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What to look for in a content designer

Robert Mills • 3 minutes

This video is the twentieth in our Content Strategy Advent Calendar series.

Here, Trisha Doyle from GDS discusses what to look for in a content designer.

Content strategy advent calendar: Day 20 – What to look for in a content designer by Trisha Doyle

Video transcript

Hi everyone. Thanks so much for tuning in. My name is Trisha Doyle and I’m the head of content design at GDS (Government Digital Services). I’m delighted to be part of GatherContent’s content advent calendar.

What I’d like to talk about today is a really really important part of implementing your content strategy or indeed getting a content strategy in the first place and that’s what makes a good content designer.

So I feel there’s three factors here. The first one is empathy.

For a good content designer, user needs should be at the heart of everything that they do. So they need to focus on who their users are, what their motivations are, what they need from the piece of content, what actions that they need to take. They need to know who their users are inside out and be able to put themselves in their shoes.

The second element really is that your good content designer should be a bit of an all-rounder. What I mean by that is a kind of like digital professionals with content as a specialism. A good content designer is more than just words on a page, it’s certainly much more than full stops in the wrong place and comments. A good content designer will have a little bit of product maybe, little bit of delivery, certainly a little bit of development and an awful lot of user research and user experience. They need to understand how projects run, how products are built and when best to place themselves in the lifecycle to understand the motivations of the people that they’re working with, to figure out how they can properly embed themselves in the process to make sure that they’re representing the user but also offering the most value.

The third facet is a bit interesting. It’s probably tenacity. Sometimes it is difficult to get a place at the table as a content person, sometimes it’s seen as the output of the project but as we all know content strategy is key to the success of most products, projects, pretty much everything, well I would say that I suppose. A good content designer will want to be embedded into the process that I previously mentioned but tenacity is the key aspect of that. And also, in terms of governance and workflow, they need to be able to convince stakeholders to get the content in on time, to help them write it, just basically be a key part and a key part of every part of the project.

So that’s what I think makes a good content designer, I hope you agree. Please feel free to tweet me if you’ve any thoughts on that. I’d like to wish you all a very happy holidays, I hope you get a chance to rest and reflect over 2015 and like me, you’re really excited for what 2016 has to hold. Happy holidays and best wishes. Thank you.

About Trisha

Trisha Doyle

Trisha Doyle is Head of Content Design at GDS. She and her team focus on meeting user needs through content across GDS. Before joining GDS, Trisha worked at AOL Huffington Post Media Group and Money Advice Service.

Content strategy advent calendar: Day 20 – What to look for in a content designer by Trisha Doyle

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