The daily life of a content strategist

In this episode of our popular Tips in Ten(ish) minutes video series, Kirsten Lecky, EVP insights and growth at WG Content, sits down with two members of our content strategy team.

Watch this 14-minute video and learn:

  • What types of work WG Content strategists do
  • Popular content strategy tools they use
  • Advice on how to get involved with content strategy

This video was recorded on June 30, 2022, before WriterGirl became WG Content.

Watch the video

0:00:05.2 Kirsten Lecky: So hello everyone, welcome to WriterGirl’s Tips in Ten Minutes. I’m super excited to have with us today two of our very own here at WriterGirl, two of our content strategists, Nikki and Stella. Nikki and Stella will each introduce themselves, but what I’d like for them to do is… They’re both content strategists but they work on very different projects here at WriterGirl. Content strategy is really not kind of an off-the-shelf thing, right? We all do something different when we dive into these types of projects, so as you introduce yourself if you can share specifically kind of like what your day looks like today. Some of the projects that you’re working on and some of the things that you’re doing. So Nikki, if you wanna go ahead and introduce yourself and talk to us about your day today.

0:00:45.2 Nikki Breen: Sure, I’m Nikki Breen and each day is different with content strategy. So today I’m working on a large client and we’re going through and redesigning 12,000 URLs they have on their website and redoing the navigation and the SEO and all of that kind of stuff. So I’m in a little bubble right now today.

0:01:07.1 Kirsten Lecky: 12,000 URLs. So tell us, if you can, describe sort of the vision for this project. What is the work behind, what’s driving the strategy and what the end result is that they’re going for here with that? ‘Cause that is a large project. So what is it all laddering up to?

0:01:23.8 Nikki Breen: Yeah, so the user experience is very poor on it. People are having trouble finding what they want and then they’re just abandoning it and then they’re calling and having questions. So trying to figure out how to make it more user-friendly and finding what people want right away and not having a mix right now, their stuff of healthcare providers mixed with patients, so parsing those out so you’re getting specifically what you are looking for.

0:01:48.2 Kirsten Lecky: So give us an example of some of the things that you’ve been doing today, or are you researching, competitive analysis, auditing? Give us some of the nitty-gritty at what you’ve been doing.

0:02:01.3 Nikki Breen: So today, it’s going through a specific batch that’s based on lead prevention, lead poisoning, everything to do with lead, and figuring out what it is that our state regulations, some weird symptoms, could this be lead poisoning? All these different angles and healthcare providers looking at, “Okay, children up to this age, what should we have for any kind of standard lead testing?” All these different angles, and there are 50 URLs right now in this batch and I’m going through and looking at what can we put together for pages? What do we need to split apart? What do we need to organize more for patients or consumers versus some healthcare stuff? ‘Cause it’s all mixed together. So a reader will land on a page and it’s kind of going through and it’s at very high reading levels right now. We’re talking about grade 16+, so we typically wanna pull it down to 8th grade, even 6th grade reading levels for this particular project.

0:02:53.5 Nikki Breen: So going through and making sure that when someone lands on a page, can they understand what is being said and is it what they are looking for? Are they gonna get some healthcare provider information when it’s a consumer looking for some information? So just doing a lot of navigation and SEO making sure the right keywords are on the page. A lot of these aren’t ranking properly because you do have that mix of healthcare provider and all these different things going on. So kind of a little bit more nuanced than typical. Stella, I think is probably gonna have some more examples of a typical content strategy project.

0:03:27.0 Kirsten Lecky: Yeah, I like, but that’s good to hear. Just the example of one specific area of a 12,000 URL project, kind of how you’re taking a deep dive around lead. So you are… Our internal SME right here, right or wrong all things lead. So how about you, Stella, what are you working on these days?

0:03:44.9 Stella Hart: Yeah, so I started my day as usual with a big cup of coffee and spent probably about an hour working on finalizing some pages of content that I did the initial content strategy for, and then our writers took up. I’m making sure that that strategy that we created has been implemented in that content before it goes live on the client’s website. After that, I had a quick client check-in to discuss some of the strategic objectives of a microsite that we’re working on with them, and right now I’m working on putting the finishing touches on some recommendations for a client on a specific section of their website.

0:04:35.6 Stella Hart: They asked us to do a mini SEO and content strategy audit on this section of their site. We’re doing a gap analysis. We’re auditing the existing content. We’re looking at keyword research to see how we can optimize their existing pages with the language that their consumers are using and entering into Google, making cross-linking recommendations, taking a look at the accessibility of the current content and how we can optimize that as well. So working on that report and also an executive summary for the client to kind of talk through our findings and our recommendations. And they can then share that with their C-Suite.

0:05:22.7 Kirsten Lecky: Wonderful, that sounds like really good projects. So it sounds like… I always hear whenever you guys talk about your work it seems to me like there’s sort of a technical side to strategy and then sort of this human behavior side to strategy and balancing those two things. Like you guys both talked about all of the analytics and the taxonomy type stuff, and the research and the data and all of this. And then there’s a sort of… You’re talking about, needs to be at a lower reading level because of what’s the user experience and how are people consuming? Are they getting what they need? And so you guys have that really great brain where it’s the left and right, right? You guys are using the both sides of the brain to bring that to these projects. So thank you for sharing some of the things you guys are working on.

0:06:07.4 Kirsten Lecky: So when you think about your typical day and what you’re doing, are there any things that kind of bubble up to the top that you could recommend? So healthcare markers, our audience, our clients, our friends, the people we work with, are all overwhelmed. We’re all doing more with less. And they’re taking on more and more… The roles are just expanding, and so it’s challenging to be all things in all of the work that’s been asked of them. But if there was something you could suggest or recommend to make them just a titch more strategic in their daily work, or smarter in their daily work, or more efficient or whatever, is there anything you would recommend to them that you would suggest to be more strategic? Nikki do you wanna go ahead.

0:06:50.4 Nikki Breen: I would say make sure that you are thinking about your user intent for if it’s a blog post your creating or a video or what have you. What is the goal you want out of this piece? What do you want the user to take away from it? So that’s something that can easily get lost. You think of all of the marketing campaign, “We need this and this and this.” But make sure that each piece is very specific and make sure that each CTA is very clear for what you want that piece to offer.

0:07:17.6 Nikki Breen: You wanna make sure that you’re focusing not on, well here’s for healthcare providers, if somebody wants to make a referral and here’s some information in say the same video, if a patient wants some information. Keep those separate. So provider information and consumer information is different. And then as Stella mentioned doing things like some keyword research. So if say you wanna make a cancer page about just basic cancer services you offer, make sure that you’re using the right terminology for that, so it lands in the right surfs. Stella, what do you have to add to that?

0:07:49.9 Stella Hart: Yeah, that is such a great point. That really is the foundation of all big content strategy. It’s knowing your audience and their needs and making sure that even if you have your primary audiences you’re also reaching those secondary audiences that are just as important and they’re able to easily find the information that’s relevant to them. My tip is, I know we’re all increasingly busy, and it’s hard to stay on top of best practices and digital strategy is changing by the minute. Healthcare is changing by the minute. How do we stay on top of everything, and how do we stay on top of what industry leaders and benchmark organizations are doing and best practices when it comes to user experience and content strategy and health literacy and all of that?

0:08:43.6 Stella Hart: So I would recommend subscribing to Google Alerts. I have four set up. I get an email once a week on all things the best of what the internet has created around content strategy, healthcare marketing, healthcare literacy. You can set them up for whatever topics are of most interest to you. I would recommend setting them up for your own organization as well to monitor where on the internet people are talking about your health system, or health department, or your organization. And then if you subscribe to two newsletters, I would definitely recommend Becker’s and Norman Nielsen Group. So especially Norman Nielsen Group, they are gonna be sending you the latest best practices on user experience and user testing. They are just a wealth of super fascinating, actionable information on how to improve user experience for your digital properties.

0:09:51.5 Kirsten Lecky: Yeah, those are really good ideas. I think you both talked so much about user intent and the user experience and being consumer-centric. So even too, any thoughts or ideas on how do we stay on top of that? So maybe those newsletters are good examples of ways to do that, but I think healthcare in general that’s been more of a challenge to really be on top of what are the consumer needs. So if you have any additional, we’ll be sure to include maybe links or suggestions around how to have a discipline around that very thing. Like how can we continue to be thinking about what’s good for the user and what’s good for the consumer? So I guess we’ll just end with one more question. Do you guys have any tools that you use, that you love, and you say, “I cannot live without this tool. I have to use this my everyday job.” Anything you would recommend or suggest to our listeners?

0:10:49.6 Nikki Breen: So, everybody has Google Analytics for their website. So that make sure you’re using it, you’re digging into it because that’s gonna have just a wealth of data that you can mine from it. And you’re even gonna see, are you having some really high bounce rates on some of your own pages. And you’re gonna be able to find where you are leaking patients that way. Another one is some kind of SEO tool. So things like Semrush, or Moz Pro. Something where you can look at what keywords are doing as far as trends and ranking. You can put in what competitors are ranking for in terms of keywords, what they have for traffic. So just kind of keeping at a pulse on what others are doing, so you’re being competitive. So those are probably my big ones that I use each day.

0:11:32.0 Kirsten Lecky: Yeah, those are good. How about you Stella?

0:11:35.6 Stella Hart: Yeah, those are great recommendations. Something… A tool that I love to use, it’s free, is Hemingway app. And you can take a page of content, plug it in there, and it’s just gonna give you really great actionable ways to improve your content readability, make that grade reading level accessible, address instances of passive voice, just overall enhance your content. It’s a great tool as you’re auditing your content and can be really revealing.

0:12:12.3 Stella Hart: We also use Grammarly at WriterGirl. This is such a great tool for understanding the voice and tone of your content and making sure it’s as readable as possible. Another tool I like to use quite often is a browser plug-in. It’s the W-A-V-E WAVE accessibility checker. So you put this into your browser, you go to your web page, you click the tool, and then it tells you where are those accessibility issues where someone who uses an assistive device like a screen reader to access your website, where are there accessibility problems that’s going to affect their experience. So, accessibility is really important for healthcare organizations, it’s the law. So making sure that your website offers the same high quality experience to those users that do you have barriers. It’s the right thing to do and it’s good from a business perspective as well.

0:13:16.9 Kirsten Lecky: Yeah, absolutely. Well, thank you both so much for taking time out of your busy days to join me for this. And thank you so much for all the great work you do for our clients. We just love hearing from them and how much they appreciate you. And we just certainly appreciate you so much.

0:13:33.4 Stella Hart: Just one other thing. If you’re gonna be subscribing to newsletters, you gotta subscribe to WriterGirl’s newsletter as well. It’s also a wealth of information and great tips too.

0:13:44.1 Kirsten Lecky: Yeah, thank you for that Stella.

0:13:46.7 Stella Hart: Yeah.

0:13:47.2 Kirsten Lecky: Good plug. Good way to end it. All right, thanks guys. Take care.

0:13:50.6 Stella Hart: Thank you.

0:13:50.8 Nikki Breen: Bye.