Like any project that involves several deliverables, I initially found the idea a bit scary. This was especially true because this involved an actual company that I would be working with instead of a number of imaginary ones that I’ve used in other classes. Though the deliverable is just a proposal, I know personally I was less cavalier about my choices and recommendations since there could be real-life implications about the decisions I made. All of the imaginary companies and organizations I’ve worked with in the past had few issues and tended to be on their A-game at all times. That’s generally not true with actual businesses.
Although I was not able to connect with the company as well as I would have liked, I really enjoyed the experience of learning more about the company and the area. I imagine that actual content strategists are also challenged with trying to connect with clients who may be out of town or even out of the state. I really enjoyed the chance to use my research skills and techniques that were developed in my library classes along with the chance to be creative when developing the core strategy, thinking of topics, or creating content ideas for the editorial calendar.
My favorite and yet most challenging portion of this exercise was creating the editorial calendar. I loved trying to come up with content ideas. Though the demands of the semester eventually won out, for a while, I enjoyed creating my own editorial calendar for my own Twitter account. For me, coming up with possible topics is fun. I recognize that I was in a unique position because I was the only person coming up with ideas and therefore did not get negative feedback on my ideas from other people.
Although I enjoyed this exercise the most, it was also challenging because I also had to keep in mind that the client and their needs. As much as I would have wanted to add even more content ideas, I had to keep in mind that executing the calendar (assuming that it is accepted as is) is not the top priority of the store. I have worked in retail and even as a store manager, I was afforded little time on the computer and so I had to keep this in mind when creating the calendar for my client. Hopefully, the calendar would also be used as a template for future months so I wanted to create content ideas that could be easily repeated over time.
The only tribulation again was related to not being able to talk in more detail with the client. The Internet is a wonderful thing, but there are just some questions that must be answered by the client. Although there a couple areas where more information was needed for an accurate analysis, I think the proposal should still be of use to the client.
Lessons Learned and Tips from the Slightly More Experienced
- Be more aggressive when trying to get the information you need from the client. They asked you to do a job for them. Help them get them onboard if they missed the train leaving the station.
- There is no one right way to do content strategy. Otherwise, there would not be all these books on Amazon.
- Use all your knowledge, not just content strategy-related, to develop a content strategy. That summer scooping ice cream may be of help when developing your strategy.
- Have fun! In the end, you’ve created something that can help your client. You might have had a rough go, but if it were so easy, you wouldn’t have had to do the job in the first place.