I just wanted to give a shout-out to my fellow content strategists in the Boston area for a great meetup yesterday evening at the Microsoft NERD center. It was the very first show-and-tell format for the fabulous Content Strategy New England (CSNE) meetup group, which has run many successful and fascinating events in the past. This event was at-to-beyond capacity and had to move to a bigger room — a justified compliment.
With well-known and respected pros like Matthew Grocki/@mgrocki (above) and Margot Bloomstein/@mbloomstein (below) presenting actual, in-progress deliverables and soliciting feedback and suggestions, this was not something a content strategist wanted to miss. [Aside: Is there a disproportionate amount of content strategy folks with first names starting with M? I smell an infographic...]
The audience questions and points were spot-on. What an incredibly sharp group of people! I think everyone left with a lot of points to think about, both in relation to the examples presented and to our own individual practices. Definitely a lot of value there.
I hope we see more events like this in addition to the wonderful panels and guest speakers CSNE shares with the content strategy community in Boston. All of us in the CS world are starting to slowly, slowly get into standardization of practice — we all know and believe strongly in the WHY of content strategy, but there’s still a good amount of wiggle room for the HOW.
And heck, even if there was Just One Way To ‘Do’ Content Strategy, we’d still need that wiggle room to adapt for all the unique and, yeah, occasionally frustrating challenges of the sites we work on. So seeing first-hand how thought leaders in our field adapt their work to fit their clients’ interesting needs and problems was very educational, and dare I say it, even inspirational. I won’t lie, it gave me some great ideas on some projects I’m working on at the moment.
It was great to say hello in person to people that I recognize from the Twitterverse, and Georgy Cohen even got me to sign up for PodCamp Boston 6 this Saturday, so bonus! (Are you reading Georgy’s fantastic blog? Seriously, go do it right now. I’ll wait…) She also dubbed me with perhaps what will become my new blog tagline in time: Maria Varmazis, Content Whisperer. Hey, it beats any of these actual self-descriptors I’ve seen around LinkedIn: Guru, yogi, sultan, ninja, rockstar, samurai, ronin, maharani, howitzer…
(OK, some of those I made up. Content Howitzer would be hilarious.)
Super-added-bonus: Heading to Meadhall for post-meetup drinks afterwards. The people who work in content strategy? Such an array of talent and SUCH passion for our field! A true kaleidoscope of professional and personal backgrounds. And all those shapes and brilliant colors converge into a bright point — making better web content.
Perhaps that was a lame metaphor.
I had to duck out quite early, very sadly, as I was — and still am — eyeballs-deep in a content audit, and that requires early mornings and late evenings. But if any group of people can sympathize with my plight and mild Excel separation anxiety, it’s the good folks of Content Strategy New England!
And if nothing else, the evening confirmed for me at least that, yes, I am totally in the right field. I loved all the discussions that went on before, during and after the meetup and honestly? Content strategists really are just interesting people. You guys are great. Can’t wait for the next meetup.