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Companies' content strategies are becoming ever more mature, according to research conducted for a new best practice guide.
Econsultancy's new report into Digital Content Strategy highlights the growing importance of Content Strategy, not only as a capability within marketing organisations, but as an emerging discipline with its own associated specialist expertise.
So have we really reached the age of the Content Strategist?
What is content strategy?
Feedback from the interviewees for this report indicated that there is a broad definition of content strategy.
For some, the concept is more tightly focused on content marketing and fulfilling marketing-related objectives including driving awareness, customer acquisition or loyalty.
For others, content strategy more broadly encompassed information architecture, content structure, origination, re-use and user experience.
Most respondents, however, recognized that a definition of content strategy needed to incorporate an end-to-end process covering all these aspects.
Greater maturity in content strategy
The increasing maturity in content capability among many organisations, is illustrated by the increasing levels of sophistication in both resourcing and planning, and the fact that Content Strategy is playing an increasingly central role.
In many companies surveyed for the report, a senior director had taken responsibility for this emerging area, and a number had developed Content Strategist positions within the content or digital marketing team.
Our recent research has indicated a range of approaches for resourcing content marketing.
Less than half (46%) of those surveyed for the Content Marketing Report, for example, had an individual within the team dedicated to the discipline.
And though almost a quarter of the respondents said that their company was planning to dedicate individuals in the future, around a third had no plans to make it a defined role in the team.
Do you / your clients have an individual within your / their organization(s) who is dedicated to content marketing?
There were a number of factors cited by respondents behind this shift including:
- The growth in the importance of content, and content marketing, to businesses of many types, and the increasing sophistication of in-house content capability.
- The growth in focus on content hungry always-on platforms.
- The fragmentation in channels, and platforms for distribution and engagement.
- The ever-greater impact that content has in supporting business strategy and metrics.
- The role of analytics in making content more accountable.
- The ability for content to generate meaningful, interactive customer experiences.
While Content Strategists may have slightly different roles in large or small companies, the emerging discipline is focused on driving capability, and planning and co-ordinating activity.
This, said respondents, requires a strategic viewpoint but also the ability to understand some of the nuances and technical aspects of different specialist content functions.
In this sense, might the Content Strategist be an example of a new breed of 'Pi-shaped' content specialist?
A number of participants in the research spoke of the growing value of people who can combine traditional content skills, such as journalism or copywriting, with a appreciation of the commercial value of content. And that combination of content and commercial expertise is not always easy to find.
One thing is for sure. Content Strategy, in its many forms, will only become more important to just about every marketing organisation in the future. You can download a copy of the new Content Strategy report here.