Making sure you maintain your staple diet of brainfood

Making sure you maintain your staple diet of brainfood

Unfortunately I missed two conferences last week that I would really have liked to have gone to.  Eye for Travel’s Online Marketing and Social Media Europe 2011 in Amsterdam and the econsultancy JUMP 2011 event in London – an annual event that focuses on the pursuit of better joined up and integrated marketing. Exactly the sort of brainfood that we all need from time to time.  For me the benefits of attending these types of events are three fold;

  • I take my head out of the day to day grind for at least one day.
  • I take away a few really useful insights that help me on my way.
  • I tend to come up with some useful ‘thinking frameworks’ that help me solve real work problems on my return.

Sometimes you are just too busy or you just don’t have the budget to attend these kinds of things in person. But that doesn’t stop you consuming the content. Be it in real time on twitter by following the conference #hashtag or afterwards through slideshare and Vimeo. Of course what these events bring with them is a content legacy that lasts long after the event. One that you can catch up on.

That’s what I have been doing this morning. The sorts of things I am working on at the moment include writing a number of chapters for a new digital marketing handbook, a big user experience and design project for a new website and trying to figure out how the hell we are going to come up with an organisation wide content strategy to better deliver everything we do. I need help.

So I came across the following deck on slideshare and what I ended up doing was very quickly flicking through the slides. What I picked up were a number of useful insights and thoughts around content strategy. For example the basis of the problem we face as an organisation; fragmented content management, fragmented organisational structure and fragmented platforms and devices.  And a reminder that developing content strategy really is about change management.

Then I looked further and came across this video of the same person doing another presentation on content strategy. I made myself a cup of tea and watched the whole thing. I started to develop a thinking framework around some of the relationships between information architecture  (and user experience), content management (and technology) and social media (and marketing). I started to figure out what the processes were that might help me solve or more importantly create the content strategy problem we face. Of course what I was doing this time is properly engaging with the content. It was video content this time but it could have equally been a blog post, a white paper or even the same slide deck I had flicked through earlier.

Now I don’t feel so bad about missing those two conferences I just mentioned. The stuff we do is a never-ending learning journey. One that is never finished and one that you must never neglect. So in the absence of unlimited time and enough budget to attend every conference you would like to here’s a rule of thumb I have just developed that should help me (and maybe you) maintain your staple diet of digital marketing brainfood.

Flick through some stuff once a day but at the very least once a week
Properly engage with some stuff once a week but at least once a month
Go to a conference maybe once a quarter but at least once a year

I guess it is a bit like your five a day. A useful guide to stick to.

Oh, and make sure you check out Karen McGrane if you are in any way interested in content strategy.