What is it like to speak at ContentEd?

If you’re thinking about sending us a proposal to speak at ContentEd you probably have some questions about what’s involved and what to expect after you hit the “submit” button.

You want to be confident that your idea will connect with ContentEd’s audience of marketing, communications and content specialists. You want to understand the potential benefits of speaking at our event for you and the agency or institution you represent. What kind of support will you receive? What kind of experience can you expect? Why do others apply to speak at ContentEd?

To get you some answers to these questions and others, we spoke with two of the stars from ContentEd 2018.

Dana Rock is the Marketing and Communications Manager at Oxford Brookes University. She spoke about personalisation as part of a panel at ContentEd 2018.

Daniel Marrable recently left the social media team at the University of Glasgow to set up his own business as a social media consultant. At ContentEd 2018 he spoke about the need for social media to be reactive.

 

So why did you decide to speak at ContentEd?

Daniel – “We had a relationship with Tracy Playle and the Pickle Jar Communications team over the years, so when we realised they were putting together their own content-driven conference we thought it was somewhere to have a presence at.”

Dana – “I managed the #hellobrooks campaign for Oxford Brooks University. I think what we did worked and had a positive impact on students so I felt like I had something I wanted to share with colleagues.”

 

What did you talk about at ContentEd 2018?

Dana – “I appeared on a panel. I put in a proposal about personalisation but so did two other people so we formed a panel and that worked very well in the end.”

Daniel – “I did a tag team talk with Emma Gilmartin, the Head of Social Media at Glasgow, who was my boss at the time. We had done a few presentations together before. Our topic was the importance of reactive content on social media. Generally we would pull together three possible topics then rank them in the order of what we thought was most relevant to this event.”

 

How did you think you or your employer would benefit from speaking at ContentEd?

Daniel – “Speaking at events like ContentEd helps to raise our profile and that of the University within the sector but it also helped raise the profile of our work within our own institution. We had strong backing from our leadership to do an event like this, and when we returned from the conference we shared all the amazing things that are happening in other places. We came home with very practical knowledge grabs.”

Dana – “I didn’t think of that really. I thought this was something I wanted to do because the project I was talking about was fun. Then my mentor encouraged me to do it. She said, ‘Do it. Never miss an opportunity to present.’ That made up my mind. After ContentEd I was asked to speak at multiple other conferences. I had four invitations just on the basis of ContentEd as well as being asked to write various blog posts.”

 

What kind of support did you receive from the conference team?

Daniel – “Once we were accepted to speak we got an email from the conference team with all the dates and tasks that speakers were expected to complete. We were given the event programme nice and early which enabled us to engage with other speakers through social media. We also got feedback from the organisers about where they thought the event was going and where ey saw gaps in the programme”

 

What do you think you gained from the experience of speaking at ContentEd?

Daniel – “Speaking at ContentEd set a precedent for me of what I should expect as a speaker in terms of support running up to a conference. I am about to chair a conference myself and I hope we can replicate that.”

Dana – “Having the time to think and reflect about our work so we’re not just robots doing the same thing over and over is really valuable. It confirmed what I heard Mike Petroff say in his talk about taking time out to make sure we take small steps towards achieving meaningful goals. See, I can even quote a talk I heard last year!”

 

What would you say to someone thinking about submitting a proposal?

Daniel – “We take for granted that people will know a lot of the things that we do every day. Think about some of the campaigns you have worked on and the innovations they led to, but also look at your bread and butter daily processes because others may not have thought of things you have. And be open to updating your proposal once you receive feedback or nearer the time of the conference. You want to be as relevant as possible.”

Dana – “I’d never written a conference proposal before but I felt passionate about the topic and I believe in sharing ideas. If you’re undecided, stop whatever you’re doing and start writing. Even if I hadn’t been accepted it still helped me to write down my idea.”

 

Last year was the first speaking at ContentEd for both Dana and Daniel, and they are both working on submissions for ContentEd 2019, being held in Edinburgh, from June 27-28.

Remember, the ContentEd team are here to help you make your proposal – and if it’s accepted, your presentation – as great as it can be. So if you have an idea you’re passionate about or a project you believe others in our sector can learn from, submit your proposal before our deadline on Friday 14 December 2018.

We can safely promise you an audience of people eager to learn from your experiences. So what have you got to lose?

 

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