A “UX content strategist,” more commonly called a “staff content designer,” is a fairly new user experience role, evolving alongside UX writing as a major component of the content design discipline. It can be a role on its own, but most commonly it just represents a major set of responsibilities folded into more formalized content design roles.
That doesn’t mean it isn’t important—it definitely is. Just understand that the working world is increasingly moving to the term “content designers,” who are expected to practice UX content strategy inherently.
Still, you may find a position or job posting for UX content strategist, since the transition is still underway.
What does a UX content strategist do?
UX content strategists handle the high-level responsibilities of content design, handling things like style guides and managing the relationships between a product and its related content.
This is what the responsibilities of a UX content strategist look like:
- Managing UX content governance
- Creating UX content style guides
- Managing terminology for a product or business
- Managing or supporting product-related help center content
- Planning information architecture for brands and products
- Managing the communications relationship between products and their brand
- Creating cohesive product messaging alongside product marketers
- Offering guidance to other content designers
One thing to note here is that UX content strategists draw heavily on UX research to create their deliverables, which serve as signposts for UX writers in their daily work. If there is no UX researcher in the company, then the strategists may need to create some research resources as well.
UX content strategy vs. UX writing vs. content design
The UX industry has several terms floating around that seem to mean similar things:
- UX Writer
- UX Content Strategist
- Content Designer
The UX industry is shifting away from the first two to settle on the third, being “content designer.” Companies have realized that these are really two sides of the same coin—and that coin has been dubbed content design. It just doesn’t make sense to separate these responsibilities in most cases.
Also read: Content Design vs. Content Strategy
Content design is the discipline, so you can think of “UX writing” and ”UX content strategy” as two sets of responsibilities within it.
As you can see from the chart above, the two roles focus on different things within the discipline. UX writers tend to handle ground-level writing, usually right inside the user interface (UI) or the accompanying product documentation.
UX content strategists manage high-level parts of content design. They focus on guiding the shape and purpose of UX content in all its forms, and they lead the creation of standards and new components for other content designers or UX writers to use in their day-to-day work.
“UX writer” is still something you see advertised pretty commonly, but it’s becoming increasingly synonymous with “content designer” as the industry-standard term. Even Google has begun to transition its job titles from “UX writer,” as you can see in the job portal screenshot below.
“UX content strategist” is becoming an increasingly rare title to find. Its role hasn’t disappeared, though. It’s just taken the form of “staff content designer” in companies leading the content design discipline.
The difference between UX content strategy and content marketing strategy
“Content strategist” is a somewhat difficult term to use here because it’s already been claimed by content marketing for a decade. “Content strategist” usually refers to the content marketing discipline, as a result.
Watch out for that. The two employ overlapping skills, but their goals, workflows, and the tools of their trades are substantially different.
Here are the key differences:
- Content marketing strategy is about driving leads, while UX content strategy is about supporting a product.
- Content marketing strategy wins hearts and minds to pull leads further into the business funnel, whereas UX content strategy focuses on making products easier to use.
- Content marketing strategy educates audiences about their business pain points, while UX content strategy educates users on the intricacies of a product.
This might be a moot point in 5 years, if all UX content strategists are renamed to content designers, but it helps to understand the distinction.
What is UX design content strategy?
UX design content strategy is a structured plan to put the right content in front of the right user at the right time and place—all in service to achieve a product-related goal.
Those goals usually look like this:
- Higher product adoption
- User retention
- Feature adoption
It’s easier to understand a strategy by giving it shape. This is what a UX content strategy would include:
- UX content style guides
- Information architecture
- Help centers/knowledge bases
- Content design components
- Entity mapping
- User flow charts
- Documentation for the strategy itself
However, UX content strategy looks very similar from company to company: they all need design components, support documentation, managed terminology, and an editorial process. They’re common building blocks, plain and simple.
UX content strategy really gets interesting in its details and its execution:
- How do topline goals and the product strategy govern content?
- Can it work alongside a go-to-market strategy?
- Is there a smooth handoff between marketing, sales, and product teams?
- Can it adapt to an acquisition of another product, or being acquired?
- Does the information architecture work in unusual circumstances?
- What content mechanisms will deliver news, product updates, and referral campaigns?
A mature UX content strategy looks like an ecosystem with smart and intuitive ways to get the content the user needs in only a few clicks. Software products need that kind of support to function. The real “strategy” element usually manifests in how a team gets there.
You can define a UX content strategist by responsibilities related to high-level content design—that’s why their roles most often manifest as some variation of content designer. It helps to understand the difference from a UX writer’s responsibilities, but ultimately they form a single discipline within the User Experience field.