A portrait of the writer as a content strategist

Jul 09, 2013 No Comments by

Two major things have happened since my last post. First, I realized it was well past time to do something more with my own music, so I created a SoundCloud page for myself and uploaded some relatively recent song demos for general consumption and comment. The comments have been encouraging enough that I’m now planning to take the next step and make a real album out of these tunes. I’m still figuring out where and with whom the album will be recorded, but it’s gonna happen no matter what. If you haven’t heard the demos yet, you can check them out here, and please note that I’ll be adding a few older tracks from my extensive audio archive to the SoundCloud page in the coming weeks.

Second, I decided for a number of reasons to leave the editorial job I’ve held down for the past five years at In Tune Partners and explore new opportunities. What are those opportunities exactly? Well…it’s a little too early for me to say just yet, but I can say that I’ve been noting recently the growing number of people in my line of work who’ve taken to calling themselves “content strategists.” This is a term that comes out of the web development world, and like many such terms, it looks at first glance like its main purpose is to help the people using it sound more impressive than they really are. When I started working in what used to be called “new media” back in 1998, I found the word “content” loathsome, and I still have problems with it today, seeing it as emblematic of the general devaluation of writing, music, photography, and video that’s taken place over the last 15 years. “Strategist” is more than a little questionable as well. But put the two words together and something interesting (at least to me) happens.

On a basic level, a magazine editor is a content strategist. He or she comes up with an issue plan targeted to specific groups of readers and then executes that plan. When the editor moves beyond print and incorporates other elements besides words and still images—audio, video, the various functionalities of web and mobile platforms—the final product, whatever it may be, is clearly the result of serious strategic thought, in terms of its organization alone (never mind marketing and the rest). For the past five years, I’ve been devising and executing plans for multiple print publications supplemented by disc, online, and mobile media. Content strategy is what I do. So why not bill myself accordingly?

Ladies and gentlemen, meet Mac Randall, content strategist.

Sounds good, no? Still, I think my website will continue to be called “Mac Randall, Writer.” There is some virtue in brevity.

As I continue to (re)define my new/old role(s), I plan to write more regular blog posts. Once a week at least is the new goal. And if any of you out there are wondering what happened to the post about The Boston Phoenix that I promised I’d write three months ago, don’t worry, it’s coming.

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