Confab Recap 2012: A Happy Strategist Returns with Ideas
As I’ve noted, the discipline of Content Strategy recognizes that web content is a thing–good content doesn’t just happen. It needs to be conceptualized, produced and managed. So once a year, content wranglers make their way to Minneapolis, MN (home of Brain Traffic) to survey the field, examine trends, share stories and look towards the future.
Minneapolis, let me say–you’re lovely.
A brief recap of Confab 2012 and my takeaways:
To me, the most useful sessions were very granular and specific. We know content is messy–I need tools to deal with that. Sessions were most useful to me when they answered that need.
Melissa Rach‘s session on Content and Cash gave me strategies to eliminate fear and to assess the value in scoping projects with new vendors. Her talk was a phenomenal primer in client and project management. Key takeaways:
- Eliminate fear by telling hopeful stories, and revisit them often i.e. “This will eliminate user error by 40%!” “This will save you 2 hours a day!”
- Always talk about budget numbers on the phone–*even if you’re an introvert*. You’ll get immediate feedback–even if you need to rescope a project–and you’ll be on hand to answer questions.
- Consider the emotional headspace of your user, and determine the right tone for that moment. 404 page? Maybe you can be more clever. FAQs section? Your user is probably a bit mad at you–be sensitive to those needs, and cater your tone accordingly.
- Make your voice and tone widely known. While 3 people may use Lee’s style guide, memos on Mailchimp’s voice and tone are read by everyone in the organization–everyone knows how MC “sounds.” In fact Lee developed an interactive guide to MC’s voice and tone to bring this content strategy to life.
Two sessions in particular gave me really exciting ideas for the future of content at Flat World.
- Using search terms from our site to shape our content calendar. Lou Rosenfeld’s talk on Site Search Analytics (SSA) a lesser-known aspect of Google’s Analytics suite, can show what your users are looking for on particular months and times of day. SSA search terms show the “desire paths” of your users. Our content should meet those needs. I’ll be pulling that data from our site to inform our editorial calendar for our blog.
- Team Content. Bostonian Katie Del Angel at ISITE Design wanted to get her team to blog. So she offered pizza. Now her team meets once a month in a “newsroom” format to brainstorm and fill out the editorial calendar–brilliant!
If you live in Boston, we’re recapping Confab at the CS New England Meetup on May 22nd. Hope to see you there.