Can (and should) Content Strategists Write Their Own Copy?

I believe you shouldn’t write an article if you can summarize it as “no”. But in this case, you can summarize the article as “yes.” Can content strategists write their own copy? Yes. Should they?

Property of Zach Weinersmith, <a href="http://smbc-comics.com/index.php?db=comics&id=2075#comic" rel="nofollow">SMBC</a>
Property of Zach Weinersmith, SMBC

Should/Can Content Strategists Write Copy?

I’ve recently spoken with a few clients who are anxious about the breakdown and hierarchy of their copywriters and content strategists. One said that once they’re in the weeds and writing copy, a content person would not be able to stay objective. That would prevent them from making good judgment calls on tone of voice or a cadence for copy updates. She didn’t trust them to handle big picture strategy while writing copy.

In my experience, this is not a problem.

How to Determine if Content Strategists Should Write

  1. Strategy before copywriting. By the time the copywriting is begun, the strategy should already be created. Therefore, if a content strategist is responsible for some (or all) of the copywriting, their detail work will be based off the strategy.
  2. Some content strategists have writing experience.¬†Content strategy is an evolving field, and so some organizations don’t have the budget or work to sustain a full time strategist. If a content strategist has writing chops, and the time to do the copywriting, there’s no reason not to!
  3. Copywriting can make the strategy a reality. The details of style and strategy need to be implemented in copywriting to make the content strategy a reality. That can make it a great idea for the content strategist to write their own copy. It may actually save time, compared to when the strategist documents the strategy for a copywriter to then learn.
  4. Copywriting doesn’t require objectivity. Usability testing requires an objective view. That’s why it’s not recommended for a designer to test their own designs. But a content strategist doesn’t need to stay objective to write copy. Of course, you should also test your content, and that is not the content strategist or copywriter’s job!
  5. Copywriting can help refine the strategy. The content strategist is often responsible for maintaining the brand voice. Copywriting can actually help them see how that voice comes across. To that end, copywriting can help the content strategist refine elements of their strategy.

On the other hand, copywriting isn’t a requirement for every content strategist. Consider: is copywriting the right choice for you as a strategist?

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