The nuts and bolts of content operations at LavaCon 2020’s online conference


Exploring the work that goes into creating and delivering content strategy

  • By Blaine Kyllo
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  • Nov 5 2020
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  • Categories: Articles

The thing about doing content strategy is that it’s work. As a consultant, I appreciate having the opportunity to explore how the content work gets done. This year, LavaCon UX 2020 gave me that chance.

The annual conference is all about content and content strategy, with a strong leaning to the technical side of things.

The 2020 edition delivered on this promise, with insightful presentations from people like Beril Maples, with the Google Analytics team, who talked about how to enable collaboration even when corporate silos get in the way, and NBCUniversal’s Jessica Reed, whose personal story was a perfect lens to demonstrating how different flavours of content can be effectively mixed.

On the first day alone there were practical talks about search engine optimization and tips on how to create a design practice in any organization. There was also a notable discussion about the importance of diversity and inclusion that was facilitated by David Dylan Thomas and included Twitter’s Jordan Craig and Jill Sheffield and Kendal Sparks, both from Mastercard.

I was disappointed to be missing an opportunity to visit New Orleans, where the conference was originally scheduled to be held. Not only is New Orleans on my shortlist of cities to explore, but the thought of trying to engage with the conference and attendees online was daunting. And I’ve got three monitors on my desk.

But the virtual conference experience created by Jack Molisani and his production team was stellar. The main stage talks were shorter, accommodating the medium, and they were delivered seamlessly. After the morning presentations, we had a wide selection of more casual presentations to choose from, which gave attendees the chance to directly interact with presenters.

On top of all that were 29 recorded presentations, including mine, about the importance of aligning people around roles and responsibilities to make content operations more efficient and effective. Other on-demand sessions included topics such as taxonomy, content models, and success metrics.

I’ll confess that it was a bit overwhelming at times, trying to keep up with the conversations happening in the chat window attached to the conference platform as well as the Slack channels that always seemed to be buzzing. There was simply no way I was going to be able to take it all in during the days that were set aside for the event. And I didn’t have to.

Another benefit of the online experience is that everything was recorded, and as a conference attendee I have access to all of the sessions until the end of the year.

Even though the event is over, there’s lots more learning for me from LavaCon UX 2020.