Generalist versus Specialist Content
Recently, I was having a discussion with a friend about the direction of content marketing, and she raised an interesting question.
“Are you doing general content or focused and specialized content?”
Here’s what I replied.
I said that while we can work out a general framework of best practices for a client’s content plan, each project has to be specialized. Which means our job is to match the right resources to specific client needs.
So that means you’re generalists right?
Not exactly. Like how we advise clients, taking a phased approach would help to prioritize tasks and help projects scale in a more effective manner. Do we start with targeted verticals or figure out target audiences first? Which may be the more effective approach? It all boils down to your objectives and business needs.
Alyssa Hertig talked about generalist and specialist content as well recently, and she mentioned in the article that,
“For instance, if we applied the same content budget to just one or two full-time writers, we could work with 10 or 20 writers (depending on how much content they write, of course) who are experts in 10 or 20 different topics versus having more generalist writers within say the tech or startup verticals.”
I’m not sure why tech or startup content are being called out as “generalist”? Maybe consumer tech needs a generalist approach, because you want to make your tech fit into ‘everyday topics’. But I would argue that for enterprise tech, while the technology speak varies very slightly amongst companies, to build great content and make it easily consumable still requires a certain level of technical understand and specialized expertise.
Even amongst startups, it takes deep understanding of the technology or specific customer need in order to mould core messages into moving stories.
Would you take a generalist, specialist or hybrid approach for your content building?