When I tell people what I do, their first question is usually, "What the heck is a content strategist?" In many ways, content strategy is a field that's still being defined. One of the best definitions out there is from Kristina Halvorson, who says, "Content strategy plans for the creation, publication and governance of useful, usable content."
Touching on the areas of writing, information architecture, and user experience, content strategy often attracts people who come from diverse backgrounds - from programming to journalism. Content strategists have a wide range of skills, but there are a few qualities that all the good ones hold in common. Asking for all of these qualities from one person can seem unreasonable, but it's not impossible.
So what should you expect from your content strategist?
Sound like a lot to ask from one person? It is, and I'd say most of us are stronger in some areas than others. But it's great to have one central person who pulls all these elements together and has the big-picture view. And if you're a content strategist yourself, make sure you're cultivating all these skills so you can give your clients (or your employer) the complete package.
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Sarah has long been intrigued by the challenge of how to translate complex concepts, particularly scientific and technical information, into plain language that everyone can understand.
As a writer at Carnegie Mellon University and Polytechnic Institute of New York University, Sarah developed communications that explained the universities’ research in clear, engaging language. Most recently, she honed her online information design and web writing skills as web services manager for The Segal Company.
Sarah holds an M.A. in professional writing from Carnegie Mellon University and a B.A. in English from Oberlin College. She currently lives in Brooklyn under the reign of a French bulldog.
March 19, 2014