Top Content Strategy Takeaways from Confab 2013 London—Day One

Kristina Halvorson Opening Confab 2013

Content strategists from all over the world gathered for two frosty March days in London to learn from some of the brightest minds in the content universe. I was delighted to be part of the enthusiastic crowd. 

I’ll dig more deeply into individual presentation content soon. But for now, here are some of my favorite takeaways from the many awesome presenters on the first day of Confab 2013. Content strategy may still be hard to do. But, the presenters made it easy to understand the what, why, and how of implementation.

Kristina Halvorson, Founder, Brain Traffic

  • As content strategists, we have the power to change the way our companies treat content.
  • Everybody is finding their own way so fake it till you make it.
  • Your top job is to facilitate conversations.

Kate Kiefer Lee, Content Curator, MailChimp

  • It’s vital to find your voice so that your content genuinely reflects the true nature of you and your organization. Write from the heart.
  • Empathy is critical in order to create content that really resonates with your readers.
  • Read your content out loud as if you were reading to your intended target.
  • Be honest. Honesty always pays and your customers will know when you are lying.

Leisa Reichelt,  Author, A Practical Guide to Strategic User Experience

  • People don’t buy what you do. They buy why you do it.
  • Understand and care about where money comes in and goes out. Think in terms of customer-centric accounting.
  • Show. Don’t tell.  Prototypes are persuasive. Use prototyping so that your internal and external customers can visualize your content strategy.
  • Don’t work alone. Include key team members from the very beginning as you develop your content strategy and execution.

Margo Blumstein, Brand & Content Strategist, Appropriate, Inc.

  • Slow content can be a very good thing.  As long as your readers are willingly and actively engaged with your content, they won’t mind taking a lot of time to consume it. Disney, Patagonia, Ikea, and REI are brilliant at this.
  • Patagonia is a wonderful example of slow content online. They encourage people to read long form copy that reflects what’s truly important to them–that is, genuinely caring about the quality of our environment. Their products match that worldview beautifully

Kerry-Anne Gillowey, Content Strategy Consultant, August Sun Projects

  • Customer surveys are inferior to in person interviews. Why? Because you will never get to the in-depth insights into your customers attitudes, beliefs, and feelings, in a survey. Only by engaging them in a one on one personal interview will you be able to draw out what they really, really think.

Max Greenhut, User Experience Director, Disney

  • Disney’s goal is “to bring dreams to life and to create lifetime memories.” What a beautiful sentiment!
  • Determine exactly what guests need to know so that they can have that very enchanting Disney experience.
  • Their content strategy is all about storytelling and involves telling different stories for different audiences.

Melissa Rach, Partner, Dialog Studios

  • You must realize that content strategy requires diverting resources from current projects. Therefore, you must demonstrate tangible value that justifies that resource shift.
  • Use a simple formula to estimate value and ROI: Value = Benefits – Costs.
  • Demonstrate that, with a high degree of success probability, savings will follow from the use of content is a product, as a service, as in efficiency tool.
  • Always make your presentation of the numbers in person–or, at worst, over the phone. Never via email.

Karen McGrane, Managing Partner, Bond Art + Science

  • Although there is a digital divide globally among those with computer-based Internet access and those without, that divide is erased by the consumption of content on mobile devices.
  • All content must be created so that it can be readily consumed on PCs, tablets, or smartphones.
  • There is no such thing as good writing for mobile. There is just good writing.
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