My Content Strategy Insights podcast (summary)
As a content person, I believe it’s valuable to deliver content in different media. I was recently interviewed on a few podcasts and would like to share them as blog posts for those who prefer not to consume audio content. This is not going to be transcripts, rather summaries of the conversations. Hope you enjoy!
Episode 130 of Content Strategy Insights with Larry Swanson
Below is a summary of the episode that dropped on December 6, 2022.
The book launched the day the episode dropped! I was one of the first people in the field talking a lot about the business perspective of content design work and as I explored I ended up with enough to say about it to fill a book :) Of course, many others have joined me, and I think that’s great. The more voices, the better, in all areas pretty much!
Coming from another field
Yes, I was a neurobiologist before a I got into content design. That probably contributed to me choosing to deep dive on the data side of the work. And believe it or not, in my lab research, numbers/quantitative approaches/statistical data wasn’t the end-all-be-all, in a vacuum, because there too, you need not just the “what”, but the “why”, and mixed methods to get to any real insights. So that’s the same in neuroscience and in content design.
Until now, there hasn’t been a clear path to becoming a content designer, and so content designers were coming from everywhere and bringing diverse perspectives and ways of thinking about things which is really great. Now that the field is maturing, clearer career paths are starting to come together. I’m teaching a university course on UX writing, so the topic is getting more mainstream. In some ways that’s great, but on the other side, I hope it doesn’t mean we lose the diversity we’ve had until now. I want content designers to come with different professional experiences and from different professional backgrounds.
The business and users are partners and their interests should be aligned. Advocating, loudly, for users, even at the expense of the business, was necessary several years ago because the users were totally overlooked. Our powerful advocacy as UXers was reactionary and necessary at the time, but at a certain point I think we by and large achieved our goal and now it‘s time to regroup and decide what’s next. In a sense, at the beginning of the field as a field, we were toddlers tantruming, and that was absolutely appropriate at the time, but now we’ve matured and now the appropriate thing is to have a more balanced, less reactionary and more proactive, synergistic, collaborative approach. The fact is, the business needs users to survive and users need the business to survive or else both sides are left with nothing and that’s at the core of how I try to work as a content designer.
Return on investment (ROI)
When I talk about ROI I’m talking about the business getting more out than it puts in, and I’m using language like that because it’s critical to speak the language of business stakeholders. To do our best work, we don’t need to shout and convince stakeholders why our work is important; we need to show not tell and to listen and learn from other experts. It’s all about the collaboration, about the “table” feeling like a place where everyone is heard and we assume good intentions, and if we’re not given the agency we need to explore whether that’s because we haven’t communicated what our impact is in a way that resonates with others.
Know your goals (The K in KAPOW)
KAPOW is my UX writing framework to maximize return on investment (ROI).
- Know your goals
- Articulate solutions
- Prioritize options
- Own your metrics
Read the book for the details :)
Specifically, Larry and I dove into “Know your goals”. Seek out existing documentation around existing business goals, or find out business goals another way (there are ideas in the book of how to do that). But the main takeaway is that before you write a single word, you need to define your actual goals. You’ll be measured on whether you hit a goal so you need to know what the ultimate goal is.
Own your metrics (The O in KAPOW)
Larry and I also talked about the “O”, “Own your metrics”. This may be the most novel part of the framework to a lot of content designers because we see ourselves as words people, not numbers people. But “Own your metrics” is not about doing math; it’s about taking ownership and driving and liasing to get our impact measured, and measured via meaningful proxies.