Content roles and responsibilities

ALPHA. This guidance is provided as a general starting point for anyone designing online content, or working on digital projects that involve designing new content or reworking old content. It is a work in progress, and we welcome feedback and suggestions to improve the advice. Contact us with your feedback.

This page outlines typical sets of skills and responsibilities that can be considered when planning the content management aspects of a web redevelopment project, or your business as usual (BAU) requirements.

Both project and BAU content functions need to be appropriately resourced if you want quality content outcomes.

The ‘how to write for the web’ materials help give an understanding of the complexity and depth of skills involved in some of the tasks listed below.

How to write for the web

Key responsibilities

There are some common roles and tasks that need to be allocated to someone when you are planning a content project.

Define who will be responsible for:

  • Defining, and then owning, the site purpose and standards, which incorporates the style, tone of voice and content principles. This work may be part of a broader content strategy.
  • Upholding the strategic purpose of the site and how it meets business goals and user needs. This person may be the product owner.  They should have senior leadership delegation or authority.
  • Owning the structure. This person makes the call on where content is placed in the structure. They also need the ability to say no.
  • Writing content so it meets standards for accessibility and style.
  • Maintaining content quality and compliance with web standards.
  • Managing fact checking, or approval,  processes with subject matter experts (SMEs).
  • Content management system (CMS) entry.
  • Managing CMS design and user permissions.

Plan for BAU responsibilities

Once the site is live there will be business as usual tasks. Plan who will be responsible for:

  • Maintenance tasks — broken link reviews, reviews of time sensitive content, and monitoring compliance with basic standards such as accessibility, style and design.
  • Producing regular analytics reports.
  • Managing the process for day to day requests to add, remove or modify content.
  • Reviewing and arranging fact checking of changes.

Job titles

There are many job titles that cover content work, ranging from ‘content uploader’ to publisher, editor, writer, producer, designer or strategist.

Each term can mean something different. We prefer ‘content designer’ as it best describes the range of skills you can look for in this type of role.

Content designer — skills and knowledge

Content designers need a broad set of skills in addition to being able to write well and work with different content management systems.

Stakeholder relationship management

  • Identify and liaise with subject matter experts, manage content reviews and fact checking processes.
  • Ability to engage with users, and user groups who have a vested interest in the information being crafted.
  • Communicate and sell the project benefits, and reasons for change when working with content owners.

Strategic thinking

  • Ability to consider business drivers (timeframes, strategies and related activities) and align project activities to overarching requirements.
  • Advise on content related standards or guidelines that may need to be developed as project deliverables. For example ongoing governance models, training requirements, publishing policies.

Content design

  • Interpret complex content from multiple agencies and, using plain language, make it easy for users to find and understand.
  • Understand and implement style and standards.

User focus

  • Understand the principles of usability and user centred design
  • Able to translate user stories or journeys, and evidence such as analytics into useful, meaningful content.
  • Participate in (or facilitate) user testing and research activities

Base level skills

  • Familiarity with common metrics tools — for example Google Analytics
  • Writing for the web skills (chunking ideas, using headings, plain language)
  • Good interpersonal skills
  • Experience using a CMS system, and some understanding of basic HTML
  • Some image editing skills
  • Awareness of accessibility issues.

Specific skills

Typically you would hire a content designer or strategist for these activities, and ideally these strategic pieces happen well before any writing is done.

  • Contribute to IA and template design discussions, provide input into how the content structure needs to work, at a site and a page level.
  • Either facilitate or collaborate with usability experts to ensure user research captures content requirements, and to ensure user needs are met by the content designer process.
  • Develop a content strategy for your project, including the definition of content principles, styleguide and site voice and tone.