How to become a creative content strategist
At Verve Search, we currently have a host of creative content strategists, and we have all experienced our family and friends asking us what we actually do at work and what is creative content strategy?. Our response could be, “I write articles online for clients,” “I’m currently researching this information for an infographic we’re creating,” “I work in an SEO company where I write articles,” or, “I’m a creative writer, working on articles and blogs online.” Maybe the easiest way to explain it is to break down the definition of the job title:
- Creative – “Having the quality or power of creating”
- Creative writing –“Resulting from originality of thought, expression, etc.”
- Content- “Substantive information or creative material viewed in contrast to its actual or potential manner of presentation”
- Strategy – “A plan, method, or series of maneuvers or stratagems for obtaining a specific goal or result”
- Strategist – “An expert in strategy.”
With these descriptions, you might have a better idea of what a content strategist does. Businessdictionary.com defines creative content strategy as:
The outline prepared by the creative team of an advertising agency for the launching of an advertising campaign or message. A creative strategy is generally the result of a team composed of one or more copywriters, an art director and a creative director. The creative strategy generally explains how the advertising campaign will meet the advertising objectives of the business.
The main responsibilities for a creative content strategist at Verve Search are:
- Contributing to weekly content meetings
- Creating content – Content might also come in the medium of: Infographics, photography, videos, big data reports, competitions and giveaways
- Opportunity hunting and pitching content
- Reporting and communication with the client
The process of developing a creative content strategy
The bulk of our effort is focused on getting our work published on well-respected websites, which can only be achieved through creative content best practice. The process can involve, in any order:
- Finding a site you would like your content to get published on. We use programs to get data and numbers about the sites we’re researching. These numbers can tell us if the site is trustworthy and worth contacting.
- Brainstorming ideas for the chosen site that provide opportunities to mention the client, then create an article, infographic or other unique content such as slideshows, lists, guides and even videos. We often brainstorm as a team before writing the article, where every thought and idea counts. Articles will include a specific link to our client.
- Contacting and negotiating with the site owner or web admin to get the article published.
What is creative content best practice?
To give you an insight into what a working week is like for a creative content strategist here’s an example. I once found a website about food all over the world; the numbers were right and the site looked interesting. I did my research on food in Barcelona, Spain, asked for insider tips from a Spanish colleague, and wrote the article on food experiences in Barcelona. I then sent the article to the owner of the targeted site who appreciated it and wanted it on their site. It got published. Most importantly, the client was mentioned in the article.
There are no rule on how you’ll get your content for an article. You have a lot of creative freedom to explore subjects and topics. Ideas come from our travel experiences, cultural history, online research, books, recommendations from friends, and much more.
Let’s say our client is an online fashion shop. I want to write about a seasonal topic or trend, for instance “best bikini selection for your beach holiday”. I’d start by researching online, and get an idea of the current bikini-scene, look through blogs. After having a better idea of the topic, I would grab a magazine and look at the latest fashion spreads and read about current design inspirations. I’d get an idea of the writing methods and layout I want to create for the article.
The articles must include a snappy headline that’s clever and easy to read, and interesting photos that are going to entice the reader and get them to read the article.
The strategy for the client is important, and strategy in this matter means that we strategically have to place our articles where it’s going to get hits and write content that’s seasonal and appropriate for the client and the website.
I love this job. It’s such a great platform to learn about all kinds of different things that I’m interested in or curious about. I get to focus on and research topics for a couple of days, which then becomes knowledge that I can convey to my readers. Plus, I’m becoming an expert in how the Internet actually works. And that is priceless!
How to get a job as a creative content strategist
If you think you have got what it takes to be in this role and if you feel that you can live up to the responsibilities a creative content strategist has and you’re wondering how to become a creative content strategist, I’ll try to give some tips on what you can do.
1. Start your own blog so you can showcase your creative abilities.
2. Attempt to optimise your blog to demonstrate your understanding of SEO.
3. Guest blog for other blogs to show you understand the value of guest blogging.
4. Grow your social media following to show you can grow online communities.
5. Go to industry meet ups and be friendly and curious.
6. Help a friend’s business with their SEO/Social media so you have something to talk about in your interview.
7. Read blogs from successful SEO agencies to make sure you’re up to date on every level.
8. Bring a little personal notebook everywhere you go, you might come up with great ideas when you least expect it.
Image Tsahi Levent-Levi