Content Strategy Forum Wrap-Up

Jul 09, 2014

We were thrilled to be able to sponsor and attend Content Strategy Forum in Frankfurt last week. 


Although I wasn’t able to attend as many sessions as I would have liked, I did catch a few and heard great things about those I missed. Fortunately, the CSForum website has links to all the presentations so we can all catch up on what we missed.

Who We Are and What We Do

Margo Bloomstein’s keynote on ”Defining Our Profession, Defining Ourselves,” illuminated the evolution of our discipline and the challenges and opportunities that have come from the development of such a wide variety of capabilities under the content strategy umbrella. And who knew how much we have in common with the modern filling station?

Another view on the profession and its development was offered by Eric Reiss, in “Content, Context, Community,” who argues that if we want to advance our discipline and make ourselves an indispensable resource, we need to be talking to the people in the boardroom—and there are some ways we may need to present ourselves and our work if we want to win their respect and signatures on a contract. Eric’s flair for the dramatic and frank speaking style made for a lively session.

People, Politics, and Content Strategy Projects

The people aspect of working on content strategy projects was brilliantly addressed by several presenters.

Hilary Marsh’s presentation, “Managing the Politics of Content,” addressed how content can’t do its job if people get in the way. Hilary presented her formula for content success and helpful tips on how to transcend the politics that can derail content projects.

Kerry-Anne Gillowey, in “The People Puzzle: Making the Pieces Fit,” talked about how the importance of understanding and addressing the personalities and team dynamics particularly on cross-disciplinary project teams.

Kate Kenyon’s session, “Living the content dream: Tricks to get you from theory to practice,” besides featuring the most charming slides of the entire conference, presented helpful tips on knowing your audience, identifying influencers, storytelling, and more.

Christiaan Lustig, in “You can’t break down silos, but you can connect them,” took the stance that rather than trying to break down organizational silos (which exist for a reason) and ending up with one big, inflexible, non-scalable silo, we should aim for cross-silo teams organized around customer tasks and focus on optimizing processes.   

Designing for Real People and Their Needs

Clay Delk’s presentation, “Will Grandma Care?” discussed how and why to shift your content goals from understandable to helpful, relevant to meaningful, and usable to valuable. The question isn’t “Will Grandma understand?” but “Will Grandma care?” Bonus points to Clay for pointing out that the “Grandma” trope is ageist and sexist and should be retired altogether!

Andrew Zusman, in “Designing for Cognitive Engagement,” talked about how embracing the concept of universal design (allowing users flexibility in how they access information, removing noise to make information more perceptible, allowing tolerance for error, and equitable use) helps not only those with accessibility issues, but everyone.

Michael Andrews’ presentation on “Using Content Attractors to Overcome Indifference” was a fascinating exploration of the ideal of an emotionally intelligent recommendation engine could improve content recommendations. In addition to tagging content by subject or audience, what would it look like to tag it for attitude and emotional experience?

And So Much More

For more on the sessions, including much more in-depth reporting on the sessions by attendees, be sure to visit the CSForum site.


Paula Land


Paula Land is co-founder and CEO of Content Insight and author of Content Audits and Inventories: A Handbook.

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