When people ask me what I do, I tell them I’m a ‘content strategist’, a designation that typically causes them to squint their eyes under the strain of a few questions. But that’s okay, because in this piece, we’re about to break down exactly what it means to be a content strategist at Roar Studios.
At Roar Global, our content production is split between two main arms: Roar Media, which creates journalistic content for a wide audience, and Roar Studios, where we focus exclusively on digital content production for brands. We’re not going to get into content strategizing at our media arm - Roar Media, which is a whole other article, but here at Roar Studios, there is plenty to talk about.
At Roar Studios, a content strategist’s primary goal is to work closely with our clients, in-house creative teams, and production teams in order to tell great stories over multiple digital mediums and channels. As such, a content strategist communicates with the client, identifies their objectives with regards to content, and works in tandem with our creative writers and production teams to shape a narrative and an experience that would speak to a client’s audience.
At Roar Studios, creating new content starts with two questions: What is it? and who is it for? If you have any experience working with digital content, you’ll know that clients have a variety of goals and expectations. As content strategists, it’s up to us to turn these ideas into engaging content.
The content we produce through Roar Studios is published either on Roar’s own media platforms or on other channels specified by a client. As such, it is split between two categories:
Whether a piece is sponsored or white label is always decided during preliminary meetings with the client and well in advance of the production process.
When the piece is sponsored, it’s because the client wants to reach the Roar Media audience with content that is primarily informative and interesting, but also relevant to their business.
When the piece is white label, it’s so that we can maximally adjust the content to suit the client’s own platforms and preferences. Hence, this category makes direct branding, advertising, and discussing of the clients products and services possible within the piece.
With the content category decided, a content strategist can now proceed to the next phase of content production.
Our in-house creative teams start off the production process by brainstorming for concepts. Knowing who the client is, what they want, and what end result they have in mind, the creative team can now focus on questions surrounding the content itself like:
Considering those factors while prioritising the interests of the client and Roar’s editorial guidelines can make concept generation rather challenging. The fact is, nailing the concept is critical if the rest of the production is to run smoothly. With every new project, the creative teams try to come up with at least four to five different concepts for the client to consider before deciding on the one they want to move ahead with.
Once a concept gets approved, it’s full steam ahead for the creative writers and production teams. As such, this stage of a production is theirs to command entirely. At Roar Studios, articles and videos are our bread and butter, but we also take on social media posts, website copy, press releases, newsletters, and translations. Naturally, a writer must consider the basic structural and tonal differences that apply with creating those pieces. At Roar, a creative writer also draws upon research, an understanding of psychology, and some deft creative skills to better adapt a piece of content to the specific requirements of the client. The upside to that is, while using the approved structure and tone as a kind of framework, there still remains plenty of room to get creative and experimental.
For example, last year, Melwa worked with us to produce an ambitious series of sponsored videos that could be published on the Roar Media platform. After much brainstorming with the creative teams, we came up with a mini documentary series called ‘Incredible Infrastructures’. It would be an informative series on the most groundbreaking construction projects in Sri Lanka that would also present ‘Melwa’ at the end of each episode and position the brand as the sole provider of constructional steel for those projects. The series, which is still on-going, has been wildly successful thus far. The Melwa brand has received widespread exposure to our substantial audience and we managed to execute a concept that we had not attempted before.
Another piece of sponsored content we did was a video titled ‘Top Things To Do Around Kosgoda’. This piece was sponsored by Saffron & Blue, who wanted to promote their luxury seaside villa in Kosgoda. As the locale is a vibrant tourist hotspot and Saffron & Blue, the perfect holiday get-away, we settled on ‘Top Things To Do Around Kosgoda’. In it, we featured some of the most exciting things for tourists to do and see in Kosgoda and the neighboring seaside towns.
Much of the video was shot at the Saffron & Blue villa itself to highlight the kind of hospitality and luxury one can expect when visiting this part of the island. The video drew in a large viewing audience to Roar’s platforms and generated more exposure and prospective guests for Saffron & Blue.
With sponsored content, anything is possible as long as it is relevant to the local audience and indirectly relates to the client’s brand. But when it comes to white label content, our writers are encouraged to experiment and venture into uncharted territory.
Earlier this year, Amana Takaful approached us to produce a short and contemporary promotional video on their insurance services. Moreover, they were keen to make the video appeal to a younger demographic. So we proposed a minute-long animation video that would feature relatable scenarios for young adults where insurance could come in handy. This would be followed by the insurance solutions offered by Amana Takaful.
Fitting a large amount of information into a minute-long video is complicated but, this being an animation video, we were able to use pop-up cards, information charts, and other visual devices to help keep the video concise, informative, and interesting. The project turned out to be a good exercise in animated video production for Roar and a unique promotional piece for Amana Takaful.
Having identified the client’s intentions, finalised concepts with the creative teams, and presented their work to the client, a content strategist’s work is still not done; because now, we come to the part where the content goes back and forth between client and production team with changes, and edits until both parties agree that the piece is as good as it could be.
Once again, we have to consider the duality of the content categories that we are working with. Is it sponsored or white label? Knowing that, we already have a good idea of what changes or edits are to be made.
If the piece is white label, it may go through as many suggested changes as necessary from the client before publishing, given that it remains ethically and grammatically sound.
If the piece is sponsored and going on Roar Media, our own editors will have the final say in what changes can be made. Naturally, we do this to conform to and uplift Roar’s own standards when it comes to content production.
Depending on which client we work with, a content piece can take between a few days to several weeks, taking into account edits and/or rewrites, before it is finally approved for publishing.
This is where those crucial factors we considered while brainstorming for concepts will be implemented. With the content created, sent through the editing machine, and finally approved by the client, it must now be prepared for publishing. For a writer, this involves putting the finishing touches like a suitable title, caption, and tags. For the production team it means fonts and an optimised thumbnail image.
Now the piece is finally ready to be handed over to the publisher who will target the specific audience demographic for which it is intended, be it age, cultural or ethnic background, consumer type, or other relevant areas. The publisher will also boost the piece for as long as is needed depending on the specific media campaign that spurred it. Then, we monitor interactions with the content to measure if it has delivered on the expectations of the client and Roar.
But meanwhile, back at Roar Studios, where more clients are requesting and commissioning more content, the process of content strategizing has already started all over again.