Confab Higher ED 2014 Recap: Content, Comradery and Cake

 In Content Strategy

Less than two weeks ago, we gathered in the conference lobby of the Loews Hotel in Atlanta to share some snarky themed cake and bid farewell to fellow Confab attendees. My favorite cake-topper was “All of our audiences are important.” A variation of the theme, “to honor all is to honor none.” “Make us 1st on Google” and “Let’s add a carousel” also gave me a giggle!

I’m not sure how it works. But turning those uber-maddening comments you hear at work into birthday cakes – somehow blows it out the other side – and makes the madness melt away for a moment.

The cakes of Confab Higher Ed 2014

Which cake reached out and tickled your funny bone the most? Or conversely, which cake theme was so on-target and close to home, you wanted to take a photo and send it to all of your colleagues!

My Takeaways

Austin KleonAmong the most enduring memories from the conference was something not necessarily related to content at all. It was a life lesson, in brief, called Sturgeon’s Law.  Author, Austin Kleon @austinkleon brought it up in Friday’s opening session.

1. Sturgeon’s law says “90% of everything is crap.”

How true is that? And how do we eliminate or reduce the force of Sturgeon’s Law in our lives and in our work?

I’ve started recalling Sturgeon’s Law frequently during the day while I’m in our new offices here DivvyHQ. And it’s powerful. Try it and you’ll see, a little push-back on Sturgeon’s law goes a long way. It’s not easy to cut meeting times, pare down conversations and cut to the heart of a matter when human emotions are involved. And when are they not?

I think the trick is to be as concise and honest as possible – while being as kind and diplomatic as possible. Not easy hurdles to jump. But that’s how I am going to tackle Sturgeon Law daily.

2. Everyone is in the Weeds

Another take-away from Confab HE was a 2×4 to the forehead. Wow, are we lost in the weeds! I guess we wouldn’t need a conference if we had everything figured out. But the most frequent comment I heard from attendees was, “We don’t really have a content strategy.”

That was usually accompanied with something like, “I wish we spent more time planning our content but we don’t… and the way we do it now is either non-existent or a mess.”

3. Content Planning is Kind of a Big Deal

Several speakers drove home the point that planning your content will actually save you time (and your sanity). I heard several key points, including:

  • Planning ahead (while remaining open to spontaneity) is crucial for telling your brand’s story over long periods of time.
  • Planning helps you imagine how you will repackage your content for distribution or promotion on other channels.
  • Planning forces us to think at a higher level (vs. the day-to-day grind), which is valuable for any organization.

Finally, if you can build more value for your institution – you become a more valued team member with greater potential for promotion and higher compensation.

Stop Using Tools that Suck (the life out of you)

Content planning and content strategy are at the very core of what DivvyHQ delivers. In addition to the easy-to-use editorial calendar and the Parking Lot for ideas, our workflow tools automate task management to keep your team moving. Repurposing and publishing content can be accomplished with the click of a button.

The goal for Divvy is to make content production easier, and as many have said, “fun!”   Your creative tools shouldn’t suck the life out of you. They should enhance your talent.

I invite you to try Divvy and see if you and your team love the ability to share information, cut down on email and build efficiency.

What were your takeaways from Confab Higher Ed 2014 in Atlanta?

And what was your favorite cake-topper? I would love to hear if/how those resonated with you! Drop me a line or comment below. And if you want a free trial of DivvyHQ – email me (scott [at] DivvyHQ dot com) and I will get you all set up for success!

See you next November 4th through 6th in the New Orleans French Quarter for another great Confab HE conference!

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