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Waiting for the content strategy penny to drop

Feeling minimalist today so I’m reducing the summary of this post to one sentence:

  • Nobody knows what I do!

But then again, maybe I’ll add my second sentence

  • But they get it after I’ve finished working with them!

In the US content strategists have made a name for themselves at companies like Brain Traffic and Facebook (did it all start there? I don’t know). They seem to be all over North America like a rash (good on them).

Here in the UK there are content strategists lurking around – OK, in London and the big web agencies in the South East they’re probably out and proud – but not in my neck of the woods as far as I can tell. If you know differently I’d love to meet up – perhaps we’d form a select band: a Welsh content strategists’ association?

I’m delighted to find there’s been a UK Content Strategy Association in the UK since 2009 and I really must get out more to events like Confab – but sometimes it seems like I’m a Lone Ranger.

Lone Ranger-blog

But then again, if nobody’s heard of ‘content strategist’ as a job title I can’t really blame them – as a journo who fell into re-writing people’s web content, the idea of being a content strategist is a relatively new one on me.

And as I’m working for my own tiny web firm not an large agency, I’m forging a solo path, starting with small projects and learning as I go along. I’m also working on a much larger site in a content role, which has helped hone my content skills.

The easiest approach to explaining how I can help the kind of small tourism businesses I deal with in these parts seems to be a simple: ‘I can help with your content’. Cue relieved looks all round.

Then the clincher is: ‘You don’t necessarily have to pay for a new website’. Watch those recession-wearied faces light up!

Of course then wrangling content from the client can be tricky, unless it’s more of a revamp than a new content job. But so far it’s nowhere near as tricky as making a reluctant interviewee spill the beans for a newspaper article (and no, I didn’t have a cheque book!). A little coaxing, a little herding cats and a little bit of initiative on my part and we get there.

The other day I thought of a new way to help the content strategy penny drop – it pains me to say it, being a wordy bird, but it’s a visual ‘before and after’ approach. So now all I need to do is start screen-grabbing examples to show prospective clients and watch their faces to see the fog of confusion clear…


About Nancy Cavill

Journalist. Copywriter. Web content specialist. Social media addict. Internet strategist. Jargon-hater, coffee drinker...

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