How to keep up with the changing content design field

by Patrick Stafford

A decade ago, you might have felt like an amazing content strategist, content designer, or UX writer if you…

  • Considered how your work related to product goals and objectives
  • Helped create content testing plans
  • Connected the work you did to return on investment (ROI)
  • Established company-wide styles and processes
  • Communicated with executives about the work you did how it made an impact on the business

How has the market changed?

More resources for self-teaching

There are more tools — and you’re expected to know them

There are more remote jobs

More freelancing and consulting

The market for content designers is growing fast

The market is changing, but so can you

Entry level

  • Has a very strong command of spelling, grammar, and styles
  • Knows UX writing best practices for common UI elements (headings, error messages, tooltips)
  • Follows design and style guidance and processes
  • Manages time well and meets deadlines
  • Collaborates with the designer and product manager well
  • Learns and works with guidance
  • Receives feedback with maturity and curiosity
  • Learns from others and attempts new skills
  • Focuses on delivery: gets the job done when asked to get it done

Mid to Senior

  • Holds a more sophisticated usability perspective
  • Critiques content and design work from others, asks insightful questions
  • Develops workable systems and processes
  • Use learned experience to guide processes and think systemically — for example,
  • How does this affect other teams? Who can we speak to?
  • Proactively seek out data and other touchpoints in order to define the work scope
  • Lead workshops, retros, critiques
  • Guide work and delegate to ensure the pipeline of work remains strong and on time
  • Bring a more strategic point of view, questioning whether design tactics and features are accomplishing the right goals
  • Think about how the business case for features, products, and roadmaps (part of strategy)

Lead

  • Guide a team: manage and empower individuals well, delegate work, and help build standards and processes
  • Elevate the team’s professionalism and work quality: help coach individuals and the team
  • Eliminate barriers for your team to get good things done (work with people, processes, and technical constraints to keep things moving)
  • Refine current processes and establish new systems and processes, making sure they remain effective
  • Work with other teams and collaborate on high-impact projects: think 3 dimensionally across teams and departments
  • Search proactively for high-impact ways to deliver on company objectives and goals (New feature, feature redesign, process improvement, team organization improvement, etc.)

Freelance and Consulting

  • Learn new systems and processes quickly and confidently
  • Press ahead through constraints (you may not have access to all of the people and resources that a full-time person would have)
  • Focus only on the job you were brought in to do
  • Find the information needed with an investigative spirit (it may not always be given to you packaged neatly)
  • Work proactively to identify the right people in the right positions; creates connections
  • Make good recommendations, even when that situation might require convincing executive-level managers

This blog post is just a very small taste of our Career Course. If you’re ready to take the next step in your career, check out the syllabus and sign up!

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