What does a content architect actually do?

So the other day, someone asked me what I do as a content architect.  Now, whilst I have several ‘elevator pitches’ depending on what role I’m playing, essentially: I think, I write, I think some more, I create, I format, I construct and then type it up into a 50 word, 500 word and sometimes a 5,000 word document.

I play around in Canva coming up with ideas that visually represent what I’m trying to say or scroll through google images looking for concepts. All the while trying to come up with a clear path to the point I need the reader and scroller to understand.

A content creator essentially researches topics with a problem solving solution finding focus.  They know the core themes of the subject, the elements of the industries they specialise in and connect products and services to clients and customers with value rich content that:

Informs, Engages, Entertains, Inspires, Empowers, Persuades, Invites, Peaks Interest, Solve Problems, Attracts Attention, Create Awareness, Connect With and Deters Away from.

A content creator appears to do this with ‘ease’, but it is not always easy. With generalised formats and elements of intrigue, the intangibles of research, evidence gathering and the thought processes are not measured accurately by the distilled outcome. But it is the intention of every piece of content to be thought provoking, moving people along in a direction towards opportunity.

My day starts before the sun comes up, a little meditation, scribbles that slightly resemble a to-do list and a lot of reading.   There is a little bit of structure and definite goals with deadlines for clients.

These are the habits that help keep my creativity churning.

  1. Read news about my industry every day.
  2. Write on the regular, I give myself 2 hours every day.
  3. Study my industry’s audience.
  4. Establish my own voice.
  5. Write my ideas and concepts on a white board.
  6. Understand theKey Persons of Influence.
  7. Network at every opportunity.
  8. Offer solutions, not just commentary.
  9. Question everything.

Amongst these tasks I am scheduling appointments, interviewing my sources, answering emails and making phone calls.   I file, photograph, take notes, pin-board ideas and tick off lists whilst writing more lists.  Project and Time Management is a skill, creativity can hijack that on a regular basis.

Content creation is a continuous journey of finding new niche subjects, interesting topics and arbitrary angles to share.  It’s a daily curation of life events and human experiences some of which can not always be articulated well, but I try.  Like today I started by own online magazine with a collection of articles on a passion project.  Due out July 2020.

Why does it take so long to curate content? you might be asking.  It doesn’t always take months, but days are spent focusing, marinating and developing a pitch that is easy to digest, entertaining and conceptual.  This is the distilling or baking process that many creatives struggle with. What to include, leave in, exclude, cut out and is often dependent on the intention.

Is it a 2 minute read?

A 400 word blog?

A 4 page proposal?

An expert article?

A punchy 3 sentence pitch?

Knowing the boundaries and scope of work, how it will work to best achieve the goal are the intangibles, but a quality of all successful content creators is they know their audience inside and out. If you were to examine your own readers and viewers: What do they want that you’re not yet giving them? What problems do they have that you can solve for them? Here are some other characteristics of your audience you can identify for yourself:

  • Age
  • Gender
  • Location
  • Family size
  • Job title
  • Salary
  • Relationship status
  • Hobby
  • Interests
  • Challenges
  • Life Events

Your readers click on your content for the information that relates to them, but they come back for your personality.  So what do you bring to the table?

A unique voice, a strong opinion, clarity, confidence, or a different perspective.

“You must also position yourself as an expert and genuinely interact with your communities,” says Guy Kawasaki, the New York Times best-selling author.  We all know that sharing content is not enough and going back to engage with the content you’ve shared now makes it unique to you.

Those intangibles are reflected in modern KPIs that include:

  • Social media traffic, the number of visitors that come to your content from a social media post.
  • Direct traffic, the number of visitors that come to your content by entering your website’s URL directly into their browser’s address bar.
  • Organic traffic, the number of visitors that come to your content from a search engine result link.
  • Submissions, the number of people who visit your website and leave having submitted their contact information in exchange for a digital asset or a resource you’ve offered them.

If you are looking to build your lead generating digital asset and resource library, check out my one pager that contains over 35 D.A’s that will help you create, format and construct the content connectors for your website and social accounts.

Digital Asset Catalogue

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