Download A free template to help organise your team using roles and responsibilities.
Download template
+
+

Organise your content team: Bring clarity using this roles and responsibilities chart

Organise your content team: Bring clarity using this roles and responsibilities chart

5 minute read

Organise your content team: Bring clarity using this roles and responsibilities chart

5 minute read

Organise your content team: Bring clarity using this roles and responsibilities chart

Robert Mills

Founder, Fourth Wall Content

Why you need a roles and responsibilities chart

There are often lots of people involved in producing and delivering content. They have different agendas, personal goals and conflicting priorities. They also have different roles, responsibilities and tasks when it comes to content, so organising and managing your content operations (ContentOps) team can be challenging. This is all without issues and challenges around the other pillars of content operations, process and technology.

Having a clear workflow in place will help with organising people and providing an appropriate flow from one stage to another. But what about the roles and responsibilities at each stage?

RACI charts, also known as 'responsibility assignment matrix' or 'roles and responsibilities' charts, are a way to make life easier by providing clarity around who needs to do what.

Without a clear understanding of who is doing what, there can be two risks:

  • Gaps in responsibilities so some tasks aren’t completed and bottlenecks reached
  • Overlap in responsibilities resulting in duplication of work and wasted time and budgets

In her book The Content Strategy Toolkit, Meghan Casey says:

"You need a certain base set of content roles and responsibilities to create content that helps you achieve your content strategy. Keep in mind that roles do not necessarily equal job titles. Instead, they refer to a set of responsibilities that you must account for in your content creation process."
Meghan Casey
Author and Content Strategist Owner, Do Better Content Consulting

There are lots of content strategy templates at our disposal that we can adapt to suit individual needs. In this article, I will outline what a RACI chart is, give an example of a completed RACI Chart and also provide a free template for you to get to grips with the roles and responsibilities for organising your own content team.

What is a roles and responsibilities chart?

The Digital Project Manager defines a RACI Chart as ‘a tool that identifies roles and responsibilities against tasks within a project.’

It’s about mapping these tasks and responsibilities to the different roles. It’s important to be specific whenever assigning tasks to people. For example, if you ask someone to review content, are they reviewing it for accuracy, spelling, grammar, brand style, etc.?

RACI stands for:

  • Responsible
  • Accountable
  • Consulted
  • Informed

If someone is responsible, they are to complete the task. They may be responsible for more than one task, and that’s ok so long as they aren’t overloaded.

Those accountable may not be doing the actual task, but they are ultimately accountable for completing it.

If a person or team are consulted, then they are helping with getting the task done, in collaboration with those responsible.

Those informed need to be aware of progress after completion of a task.

Here’s an example RACI chart we’ve created, which you can download here.

Empty content RACI chart template containing sections for deliverables, tasks, roles, and assignment
Starting with a fresh RACI chart template will show you how everything is ordered and what details need to be added.

Using a roles and responsibilities chart to organise a content team

When it comes to creating a RACI chart for a content team it is worth considering that there may be other disciplines involved such as UX writing, subject matter experts, design, development, etc.

The RACI will depend on the complexity of the project, but whether a simple version for a pilot project or a more complex version for a large strategic content initiative, they help teams:

  • Determine what resources you need (we need more of this and less of that)
  • Bring teams together around a shared goal for content
  • Facilitate better communication between individuals and teams (it’s clear who to turn to for certain requests)

A RACI allows the content leader to understand what is being asked of each person in the team.

"Bringing together your content team to create these charts with your current context in mind can tell you a lot about what’s going on in your content operation."
Blaine Kyllo
Senior Content Strategist, Content Strategy Inc

💡 See also: How to use RACI charts to improve your content operation

This is necessary to avoid overloading any one person, causing bottlenecks and involving people unnecessarily. People may want to have involvement when they don’t have a clear role and responsibility. Don't include them just to keep the peace. Yes, there will be difficult conversations to navigate, but the RACI is a good reference to come back to if issues arise, and it helps to set expectations too.

Creating a roles and responsibilities chart

Here’s a step-by-step guide to creating a RACI chart for your next project.

Step 1: Identify roles

Start by identifying all roles across the project. These could be:

  • Content strategist
  • Content designer
  • Writer
  • Subject matter expert
  • Designer
  • Project manager

In some cases, it may be preferable to identify people rather than roles and list their names instead. That depends on what makes the most sense for your situation. Roles can be confusing when more than one person is fulfilling that role, so it really will depend on your team.

Using our template as an example, here are some roles involved in an overhaul of an organisation’s online help centre content:

RACI chart for content with example roles - Writer, editor, content designer and more.
Step 1: Start by identifying all roles across your content creation process. Fill in the top part of the template.

In this example there are roles across different teams:

  • Product: Designer
  • Customer Success: Customer success manager, Head of Customer Success
  • Marketing: Marketing manager (product)
  • Content: Writer, editor, content designer, Head of Content

For projects that involve lots of people from different departments, or perhaps for remote teams who don’t work in the same space, a RACI chart can help to organise and give oversight of how all of these roles connect across the project. This understanding and visibility can connect silos and allow for content operations to be efficient.

A RACI only provides a certain perspective. Before this project starts, the Product Director may have been involved, and if they need to be informed throughout, they should be added. But this chart is from kick-off to delivery and so any planning roles and tasks scoping out the project don’t need to be included. You’ll find what level of detail works best for your team and organisation.

💡 See also: Collaborate: Bring people together around digital projects to find out how to organise digital content teams and get the most out of them

Step 2: Identify tasks

Once you’ve added the roles, you need to decide what the tasks and deliverables are. List everything to be done. For content teams and projects you may include:

  • Write content
  • Review for voice and tone
  • Legal review
  • Translation
  • Compile Metadata
  • Transcribe video
  • Approval
  • Add to CMS

Of course, the list could go on and on and whilst you need to include everything that’s relevant, too long a list makes the RACI more complicated to use and refer to. Give great consideration to adding tasks here. Perhaps you will use a RACI for a certain phase of a project rather than the entire lifecycle.

Here’s what the chart might look like for our help centre overhaul project:

RACI chart for content with example deliverables and tasks - write content, audit content, check content, and more.
Step 2: Next you add the deliverables or tasks necessary for completing your project.

There would be more tasks than this for such a project, but they give a good idea of what the deliverables might include, across all those involved. Again, how prescriptive you go will depend on what works for your situation.

Step 3: Assign the RACI

At this stage, you know what roles to involve and what tasks to complete. Next, you need to assign the RACI to each task and role. This is where you might discuss differing opinions. The RACI should help you reach a consensus quickly. In our help centre example, the RACI may now look like this:

Completed RACI chart for content with roles, responsibilities, and the expected input and involvement all project members.
Step 3: Finally complete your RACI chart by assigning the tasks to specific roles based on responsibility, accountability, consulting, and informing.

Here, the Head of Customer Success is accountable for a couple of tasks and informed by most. You may need to consult them, though likely they are working closely with the customer success manager. The Head of Content is accountable for most of the tasks, ensuring the creation, editing, approval, and delivery of content. Though they're not doing the writing and editing themselves.

In our example, only one role is accountable for each task. There are more than one role responsible and consulted for many tasks though. In these situations, it still needs to be clear who is doing what exactly. It could also be that the writer and editor is the same person too.

However your own RACI would end up looking, what you can see from the example is that this method of organising a content team around roles and tasks will help identify and assign the different criteria and start to see where decision making lies, how to facilitate collaboration and generally working towards the people involved in your content operations having complete understanding and clarity on what they need to do.

Good to know: The GatherContent platform makes it easy to assign specific tasks in a workflow to the right stakeholder while also adding context as to how they should engage at that step.

The benefits of a RACI-organised content team

People and process are two of the three pillars of content operations (technology is the third). Investing in one is never time wasted but when you combine methods for organising people, like using a RACI chart with a workflow, there will be a clear plan for all the stages content will need to pass through, who you need at each stage, and what they need to do.

This organisation of people and assignment of roles to tasks ensures organisations and teams can:

  • Reduce confusion around who needs to do what
  • Make people accountable
  • Accurately assess workloads
  • Allocate resources intelligently and prioritise
  • Facilitate more effective communication and collaboration between teams
  • Identify gaps and reduce overlap

All of these outcomes allow for more efficient content operations, and the impact that has on the actual content delivered can only be a good thing.

Why you need a roles and responsibilities chart

There are often lots of people involved in producing and delivering content. They have different agendas, personal goals and conflicting priorities. They also have different roles, responsibilities and tasks when it comes to content, so organising and managing your content operations (ContentOps) team can be challenging. This is all without issues and challenges around the other pillars of content operations, process and technology.

Having a clear workflow in place will help with organising people and providing an appropriate flow from one stage to another. But what about the roles and responsibilities at each stage?

RACI charts, also known as 'responsibility assignment matrix' or 'roles and responsibilities' charts, are a way to make life easier by providing clarity around who needs to do what.

Without a clear understanding of who is doing what, there can be two risks:

  • Gaps in responsibilities so some tasks aren’t completed and bottlenecks reached
  • Overlap in responsibilities resulting in duplication of work and wasted time and budgets

In her book The Content Strategy Toolkit, Meghan Casey says:

"You need a certain base set of content roles and responsibilities to create content that helps you achieve your content strategy. Keep in mind that roles do not necessarily equal job titles. Instead, they refer to a set of responsibilities that you must account for in your content creation process."
Meghan Casey
Author and Content Strategist Owner, Do Better Content Consulting

There are lots of content strategy templates at our disposal that we can adapt to suit individual needs. In this article, I will outline what a RACI chart is, give an example of a completed RACI Chart and also provide a free template for you to get to grips with the roles and responsibilities for organising your own content team.

What is a roles and responsibilities chart?

The Digital Project Manager defines a RACI Chart as ‘a tool that identifies roles and responsibilities against tasks within a project.’

It’s about mapping these tasks and responsibilities to the different roles. It’s important to be specific whenever assigning tasks to people. For example, if you ask someone to review content, are they reviewing it for accuracy, spelling, grammar, brand style, etc.?

RACI stands for:

  • Responsible
  • Accountable
  • Consulted
  • Informed

If someone is responsible, they are to complete the task. They may be responsible for more than one task, and that’s ok so long as they aren’t overloaded.

Those accountable may not be doing the actual task, but they are ultimately accountable for completing it.

If a person or team are consulted, then they are helping with getting the task done, in collaboration with those responsible.

Those informed need to be aware of progress after completion of a task.

Here’s an example RACI chart we’ve created, which you can download here.

Empty content RACI chart template containing sections for deliverables, tasks, roles, and assignment
Starting with a fresh RACI chart template will show you how everything is ordered and what details need to be added.

Using a roles and responsibilities chart to organise a content team

When it comes to creating a RACI chart for a content team it is worth considering that there may be other disciplines involved such as UX writing, subject matter experts, design, development, etc.

The RACI will depend on the complexity of the project, but whether a simple version for a pilot project or a more complex version for a large strategic content initiative, they help teams:

  • Determine what resources you need (we need more of this and less of that)
  • Bring teams together around a shared goal for content
  • Facilitate better communication between individuals and teams (it’s clear who to turn to for certain requests)

A RACI allows the content leader to understand what is being asked of each person in the team.

"Bringing together your content team to create these charts with your current context in mind can tell you a lot about what’s going on in your content operation."
Blaine Kyllo
Senior Content Strategist, Content Strategy Inc

💡 See also: How to use RACI charts to improve your content operation

This is necessary to avoid overloading any one person, causing bottlenecks and involving people unnecessarily. People may want to have involvement when they don’t have a clear role and responsibility. Don't include them just to keep the peace. Yes, there will be difficult conversations to navigate, but the RACI is a good reference to come back to if issues arise, and it helps to set expectations too.

Creating a roles and responsibilities chart

Here’s a step-by-step guide to creating a RACI chart for your next project.

Step 1: Identify roles

Start by identifying all roles across the project. These could be:

  • Content strategist
  • Content designer
  • Writer
  • Subject matter expert
  • Designer
  • Project manager

In some cases, it may be preferable to identify people rather than roles and list their names instead. That depends on what makes the most sense for your situation. Roles can be confusing when more than one person is fulfilling that role, so it really will depend on your team.

Using our template as an example, here are some roles involved in an overhaul of an organisation’s online help centre content:

RACI chart for content with example roles - Writer, editor, content designer and more.
Step 1: Start by identifying all roles across your content creation process. Fill in the top part of the template.

In this example there are roles across different teams:

  • Product: Designer
  • Customer Success: Customer success manager, Head of Customer Success
  • Marketing: Marketing manager (product)
  • Content: Writer, editor, content designer, Head of Content

For projects that involve lots of people from different departments, or perhaps for remote teams who don’t work in the same space, a RACI chart can help to organise and give oversight of how all of these roles connect across the project. This understanding and visibility can connect silos and allow for content operations to be efficient.

A RACI only provides a certain perspective. Before this project starts, the Product Director may have been involved, and if they need to be informed throughout, they should be added. But this chart is from kick-off to delivery and so any planning roles and tasks scoping out the project don’t need to be included. You’ll find what level of detail works best for your team and organisation.

💡 See also: Collaborate: Bring people together around digital projects to find out how to organise digital content teams and get the most out of them

Step 2: Identify tasks

Once you’ve added the roles, you need to decide what the tasks and deliverables are. List everything to be done. For content teams and projects you may include:

  • Write content
  • Review for voice and tone
  • Legal review
  • Translation
  • Compile Metadata
  • Transcribe video
  • Approval
  • Add to CMS

Of course, the list could go on and on and whilst you need to include everything that’s relevant, too long a list makes the RACI more complicated to use and refer to. Give great consideration to adding tasks here. Perhaps you will use a RACI for a certain phase of a project rather than the entire lifecycle.

Here’s what the chart might look like for our help centre overhaul project:

RACI chart for content with example deliverables and tasks - write content, audit content, check content, and more.
Step 2: Next you add the deliverables or tasks necessary for completing your project.

There would be more tasks than this for such a project, but they give a good idea of what the deliverables might include, across all those involved. Again, how prescriptive you go will depend on what works for your situation.

Step 3: Assign the RACI

At this stage, you know what roles to involve and what tasks to complete. Next, you need to assign the RACI to each task and role. This is where you might discuss differing opinions. The RACI should help you reach a consensus quickly. In our help centre example, the RACI may now look like this:

Completed RACI chart for content with roles, responsibilities, and the expected input and involvement all project members.
Step 3: Finally complete your RACI chart by assigning the tasks to specific roles based on responsibility, accountability, consulting, and informing.

Here, the Head of Customer Success is accountable for a couple of tasks and informed by most. You may need to consult them, though likely they are working closely with the customer success manager. The Head of Content is accountable for most of the tasks, ensuring the creation, editing, approval, and delivery of content. Though they're not doing the writing and editing themselves.

In our example, only one role is accountable for each task. There are more than one role responsible and consulted for many tasks though. In these situations, it still needs to be clear who is doing what exactly. It could also be that the writer and editor is the same person too.

However your own RACI would end up looking, what you can see from the example is that this method of organising a content team around roles and tasks will help identify and assign the different criteria and start to see where decision making lies, how to facilitate collaboration and generally working towards the people involved in your content operations having complete understanding and clarity on what they need to do.

Good to know: The GatherContent platform makes it easy to assign specific tasks in a workflow to the right stakeholder while also adding context as to how they should engage at that step.

The benefits of a RACI-organised content team

People and process are two of the three pillars of content operations (technology is the third). Investing in one is never time wasted but when you combine methods for organising people, like using a RACI chart with a workflow, there will be a clear plan for all the stages content will need to pass through, who you need at each stage, and what they need to do.

This organisation of people and assignment of roles to tasks ensures organisations and teams can:

  • Reduce confusion around who needs to do what
  • Make people accountable
  • Accurately assess workloads
  • Allocate resources intelligently and prioritise
  • Facilitate more effective communication and collaboration between teams
  • Identify gaps and reduce overlap

All of these outcomes allow for more efficient content operations, and the impact that has on the actual content delivered can only be a good thing.

Ready to get started?
Start your 30-day free trial now
Start free trialBook a demo
No items found.

About the author

Robert Mills

Rob is Founder of Fourth Wall Content working with clients on content strategy, creation and marketing. Previously, in his role as Head of Content at GatherContent he managed all of the organisation's content output and content operations.

Related posts you might like