Who are Content Specialists?

This week I will discuss:
    - Who are content specialists?
    - Where do they work?
    - Why are they needed?

Who are these people and what do they want?

Let me start by saying, it is probably by accident that you wandered into content strategy and content creation. Maybe you wanted to “fix” something yourself, or had to edit something, or maybe you just started your own blog and are just deciding what to create and publish. You should know you are not alone. Kissane herself even says, “very few people got here on purpose”. That being said, there are many paths to this field and none of which are the “right” path to get here. Regardless of how it came into being, I am glad you are here.


Photo credit: Kaplesh Rathod

Although there are many paths to the destination of “content creator”, there are oddly enough some characteristics that seem to be highly common among those who make it here.

“You can’t be ambivalent about the web”

  • You have got to sleep, eat, and breathe everything web and web-related

“It has to be in your blood”

  • This is not something you take on willy-nilly because you have some free time on Saturday afternoon.

“You have to care about getting things right”

  • Whoever told you there is no “right” answer in life, had never created web content. Not only that, but because things are constantly changing, you have to be committed to continuing to keep those facts and deliverables “right”

“You have to be reasonably good with people and exceptionally good at high-speed synthesis and pattern recognition”

  • Aka: you have to like people enough to get the information out of them that you need to continue creating good content; and you have to be able to see patterns when they are emerge in your data

“You need to care about design (and front-end programming)”

  • Not only do you need to know the ins and outs of your back-end system and how it works, you also need to know the front-end of what looks good and what makes that content work

But perhaps most importantly, is that you HAVE to be able to laugh. Things are going to go wrong… so wrong… but you have to be able to take it light-heartedly and keep moving forward.


Okay, so where do these content specialists work?

Ideally, everywhere- as in, every company that creates and publishes content and deliverables should have a content specialist creating and publishing said content.

“Oh, so they are in the marketing department?”

Nope. “Content strategy is not a subset of marketing”, and actually marketing is one possible subset of content strategy.

But why do I need a content specialist?



Photo credit: Claudia Cheung (Social Media Specialist)

This can be broken down into six simple reasons (described further in depth by Kruse Control). But basically…

1. Content is your driving factor

  • If you do not have content, you do not have a website… you just don’t

2. Content establishes value

  • It can only be needed when your audience’s needs are fulfilled

3. People (and content) change

  • You need someone devoted to keeping up with the ever-changing audience and their needs

4. Customers are not silent

  • In graduate school, my speaking professor taught me that if someone likes something they will tell someone, but if someone hates something, they will yell at someone. The same is true for content creation. Humans are social beings, so if your stuff sucks, people are going to know.

5. You have a story that needs to be told

  • Give the audience the bare details of what they want, but always give them the option to find out, see, and learn more if they so choose

6. $$$

  • You are obviously doing this for some kind of financial return- so hire someone who knows what they are doing

My last, and possibly most important point though, is that robots and applications cannot do everything. Yes, they can make a robot that can cook spaghetti, but these are electronic “beings” and we all know how temperamental electronics are. So I leave you with this disastrous tale of what can happen when you only rely on a program or application to Tweet for you.


Photo credit: Mashable

A woman’s magazine in Australia did not realize it until people starting reTweeting and commenting to them, that their account was posting alarming Tweets, but with no related links or further information to explain the bizarre Tweets.  YIIIIIIKE.

Check back next week to discover...
    - How to be an effective strategic content creator and communicator

One thought on “Who are Content Specialists?

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