This summer, I was a content strategy intern at Facebook. You may be wondering, “what exactly is content strategy?” Think about it this way, when you create a post on Facebook, there’s text that says: “What’s on your mind?” You may not realize it, but there’s a lot that goes into every single word that appears on the screen. As a content strategist, you have to think about making the text simple, straightforward and human.
Imagine if that text to create a post said: “Tell people about your life,” “Type here,” or “What do you want to tell people today on Facebook?” The first one sounds way too personal and a bit invasive. The second is not human, sounding more like a computer telling you to post. The third is not simple nor straightforward, since it has a lot of unnecessary text included, such as “on Facebook.”
My job was to go through the same process that I described above. Billions of people see the text that is on the screen each day, so we have to make sure that it conveys what we want to say. But thinking about the content isn’t all that we do, because there’s also the strategy part of it. I led a project this summer on the Marketplace Motors and Real Estate teams, which meant I had to dive into research and data to create a project proposal, map out a detailed user flow, collaborate with design to get mocks, draft all of the content and then work with engineers to get the product built.
Content strategy is a pretty new field, which makes it all the more exciting. Before this internship, I had no clue what content strategy was, and I was unsure about what I wanted to do with an English degree. I stumbled upon the job listing and recognized that I had a lot of the skills that they were looking for from my editorial background, so I decided to just go for it. Now, after my 12-week internship has come to a close, I feel like I have found the job for me.
I’ll admit, I was definitely nervous going into this internship because a) it was remote and b) I had never had formal experience in content strategy. But I had the most incredible experience, from collaboration to leadership opportunities, side projects, virtual coffee chats and everything in between.
Whether you’re applying to college, about to start your first year or a current undergrad, the best advice that I can give you after this experience is to keep an open mind and take risks. After my editorial internship this summer, I knew that my favorite part about the internship was the strategy: thinking carefully about writing for a diverse audience, planning content in editorial meetings, etc. I didn’t know that there was a job out there where I could really tap into the “why” behind the content, where I could collaborate with cross-functional partners, where I could explore my own passions and take on opportunities outside of my team. Princeton definitely prepared me for success in this way, because here we are constantly encouraged to try new courses, activities and to take on new challenges. If it weren’t for this mindset that Princeton instilled in me, I may never have left the magazine editorial work I was doing. I opened my mind to content strategy and sought out the challenge, and I’m so happy that I did.