Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Content Strategist Job Requirements Deconstructed

Job ads seeking someone to perform content strategy for a Web content development project are specifically written for those already in the Web development world. So they are full of jargon and industry speak, and sound very intimidating to the average reader. In reality, most of the requirements are easier to perform that they sound. Lets' look at some content strategist job requirements from ads that are currently live on the Web and I'll try to explain what they mean in plain English.

Content Strategist Job Requirements:
  • "Work closely with merchandising, product information and marketing departments to help create taxonomies and metadata frameworks for grouping and tagging content"
  • "Help establish general taxonomy guidelines and assist in the development of new taxonomy structures and controlled vocabularies as needed."
  • "Creating taxonomies and metadata frameworks for grouping and tagging content"
What They Are all Really Seeking:
We need your help figuring out what to call things, and groups of things, on our Web site.

When you have lots of products and product categories, you have to give the site user a way to logically navigate to the exact product they are seeking. You wouldn't want to send a user to a page with 1000 product names on it with links, they would never find anything and leave. So you have to create groups and sub groups with logical names that the reader would understand all leading him to a single product.

An Example Hierarchy:
Shoes - Men's Shoes - Boots - Work Boots - Individual Product 1

There are a lot of decisions that have to be made along the way to creating these product hierarchies (taxonomies). In this case, a question might be - Do we want to use the name 'Work Boots' or 'Construction Boots'?

Once you understand what is being asked, its not as complicated as it sounds. In looking through the latest online job postings, I saw very few entry-level content strategy jobs that could not be performed by a good tech writer, or other writing professional, who has an interest in technology and a little bit of training in the basics of content strategy.

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