While the term content strategy has been around since the late 1990s, it became a more formalized discipline in the early-to-mid 2000s. We formed the practice within our design group in 2009 with one content strategist, Sarah Cancilla. We are now a team of nearly 500.
Back then, content strategist differentiated what we did within design — more UX-focused work — from writing roles in other groups at Facebook. The title helped explain that our team focused on serving the UX needs of people using our products and supporting business goals. As we matured, we saw we could better communicate our purpose if we modified content strategist to product content strategist, clarifying our product-specific function. We hold a lot of gratitude for the content strategist title and where it’s gotten us; it helped us clarify internal roles, reach people who do the work we do and build our global team.
We use our unique skills to solve specific problems. But over time, we’ve used the breadth of the content strategist title to allow us to color outside the lines, in a good way. It’s allowed people to flex into different types of work, and it’s welcomed those from diverse backgrounds such as editorial, journalism, marketing, library science and traditional design to bring their expertise into the field.
Today, content strategy is used to describe many flavors of content work: social media marketing, branded content creation, information architecture and the more UX-specific in-product design work that we do at Facebook. With the market use of the title continuing to broaden, we did what any good content strategist would do: we conducted an audit. Over six months, we scoured job postings and interviewed people in various content and design roles both inside and outside of our company. We looked for trends, questioned assumptions and ran namestorms before deciding what, if anything, to do.