Beth Dunn: Cultivating Content Design – Episode 99


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Content Strategy Insights


Beth Dunn Beth Dunn is the author of Cultivating Content Design, a book that shows content leaders how to create the kind of successful content design program she has built at HubSpot. The secret to Beth's approach is communication. First, she listens intently to her colleagues and stakeholders. Then she invites them to workshops and other activities where they co-discover content concerns and figure out together how to address them. The key to Beth's success is her pragmatic approach. She always focuses on the issue at hand and always works with what she finds, not with "best practices" or other off-the-shelf solutions. We talked about: her career path at HubSpot, including the day that she learned from her new boss that she was a UX writer her layers model of content design - surface, structure, and strategy/scope - and how her articulation of them helps her communicate with colleagues the pragmatic nature and thrifty approach that drives her work her approach to organizational change, include a lot of "Tom Sawyer-ing" her "find your five" workshops how she scales her content design work how unhelpful it can be to compare what you're doing with what other organizations are doing how her coaching practice influences her content design work what she thinks we need to do as a profession to mature (hint: it might have to with content itself) Beth's bio Beth Dunn is a content and communications leader, speaker, author, and coach. She pioneered the content design practice at HubSpot, then developed and led the global HubSpot content design team. Her workshops, classes, exercises, and guides have helped scores of leaders, practitioners, and teams design better content, confidently and at scale. Beth Dunn lives on Cape Cod in her hometown with a charming husband and some quality cats. Connect with Beth on social media Twitter LinkedIn Instagram Video Here’s the video version of our conversation: Podcast intro transcript This is the Content Strategy Insights podcast, episode number 99. Many professions, including content strategy, worry about not having a seat at the table when it comes to influencing business decisions. Beth Dunn's solution to this is simple: Build your own table. This stance exemplifies Beth's scrappy, pragmatic approach to content work. She invites her colleagues to the table, listens to them, and then co-creates with them tailor-made content programs that grow and scale with the organization. Interview transcript Larry: Hi, everyone. Welcome to episode number 99 of the Content Strategy Insights Podcast. I'm really happy today to have with us Beth Dunn. Beth does content and communications at HubSpot, but more importantly, to me anyway for this podcast, she just wrote a book called Cultivating Content Design. So welcome Beth, tell the folks a little bit more about your work there at HubSpot and how you came to write your book. Beth: Absolutely. Well, thank you for having me on here. So, it's so thrilling. So I'm a long time HubSpotter. I was one of those people that started off when it was like a really small band of weirdos. And now it's just a large band of weirdos, which is great. So I started there in January, 2010, and kind of started off as the person who would annoy the engineers and say, could you please make the wording on the screen make more sense. Beth: I was in a customer service role, but in a room full of, I think there were 50 people at the time, I immediately sort of stood out as the one who was harassing people and saying, can we make this more clear, it would be more clear to the customers. And that just sort of evolved over time into an official role as a UX writer. We actually ended up hiring our first director of design, who was Joshua Porter, who people might know as Bokardo on Twitter. And he was kind of one of the first popularizers of the idea of microcopy as a scien...