Starter kit for content strategists, content designers, and UX writers

If you’re looking to become a web/digital content practitioner, or just brush up on your content knowledge and skills, I hope you find this list of podcasts, blogs, and books useful.

Dan Craddock
6 min readApr 30, 2018
Some of my ‘go to’ digital content books.

The idea for this list came to me at the Melbourne ‘We Are Content Strategy’ Meetup, where I meet lots of people just starting out as or wanting to become a content practitioner.

As an aside, if you are new to digital content, I’ve found Meetups to be a great way of meeting friendly, like-minded people who are happy to share experiences and make contacts. Many of the Meetup talks I’ve seen are as good as what I’d expect to find at paid conferences.


The list is by no means exhaustive. I haven’t included books on the broader UX field or neighbouring disciplines, such as user research, user interface design, front-end development, or performance analysis. Knowledge of these aspects of UX is important, but you’ll find yourself absorbing a lot of it naturally as your content career develops.

Instead, I’ve tried to cover what I consider the key texts for the fundamental aspects of creating and maintaining findable, accessible, and usable digital content.

Content strategy planning/projects

Content Strategy for the Web — Kristina Halvorson, Melissa Rach
The book that crystallised content strategy. It explains the importance of content strategy to the success of modern organisations, as well as the key concepts of core content, structure, substance, governance, and workflow.

The Content Strategy Toolkit: Methods, Guidelines, and Templates for Getting Content Right — Meghan Casey
This book is the flipside of ‘Content Strategy for the Web’. That is, it provides all the practical tools to successfully implement the theory behind that book. The resources contained within are so comprehensive that with the right in-house team, you’ll soon realise you can do this content stuff with little external help.

Organising/structuring content

A Practical Guide to Information Architecture — Donna Spencer
Donna is one the world’s leading information architects. Now in its second edition, this detailed yet practical and enjoyable read is the perfect intro to categorising, labelling, and structuring content so users will love your website.

Designing Connected Content: Plan and Model Digital Products for Today and Tomorrow — Carrie Hane, Mike Atherton
Covers possibly the most important (and interesting) development in digital content this decade: how to model your content so that it scales across the ever-expanding list of visual and audio interfaces.

Designing/writing content

Content Design — Sarah Richards
Sarah coined the term ‘content design’ when head of content at the UK Government Digital Service. She understood that traditional job titles like writer, copywriter, and editor did not describe adequately the breadth of skills and methods today’s digital content creators need. This book covers them brilliantly. And if you’re still not convinced of this new job title, I’ll leave you with this quote from content designer James Reith in an excellent interview in the UserZoom blog:

Frustratingly, everyone thinks they’re a writer. I’ve spent hours, locked in a room with stakeholders, arguing over one sentence. Not everyone, thankfully, thinks they’re a content designer. Names are powerful.

Letting Go of the Words: Writing Web Content that Works — Janice (Ginny) Redish
As the name suggests, this book shows you how to get your content to the point. Web users are impatient and needs-oriented; Ginny’s guidance will help you understand why they are and how to meet their needs. Plain language and brevity for the win!

Accessibility for Everyone — Laura Kalbag
Making the web accessible isn’t just about technology or interface design. In fact, most of the risk and reward is in content. Remember the hard work your team did to make your website accessible before launch? Well, all that effort can go out the window as soon as you begin adding content. This superb book provides guidance for content creators on using clear copywriting, well-structured IA, and meaningful HTML to deliver inclusive content.

Conversational Design — Erika Hall
Erika shows you how to make your product interfaces less robotic and detached, and more human and conversational, ultimately making your products and services more effective.

Designing UX: Forms — Jessica Enders
There’s no point creating the most compelling, usable content on your web pages if your sign-up and transactional content confuses and frustrates users. Jessica’s book covers all aspects of form design, but emphasises that words have the biggest impact on a form’s success. If this outstanding book piques your interest in forms, the earlier text — Forms that Work: Designing Web Forms for Usability by Caroline Jarrett and Gerry Gaffney and Form Design Patterns by Adam Silver — are also great reads.

Content operations (ops)

Cultivating Content Design — Beth Dunn
Ever struggled to sell the value of quality content in your organisation? This book is for you! Don’t be fooled by its brevity, because it packs a real punch. This is one of my favourite UX books — period — because it offers game-changing advice on how to positively influence stakeholders and create real change.

Leading Content Design — Rachel McConnell
Although a good primer for leading content teams, this is the definitive book on the emerging content ops space. It’s the go to for teams looking to scale their practice sustainably.

Web Content Management: Systems, Features, and Best Practices — Deane Barker
And finally, once you’ve gotten your head around how to create findable, accessible, and usable content that works across any interface, only then should you start thinking about the technology solution that can help deliver it — the web content management system. This book takes you through evaluating, selecting, configuring, and evolving web content management systems to meet your user and organisational needs.


Podcasts are so hot right now, and these two are best in (content) show.

The Content Strategy Podcast — Kristina Halvorson
As well as being a content strategy guru, Kristina is a natural, engaging host who interviews the best UX content minds in the game.

Content Strategy Insights — Larry Swanson
Industry veteran, Larry Swanson, interviews guests across the content spectrum.

Content Design Podcast — Vanessa Barlow
Vanessa has a wealth of commercial and not-for-profit content design experience. She also has a knack of asking her guests the most pertinent and nitty gritty practitioner questions.


Many of the authors of the books listed on this page have blogs — you should look them up — but here are a few of the best.

Content Design London
Headed by the progenitor of content design, Sarah Winters, it’s no surprise her company’s blog is a goldmine of practical guidance on the discipline.

Blog — Scott Kubie
Scott is a a witty straight talker who always offers insightful, actionable advice on improving your craft as a content designer and strategist. Definitely check out his work on mapping content ecosystems.

Content design — Government Digital Service
The organisation where Sarah Winters formalised the content design discipline, the Government Digital Service (GDS) blog is a must read for all government digital practitioners, but is no less useful for non-public sector content folks.

Blog — GatherContent
A great mix of content strategy/design/management topics from guest and in-house contributors.

Blog — Content Company (Hilary Marsh)
Hilary is one of the worlds’ most experienced and accomplished content practitioners and teachers. Her long-standing and routinely updated blog is a goldmine for content strategists.

Thinking — Lauren Pope
A UK content practitioner with significant experience working with government and charities, Lauren’s blog is full of practical advice across the content spectrum.

Blog — Elle Geraghty
Elle is a leading light in the Australian digital content industry, who founded the wildly popular Sydney Content Strategy Meetup. A former journalist and radio producer, Elle’s blog posts deliver detailed advice on all aspects of web content in an engaging, human style.

Medium blog — Rachael Mullins
Rachael is the content strategist for Zendesk. A technical writer by trade, it shows in her ability to explain content concepts and approaches clearly and succinctly. There’s no better example than her brilliant post Bring out your inner UX writer.

Resources for web writers — 4 Syllables
Not a blog, but just as valuable. 4 Syllables is one of Australia’s longest-serving and best-regarded digital content consultancies and trainers. With a particular focus on accessibility, their free content tips, templates, checklists, and exercises are a credit to their knowledge as well as their commitment to educating the content community.



Dan Craddock

Government digital professional. Content strategy and design, product management, UI design, accessibility, performance analysis.