Content Strategy behind the scenes with Vinish Garg
To showcase the personalities behind content strategy, I chose individuals from all over the world and asked them about what insights and life experience they can offer the rest of us.
What was your first job?
My first job was in an inbound customer support team for a mobile operator, in 2003. In 2005, I switched to get my first relevant job in technology, as a technical writer.
How did you begin to work in Content Strategy?
While working as a technical writer, I started reading how some of the world’s leading technical communicators were talking about their work. I found Tom Johnson (his blog), Mark Baker and Scott Abel, and a few more, for their writings and talks.
I started presenting at the STC and tcworld India conferences, started writing a blog, contributed guest posts, and really got into the content on the intersection of technical writing and content strategy.
In June 2009, one of my clients asked me to write a functional specifications document and then a technical design document (for B2B marketplace in snow-ploughing in Hawaii). That was my first project where I took ownership of the project as a business analyst, studied design and content strategy practices (blog subscriptions, A List Apart, STC talks, and talks by the folks in my network). This project coincided with some of the best conferences around that time including Intelligent Content Conference and Content Strategy Forum.
By around 2015, I could not separate my work from how the interface is designed for the users’ interactions, the validations, the compliance to the business rules, the marketability and conversions, and so on. Now for the last five to six years, I am working on the projects as *content + UX* consultant.
What was the highlight of your career so far?
I was always keen to follow how the best in the business design their thoughts and practices. For instance, who are the best folks around talking or writing about taxonomy, omnichannel, buy-in from stakeholders, content experience, content-driven design, content for AI, content models, content vision, and who are making a transition from content to design. Staying connected with this core group has been quite a highlight, and I have made terrific relationships. The real highlight has been to build on these relationships to plan a Medium publication where I host international guests in a series of conversations. This publication gives me a lot of joy!
What do you think is the biggest misconception about Content Strategy?
Most of the businesses and a majority of content practitioners underestimate the role of content strategy in the product.
To them, it is more of a pre-sales or post-sales, or merely about the interface text, which is not true.
What’s the situation of Content Strategy in your country?
It is a complete mess in India! The discipline (and roles for the open positions) is misplaced, wrongly hyped, and is down in the wrong direction.
What’s your favorite buzzword?
- Statement: They are just wasting their time because the product will not sell or scale.
- Short version: Self-awareness in context
Do you have any role model in your field and/or is there anyone on social media you find professionally inspiring to follow?
So many people for so many reasons. I cannot pick less than 20 people, would you allow me to name 20?
What’s the best piece of advice you have ever been given?
Leaving space before a colon is a crime; this attention to detail is going to be your best friend forever.
Said Seema Ghai, my documentation manager at coVeda, in 2005.