You just might be a content strategist if…

We owe Jeff Foxworthy of debt of gratitude for this comedic formula, and I think that it serves us well in content strategy. We who work in the content of websites generally are already doing “content strategy,” because being a content strategist is really more about who you are and how you do your job, than your job title or responsibilities.

You just might be content strategist if:

  • You spend a lot of time looking at websites, wondering, “What am I supposed to do with THIS??”
  • Your internal customers tell you that they want you to build them their own section of the website. They provide you with wireframes and a new logo because they say they don’t want it to look like the REST of the site. For content, they provide you with 10 “webpages” of rambling business gobbledygook that could really be edited down to one bulleted list. They think you’re being difficult when you suggest that no one’s going to read it because it doesn’t say anything.
  • You break down people’s monolithic documents into manageable chunks, so that people won’t have to wade through them because you know that creating content for the web isn’t just about text, text, text, and annoying pop-up ads.
  • At the end of your work day, you look at your organization’s website and think, “Our users deserve better than this.”
  • Your favorite websites may not be “pretty,” but you just keep going back to them again and again because you just feel so at home in what they say.
  • You approach every content project with two questions in mind: “What does my audience need from this piece?” and “How does this fit in the overall strategy of the website?”
  • You squeeze out a little of your day to cull outdated and neglected content from the website because no one else seems to recognize that it needs to be done.
  • You have definite ideas when people complain that no one seems to be “responsible” for the content on the website.
  • You read “content strategy” blogs and mail lists hungrily, yearning to contribute and feeling like there must be some initiation into this bright and shiny world…

I invite everyone in the community to add to this list. Basically, if you work in content, you’re probably a content strategist, at least in some, small way. So you can tell people when they ask you what you do, “Well, my title is [blank], but I’m a content strategist.” We do that now, anyway, until the titles catch up to our jobs.

About: rsgracey

@rsgracey has spent his life moving from one area of interest to another, collecting knowledge, skills, and experience (and TOOLS!) for a wide range of creative and professional fields. If you need someone to help you "think through" any problem of information, communication, and the community, don't hesitate to call him in.

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