Confab Minnesota 2013: More than Words


This week, resident content experts Maggie and Jill joined me at the Confab Minnesota conference. We were among more than six hundred content strategists whose projects run the gamut from global enterprises to two-person Web teams, manufacturing to healthcare, retail to non-profit.

Much time was spent as you’d expect: talking about words. Creating the appropriate voice for your organization, dealing with content overload, and, in general, creating better content experiences.

If you’re a Geonetric client, this would have been familiar ground, thanks to our eHealth Symposium and clients-only webinars. You already know how to create better cross-device experiences through responsive design, why structured content is essential for the future of search, how to find the right voice and tone for writing about healthcare, and how to make smarter content decisions using data. And if you don’t have time to stay on top of it all, you’ve got a team of smart folks backing you up.

For all of the talk about content, in reality, the conference was more about people than words.

Make a Change

It shouldn’t have been a shock. Content, the Web, and marketing all become a focal point for the organization. They are the external proof that great work is being done. That brings a lot of pressure — and a lot of resistance — to the change that is required to improve the content experience for our audiences.

Three tips for making change happen:

  1. Talk to People: I’ve been amazed at how many client meetings I’ve been in where the people at the table from the same organization don’t know each other. They’re meeting for the first time because of the change—and you wonder why they’re uptight. So, go find people you don’t normally interact with. Ask them what they’re working on. Tell them what you’re up to. It’s laying the groundwork for collaboration in the future.
  2. Celebrate Their Success: Neurology just got a new, non-invasive, uh… laser cat for zapping… yucky stuff and something something. They want a new microsite filled with jargon-y content? How exciting! As you’re talking to people, figure out what they’re excited about. Change and collaboration require shared goals. This is how you get there. Shared goals also help with focus and prioritization – helping you deliver more value, rather than more stuff.
  3. Be as Cross-Functional As You Can Be: Nearly every presentation contained a photo of grain silos. The presenters talked about tearing down the walls, and working as an empowered, cross-functional team. Unfortunately, that’s not the current reality for many organizations. You have to be clever. Figure out how to get everyone to the table, open the channels of communication, and use those shared goals to help everyone pull together.

Change is never easy. It requires you to slow down. It necessitates a shift in thinking – rather than focusing on volume, focus on value. Rather than more content, more page views, more Facebook fans, it’s about getting the right content in front of the right people at the right time.

(Not a client? You can still keep up with how these types of emerging trends are affecting healthcare marketing – sign up for Geonetric’s eHealth Spotlight Newsletter.)

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This entry was posted in Agile, Content, Industry Trends, Social Media, Tradeshow/Conference by David Sturtz. Bookmark the permalink.
David Sturtz

About David Sturtz

David uses his deep background in design, content strategy and product development to bring vision and innovation to Geonetric’s digital marketing and content practices. He has tackled healthcare digital marketing challenges from all sides, from designing user-friendly information architectures to building content management software that runs websites for hundreds of healthcare brands. He holds a master’s degree in library and information science from Drexel University and a bachelor’s degree in design from the University of Northern Iowa.

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