32 minutes | Apr 2, 2021

Rachel McConnell: Content Operations Leadership – Episode 93

Rachel McConnell In Rachel McConnell's world, if content strategy is the engine, then content operations is the oil that keeps it running smoothly. Rachel leads one of the biggest content operations in the world, a team of 100 content designers and editors at BT, a large communications services company in the UK. Her team is a mix of content professionals from both UX and publishing backgrounds who work across a variety of products. This gives her plenty of opportunities to optimize their internal systems and plenty of ideas for both formal training programs and informal knowledge sharing. As her team increases its capabilities and design maturity, they also help raise the digital maturity of the whole company. Rachel's bio Rachel McConnell is a content designer, strategist and consultant who’s used to building and leading content teams. She’s worked with brands such as Deliveroo, M&S, John Lewis and Virgin Holidays and also trains UX professionals in UX writing. She’s currently content strategist at BT and was the content strategy lead for Clearleft. Rachel is the author of "Why You Need A Content Team." Follow Rachel online LinkedIn Twitter Medium RachelMcConnell.me Video Here’s the video version of our conversation: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qBIBwhWwiYA Podcast intro transcript This is the Content Strategy Insights podcast, episode number 93. Rachel McConnell leads a big team of content designers and editors at BT, the huge British communications services company. Her content operations include about 100 folks, spanning UX practice, editorial publishing, and content management. She focuses on creating and optimizing efficient business systems and helps her team members execute on BT's content strategy with regular trainings as well as structured opportunities for team members to learn from each other. Interview transcript Larry Swanson: Hi, everyone. Welcome to episode number 93 of the Content Strategy Insights podcast. I'm really happy today to have with us Rachel McConnell. Rachel is a content design manager at BT, and a lot of our listeners are in the U.S. and BT would be like the British version of Cox or Xfinity or any of those big... What is it, like phone, internet? Whatever the batch of services that you provide. Rachel McConnell: Yeah, telecoms and broadband. Yeah. Cable, that kind of thing. Larry: All that kind of stuff. Welcome, Rachel. Tell the folks a little bit more about what being a content design manager entails. Rachel: Thanks, Larry. Yeah. Hi, everybody. I am a content design manager at BT. That means I'm responsible for the content designers within a specific alliance. My alliance, which is a group of triads and squads, they have a particular focus on capability. My role is I specialize in content operations, which means I'm essentially responsible for looking at how the whole of the content team is operating from always a working point of view and also from a process point of view, capability point of view, and helping improve how everybody's working and how they're delivering work essentially and improving efficiency and effectivity. Larry: Right, and that implies a large organization. How many folks are you... How many content designers do you have there? Rachel: Our team is quite big. I'm pretty sure it might be one of the largest content design teams in the UK actually. We have about 99, 100 content people. About 60% of that is content designers and the other 30% are content editors. They're more like traditional content managers working within the content management system. Larry: Great. Content design is one of those fields where... In content strategy in general it seems like everybody comes from some kind of publishing or media background, but in content design you're as likely to have design-oriented people as you are editorial folks. Are there different considerations when you're managing a hybrid team like that?
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