Content strategy is catching on as a discipline in Europe. But it hasn’t yet become a standalone job in most cases. It seems that either it is the responsibility of an existing webmaster, copywriter or project manager – or it’s done through some kind of collaborative process.

That’s the picture painted by new research by Firehead, a web content and technical communications recruiter and the market leader in Europe.

On the one hand, it’s great to hear businesses are approaching content marketing strategically.

On the other, strategy needs to come from the desk of a dedicated chief content officer – or whatever you want to call the person who oversees all things content – even if the person is part-time or freelance.

Catching On Fast

Firehead’s boss, CJ Walker, says on their blog:

I have seen consistently increasing requirements for content strategists in Europe this year. I think it’s taken more time to catch on in Europe than the US, but the requirements are increasing as clients see how effective the results are for their organisations.

She adds that she’s seeing more and more recognition of content strategy as a role, but not necessarily as a job title with an agreed set of tasks and responsibilities.

As a respondent … from the UK pointed out, in their team ‘all members of the web team are expected to contribute to content strategy’… this seems to be a trend in both agency and in-house hiring.

And talking to people who want to be hired as content strategists she says:

…you could easily find yourself doing bits of IA, usability, copywriting, web analytics, CMS work, project management… lots of things that are organically part of a digital project but not really specifically defined as content strategy.

Would that work for you as a content strategist? Or as an agency doing CS for clients? Do you agree that the job needs a dedicated chief content officer?

I’m definitely on the side of having a CCO. Strategy underpins everything, so I’m not sure how it can be done effectively as an add-on to an existing job. Or by committee.

Sure, many people can have input into defining the strategy. But one person needs to bring it all together and oversee all content.

That said, I haven’t yet explored how these kind of roles are working in practice (that’s for a future blog post). So I’m ready to be convinced. Argue your case in the comments!

More From The Research

Here are some other key points from Firehead’s research (but take note – they don’t give detailed data about number or type of respondents or methodology).

  • 67% of respondents said they had hired, or are intending to hire, content strategists in their organisation
  • Most hirers were digital communications agencies or B2B businesses
  • Companies see that a content strategy can bring savings
  • The word ‘strategy’ can scare away smaller businesses who fear high costs
  • 41% of respondents were from the US and 22% from the UK
  • And surprisingly, 41% of respondents said content workers should be on site.

Read the full post for more details. And stay tuned to their blog for further insights from the research.