Top 10 Takeaways from Confab Central 2015

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I love learning and talking about content strategy. And writing. And editing. Oh, and style guides. Man, do I love a good style guide. Seriously. It totally pumps me up.

Luckily, at Geonetric, I’m surrounded by people who feel the same way. And just last week, four of us braved Midwestern road construction season and drove north to Minneapolis for Confab Central 2015, a content strategy conference.

Where the Content Geeks Gather

There’s something pretty awesome about sitting in a room with 650 people who, just like you, twitch at poorly written Web content and misplaced calls to action.

For two days, we learned from content strategy thought leaders from Google, Facebook and Moz. We geeked out listening to Gerry McGovern, Kristina Halvorson and Anne Lamott. And we left with way more ideas than we can conceivably implement anytime soon.

That’s always the problem with inspiring events like this, right? You learn so much in such a short time that it’s hard to decide which cool new idea to try first. Going back through my passionately scribbled notes, I see some pretty neat stuff. Lots of things I want to implement on client projects. Tons of ideas to help me get better at what I do.
Which leads me to …

My Top 10 Confab “Aha” Moments

These are just a few of the insights from the conference.

  1. When you develop content for your website, ask yourself: How will this help me meet the needs of my audience? Make that your focus, because when you solve your users’ problems, they’ll solve your problems.
  2. It’s no longer the age of the organization; it’s the age of the user. We don’t necessarily want what our users want, and we need to be aware of that. Give users what they’re looking for—and give it to them quickly. The average person’s attention span decreased by four seconds—from 12 to eight—between 2000 and 2013. So grab your users’ interest fast. Give them a reason to stick with you so they don’t move on to something else.
  3. Don’t just create something for the sake of creating it. Know the reason for every piece of content on your site. Write for what your users need, and give them an action to take.
  4. A content strategist’s job is to make the unclear clear. We are united against ambiguity.
  5. Owning something makes it personal. Invest time in creating a content governance plan to drive accountability and help you maintain a better website.
  6. The content you get rid of is just as important as the content you create.
  7. If you publish content without context, it’s anyone’s game. Always ground your content in strategy so you make your point before a question’s raised.
  8. Remember that content is never finished. Content strategy is a process AND a deliverable.
  9. The top five spots on a Google search results list get 67 percent of the clicks, so it’s in your best interest to develop content that will you get you there. Google rewards pages written for users.
  10. Social sharing is one way Google determines reliable content, so it’s more important than ever to create information people want to share on social media.

Finally, I’ll leave you with the words of Gerry McGovern, who stresses the importance of the user experience and better content management: “Imagine if your content smelled when it was old. We’d all faint.”

If you need help developing an effective content strategy, our content team loves digging into a new project. And our marketing campaigns team has experience creating branded content and cross-channel strategies that drive users to your site and encourage engagement.

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