Inter-city content strategy meetup love is quite possibly the world’s purest, and greatest, form of love

At CS Forum last year the three of us who organise Auckland Content Strategy Meetups met a lot of out counterparts from other cities. Briefly, we even shared a stage with them all. They were, and are, all lovely and brilliant people. And since that conference, a lot of inter-meetup activity has followed.

Meetup organisers don’t have superpowers. All we have is a group of people that we want to keep bringing together for some sort of combination of fun, community, and learning. That there’s enough content nerds around the world for dozens of cities to have meetups (Hilary Marsh keeps a list) is just a wonderful thing. And CS Forum, of course, is a globe-trotting manifestation of the same thing.

Since Melbourne’s conference, we’ve kept the cooperation between meetups going. It’s one of the most visible, ongoing things that the content community in this part of the world has gotten out of CSF16.

Michelle Anderson headed down to Wellington and presented at their reanimated meetup (which had taken a bit of a break in 2016). Sally Bagshaw, who runs Brisbane’s group, was our second-ever international guest star last November. This month Jonathon Colman, one of the CSF keynotes, took time out of his Webstock-related trip to NZ to spend a night with us in Auckland (and another with the Wellington group). And this week, thanks to Elle Geraghty working within a very tight travel schedule, I’m turning what was meant to be a work-only trip to Sydney into the chance to give a talk to her meetup over there.

I doubt that any of this crossover would have happened without CSF16. Thanks to the days all us organisers spent together there, we’ve strengthening the groups in each city by introducing new ideas, and starting some high-quality discussions amongst new audiences. For us in Auckland to have someone like Jon Colman answer our questions (and ask a few back), as well as share his take on problem solving, team building, and much else was one of those things that makes me blurt out cliches that start “if you’d told me, back when we first started this meetup…”. To bring my own talk (which I loved putting together for CSF and always hoped would live longer) back to Australia is a real thrill too.

And every time meetups connect across borders or around countries there’ll be a pile of positives that flow. Little things like new connections on Twitter or LinkedIn (I know, but admit it, you’re there too). Brain things, like a note that someone takes to work the next day and turns into action. Ideas that spark new projects, or blog posts. Maybe even bigger things, too.

These all build up in the hundreds of lives that intersect at CS meetups around the world. They make us better at what we do, and more connected as a group, and more likely to turn up again next month. Momentum like this keeps everyone motivated to keep building this thing, whatever it is. It makes meetups even more fun, and it’s got me keener than ever to keep finding my people here at home, and all around the world.

Wherever you are, meetup with your people

What Twitter thought of ‘Marketing people and content people: It’s complicated’ at CS Forum

I love presenting at conferences. Love it. I love picking a topic and spending hours thinking about it. I love having a reason to read up on stuff that interests me. I love that when you say to someone, “I’m working on a talk and I’d like to hear your thoughts on [topic x]”, they almost always give up time for a chat. At events, being a speaker is a great way to meet people. At CS Forum (which was great, by the way), someone found me during a coffee break and opened with, “Hi, you made me really angry,” but with a smile on her face. I love seeing and hearing reactions to what I present. I love it all.

Except the post-conference wrap up blog post. I don’t love that bit. It’s hard, and it takes longer than I want it to, and especially after the best conferences, it drags back the post-event blues that you get for a couple of days afterwards.

Last week I was at CS Forum with a presentation called ‘Marketing people and content people: It’s complicated’. It was a brilliant conference. My talk was fun. It seemed like people got something out of it, which is the result you want as a speaker. The slides are embedded at the bottom of this post. Continue reading

Calling all marketing people who work with content people, and all content people who work with marketing people

Update: I wrote this post and survey with last year’s CS Forum in mind, but this year I’m bringing this talk to Confab Central in June! Between now and then I’d love as many contributions as I can get.

If you work in marketing, or with content, you can tell me all about it and help me with a cool thing I’m doing. Please?

Awesome news: I’m speakingI spoke at CS Forum in Melbourne, this October! last year! I’m I was really stoked to be in the line-up again after four years, and only slightly intimidated by the company I‘mwas in.

Even awesomer, this June I’ll be at Confab Central with the latest version of the same talk, which is called Content people and marketing people: It’s complicated. The idea came from the way I’ve worked as a content guy in three companies, each with very different ways of structuring their marketing and content/digital functions, but none of which seem ideal.1 Is this relationship destined to be painful, or are there ways to make it work? I want to ask around, find out, and tell a big roomful of people all about it.

Continue reading

Meetup good. Conference better?

The Auckland Content Strategy Meetup has officially survived a year! Since February 2014 we’ve met up at least once a month and talked content. And it’s been surprisingly fun. Emma, Michelle and I had no idea what to expect when we decided to give this thing a go, but there’s something great about building a group of people around an idea. As familiar faces (almost all of whom were total strangers last January) keep coming back, we know we’re onto something.

Which raises a question.

What next?

How about a New Zealand content strategy conference of some sort? Would there be enough appetite for a day or two of talks and case studies? I’d like to think so.

I keep thinking I should assemble a team and start something, just to find out.

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Update, 2016: Anyone who doubts the benefits of procrastination and delay ought to be swayed by the fact that, after I sat on this idea and did nothing for the best part of a year, someone else decided to bring CS Forum to Melbourne in October 2016. Close enough for me. See you there!