Category Archives: Ideas

What I’ve learnt from creative writing and basically being the next J.K. Rowling

my creative writing notepad

Yikes and holy cow. It’s been a while since I updated this blog but I wanted to let you know – I have the perfect alibi. You see, I’ve spent the last few months having a kind of mid-life crisis – only it’s been a very peculiar kind of crisis and probably a very British one at that. It doesn’t involve women, fast cars or huge quantities of fizzy-pop. No, dear reader, I stand here shamefully confessing that I have finally become addicted to… creative writing.

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Defeating the ubermensch – Dare Conference Party 2013

karen-mcgrane-dare-conference-2013
Karen McGrane at Dare Conference 2013 © Barbara Thompson

Right now there’s a fantastic event happening in London called the Dare Conference – and it’s ace.

Organised by Together, it’s all about developing those soft skills, like interacting with people, which you would normally consider secondary in your drive for technical excellence and that sparkling CV. It’s about risking more of yourself with others in order to create an environment where ideas can be shared and change can happen.

Here’s what I learnt.
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My 23 awesome running tips for beginners

The North Downs, Kent, gives me a very good reason run !
The North Downs – my training ground.

Although this blog is all about content strategy, I thought I’d share with you another of my passions – long distant running.  I’ve been doing it for a number of years now and participated in over twenty races. I don’t know if that makes me an expert but I thought I’d share a little of what I’ve picked up along the way – and I don’t mean the blisters.

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User Centred Design and Agile: notes from UXPA UK event

The UXPA UK panel .

Last night, I attended another fantastic UXPA UK event hosted at Sapient House, London, to discuss agile in the context of user centred design.

As a content strategist I always find these events rewarding because content strategy shares many of the challenges faced by UX teams. We all want to champion user-centric content, hitting business objectives by bringing the users and clients closer to the design process. Plus, it’s always good to discuss the latest trends over a nice, cold beer!
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Content marketing book review: Why Jay Baer’s ‘Youtility’ sucks

YoutilityLet me cut to the chase – I was so disappointed by Jay Baer’s recent content marketing book Youtility that I wasn’t going to post a review at all. However, after seeing all the glowing reviews online I had to check my Kindle again to see if I’d actually read the same book.  Currently, on Amazon.com there are about 50 reviews, mostly five stars. Only one trashes it with a single, derisory comment.  To the underdog that wrote that review, this one’s for you.

I’m not going into too much detail about the concept of Youtility here because it’s been covered in detail already. Sure, there are some useful soundbites in the book like ‘Stop trying to be amazing and start being useful’ but I didn’t think there was much in the way of original insight. The basic premise of the book is simply this – make your digital space a helpful destination, not a cold calculating conversion funnel. Hmm, haven’t we heard something like this before?
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Agile, Lean UX and Content Strategy: London meetup


Last night I attended another London Content Strategy meetup session hosted by Jonathan Kahn and Richard Ingram at Google Campus.

The session kicked off with an excellent presentation from freelance agile and Lean user experience architect Sophie Freiermuth (aka @wickedgeekie) and was followed by a series of Gamestorming exercises to address key issues faced by the group when it came to deploying agile at work.

I’ve embedded Sophie’s presentation below and here are my notes…
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