Live from Confab: Content strategy for personalization

Content strategy for personalization: Five steps toward building thoughtful targeted experiences, by Colin Eagan

confab logoWhat is targeting, and why do I care?

Targeting is personalized content/layout for a person. It’s adaptive to a unique user trait, and it can be based on zip code, browsing history, etc.

Targeted = customized, based on data. Continue Reading


Live from Confab: Measure and optimize

Measure and optimize: Using web analytics to evaluate and hone your content strategy, by Jeff Klag

confab logoJeff works at John Deere. Until a few months ago, their website’s success was business-centric, based on traditional success markers such as equipment sales, and maintenance.

Now, with content strategy, they want content to effortlessly guide the user to complete their intended task. That changes everything. They created a core strategy statement, identified the top goals (customer tasks), and made their secondary goals ones to support the sales journey.

In this talk, we’ll:

  • Learn how quantified task rates validate your content strategy
  • See how task reporting can fuel content optimization
  • Leverage Jeff’s approach in our work Continue Reading

Live from Confab: Customer service design

Customer service design: Content strategy in the spaces between, by Mike Atherton

confab logoAs a child of the ’80s, Mike (in England) sent away to the US for comic books. It would take at least 6 weeks to get the comics, but the store sent a postcard to let him know the comics were on their way.

That’s experience design, customer service, and content strategy. Crossing the streams of UX, IA, and CS.

Today, we have way more channels of communications, and we can get things shipped way faster.

Similarly, the hotel here provides an experience that goes from Confab site -> the hotel’s web booking -> email reminder -> walking into the hotel door -> checking in at the kiosk -> going to your room -> seeing a personalized welcome message on the TV.

This is service design. Continue Reading


Live from Confab: How great SEO fuels great content strategy

How great SEO fuels great content strategy, by Alex Volk

confab logoComes from SEO background, and has recently brought content strategy into his team and his work. This talk isn’t going to be the basics of SEO. He’s going to talk about how SEO can identify user needs for content strategy.

Growth mindset means moving from defensively explaining to everyone that you know things, to looking for opportunities to learn and improve. Continue Reading


Live from Confab: Toward humane tech

Toward humane tech, by Anil Dash

confab logoAnil’s been working on the web for 20 years. He helped build Movable Type, one of the first CMSs, and got connected to a community of idealistic creators. “We dreamed of connecting people.” And the internet has connected people in many ways.

15 years ago, the people working on the web were underdogs. But now, we won! Collectively, we’ve changed the world.

But what did we (individually) make? What were our choices? Continue Reading


Live from Confab: Creating a Content Lab

Creating a Content Lab: Your Best-Kept Resourcing Secret, by Kate Garklavs

confab logoStarted life as a fiction writer, and uses a lot of those fiction ideas in her content. Now, at 18F, she’s one of nine content designers. She used to be the only one. Still, as nine, that’s not a ton, so they designed a content lab.


18F works on civic design:

  • They’ve made the immigration process easier through resource and form design
  • They’ve brought kids into national parks
  • They’ve made campaign finance data easier to find and understand

Working as the sole content designer in 2014, Kate had a hard time providing people with enough high quality content. They determined they needed a process or system to do more good, more efficiently. Continue Reading


Live from Confab: Understanding your audience

Understanding your audience, by Robert Mills

confab logoAudience research should become embedded into your work. This talk will include quick win suggestions and easy ways to incorporate research into projects as an individual, as opposed to the bigger projects with tons of resources.

Three steps:

  • The difference between knowing and understanding
  • How to actually gain the understanding
  • How to apply the learning to content strategy

Continue Reading


Live from Confab: Opening Keynote

Opening Keynote, by Kristina Halvorson

confab logoThe number one question is: How do I make people in my organization understand what content strategy is, why it’s important, and how it’s going to help us?

It’s nice that people are no longer asking “how do I explain to people what content strategy is” and instead are asking “how do I help people understand why it’s important.”

We need to have a common language so that we can speak to it with consistency. Or do we? Actually, we can have different definitions. We just need to agree on how to use content strategy in our day to day.

  1. Framework
  2. Deliverable
  3. Practice
  4. Role
  5. Discipline

Continue Reading


Content Strategy as a Consultant

Consulting is a dirty word. No one wants to be a consultant; it brings up images of sleazy businessmen, with clients who have tons of money to waste on someone who does nothing. Still, the actual term “consulting” is defined as “the business of giving expert advice to other professionals.”

As a content strategist at an agency, this is what I do. I provide recommendations and advice – hopefully expert – to professionals in other fields, who have other areas of expertise. I create templates and guidelines and criterion for them to use, so that they can focus on their own work, rather than trying to learn more about content strategy.


I’m not a consultant, I’m a gopher.

My dad runs an educational consulting organization. He puts together an annual conference, during which teachers from around the world come together to learn and experience constructivist teaching practices. His job title used to be “conference organizer” or “conference director,” but after a few years he decided to change the title to “head gopher.”

He had realized that, as someone with a lot of valuable information, he could best help people as a consultant of sorts: he would “go ‘fer answers” and come back with a more detailed and research explanation. Since he had set up the conference, he would also go ‘fer coffee, go ‘fer markers, and go ‘fer help.” I do the same: I’m a ¬†gopher. I go ‘fer research, go ‘fer usability testing, go ‘fer IA, and go ‘fer any other content strategy needs my clients have.

While few clients have the money for a full time content strategist, many have the budget for a gopher. For me, it’s incredibly fulfilling to be able to take in information, and then leave, research, put together a perspective or report, and bring it back.

Content strategists choose to work either in-house or in an agency. I’ve always loved agency life, maybe because I get to be a gopher.