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How to Get into Content Strategy: A Nutshell Guide

In this modern age, the jobs we’ve known for decades are blurring at the edges.

They’re fusing into each other to create brand-new hybrids unknown a hundred (or even 50) years ago.

And what’s surprising is people who manage to snag one of these hybrid jobs enjoy a working experience that’s hybrid as well.

Let’s take a look at one of these jobs: the content strategist.

Here are six awesome benefits of the content strategist career path: 

  • Not being stuck in the 9 to 5 rat race “traditional jobs” demand.
  • The chance to explore intuition and creativity while working within a scientific framework.
  • Getting paid exceptionally well – a content strategist’s salary is an average of $61,289 per year with no working experience.
  • A ton of fun and adventure.
  • Working in a fluid, ever-changing environment which encourages growth both personally and professionally.
  • Working in an industry with a huge net worth (content marketing is predicted to be worth $412.88 billion in 2021).

What’s even more surprising is you don’t even need a bachelor’s degree to become a content strategist.  

Sound exciting?

Of course it is!

In this blog, I’ll show you what content strategists actually do, what qualifies you to become one, and how to start your amazing content strategy career from scratch.

Let’s dive in!

how to get into content strategy nutshell guide

All There Is to Know About the Job of a Content Strategist

Ever visit your favorite website and wonder, “How the heck did the author of these blogs figure out what to write every single time?”

What’s more, you probably noticed the site has artistic infographics, exciting videos, and value-rich downloads.  

How did the site owner find the inspiration to create all that content?

The answer: It wasn’t inspiration.

It was the work of a content strategist.

Content strategists are the generals mapping out the army’s strategy behind the scenes. They’re writers, marketers, and data scientists fused into one.

To give you a better idea, here are 4 things a content strategist is responsible for:

  • Planning the content a brand will publish (whether it’s blogs, videos, social media posts, and so on)
  • Auditing previous content so it better fits the brand’s message
  • Making sure tone and style are consistent in all content the brand releases
  • Linking metrics with content to discover what’s working and what needs improvement

As a content strategist, your job won’t be a menial, repetitive one. You’ll constantly be forced to grow, both analytically and creatively.

But the next question is, am I qualified to be a content strategist?

How to Get into Content Strategy: What You Need (and What You Don’t) to Become a Content Strategist

You’ve heard content strategy is an amazing fusion of science and art, but you aren’t sure if you have the right qualifications to even dream of this job.

Don’t worry. Here’s all you need to know about it.

1. What You DON’T Need to Become a Content Strategist

  • A college degree. Like a ton of today’s hybrid jobs, people will hire you based on what you can do, not based on the few lines of educational background you put on your resume.
  • Years of experience in content strategy.
  • A ton of money. You won’t need thousands of dollars in student loans for a bachelor’s degree, or hefty capital to start a business. With content strategy, it’s either free or affordable.
  • The muse of writing talent. You don’t need to be born the next Henry James or Charles Dickens to become a content strategist. Content strategy can be learned.

2. What You DO Need to Become a Content Strategist

  • The desire and commitment to learn and grow.
  • Basic organizational skills (like the ones you use when you arrange your home or take out your planner to plan activities months in advance).
  • Attention to detail plus the ability to take a bird’s eye view and see “the bigger picture.”
  • Strong storytelling skills (these don’t have to be Dickensian in nature. The skills you use to tell friends every juicy detail of your romantic life or your travels abroad – those skills work).  

How to Get into Content Strategy: Your Roadmap for Success

Before I give you all the details on how to get into content strategy, I’ll say this:

You can’t hope to be successful in your content strategy career path without a growth mindset. You need to be open, passionate, and persistent if you want success.

That said, here’s what you need to get into content strategy from scratch.

1. Consume a Ton of Content, Then Ask Yourself: Why?

There’s unlimited material to read online. If you know how to look, you’ll find content filled with a beautiful fusion of science and art. Pieces that just work.

For example, take a look at the opening paragraphs of Chasing the Higgs by Dennis Overbyne for the New York Times. It’s exciting, compelling, and promises a unique story.

New York Times chasing the higgs

This is just an example of the stellar content you can find out there.

So, the first place you can get content strategist training is online. Read exceptional articles and blogs. Watch videos with a ton of engagements. Download free e-books, guides, and materials.

Then, ask yourself WHY? Why did the content strategist choose to publish this particular piece of content?

The more quality content you consume, the more you’ll be able to identify the best format, structure, and user experience patterns.

Plus, you’ll learn a ton of new things your friends and family don’t know!

2. Put Your New Skills to the Test

Once you’ve consumed and studied content of different formats, it’s time to see how much your skills have developed.

At the outset, you can start experimenting.

Visit ten websites and go over their content. How does it compare to the quality content you love? Is the tone consistent? Are readers compelled to watch to the end of the videos? As a user, are you encouraged to click links, visit other blogs, or subscribe to an email list?

Choose one of the websites with content that isn’t on par with the standards you’ve accumulated through your online investigations. Take out your notebook and imagine you’re the content strategist auditing the site.

  • What improvements would you make to existing content?
  • What new content would you produce to gain more engagement from users?
  • Are there any inconsistencies in the flow, tone, and style of the content?
  • How could you tweak the content to match the brand’s voice and mission?

Rinse and repeat. Practice these skills with as many sites as you can.

3. Dig Up Exceptional Free Resources Online

You don’t have to be all on your own as you learn how to get into content strategy. In fact, I have a ton of free resources you can go through to get started.

For instance, you can download The Profitable Content Marketing Skills Cheat Sheet. This guide teaches you 11 skills and 30 tools you need to break into content strategy.

Profitable Content Marketer Cheat Sheet

Or you can head over and read my ultimate guide on what a content strategist is.

what is a content strategist? guide

4. Learn Exceptional Content Writing and Storytelling Skills

Without these two skills, you won’t make much of your content strategist career, no matter how great you are at organizing and analyzing data.

1. Learn How to Write Beautifully

Do you need to be a skilled writer to become a content strategist?

Yes. Knowing what good copy is and isn’t will be part of your job description. So first, you need to know how to write it yourself.

How do you improve your writing skills?

It’s simple. Read, read, read. Absorb complex sentence structures, the rhythm of the best pieces of writing, the way experts use words to convert and inspire. Read widely and voraciously.

Then, practice, practice, practice. Don’t let a day go by without writing something! Even if you only have 10 minutes of free time before bed, use it to practice your writing.

Fully understanding the nature of excellent content is part of the qualifications of a content strategist.

2. Learn How to Tell a Story

Being a content strategist is about being a storyteller.

Think of it like this. In a novel, you have the main plot and you have a variety of subplots. No matter how many subplots there are, they all work together to build on the book’s main story and message.

Content strategy is like that. You can have thousands of subplots (blogs, videos, social media posts, ebooks), but all of them should be geared toward one goal: telling the brand’s story and sending its message out to the world.

When your storytelling becomes seamless, every piece of content you create fits beautifully into the brand’s content marketing plan.

5. Enroll in My Content Marketing and Strategy Course

At this point you might be asking, “But what if I don’t have the time to read tons of content, create my own exercises, and learn what works and what doesn’t in content strategy?”

Because the truth is, it takes time. I know because I, myself, am a self-taught content strategist.

And I didn’t learn all I know overnight. To learn the basics, it took me over a year of grueling work and sleepless nights. And that’s just the basics!

That’s why I developed the Content Marketing and Strategy Course. I don’t want you to spend a year of hard work just to get to the first level of content strategy.

I want you to go all the way to the advanced level, learning everything I know, in just three months.

I do this by outlining for you how I grew my company, Express Writers, from a $75 startup to a company earning over $4 million in sales. I equip you with everything I’ve learned, all the strategies I used, and insider tips you can use in your future career.

The Content Marketing and Strategy Course is your shortcut to becoming a profitable content strategist.

How to Get into Content Strategy: The Do’s and Don’ts to Gain Success

So, you want to enjoy the perks of a hybrid job, the content strategist. You want to tell stories, take risks, and grow.

Don’t: think you need a bachelor’s degree, years of experience, or special inborn talents.

Do: Read, write, learn, explore, and go to the experts for their help and advice.

If you want to give my Content Marketing and Strategy Course a little test drive, download my cheat sheet for free. It has tons of information on the skills and tools you should know about as a content strategist.

Profitable Content Marketer Cheat Sheet
how to get into content strategy

Opinions

  1. Post comment

    Nicely written. Unfortunately, this only includes a narrow piece of a content expert’s role, the writing. Left out is the marketing strategy and UX expertise that also goes with the content role. Not to mention that several content people also touch websites as well.

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