A huge thank you to the generous, expert presenters who volunteer their time and knowledge to present at Sydney Content Strategy meetup.
This is a community event that only exists due to their awesome contributions. Thank you! And our super generous sponsor Atlassian provides the most excellent inner city venue plus nibbles.
We could not do it without Warren and the crew from Atlassian :)
On Monday 27 September Meaghan Newson shared "Six things I learned when I tried to change the world with a style manual"
Meaghan Newson led the team that delivered the Australian Government Style Manual from Beta to Live during 2019-2021, bringing a much-loved national treasure into the digital age.
She spent 4 years at the Digital Transformation Agency working on products that are now helping the Australian Public Service to improve skills in digital. Meaghan has been a content designer and strategist, product owner and scrum master, and likes to attempt the impossible by doing content in agile.
On Monday 16 August, Matt McCarthy ...
How do you move your strategy from a report into something embedded and championed across the organisation? Discover the approach Austrade took to shift mindset, enable people, change processes and enhance systems.
Join Matthew McCarthy as he walks through the successes and challenges of implementing an enterprise content strategy with a small team, limited budget and low organisational capability.
Matthew is a strategic design lead at the human-centred design consultancy Tobias. For the last 16 months he has worked alongside Austrade, been embedded in their teams and led their content governance rollout, content modelling, CMS pilot, capability uplift and strategic communication.
He has spent over 10 years in content and design, working with a range of clients from government, global brands, scaleups and startups. You may recognise him from his time at the DTA, where he was the content strategist on the Whole of Government Content Strategy. This was a project spanning 40 government agencies to discover and resolve content pain points resulting in the creation of guidelines and learning design standards.
On Wednesday 26 May we met for a lunch time chat with Krystal Higgins, author of the new book, Better Onboarding. Krystal is a UX lead who connects the dots between products, systems, and the people that use them. She’s taught teams across the world how to design better, human-centered onboarding through workshops, talks, her collection of first run experiences and onboarding articles, and, now, through her newly-announced book "Better Onboarding."
Krystal has more than 15 years of experience in the US and Australia designing products for mobile, web, wearable, and new platforms at companies like NVIDIA, eBay, and, currently, Google. When she’s not working on tech-meets-humans projects, she enjoys painting, illustration, and scuba diving.
On Monday 16th December we met for a quick zoom lunch catch up. We shared our wins and challenges with the team.
Kristina Halvorson joined us for an informal Q & A. It was epic!
We did a morning session for the first time :)
Over the past 15 years working as a content strategist Elle Geraghty has identified seven core problems that prevent organisations nail their content experience.
On Monday 4 May Elle shared those problems are, with concrete examples of how you can start to tackle them.
On Monday 10 February we combined with Sydney Design System Meetup to bring you two presenters. Content is a critical part of any design system.
Our first presenter was Tony Starr, Content Design Manager for the Atlassian Cloud Platform and Product Content Standards.
Strive for 73% content in your design system
"Learn how we built the Atlassian Design System on sheer grit, sweat, and determination. Thrill at how we glued it all together with a lot of user-centered content. Marvel when you see where we are, how we got there, where we are going - and how content is and was, leading this initiative."
Our second presenter was Steven Berends, founder of BEAR LION BIRD.
Steve is a content designer, strategist and volunteer agile coach, currently on assignment at the Australian Trade and Investment Commission.
Spooning: agile content and government design systems
Steve talked about keeping evolving content snuggled up alongside federal, state and bespoke government design systems.
In December we met for an informal end of year celebration :)
On Monday 11 November Sarah Richards from Content Design London and Author of the book "Content Design" talked to us about the evolution of content design over the past five years and took questions from the community about buy in, localisation, leadership, measurement and communication. It was epic! Check out the pics
As head of content design for the Government Digital Service (GDS), Sarah created and implemented the content strategy for the GOV.UK website.
“Why can’t content strategists work on 12 teams each? They just write the words!”
Content leaders face challenges from others who don’t understand their work, their processes, the impact their team makes, and why their team is so unhappy. This makes it hard to make teams successful, keep them together, and grow them over time.
There’s a better way forward: doing less, better. It helped Jonathon grow his team by over 500% and it can help you, too. In this session, you’ll learn proven ways to grow and lead your content team to success in both large and small organizations.
On Tuesday 27 August Padma Gillen came to talk to us about content for digital transformation.
Padma is a content design consultant and trainer at Llibertat in the UK, specialising in content design and content strategy for the public sector. He joined us via Skype. Read his book - Lead with content.
Maybe your job title isn't 'content strategist'. But that doesn't mean you can't practice content strategy – whether you work in content, design or product management.
Amelia Marshall is the Content Lead at Canva, where she's been a jack of all (content) trades. On Monday, July 1st she talked about how to introduce content strategy concepts to organisations that might not think they're ready for the whole shebang. Content strategy by stealth.
Senior Content Manager Jennifer Robson, formerly of PayPal and now running her own business helped us understand voice and tone better on Monday 29 April 2019.
Jennifer writes ... "So many people get confused about voice and tone (and often refer to it as “tone of voice”, not understanding the difference), and I find it’s rare people know how to build and define this. I’ve run a couple of workshops at PayPal on this before, and would love to see how it resonates with others. Jennifer built the voice for PayPal worldwide, Curtin University and some smaller companies and government agencies.
On Monday 25 Feb Adam Barnwell from CHOICE talked about using design sprints to create microsites. Adam shared a great case study about how a 'hack team' of designer, writer, UXer and coder created a microsite communicating CHOICE's position in the royal banking commission using Jake Knapps '5 day design sprint' process.
Adam works cross-functionally in agile teams specialising in UX, believing that the best results come from a content-first user-centred approach. He has 20 years digital experience with a background as a producer and designer having worked at Cancer Council NSW, Sony, LBi, publicis and Ticket Master.
On 10 December Server Content Design Manager and Atlassian sponsor Warren Thompson headlined the meetup. "Warren is a Content Design Manager at Atlassian. He manages a team of content designers, who are the wordsmiths behind the Atlassian self-hosted range of products.
Creating and maintaining product content in an agile development environment is like trying to ride a bucking bull while juggling. Sooner or later the balls will fall, that's a given, but working out which balls to get back on the bull with is sometimes hard. In his presentation, Warren hopes to highlight some common mistakes and simple fixes, and share some learnings so his battle scars are not in vain. In Atlassian style, this bio was written in collaboration with his team, and they got final sign-off."
As content professionals, we inherently know that content strategy means a better customer experience - and that without it, the experience will suffer. So why do we still find it so hard to get buy in?
Lennie Beattie, founder of Melbourne-based content consultancy Content Ark and organiser of the global CSForum in 2016, will explore why we struggle so much and offer some techniques to make it easier. Like many of us, Lennie sees herself as an accidental content strategist, bumping into the discipline as she tried to fix the content mess she was faced with. Like many of us, Lennie still grapples with how to communicate the benefits of the work we do. There's no silver bullet, but there are things we can do to help ourselves.
Debra Taylor, the National Content Director at Deloitte Digital will be challenging us to expand our concept of content strategy with a presentation titled, 'Goodbye content strategy, hello content experience’. Controversial!
Debra is one of the country’s most experienced and long-standing content strategists. Her unique approach combines many years as a writer, editor, editorial director and publisher with an understanding of how content can deliver upon strategic business objectives. She has successfully created content strategies for Telstra, Kmart, Microsoft, Jaguar, Volkswagen, the University of Sydney, QBE, First State Super, the Department of Education and many others.
We talked crafting IA with our very own Elle Geraghty on Monday 25 June 2018. Elle shared her learnings from creating IA with the Australian Museum, Foxtel, Qantas and Transport for NSW and ran a digital card sorting exercise.
Elle Geraghty is a consultant Content Strategist in Sydney Australia. She has been working with content for over 15 years as a content strategist, analyst and journalist.
On Monday 30 April content strategist, content designer and author Sarah Richards joined us from the UK via Skype to talk content design. Sarah owns the Content Design Centre, a small agency providing training and consulting in content strategy and content design for organisations around the world.
Sarah spent 10 years working in digital government, ending as Head of Content Design for the UK Government Digital Service. There she created and developed content design as a discipline for the GOV.UK website and has authored Content Design, a book for anyone interested in creating user-centred content
On Monday 26 March 2018 Leticia Mooney joined us to discuss costing content. As content folk, content is dear to us. We know that content it is valuable. We know that the internet is content. But we articulate that?
On Monday 29 January 2018. Matt Fenwick from Canberra's True North Consulting Presented via video chat. Matt talked about how UX can inform Content Strategy, with a special look at content modelling.
Matt's been an information architect for six years and a professional writer for twenty. He works in both fields: sometimes pure IA/UX, sometimes pure copywriting and often both.
Karina Smith, Principal at Meld Studios, an award-winning design agency that exists to improve the everyday lives of people as they interact with the world around them, has been working with the Federal Government on a large digital transformation project. As part of her work she has been helping the team adopt a human-centred design approach to their content strategy, including content creation process and content governance model. She is going to share her journey and teach us how we can also apply design thinking to author experience.
Karina was joined by James Taylor, Project Manager for the ABS to give an insiders view of the project.
The Digital Transformation Agency, which sits under Prime Minister and Cabinet, is creating content strategy guidance for the whole of the Australian Government. A multi-disciplinary team of content strategists, content designers, engagement, delivery and product managers are co-creating this guidance with around 40 government agencies including some state teams. The first batch of guidance was released on October 31. On November 13 the DTA's content capability lead - Libby Varcoe, product manager for the content strategy - Nina Amini and content designer - Matthew McCarthy, shared this work and the DTA's vision to significantly improve the way government creates, publishes, maintains and removes content.
The language that we choose and the style in which we write can shape our customer's perception of our products and services. It can build trust, create rapport, and set us apart from our competitors. But how do you define voice? And, what about tone?
Monday 9 October, esteemed content strategist Sally Bagshaw from Snappy Sentences shared a number of ways to identify and document your brand's voice and tone. She explained the difference between voice and tone with practical workshop exercises you can run with your team or stakeholders. She also provided examples of tools to communicate it to your content writers. See Sally's slides for more.
On July 10, Meghan Casey, lead content strategist at Brain Traffic, the world's leading agency devoted exclusively to content and author of the Content Strategy Toolkit will be our guest.
She helps a wide variety of clients-startups, nonprofits, colleges and universities, Fortune 50 companies, and everything in between solving the messy content problems most organisations encounter every day. She has also helped The Nerdery, a software development shop, build content strategy into their User Experience practice. Meghan is a regular trainer and speaker on content strategy topics and once inspired workshop participants to do the wave. She has been working with content and communications since 1996.
On May 15 Angela Stengel (@angelastengel) and Christian Lafrance (@madeinlafrance) talked about information architecture, classification systems and podcasts with emphasis on user behaviour rather than podcast subject. Angela Stengel is ABC Radio’s Digital Lead, bridging the gap between technical and editorial development. She oversees the strategy and roll-out of all ABC Radio’s online activity and the pioneering ABC Radio app. Angela joined the ABC in 2008 working for ABC Innovation and went to join ABC Radio launching a new online radio station, ABC Classic 2, using only a tumblr to support its strong content strategy. More recently she applied human centred design to podcast commissioning project First Run. Previously Angela has worked in editorial and digital roles in arts, media and education.
On March 3rd 2017 Kiwi content strategist Max Johns joined us. Max has been working with content for more than 10 years. In 2016 he started Content Strategy, Simplified, a venture aimed at making it easy for businesses to see how content strategy works.Drawing on a series of personal interviews and surveys, Max talked about the relationship and perceived divide between content marketing and content strategy. Specifically, the role personal relationships play in creating this divide, the way organisational structure upholds it, and how strategy can overcome it.
On Monday 30th January 2017 Elle Geraghty, senior content strategist, and founder of the meetup shared her presentation from CSForum16 Melbourne on the Content Canvas. The content canvas is a fab tool to help content strategists bridge the strategy / tactic divide and demonstrate value in an agile environment.
Elle Geraghty is a consultant content strategist from Sydney Australia. For over 15 years Elle has helped companies like Atlassian, Qantas, Virgin Mobile Australia, Foxtel, Amnesty International, the NSW Government, Guide Dogs Australia and the ABC improve their content offering. She takes an evidence-based approach to content strategy, using research and analytics to link the needs of users and authors with business objectives.
On Monday 7th November 2016 Oanh Trinh, senior web coordinator at the University of Technology, Sydney shared a case study about the university's post-grad nursing microsite. Oanh says we should be telling the right story to our users instead of selling products.
We all want our sites to look different but she delivered a site that actually felt different. With a focus on the right messaging for the right audience, this project pushed the project team to do something that hasn’t been done before.
Oanh thrives on collaborating with people and getting everyone involved - like being in a sports team and motivating everyone to get into that #winning state of mind. She's currently rallying up the troops to join the content first movement at the university.
On Monday 29 August 2016 Claire Mahoney, Senior Technical Writer from Atlassian shared her tips for handling content stakeholders. Content strategists frequently operate in a world of resistance. A world made up of people who can't let go of content, who think their content is 'special', and who refuse to acknowledge that content strategy is even a thing. In this presentation, we'll look at how we can change their worldview, and persuade them to our way of thinking.
Claire is a lifelong producer, consumer, and editor of words and ideas. Currently employed at Atlassian, she has worked in various content-related roles, including technical writing, knowledge management, instructional design, and by accident, content strategy. She's authored a number of articles about communication and change, and she firmly believes that lives can be made easier through clear, simple communication.
On 27 June 2016 Elle Geraghty, content strategist from Atlassian shared tips and tricks for testing an IA using Treejack and took a walk through the refreshed Atlassian Voicify cards. These cards are designed to create awesome in-product copy or microcopy.
Elle Geraghty is a consultant content strategist from Sydney Australia. For over 15 years Elle has helped companies like Atlassian, Virgin Mobile Australia, Foxtel, Amnesty International, the NSW Government, Guide Dogs Australia and the ABC improve their content offering. She takes an evidence-based approach to content strategy, using research and analytics to link the needs of users and authors with business objectives.
On Monday 2 May 2016 Mel Flanagan gave us a case study on Common Ground. Common Ground is a NSW Government web service designed to improve transparency, communication and understanding of the complex issues related to exploration and mining in NSW.
Mel Flanagan was the producer and content designer on the project. Mel presented a case study of how the project was approached and how content, language and collaboration became the heart of the project
On Monday 29 Feb 2016 Amber Gladstone talked about how data can improve your content strategy. This season covered:
1. work through examples of using data to improve content strategy
2. highlight common traps of working with data, and ways to avoid them
3. discuss how to get started, if you’re diving in yourself, or tips for working with analysts, if you’re lucky enough to have one!
As a Senior Website Specialist at the Suncorp Group, Amber regularly uses website analytics, search data, and sales trends to improve user experience and business outcomes across several websites. Amber wouldn’t say she’s a content strategist, but she has created and implemented content strategies at Suncorp and BIG W as well as leading a content optimisation program at Virgin Mobile back in 2010.
On Dec 15 2015 Elle Geraghty, content strategist from Atlassian ran a content strategy world cafe. We had five knowledge cafe tables with the following topics.
1. Tools - CMS and other tools - what is working really well?
2. Professional development - Professional development channels - what is your ‘Lancet’ equivalent? How are you learning more about Content Strategy?
3. Selling content strategy - what do you see as the best way to describe what you do?
4. Valuing content strategy - how do you price what you do? what is it worth?
5. Addressing user needs - how do you balance user needs and business goals?
On 27 October 2015 the very fabulous John Wetenhall, Product Marketing Manager for the Confluence family at Atlassian joined us for a discussion about how content strategy and marketing relate to each other.
We created a Venn diagram of sorts showing where marketing and content strategy overlap - and where they don't.
Sally Bashaw from Snappy Sentences joined us all the way from sunny Brisbane on Monday 17 August 2015 to talk Content Strategy for Service Centres.
Sally received wide acclaim for this presentation at Confab in May 2015.
The fabulous Audun Rundberg from Netlife spoke to us all the way from Norway via video chat on Monday 13 April 2015. Audun shared an overview of the Core Model of content management. You may like to follow Audun on twitter @audunru.
I was first introduced to the Core Model at Confab 2014 - I can guarantee you will find something in it to inform your practise :)
We had a social catch up on Wednesday 25 Feb 2015.
Everybody was a five min presenter on Tuesday 9 December 2014. Each of us brought along our favourite content strategy resource. Books, blogs, games, tools and infographics.
On Tuesday 7 October 2014 Matt Rowley presented "How to build real engagement with content strategy".
Matt is the Founder/Editor of Australia's largest independent rugby website and the Managing Director of digital engagement agency Thirteenth Floor. In this presentation, Matt shared strategies he employs to build a community of half a million highly engaged real people for GreenandGoldRugby.com.
On Wednesday 20 August 2014 Angela Stengel from the ABC shared the highlights from her CS Forum Frankfurt presentation: Publish-measure-learn-build: ways to strategically follow an editorial hunch in order to drive the digital design process.
Angela works in ABC Radio Multi-platform, primarily for Classic FM and Classic 2, and previously in ABC Innovation. This presentation was very well met :)
On June 18 2014 Elle Geraghty and Sally Bagshaw shared their experience at Confab Minneapolis 2104. Sally and Elle focussed on sharing what they learnt from their respective Workshops, Content Governance and Content Modelling.
On Tuesday 16 April Lucy Sutton from King Content led a discussion about Content Marketing inspired by her attendance at Sydney Content World.
After spending 10 years in B2B publishing, Lucy Sutton is relatively new to 'content strategy' as a label, but not as a practice. She has been a content strategist at King Content since September 2013.
On Tuesday 18 Feb 2014, Wai Chim presented Richard Sheffield's Content Strategy Mindmap - focusing on the many, many different components and considerations of what makes up a content strategy and asked participants where we might be falling short as practitioners.
Wai wears dual professional hats as a content strategist/children's author.
Christian Llagas joined us on Tuesday 15 October 2013 to talk about content prototyping. Working with real content in the early stages of the design process is one of the most effective ways of validating concepts and ideas with both users and stakeholders. In enterprise environments, content comes typically happens after the CMS is implemented and the visual design is signed off on.
So how can we make things easier on ourselves? Is it possible to get clients delivering in tandem with design and development process? Sending excel and word documents and spreadsheets full of copy is unwieldy and places an unneeded burden on the designer. Christian shared some ideas based on projects he has worked on recently.
Elle Geraghty led a discussion on Wednesday 10 July 2013 about what exactly content strategy is. She gave us an overview of content strategy and discuss various definitions and applications. Elle talked about.....
1. the split between strategy and editorial
2. how to position content strategy in a business
3. where content strategy fits/meshes with other online design and strategy disciplines
4. how to articulate the value of content strategy - especially to a naive audience
On Tuesday 16 April 2013 our guest speaker was Alex Matthews. Alex is a business transformation specialist and qualified elephant handler (no really!) with experience in digital and strategic information management programs.
Alex shared some of his analytics experience, including discussing the difference between vanity vs. actionable metrics and the difference between measures and metrics.
On Tuesday 12 February Digital Eskimo's Liam King talked about estimating content creation time. Check out Liam's blog post about the scary truth about web content.
On Tuesday October 16 2012 at the Arthouse Hotel. Wai Chim shared her thoughts on a webinar presented by the Content Marketing Institute - "Content Marketing & Content Strategy - what’s the difference and why do you need to think about it?"
Wai is a writer and the Head of Content at Switched on Media, a digital marketing agency based in North Sydney that specialises in search and social. She’s worked in online content for almost five years and has looked after content marketing initiatives for a number of notable Australian and international brands such as Stockland, Canon and Commonwealth Bank.
On 31 July we met at the Arthouse Hotel in the city for a social catch up :)
On 29 May 2012 at the office of Digital Eskimo in Surry Hills where guest presenter Christian Llagas, UX Architect at Vodafone Australia presented a case study, followed by a roundtable discussion. Topic: How structured content can help achieve responsive design. Vodafone sells mobile phones. Yet its mobile presence is like that of many large corporations: frustratingly inconsistent. Against the backdrop of a major CMS migration project - what can be done to make sure our content can go from desktop to mobile and back again?
Our third meeting was held upstairs at the Arthouse Hotel on 13 March 2012. Kat Hartmann gave a short presentation followed by a group discussion.
Topic: The Balancing Act: Content-strategy logic tells us we should focus on the short head, but this is often easier said than done. How do strategists balance often-conflicting stakeholder needs with organisational interests? At the same time ensuring content remains high quality, users continue to be engaged and the seemingly insatiable hunger of the digital environment remains as satiated as possible. Read a transcript of Kat's presentation.
Kat began working in the online environment in the early part of last decade, after completing a Bachelor of Media. She she has honed her expertise working for a range of digital organisations, from start-ups like Kluster (which she founded and launched in 2005) and The Blackmail, to established syndication and media companies like HWW and Ninemsn. She currently works as the Digital Manager at CHOICE.
1. Web Governance: Becoming an Agent of Change with Jonathan Khan As web professionals, we strive to serve users’ needs while simultaneously achieving business goals. Although that sounds great, nowadays it’s actually impossible to achieve without tackling organisational change. We can’t sustainably create, publish, and govern quality content unless we start to solve the organisational problems around web governance. In this short presentation, Jonathan will define the components of web governance (strategy, governance, execution, and measurement), explain where they fit into our roles as web professionals, and reveal why everybody’s talking about content strategy. Then we had a roundtable discussion about practical steps we can take right now.
Jonathan Kahn is a web developer, content strategy advocate, and basmati rice aficionado. In 2008 he founded Together London, a collaborative web design agency. Jonathan listens to soul and jazz, and writes at lucid plot.
2. Training content authors with Rachel McAlpine
Training all those content authors: grab the moment, muscle in and tip the see-saw.
Rachel McAlpine has been thinking, speaking, teaching and writing about content since 1995. Books include 'Write Me a Web Page, Elsie!' as well as novels, plays and poetry. Rachel's company, Contented, provides scalable online training for many Australian clients.
Our first meeting was held on Monday 26 September 2011 at the Crossroads Bar at the Swiss Hotel. It was an informal session that included lots of talk about what content strategy is and how it can be promoted.
This was our first meetup back in September 2011.