Content Strategy for a Team of One

How to advocate in a room full of devs and designers

Alexandra Hunter
Published in
8 min readDec 20, 2018


Illustration by Skip Hursh

SS o you’re a solo content wanderer in a tech wilderness of designers, developers, and product managers who might not know you exist. Or that they need you. I hear you. I’ve been you.

As the first content strategist at Shopify Plus, I spent more than a year and a half building and promoting the content practice in Waterloo, Canada. When I first arrived, unreviewed content still “shipped” through the cracks. Content recommendations were often deemed out of scope. Onboarding narratives, feedback alerts, and helpful error messages were mostly absent from prototypes.

Sound familiar? Despair not — there is a way forward.

Here’s what I’ve learned on the ground and now share with you, content comrade: High-impact strategies to grow your team’s content culture. Spoiler: It’s all about building relationships, finding allies, and saying no to the right things.

Build relationships with the right people (that is, everyone)

Soft skills are social currency. Because content strategy is often the minority discipline, the onus is on you to reach out. How can colleagues ask for content help if they don’t know your Slack handle? Or that office hours are every second Tuesday? Be brave and make first contact.

The weightier your content design and information architecture (IA) recommendations, the stronger the bridge of relationship you'll need to build.

How I build relationships

  • Schedule weekly one-on-one meetings with designers: Feedback is nicer in person or through video chat than as written comments, where charm and wit are reduced to emojis and exclamation marks. Real face-to-face interactions are the fastest way to build mutual empathy.
  • Be approachable: Small, intentional gestures like acknowledging people and being genuinely interested in them keep the proverbial office door open. Next time they have a question, they know you’ll make time.
  • Coffee chats with developers: Most devs are curious about what a content strategist actually does, so this is your chance to advocate for it…



Alexandra Hunter
Writer for

Content Designer, Writer, Abstract Artist