Are You A Writer, Or A Content Strategist?

    Without a roadmap, you’re going nowhere. In the same way, without a comprehensive business strategy it’s very difficult for a company to plot a route to success. That applies whether you’re a business owner, CEO or simply a cog in a huge corporate machine.

    Success in today’s competitive environment takes more than just publishing daily blog posts; it requires a comprehensive content writing strategy that builds on itself to deliver ongoing value for customers. Unless you want to spend your writing career going around in circles creating content for the sake of having something fresh to upload, you need to take a strategic approach.

    See the Big Picture

    Understanding the big picture of your company’s plans is vital for you to be more than just a content producer. You need to know how your work fits into the product and service offering, how it benefits customers to read what you write and how the company can gain from content.

    Answering some of these questions is simple, others not so much. It’s easy to guess that the purpose of a content writing strategy is increased traffic and better search rankings, for example. What’s not quite as obvious are the unexpected benefits, such as the way blogging can define your company’s position on specific issues affecting your industry, or the way it can inspire readers to connect on matters of importance.

    Make it Part of the Marketing

    You keep hearing that content shouldn’t be marketing-focused. While that’s true, the fact remains that it’s part of the communications aimed at increasing awareness and knowledge of the corporate offering. So you simply can’t divorce what you do from marketing; even though there’s a significant difference between content writing and copywriting, they co-exist and support each other really well.

    Work with your company’s marketers to create a content writing strategy that informs—and is informed by—the marketing plan to produce material that supports the products and services. It should build rapport, educate readers by delivering a sales message that doesn’t feel “sales-y” and generate customer loyalty to the brand.

    Find Your Niche

    To determine whether you’re a writer or a content strategist, you need to identify your niche within the company and/or marketing team.

    Do you:

    • Just produce the content you’re asked for, or do you initiate ideas and suggestions? If so, do you base them on feedback from customers or from users on social media?
    • Research keyword data to understand what keywords are driving most of your traffic?
    • Get input from co-workers in other departments to determine their business goals, and then build these into your content?

    Answering these questions will help you to determine whether you are in fact working to a content writing strategy, even if it’s informal and unwritten at present.

    Enhance Your Corporate Value

    Review the company’s goals and make your work count towards its overall strategy by incorporating secondary messages into your content writing strategy. For example, a plumbing company’s primary goals are to get leads for new customers and support existing customers. A secondary but no less important goal could be to develop thought leadership in the marketplace about a specific local problem.

    Remember the sinkhole in Tampa, Fl that swallowed Jeff Bush in March this year? Apart from Bush’s brother, the person who got the most air-time on CNN was Bill Bracken, president of Bracken Engineering—a company in the Florida area that handles general engineering work but has a reputation for sinkhole expertise. With a good strategy in place, you can help build up your company’s standing in the industry and achieve publicity opportunities like this.

    Writers are a dime a dozen, even the good ones. To make your mark in an organization, you need to do more than just write well. It takes an understanding of the corporate business goals, an ability to see beyond the topic du jour and a clear content writing strategy to really make a difference. And after all, why would you want to be just another writer when you can make your mark as a content strategist instead and contribute to the success of your business?

    To learn more, check out our white paper, "What is a Digital Content Strategy? And Why You Need One."

    Topics: content writing - content writing strategy - content strategy - content marketing strategy

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