Tag Archives: Sarah Cancilla

Content Strategy Forum 2010: the wrap-up

I thought the Content Strategy Forum would be good. It completely blew me away. I’m only just recovering now.

I think we might be onto something with this content strategy thing, people.
And that isn’t the French wine speaking.

Bloody good wine, though. And two-hour, sit-down lunches with wait-staff who put
us to shame with their elegance. Wow. Need to go to more conferences in France.

Here’s a wrap-up of the presentations I attended:

  • The masterfully-chosen exercises in Karen McGrane and Rachel Lovinger’s “Content Analysis” workshop required us to analyze content on a real website using apparently straightforward criteria. It wasn’t until we actually started that I realized that analysis is impossible without an understanding of business goals. We couldn’t produce anything meaningful without backing up into strategy. Genius. (Extra points for picking on my favorite website to hate: Cisco.com.)
  • Rahel Bailie’s keynote described a repeatable system for managing content’s entire lifecycle. Bailie sees content strategy as a key element of user experience, noting that a broken experience is the fastest way to deter confidence.
  • Sylvie Daumal offered insight into pan-European web projects run like global advertising campaigns, often in direct competition with local teams working for the same organization. According to Daumal, user-centered design techniques haven’t had much impact in Europe. I wonder whether that might change soon.
  • In her keynote, Kristina Halvorson shared her story of transformation from web writer to content strategy advocate. She urged everyone in the room to bravely face
    the conflict that’s bound to arise when we advocate organizational change.
    Halvorson is onto something. The time’s right for some serious change-making. Let’s make it a content strategy party.
  • Colleen Jones presented a thorough, rational approach to content analysis, backed by solid business strategy. I aspire to one day have Jones’ calm, authoritative demeanor when dealing with such a thorny issue.
  • Sarah Cancilla shared her experiences working on content strategy for Facebook’s 5 billion pieces of content per week. (Read that again.) Cancilla outlined a strategy for selling content strategy to an engineering- and design-focused organization in which everyone already has a stake in content. Favorite quote: “apply content strategy to your content strategy”. Inspirational.

A massive “merci” to Destry Wion and STC France for organizing this breakthrough event.