Skills check: The content strategist

15 Aug 2017

  • Content

As part of ADMA's Skills Toolbox whitepaper, titled Building the skillsets required for the modern marketing function, we took a look at the current challenges, priorities faced by and skills needed for different roles in modern marketing.

In this Skillscheck, we caught up with Sarah Roberts, global head of brand and content, SAI Global to walk a mile in a content strategist's shoes.

Over the course of her career, Sarah Roberts has strived to create brands that consumers and businesses truly want to engage with. To do this, she says it’s vital to create trust with customers and develop long-lasting relationships.

After completing a degree in psychology and beginning her first role in marketing, Roberts quickly realised the power of harnessing these skills to truly understand the customer. Since then, she’s worked with B2B and B2C businesses, including Optus and New Zealand Post, leading major rebrands, product launches and integrated marketing campaigns.

Through all of it, success hinged on the quality of the content and story being told.

“With content becoming even more front and centre in our daily lives, and people consuming it 24/7 on multiple screens, brands must embrace the power it wields in a brand’s experience with a customer,” Roberts says.

The remit

Roberts’ role was created to raise global awareness and consideration for the SAI business. Reporting into the CMO, she’s responsible for global brand and content strategy and global channels including PR and social development.

“My team is focused on how we can support the business, especially sales teams, with lead nurture and acquisition through targeted and measured content amplification,” she says.

The role didn’t start out directly as a content one. But in building out where the compliance and risk organisation needed to go and the global reach required, it was obvious building relationships with customers and prospects at all stages of the buyer journey required strategic content, Robert says.

Skills mix

“You need to love learning in order to resonate,” Roberts says. “Whether it is deep diving into who is the customer, or what’s happening in the industry, you have to have an insatiable appetite for knowledge. Even with subject matter experts in the business, you need to know and understand a multitude of topics.”

You also need to be a storyteller. “Customers engage by being taken on a journey, one that helps them understand your brand and taps into an insight that resonates,” Roberts says. 

Measurement and tracking is another core job requirement. “Content is only as good as the medium you promote it on,” she says. “It’s critical to understand the measures for success for each channel your content will be amplified through in order to track the impact on brand awareness and credibility.”

Current priorities

Roberts’ main priority is ensuring all teams deliver an authentic brand experience that builds customer trust. Daily tasks include supporting regional marketing teams with campaigns and content, working with her team on new content, communications or development of channels, nurturing a subject matter expert, and working with partners to create content to scale.

“Over the coming year, my key priority is building brand credibility by strengthening our always-on content model with scalable solutions that deliver quality content and ROI, aligned with our marketing automation tool,” she says. “I’ll be focused on increasing the personalisation of content and how it is served at the right time to support sales.”

Allies

To do her job, Roberts says communication in and around her function is vital. “Being involved in the upfront business planning process is incredibly important,” she says. “It’s about working with multiple teams from marketing to product and sales to track key performance measures and setting up feedback loops with all stakeholders to ensure the content is optimised at every opportunity.”

Tapping into pockets of knowledge is key. “Every business is filled with lots of people all with different knowledge, customer and industry insights,” Roberts adds. “A large part of my role is connecting my content marketing team with our subject matter experts to build credible, unique and thought provoking content.”

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