If you’re a copywriter, tech writer, editor—or even a designer or developer—looking to become a Content Strategist, you might be wondering, “Is it for me? What qualities make a good Content Strategist?”
I got my first job as a Content Strategist in 2012 (after having done some Content Strategy job duties for a while in my previous job as a Documentation Supervisor), and I’ve observed quite a few of my successful colleagues with interest.
Here are the qualities I see successful Content Strategists sharing:
I’ve often said that my job is mainly to annoy people. That’s because a Content Strategist is a professional question-asker.
Depending on the project, you may be dealing with organizational issues like creating a workflow or governance plan. Or you might have to research a technical topic like, “What information would CIOs find useful in their work?” You might even be doing all of those things for different clients in the same day.
To do any of those tasks, curiosity is essential. You can’t pretend you know the subject matter when you really don’t. Which brings me to the next quality…
Are you okay with asking the “stupid” questions? You know, the questions that everyone in the meeting is wondering but nobody wants to ask for fear of looking ignorant?
If you’re good with being the one to say it, you might make a great Content Strategist.
But hold on, you can’t just be into the details. That would be too simple!
As a Content Strategist, you need to also zoom out and look at the Big Picture (as they say).
I’m not going to lie, switching between poring over spreadsheets and viewing a client’s entire content ecosystem can be tough. Especially if you have to switch between tiny details and the Big Picture in a short period of time.
Nobody’s perfect at it. But the Content Strategist has to be adaptable enough to give it their best.
This one’s especially for the Content Strategist dealing with organizational issues… oh who am I kidding, we ALL deal with organizational issues.
Office politics spares no one, but the Content Strategist is often a liaison between teams and disciplines. Since websites are notorious battlegrounds for valuable digital real estate, turf wars can erupt at the drop of a hat. And the Content Strategist is square in the middle of it, trying to plan content that makes sense for the business and the user, for IT and marketing, for employees and customers.
A great Content Strategist can navigate these disputes, providing a much-needed voice of reason, along with data and expertise. Rather than feeding the drama, our job is to diffuse tensions and move the project forward. (Protip: bringing candy to your meetings helps.)
Those are my 5 qualities of a good Content Strategist. What qualities would you add?