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A consultant's journey - from content strategy to...

Funny how you start off somewhere and end up somewhere else. I left my pharmaceutical marketing job a few years ago to become a consultant in content strategy...or so I thought.

First off, what is content strategy? There are many definitions of content strategy—my definition is the following: content strategy enables you to figure out what content you need to create and how to best communicate that content in order to connect with your audience effectively. So you can say that my “gaga” is to decipher the best way to communicate clearly and effectively, especially in the digital arena.

The journey begins. For the first two months after leaving my job, I did some market research. That is, I would talk to as many small business owners and entrepreneurs that would graciously give me 15 minutes of their time. I would inquire on how their digital content is doing (from core assets [such as website] to digital outputs [such as social media]) so that I could understand what their content needs and pain points were.

Unraveling the real truth. Interestingly, almost all of them were having issues with creating impactful content. When I started to dig deeper by asking them the “whys”, it became apparent that their content issues were arising because they didn’t completely understand what they stood for in the first place. In other words, they didn’t have a clear brand definition. Consequently, their offering was either not communicated clearly, or effectively, or consistently, which in turn didn’t connect well with their customers or prospects.

I'm a purist. I realized that there is no point in creating content if you haven’t figured out what your brand is first. Once you know your brand, then it’s actually easy to figure out the content you need--it's the content that is in alignment with your established brand. That’s when I made the switch and started to focus on brand strategy.

Hello brand strategy! My understanding of the importance of brand strategy to inform content strategy lead me to learn and explore branding. So in my first year of consulting, I worked as a consultant with over 10 clients to help them identify their brand strategy by pinpointing their brand essence and messaging. From there, the client has a specific and directional way to talk about their offering and create content in the most beneficial way to connect with their audience. Basically, a clear sense of direction for content creation emerges by linking it back to a well-defined brand. all make sense now.