content organization. I have weak suits: designing workflow, classifying content, evaluating success.

But I’m realizing that my weakness have more to do with my environment (and the choices I make when influenced by that environment) than with me, personally. By making a conscious decision to act and think differently (making time to focus on workflow, insisting on time for follow-up and evaluation of the work the team produces), I can be less of a content provider and more of a content strategist.

The Churn — that daily barrage of requests, conversations, meetings, and urgencies — is the enemy of strategy. I’m pledging to step outside The Churn more often: to plan, to think, to reflect, to evaluate.

I want to move away from being a “content reactionary” and move toward becoming more of a “content strategist.”

About the author

Mark McElroy

Mark McElroy

Leave a Comment