Having a strong content strategy is absolutely imperative for any brand that wants to build a positive reputation, and the key to that is having a competent content strategist at the helm. Their job is to shape the strategy: figure out what content is required, choose the right mix of technology solutions, allocate all the tasks, ensure timely delivery, and oversee the subsequent analysis of relevant metrics.
Some content strategists assume full-time positions with specific companies, while others operate as freelancers, taking on clients that suit their preferences and schedules. Either way, there’s one thing in particular that a great content strategist must focus on, yet it happens to be something that gets overlooked surprisingly often: client communication.
Irrespective of how much time is spent in the planning, production, editing, distribution and assessment of the content, a standout content strategist needs to make time for discussing matters with their client(s). In this piece, we’re going to look four reasons why it’s critical— and if you’re a content strategist, they should prove quite useful. Let’s begin:
Performance and value aren’t always clear
What’s the purpose of the content? Sometimes it’s designed to get a brand some positive coverage, while in other instances it’s purely conversion-centric, looking to drive sales for certain products or services. Regardless, the point is that there must always be success conditions: results that must be achieved for the content to prove worthwhile.
One of the core problems with content projects is that they’re not always funded for sensible reasons. It’s not uncommon for a company to identify content as something worth investing in without actually understanding exactly what value it’s supposed to return. This can lead to unrealistic expectations (“We expected sales to double within a month!”) or the kind of hands-off indifference that soon leads to budgets being reduced.
But when a content strategist makes a firm commitment to patiently detailing the meaningful impact of their content, they can secure their funding and avoid having to field awkward questions about return on investment.
Detailed feedback is mission-critical
We just looked at what a good content strategist should communicate to their clients, but what about information provided in the other direction? Over the course of a working relationship, client requirements can change: maybe the content has been getting the intended results, but the company is changing in some significant ways, meaning a new approach is required. Or perhaps the targeted metrics aren’t actually delivering ROI as they were expected to.
You might say that the onus is on the client to notify its content strategist when it wants to target new metrics or radically overhaul the style of the campaign, and that’s true in principle. But clients aren’t always reasonable, and big clients with big budgets can get away with failing to reach out only to complain when things don’t change. If a content strategist makes a habit of seeking feedback on a regular basis, they can ensure that any changes in client preferences are flagged in time and incorporated into the strategy.
Administrative issues can easily accrue
Admin issues comprise all the organizational problems, big and small, that inevitably crop up in everyday business. Forms need to be completed, files stored, signatures procured, vital participants notified — all these boxes must be ticked for progress to be made. But that process isn’t always as smooth as it should be.
All of it does not need to be so complicated and time-intensive: this is the internet age, and the workload itself (lengthy as it can become) can mostly be automated and/or condensed to the point of being essentially trivial. It isn’t hard to find online signature services (e.g. PandaDoc), simple project proposal outlines, resources and templates for invoicing etc. Whatever you want to get done, there’s software support. So when progress is choppy, it’s surely due to sloppy client communication.
Friendly relations make work easier
Whether you’re working exclusively with one client or flitting between several, and whether you’re making project arrangements in person or over the internet, one thing is always true: being on good terms with a client makes it easier to work in ways that are effective and efficient.
There are two main reasons for this.
- Firstly, there’s the matter of mutual comprehension: the better you know someone, the easier it is to predict what they expect. It might sound odd, but the more you communicate with a client, the less you need to.
- Secondly, there’s the matter of enjoyment and motivation. If you like the people you’re working with, you’ll have more energy to get things done, and you’ll worry less about how they potentially react to different situations.
Client communications can sometimes be awkward, but they’re necessary for any content strategist who wants to keep their projects moving smoothly and deliver results that will enhance their reputation. Just a small amount of effort on a regular basis can bolster a working relationship, avoid administrative mishaps, justify the expenditure, and ensure that all parties involved are happy with proceedings.
**This post is written by our guest author Kayleigh Alexandra. She's a content writer at Micro Startups.
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