A good content writer, or content manager, is also a content strategist. It’s all well and good having a multi-skilled tech writer (i.e. one who knows how to code), but you are better off looking for a great communicator.
Techie companies — and geeks in general — can be tarred with a brush that says they communicate badly. This isn’t helped by those people who want a content writer/manager, but expect to find one who can code things too.
How about, you look for someone who can not only write, but who can create a strategyfor your communication. An understanding of the techie world is essential, sure; but creating a strategy for your big picture is something that is often missed.
A good content writer knows all about structuring content, and how to navigate an architecture from the user’s point of view. He or she will have literary editorial experience to back this up: nobody knows about information structure like a person who has edited books!
But a content strategist really underpins your brand. A person like this can determine whether the voice you’re projecting is right for your type of communication, the timing, and the audience. To this person, A/B testing of your campaigns is a given, as is listening for what people are saying about your business, or your brand. This person will work with your teams to ensure that your growth is targeted, consistent, and well-branded.
As the content strategist for Pinterest, Tiffani Jones Brown, says,
Still, though, building a discipline at a startup is hard work. You have to be strategic, and think not just about shipping great products, but also about creating the conditions under which great products can happen.
If you are not in a techie company, and you struggle with the components of your online presence, you also want a content person who is going to be able to liaise on behalf of your techie components. Sometimes, the friction that can develop when people don’t understand SEO, or website builds, or other essential parts, isn’t worth it. You’ll find that if your content person is worth her salt, she will be able to liaise on your behalf.
One further hint: When you outsource to a techie writer, ask them whether they can bring to the table a network of essential people. This is especially important if you are outsourcing. Find someone who already has a good team behind them, so you know that your content, your social strategies, and your SEO, will all be part of this package.
The Brutal Pixie offers all of the above.
About the author: Leticia Mooney
Leticia Mooney is an Adelaide-based content strategist and founder of Content Strategy Adelaide. Her company, Brutal Pixie, helps large firms to navigate the publishing landscape of the 21st century, focusing particularly on governance, risk, and workflow. She does this so that people can focus on what they do best, without their content machines grinding to a halt.