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How do I get started in content strategy?

There are as paths into content strategy as there are content strategists. This is my take on getting started in the field.

Get a job that’s as close to the content as you can get (e.g. marketing specialist, UX designer, technical writer, customer support technician, knowledge manager) and care about the words and the content more than anyone else on the team

Keep caring about it and let people know that you care about it and ask lots of questions about it and send lots of memos about it. Keep track of things about the content other people are not keeping track of, like when and why it got published in the first place. Now you’re doing content strategy. Good job.

Do that for a while then ask for more money and a new title, or else package it up into your portfolio and apply for a formal content strategy job somewhere.

Make sure you understand the difference between content strategy and content marketing, and make sure the people you’re interviewing with understand the difference, or you’re both going to have a bad time.

If you have a local content strategy meetup group, go to that. If you don’t have one, consider starting one. I did that and it helped me make a lot of connections that led to my previous job at Brain Traffic.

Three Good Starting Points

If you’re totally new to the discipline of content strategy, here are three specific ideas for learning more about it:

  • Follow the people and proceedings from Confab: The Content Strategy Conference. It’s been around for a good long while, is extremely well-curated, and in my experience is very welcoming to newcomers. Attend if you can, of course, but you can also just follow the speakers, the hashtag, watch whatever free videos go up, that sort of thing. This will require a little work on your part.
  • Read The Elements of Content Strategy, which is available completely free online. It’s a nice short read, and has an important section for newcomers about the “types” of content strategists and backgrounds that they might have.
  • Request to join the Content + UX Slack community and spend at least one month listening. Introduce yourself, sure, but mostly just listen at first.

Send me your questions! I’d love to know what you want to know about content strategy, UX writing, product strategy, writing, creativity, or any of the other topics on this site.

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