Why every product team needs a content designer

Content is often the last thing to be thought about and the first thing to go when looking at budgets for digital. This is obviously mad.

Product teams need to incorporate someone who’s in charge of content and how it fits into the overall product. That’s why we’re evolving the way we treat content here at Code and moving towards a ‘content first’ approach.

We now have content designers who make sure creating user-focused content is a priority, not an afterthought. We’re finding that clients who incorporate this kind of content creation support in their team are seeing better results faster.

Here’s why we think you need a content designer on your product team.

1. Because ‘copywriting’ and ‘content design’ are not the same thing

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You might be used to working with content writers under the more traditional (and broken) model – that’d be ‘user researchers do the research –> designer designs the thing –> copywriter “fills in” the gaps –> launch product’. If you are, it’s perhaps understandable why you might see the role as dispensable.

Try working with them in a content design way instead, though, and you’ll soon see the value; done right, their work leads to more satisfied customers and increased revenue.

The fundamental difference between a copywriter or content writer and a content designer is that, by definition, content designers are not limited to words. They’re with the project from day one and use data and research to understand what users need, and then create content that reflects their findings. They make sure business needs are met by ensuring content is as relevant and useful to the user as possible.

A content designer will get to know your business and your users as much as possible, sitting in on kick-off meetings, attending user research sessions, and working closely with the designer throughout.

They wouldn’t be satisfied – or able to do their best work – if they were briefed in on the project when it was already well underway. They wouldn’t be happy to work to a template already created by a designer, and they’d want to continue to iterate content after it’s gone live too.

It’s a leaner, more intuitive way of working that’s ultimately worth the investment.

| When you don’t work in a content design way… | When you do work in a content design way… |
| ———- | ———- |
| Content is often not created until the design work has already been done | The person in charge of your content is with the product from day one |
| Opinions sometimes matter more than data | Your content work is driven by research |
|Prioritising business needs can cause you to lose sight of user needs | You put the user first |
| Your content writer works in isolation | Your content writer collaborates with designers |
| Once it’s published, content is considered ‘done’| You continue to test and improve content after it goes live |