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What are benefits of working with a content strategist on a project? What are strong must-have traits of a good content strategist? Trying to build a case for my agency to hire our first CS!

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@cw this is for when you’re rearranging the content from a website that had 200 pages to a new platform with a new organizational structure. There’s a lot to track and organize.

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@cw though if your CD thinks all you’re good for is funny headlines, it’s time to change jobs. Writing is 20% of what a good copywriter does. Part of my job is taking the grunt work away from my team so they can focus on what they do best – which is creative problem solving. Should you ever join my team, I’ll be happy to give it to you.

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Harder to find someone who can think creatively than someone who can manage an excel spreadsheet. Supply and demand my friend.

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They are great for platform lift and shifts, where you have to catalogue a ton of info from one site and figure out where it goes on the new one. (That presumably has an entirely different content structure.)

@CD1 so how is that info catalogued and presented to the team to decide where all the pieces should be moved to (and what you're discarding for the new site)...am assuming it's a table? A doc that precedes the UX person's wire frames? Is there an official name for the raw content doc (which includes the bucketed info)? Because as a CW, I have to do this a lot at gigs that don't have a CS. The negotiation of what stays, goes and moves is between me and the account person/client and is based on where they want to be vs where they are.

The first step is a content audit, which is usually giant spreadsheet. The next doc can be called many things – content topography is one I’ve heard a lot. This generally happens at the same time as UX (or sometimes begins in the discovery stage.) However, you’ve hit on one of the main drawbacks — how do you include the rest of the team? Because often the CD / CW has a lot more context from day to day interactions with the client, and the CS ends up being a little siloed, working on a giant spreadsheet by themselves. In my experience, it’s not uncommon for the CD / CW to end up changing about 50% of the CS’s work, because they have dozens of tiny pieces of information from other various meetings that effects where things should go. It’s a damned if you do damned if you don’t scenario. If it were me, I’d prefer to have a talented strategist or producer do the CS work, since they’ll have way more day-to-day context.

As an experienced CW, it all sounds like what we CWs have been doing for years...paying attention to detailed messaging bits, and moving them around or discarding them altogether. Creating a chart, yep. This language of "content topography," now that's high class. My guess is that means messaging hierarchy? What info to lead w on the home page or secondary page? And deciding if it should be a video or text? Did I guess right? Not trying to minimize the CS title (okay maybe I am, a little), but sounds like a CS is really the person who is paying attention to what we are trying to communicate at a high level, but also looking at all existing detailed copy...and tracking it. The person who pays attention to messaging and all the bits and pieces, organizes it and then hands it to a Copywriter to polish up? It's a Copywriter w comprehension skills?

@CD1 so why couldn't a dedicated CW do it?

They definitely could. But I’d rather take managing a 10 page excel spreadsheet off their plate so they can focus on all those other things you mentioned.

Think about it like a producer managing all the assets needed for a campaign that has 100 different sizes. They are making sure we don’t miss anything.

@CD1 guess what I'm saying is why can't a skilled CW be the CS and you have another CW do the wordsmithing. Just trying to big up my experienced Copywriter brothers and sisters... We can do more than "just" write funny headlines. Some of us are good at tracking and organizing information. 👊🏼

@cw. Yes.

@CD1 I actually had a call about a CS job last week and was told the role pays 2/3 less than my "concepting" rate. Seems to me both skillsets are valuable (one is not more grunt work-y than the other) and should be paid accordingly.

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