Ideas, Friends and Guts – The Recipe for a Great Content Strategist
Brainstorming sessions that turn into “funniest videos on YouTube” parties, hanging out with awesome people, and being creative all day long; those are just some of the many benefits of being a content strategist.
Of course, there are also the typical content strategist problems. Small budgets and tight deadlines, clients as exciting as rice cake, and all the consumers in the world being far too thoughtless to understand your wonderful creations (let alone share them). To be honest, I think most people working with something creative are familiar with these phenomena, and far too many let them limit the quality of the content they produce.
It definitely would be easy if your client were your loving and caring old uncle, who just happens to be worth a billion pounds. However, in most cases, that’s certainly not the case; so to become an amazing content strategist, you need to learn to pave your way through the bumps in the road.
Naturally, I took it upon myself to line up the most important tricks for you. Ah, you’re very welcome!
1. Your ideas are your resources
I baked for some of Sweden’s biggest musicians at a festival I arranged with friends; just because their driver requested cookies. I threw chairs down the stairs just to get the right sound, and I interviewed kids about the plot of Star Wars.
Since I always love being engaged in projects but never have the money for it, I’ve learned how to come up with ways around many financial obstacles. Remember: If something isn’t working, it’s because the idea just isn’t good enough.
It is when you first realise this, and take responsibility accordingly, that you can become a great content strategist. You’ll understand that if your first idea was too expensive, you have to think differently. If no one wants to sponsor it, it’s your responsibility to change the angle or approach. If no one wants to lend you equipment, then you have to find an alternative method.
Did you know that this video, with more than half a million views on YouTube, was filmed entirely using an iPhone? In this case, the idea was definitely the biggest resource.
2. Your friends are your network
Networking can be a weird thing. I don’t know about you guys, but I usually just find myself standing around with my pals, feeling awkward. It really is a shame, since networking is extremely beneficial.
Therefore, I’ve started to look at it from another point of view. Confucius (that old Chinese dude) wrote: Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life. I would like to modernise this a bit, by changing it to: Choose a job you love, and you will never have to network a day in your life.
In my opinion, the struggle with networking isn’t actually talking to people. It’s the unwritten rule that everyone, in a specific room, should mingle at the same time, even if they’re not truly and genuinely interested in one another. Sometimes it works, but quite often, it seems rather forced.
People have the tendency of surrounding themselves with others who are like them, so if you are creative, there is a pretty good chance that your friends are as well. Those are the kind of people that you should seek help from in your projects. The ones that you run into at house parties, that you most prefer to go travelling with, and the ones that you call up when you’re feeling upset. As Shelli Walsh points out in How to Be More Creative in Your Online Campaigns: “One of the most important elements within team idea generation is trust and harmony.” You will not only have more fun when working with your friends, but the entire creative process will run smoother if you actually trust your working pals.
3. Always have the guts (and don’t be ashamed of it!)
Last but not least: You need to learn to do uncomfortable, and sometimes scary, things to become a proper content pro. When you are aware of the importance of your ideas, and when you are spending your time with people that will help you out; you have to take the chances given to you.
Don’t be ashamed to ask people for help, to call someone up, to send the same piece to a hundred different people, or a hundred different pieces to the same person. You do what you have to do, and learn to turn the fear and shame off when working.
I know that everyone might not agree with me in my work views, so it’s essential to have the guts to bypass that. Instead, I look out for genuine friends, people who are willing to turn work into something fun, and shape projects up together. When it all comes down to it, the big winners in this industry are not the people with the big budgets, but the ones with the great ideas. And that is exactly what makes the everyday life of a content strategist so exciting.
Now, let’s turn the tables around! What do you believe are the ingredients for a great content strategist recipe? Feel free to comment below or send me an email, I’m sure we will become best friends. Finally, make sure you keep your eyes out for all our latest tips and advice on the Verve Blog and Knowledge Bank!