Content and the Social Strategist

(Image from http://www.volacci.com/content-strategy)

In a presentation this week, Altimeter Group partner, and social web decoder, Jeremiah Owyang made the point that the next social media title within organizations will be "content strategist". He didn't say what he meant by "content", but when used in the context of the web it tends to mean "what the user came to read, learn, see or experience" (from the Rach and Halvorson book referenced below).

A few people like C.C. Chapman have been talking for some time about the importance of what we put on our social platforms as companies or individuals. His book Content Rules is a guide to how to create "killer" content on a range of social platforms. Melissa Rach and Kristina Halvorson have also come out with the second edition of their book Content Strategy for the Web which dissects the elements of effective content-focused creation for social and digital platforms.  

But there are a few things happening right now that are adding octane to the discourse:

  1. Having become 'social' by creating a presence on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest or what have you, some organizations are recognizing that simply inhabiting a social space does little to meet a business or campaign goal.
  2. Experience on social networks is leading enterprise social media specialists to realize that structured, rich, substantive, and energizing content  -- not sanitized 'messages', or 'news' as defined by marketing departments -- drives the perception of a platform's worth and a desire on the part of a constituent or customer for an ongoing relationship.
  3. The quality of social content has become a natural differentiator when people choose to connect, stay on or come back to an organization's social site.
  4. Organisations are learning that with social web assets there isn't always a straight line between a visit and an action, but the tone, language, images and the authenticity of interaction they find there will keep people on the site perhaps long enough for the sale, recommendation or behaviour change to become far more likely.
  5. Online magazines, curators and aggregators have raised the bar for how we want news, ideas and  products presented and stories told. Personalized social magazines like Zite and Flipboard create in us a preference for lively, eclectic and engaging visual and written material.

There is a need for someone within organizations to manage social content strategy with creativity, efficiency and discipline. The Chapman and Halvorson/Rach books can help provide guidance. For those who want to jump right in, though, here from the people at OpenText is a graphic representation of some of what content strategy involves.

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