IMG_1302There is something comforting and exciting about attending a conference in a city that you are familiar with. While I love checking out new cities and going new places, when you are attending a conference that has intensive in the name, it helps to know your way around and to a few good restaurants. Because your brain power is nil at the end of the day.

I was lucky enough to attend Confab Intensive in September in Portland, along with Danielle Gabriel from the Oregon Wine Research Institute. Three days of a deep dive into the nitty gritty of content strategy, including analytics, governance, task identification, and coaching. We attended a few good sessions (and one dud, it’s a conference rule, I think). My favorite three sessions and their slides are:

The Core Model: Getting to Business While Making Friends by Ida Aalen and Audun Rundberg

Workflow and governance: Aligning your people and processes by Melissa Breker and Kathy Wagner

Coaching content strategy by Sara Wachter-Boettcher

Here are my main three takeaways from the conference:

  1. Facilitation is key – not telling people what to do, but by providing guidance and a smoother process with good governance, visible goals, and clear content strategy.
  2. Visibility and clarity is needed when it comes to content strategy and governance – Put effort into visual artifacts, explanations, goals, and deliverables. It helps me and it helps my internal users.
  3. It’s all about the CORE of a sitewhere users solve tasks and you reach your business objectives. From there you develop your inward paths and forward paths.


Please attend the Drupal Web Communications and Content Strategy meetup on September 22 (2-3:30pm, ALS 3005)  where Danielle and I will go in depth into each of our favorite sessions and describe what we learned and why we felt they were so useful.

See you there.


Talks I attended

Day 1

New Major – American Cool (Watch It)

Kenn Elmore, Dean of Students, Boston University 

How to keep it smart-and simple

Michael Freedman, Director of Editorial and Content, Stanford Graduate School of Business

Get with the program: Content strategy for program, major, and degree pages (slides)

Doug Gapinski, Strategist at mStoner

Rethinking mobile learning & the promise of flying cars

Andrew Smyk, Program Coordinator, Sheridan College

No content strategy? Try some content tactics (Watch It)

Lori Packer, Web Editor, University of Rochester

Lightning Talks (Watch Them

Note: they are all pretty good but start the video at 38:00 for the most entertaining talk. I have watched this more than once and laughed super hard.

Day 2

Show Your Work (Watch It

Austin Kleon, Author of Steal Like An Artist

The voyage of the beagle: Biology, evolution, and content strategy

Jeff Stevens, Assistant Web Manager, University of Florida Health Web Services

Ready, fire, aim: Putting first things first when you want results

Tom Taylor and Tony Proudfoot, Ball State 

Cardsorting for humanities: Context in usability testing (Watch It

Robin Smail, Penn State 

Non-invasive governance: Meeting people where they are

Shelley Keith, Director of Digital Communications, University of Mary Washington