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  1. Blog
  2. Career Development
  3. July 13, 2023

What Does a Content Strategist Do? Their Role in Transforming Effective Digital Experiences

Salary, career path, and day-to-day tasks

Woman planning her company's content strategy
Photo courtesy of Nick Morrison

In a world where digital experiences reign supreme and captivating storytelling holds the key to audience engagement, the role of a content strategist has emerged as a true game-changer. Imagine having the power to craft narratives that captivate, influence, and inspire, while strategically guiding brands toward their marketing objectives. Welcome to the exhilarating world of content strategy, where creativity, strategic thinking, and a deep understanding of human behavior converge to shape the digital landscape.

What does a content strategist do?

As a content strategist, you become the architect of online experiences, a master of words and ideas who knows how to craft content that not only resonates with audiences but also drives measurable results. From devising comprehensive content plans to overseeing their seamless execution, you'll embark on a journey that combines the art of storytelling with the science of data analysis.

But being a content strategist is about more than just creating captivating copy or optimizing keywords for search engines. It's about immersing yourself in the intricacies of a brand, understanding its audience, and unearthing the profound connections that transform mere words into transformative experiences. It's about combining the power of storytelling with the precision of strategy, breathing life into digital narratives that captivate hearts, minds, and ultimately, drive business growth.

Content strategists are sought after by a wide range of companies across different industries, particularly those with a strong online presence and a focus on digital marketing. This includes e-commerce companies, digital agencies, software companies, media and publishing houses, financial institutions, and technology startups. Virtually any organization that values effective content creation, distribution, and engagement can benefit from the expertise of a content strategist. And while the salary for content strategists can vary depending on factors such as experience, location, and company size, according to data from Glassdoor, the range falls between $60,000 and $100,000 per year—totally within what experts consider to be a good salary, based on our research.

How to become a content strategist: education and career path

Content strategists typically possess a combination of creative and analytical skills. While there is no standardized educational path for this role, it’s recommended that you achieve a bachelor's degree in fields such as marketing, communications, journalism, or English. Relevant coursework may cover content creation, digital marketing, consumer behavior, and data analytics. Additionally, content strategists often develop their expertise through continuous learning, attending workshops, conferences, and staying up to date with industry trends.

From there, your journey to becoming a content strategist can vary, but many professionals gain experience in related roles before transitioning into this position. These roles provide valuable insights into different aspects of digital content, user behavior, and marketing strategies, which are essential foundations for a content strategist—and having experienced them makes it easier for you to collaborate effectively with your team, as these positions will most likely be filled with your peers. 

Common roles leading up to becoming a content strategist include: 

  • Content creator/copywriter: Working as a content creator or copywriter allows you to develop your writing skills and understand the art of crafting compelling and persuasive content. You’d learn how to tailor content for different platforms and audiences, gaining experience in content creation and storytelling.

  • Digital marketer: Digital marketing roles provide a broader understanding of marketing strategies and tactics. In this role, you’d work closely with content creators, executing campaigns, optimizing content for search engines, and utilizing various digital channels to drive audience engagement and conversions.

  • SEO specialist: Search Engine Optimization (SEO) specialists focus on improving the visibility and ranking of web content in search engine results pages. They understand how to conduct keyword research, optimize content for search engines, and analyze SEO performance metrics. By having this role before a content strategist position, you’d gain valuable insights into the technical and strategic aspects of content optimization.

  • Social media manager: Managing social media accounts involves creating and curating content, engaging with followers, and analyzing performance metrics. Social media managers develop a deep understanding of audience behavior, content distribution, and the importance of storytelling in capturing attention on social platforms.

  • UX/UI designer: User experience (UX) and user interface (UI) designers collaborate with content strategists to create seamless and engaging digital experiences. Working in UX/UI design provides insights into information architecture, user journeys, content organization, and visual presentation, which are integral to effective content strategy.

  • Content analyst: Content analysts focus on analyzing data and performance metrics to gain insights into content effectiveness. They assess audience engagement, conversions, and user behavior, helping identify content gaps and opportunities for improvement. Through this role, you’d gain a data-driven perspective to inform content strategy decisions.

  • Marketing coordinator/assistant: Starting in entry-level marketing positions, such as a marketing coordinator or assistant, would allow you to gain exposure to various marketing activities and strategies. These roles often involve supporting content creation, coordinating campaigns, and assisting with content distribution, providing a well-rounded foundation for content strategy.

These are just a few examples of the roles that you might hold before transitioning into content strategy. It's worth noting that while these positions offer valuable experience, your specific career trajectory could vary significantly. Content strategists often combine elements from multiple disciplines to create comprehensive strategies that effectively engage and convert target audiences. In other words, if your experience doesn’t directly align with positions listed above, don’t rule yourself out!

What a content strategist does: responsibilities and common projects

So, what does a content strategist do exactly? In this dynamic role, you'd be constantly challenged to adapt to emerging technologies, evolving consumer behaviors, and shifting content consumption patterns. As a content strategist, you'd become a perpetual learner, staying at the forefront of industry trends, experimenting with new formats, and leveraging emerging platforms to engage audiences in innovative ways. 

That’s all high level. On a more daily basis, you’d oversee the planning, development, and implementation of content initiatives across various platforms, such as on social media and your company’s website. Responsibilities would include:

  • Content planning: You’d conduct comprehensive research to understand your target audience, their needs, and preferences, and you’d collaborate with stakeholders to define content goals and develop a content strategy aligned with your company’s overall marketing and business objectives.

  • Audience analysis: You’d delve into user personas, market research, and data analytics to gain insights into your target audience's motivations, pain points, and content consumption patterns. This information will help you tailor content to resonate with the audience and drive engagement.

  • Content creation and optimization: You’d work closely with content creators, including writers, designers, and videographers, to ensure content aligns with the brand's voice, style, and messaging. You’d optimize content for search engines, making it discoverable and relevant to the target audience.

  • Editorial governance: You’d establish guidelines, workflows, and editorial calendars to maintain consistency and quality across all content initiatives. You may also develop style guides, tone of voice guidelines, and content governance policies.

  • User experience (UX) integration: You’d collaborate with UX designers and web developers to ensure that content is presented effectively within the user interface, contributing to information architecture, content hierarchies, and user journeys to enhance the overall user experience.

While serving as a content strategist, you’d also oversee a wide range of projects and initiatives:

  • Content audits and gap analysis: Assessing existing content, identifying gaps, and creating plans for content improvements or repurposing.

  • Content marketing campaigns: Developing and executing content-driven campaigns that align with marketing objectives, leveraging different formats and channels.

  • Content distribution strategy: Identifying and selecting the most suitable channels for content distribution to maximize reach and engagement.

  • SEO strategy: Conducting keyword research, optimizing content for search engines, and monitoring performance to improve organic visibility.

  • Content performance analysis: Analyzing content metrics, user feedback, and market trends to continuously optimize content strategy and improve results.

7 example projects a content strategist would work on

Example 1: Content strategy for a new product launch:

As a content strategist, you might lead the development of a comprehensive content strategy for a company's new product launch. This project would involve conducting market research, understanding the target audience, and creating a content plan that includes product descriptions, website copy, blog articles, social media posts, and email marketing campaigns. The goal is to generate buzz, educate the audience about the product's features and benefits, and drive conversions.

Example 2: Website revamp and content migration:

A company decides to revamp its website to enhance user experience and align with its repositioned brand identity. As a content strategist, you would collaborate with UX/UI designers and web developers to conduct a thorough content audit, assess existing content, identify gaps, and create a plan for content migration. This project involves reorganizing the website structure, optimizing content for SEO, and ensuring a seamless transition while maintaining consistent messaging and engaging storytelling.

Example 3: Content marketing campaign for thought leadership:

In this project, you would develop a content marketing campaign to position a company as a thought leader in its industry. You would identify industry trends, research key topics, and curate or create high-quality content such as whitepapers, case studies, infographics, and expert blog posts. The content strategy would focus on educating and providing valuable insights to the target audience, establishing the company's credibility, and generating leads.

Example 4: Social media content strategy for brand engagement:

A company seeks to strengthen its social media presence and increase brand engagement. As a content strategist, you would devise a social media content strategy that aligns with the brand's voice, values, and objectives. This project involves creating a content calendar, defining content themes, and developing engaging social media posts, including visuals, videos, and interactive content. The aim is to foster a strong online community, encourage audience interaction, and enhance brand loyalty.

Example 5: Content localization for international expansion:

When a company plans to expand its operations into new markets, you would take on the project of content localization. This involves adapting the existing content to suit the cultural, linguistic, and regional preferences of the target markets. As a content strategist, you would work closely with translators, cultural consultants, and market researchers to ensure the content resonates with the local audience while maintaining brand consistency and messaging integrity.

Example 6: Content personalization for customer segmentation:

In this project, you would leverage data analytics and user insights to develop a content personalization strategy. By segmenting the target audience based on demographics, behaviors, or preferences, you would create customized content experiences that speak directly to each segment. This project involves implementing dynamic content on websites, email campaigns, and marketing automation systems to deliver relevant and tailored content, thereby increasing engagement and conversions.

Example 7: Content strategy for brand storytelling:

A company wants to establish a stronger emotional connection with its audience through brand storytelling. As a content strategist, you would develop a content strategy that focuses on telling compelling narratives that align with the brand's values and resonate with the target audience. This project includes creating a brand story framework, developing content guidelines, and crafting storytelling campaigns across various channels to evoke emotions, build brand affinity, and drive customer loyalty.

So... should you be a content strategist? Based on what we've discussed, these are the 10 skills that matter most

Now that you've explored the career path and responsibilities of a content strategist, are you thinking content strategy is right for you? If so, that likely means you have a diverse set of skills and a desire to shape compelling narratives, drive engagement, and guide brands toward success. Through education and work experience, these skills would make you most successful in this role:

1. Strategic thinking: You have a keen ability to think strategically, understanding business objectives, target audience needs, and market trends. You can align content initiatives with broader marketing and organizational goals, ensuring every piece of content serves a purpose.

2. Creativity: You thrive on creativity, constantly generating innovative ideas, and finding unique angles to tell stories. You have the ability to think outside the box, infusing creativity into content creation, distribution strategies, and engagement tactics.

3. Excellent communication: You are an exceptional communicator, with strong written and verbal skills. You can effectively convey messages, craft compelling copy, and collaborate with diverse stakeholders to achieve content goals. Your communication skills enable you to convey complex ideas in a clear and engaging manner.

4. Audience understanding: You possess a deep understanding of the target audience. Through research and analysis, you gain insights into their behaviors, preferences, and pain points. This knowledge enables you to create tailored content experiences that resonate and engage the audience effectively.

5. Content creation and editing: You have a knack for crafting captivating content. Whether it's writing blog posts, social media copy, or video scripts, you can adapt your writing style to match different platforms and target audiences. You also have an eye for detail, ensuring content is error-free, well-structured, and aligned with brand guidelines.

6. Data analysis: You are proficient in analyzing data and drawing insights. You leverage analytics tools to measure content performance, track audience engagement, and refine strategies based on data-driven findings. Your ability to interpret metrics enables you to optimize content for better results.

7. SEO knowledge: You possess a solid understanding of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) principles. You can conduct keyword research, optimize content for search engines, and enhance website visibility. Your knowledge of SEO helps ensure content is discoverable and reaches the intended audience.

8. Project management: You excel in project management, effectively planning, organizing, and prioritizing multiple content initiatives. You can manage timelines, coordinate cross-functional teams, and ensure the seamless execution of content projects from ideation to publication.

9. Collaboration and relationship building: You thrive in collaborative environments, fostering strong working relationships with content creators, designers, marketers, and other stakeholders. Your ability to collaborate and build relationships ensures smooth workflows, effective teamwork, and the successful execution of content strategies.

10. Adaptability and continuous learning: You possess a growth mindset, constantly adapting to new technologies, industry trends, and evolving consumer behaviors. You stay abreast of the latest tools, techniques, and best practices, continually expanding your knowledge and enhancing your skill set.

And if you have a knack for storytelling, a flair for strategy, and a deep appreciation for the ever-changing digital landscape, then venturing into the world of content strategy might just be your calling. It's a realm where words become conduits of influence, where every piece of content carries the potential to inspire, inform, and incite action. As a content strategist, you'd wield the power to shape the digital narrative, captivate audiences, and guide brands toward success in the vast and ever-expanding digital universe.

Are you ready to unlock the power of words? Step into the realm of content strategy, where creativity meets strategy, and embark on a thrilling journey of crafting captivating narratives that transform brands and connect with audiences on a profound level. The world awaits your storytelling prowess.

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