Meet Sarah

I’m an Australian content strategist and writer. I divide my time between:

  • delivering strategies that empower digital product users, and
  • writing long rambly articles and prose for my Substack publications and collection of notebooks.

Meet Sarah

I’m an Australian content strategist and writer. I divide my time between:

  • delivering strategies that empower digital product users, and
  • writing long rambly articles and prose for my Substack publications and collection of notebooks.

I’ve been creating user-centred content that makes a big impact since 2010. But I didn’t know it then.

In 2008, I popped out of a degree in writing and cultural studies and into the limited job market of the Global Financial Crisis. I took on a jumble of roles to pay my rent and get some professional writing hours under my belt.

By the time I was hired in my first full time role in 2010, my writing had improved, I understood customer experience, and I knew my features from my benefits when it came to selling.

A wild and varied few years meant I started my first fill-time role with:

  • well practiced professional writing skills
  • an understanding of online communities and creating engaging experiences
  • some handy persuasive, team management and training skills (thanks retail!).

I was hired as a Conference Producer in 2010. Not to be confused with an Event Manager, the role of a Conference Producer is primarily product development. Conferences sell based on how you transform cold calls into audience-approved brochure content.

And the impact of the words was measurable. A good conference title and tagline could be the difference between a 200 person conference and a nice bonus, and an immediate lack of job security.

By the time I began writing websites more regularly in 2016 (a job or 2 later) I’d become known as the person to turn to for good words.

I don’t think it’s because I had a particular flair for grammar or style. My special skill was a form of translation. I listened or researched, and chose my words carefully to meet whatever goal was set in front of me.

I began to fall in love with content design and content strategy. Leading tech and content projects — from headless CMS builds to SharePoint intranets and small-scale social media strategies — all I wanted to do was make the process, and the content, better.

Better for content creators and publishers.

Better for developers.

Better for the audience.

Better for the business who was signing the cheques.

In 2018 I started my own business so that I could throw all my effort at this thing I loved. It gave me the ability to stay regional, keep my little house and little dog and big back yard. It gave me the ability to work beyond my geographical boundaries, with clients in across Australia's major cities and internationally.

I was able to stick to my principles and work with microbusinesses run by entrepreneurs with disabilities, or participate in projects that explore the edges of content accessibility. I’m proud of the work I’ve been able to do, and look forward to the work that comes next.

The work I really love

  • Developing and improving content structures (with a particular love for content modelling and playing in headless systems).
  • Writing good and writing for good: applying inclusion and access principles at every stage of a project.
  • Improving clunky processes, or creating a process where none exists.
  • Knowledge management, including creating guidance for content like style guides and content workflows that focus on long term management.
  • Considering and testing hypotheses around content performance to plan, prioritise, and focus the day-to-day work on the things that make a difference.

Also in my wheelhouse

  • Working inside and alongside cross-functional teams: uncovering each team’s unique vocabulary and finding new ways to play nice and do great work.
  • Coaching and mentoring juniors.
  • Advocating for the role of content across disciplines to keep everyone working in the same direction.
  • Facilitating useful and productive workshops that stay on task and get the outcomes we need (or at least take steps in the right direction).

The work I really love

  • Developing and improving content structures (with a particular love for content modelling and playing in headless systems).
  • Writing good and writing for good: applying inclusion and access principles at every stage of a project.
  • Improving clunky processes, or creating a process where none exists.
  • Knowledge management, including creating guidance for content like style guides and content workflows that focus on long term management.
  • Considering and testing hypotheses around content performance to plan, prioritise, and focus the day-to-day work on the things that make a difference.

Also in my wheelhouse

  • Working inside and alongside cross-functional teams: uncovering each team’s unique vocabulary and finding new ways to play nice and do great work.
  • Coaching and mentoring juniors.
  • Advocating for the role of content across disciplines to keep everyone working in the same direction.
  • Facilitating useful and productive workshops that stay on task and get the outcomes we need (or at least take steps in the right direction).

Principles

Stay curious

I’m a questioner by nature. I’ve worked hard to turn my overwhelming (and sometimes annoying) curiosity into an asset. My curiosity helps me keep an eye out for new ideas. It means I can sift through different opinions to find common ground. And it keeps me focused on what tweaks could improve performance.

Create for everyone

It’s too small a statement for too big a sentiment, but inclusion is important. I take a particular interest in content accessibility and readability, and do my best to use inclusive language. I actively seek new information so I can know better and do better. I strive to work alongside people who feel the same, and commit to being candid and open when I see opportunities for change.

Don't forget the money

I put users at the centre of the work I do, but that doesn’t mean I ignore the commercial imperatives that drive decisions. You’ll never hear me promise to fix all the problems or make you millions. But I will be brutally honest about your processes, systems, and content, and how they might cost you now and in the future.