Describing a Content Strategist’s Job in Higher Ed

September 13, 2016
emily amos

There’s no doubt that the need for content strategists in universities and community colleges continues to rise. Institutions are realizing the value of web content and what it takes to make it successful.

Let’s talk about what that means for the content strategists themselves. What are the skills that higher ed institutions are looking for when they hire content strategists? And what about the skills they may not be looking for, but definitely should be?

Key skills for content strategists in universities and community colleges

  • Ability to measure. Every organization needs to know if the content they spend money to create is successful. Because of this, higher ed is looking for people who can use web analytics to determine what’s working and what’s not with their content.
  • Technical abilities. Universities and community colleges need content strategists who are technical enough to know how to use a content management system. And while you don’t need to code, it’s helpful to be familiar with HTML.
  • Team player. Universities and community colleges want content strategists who work well with fellow team members, and know how to clearly articulate their vision and strategy with people from other fields.
  • Experience. It’s not surprising universities and community colleges value people who have previous training and experience in this area.

Other helpful skills for content strategists

  • Mobile. Experience creating content for mobile is an important skill to have because most institutions are trying to make their websites as accessible as possible for students.
  • Information architecture. Part of a content strategist’s job is to help users quickly and easily find the content they are looking for, so it make sense that information architecture should be part of their skill set rather than it be a job for the developer.
  • SEO. This skill should be a given, but many universities and community colleges clearly state they want someone with experience with search engine optimization.

Responsibilities commonly not listed in job descriptions for content strategists

  • News content. News content needs a content strategy just as much as any other type of web content. The content strategist will need to be able to promote this section even the job description doesn’t mention it.
  • Photos and videos. Content strategists’ should be able to work with all forms of multimedia and know when and where to use it to better market the institution.
  • Supervising social media. Universities and community colleges mention things like “editorial management”, but it would be better to openly say content strategists will likely manage social media.

Calling all content strategists

Whether you are a content strategist or you’re hiring for the role, what are the important skills you look for when you apply or post for this position?
 

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