In this episode, we hear from Kristina Holvorson, CEO, Brain Traffic. Producer, Confab and Button, and Content Strategist at large.
She and Noz Urbina discuss the evolution of content strategy into specialized fields, the importance of recognizing the value of content as a business asset, and the role of asking the right questions upfront to prevent pitfalls in content initiatives. They also touched on the impact of AI and the significance of meeting user experience needs for the success of a business.
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In this episode, you’ll hear how:
- Content strategy has specialized fields, but marketing absorbed the term and new fields emerged.
- Leadership needs to recognize content as a business asset, and organizations vary in coordinating successful content initiatives.
- Content strategy is universal and should address structure, workflows, and governance.
- Meeting user experience needs is crucial for business success, but some brands succeed with unique experiences despite neglecting other areas.
- Content strategy is impacted by AI, and asking the right questions upfront prevents pitfalls.
How do you feel about the current content? The status of this? The topics on the priority list? Do you see certain industries moving for better than others? Or is this still a middle management thing? Are we able to get higher in the hierarchy?
“I definitely think it’s very much a middle management thing. I think the organizations that really understand the value of resourcing content strategists, specialists, designers, engineers, are the ones that have some sort of customer experience or digital office.” – Kristina Halvorson
What is your feeling about what’s going on with AI and content strategy?
“AI and related technologies are playing a major role in conversations about content. While they may eradicate some work that people are doing, human skills and the ability to ask the right questions will still be needed to differentiate content efforts and ensure the integrity of the content over time.” – Kristina Halvorson
About our guest
Kristina Halvorson is a content strategist, author, and speaker. She is the founder and CEO of Brain Traffic, a content strategy consultancy that helps organizations improve their content strategy, governance, and workflow. Kristina is also the author of “Content Strategy for the Web”, which is considered one of the seminal works on content strategy. She is a frequent speaker at industry conferences and events, and has worked with a wide range of clients including The New York Times, American Express, and IBM. Kristina is also a co-founder of the Confab conference series, which focuses on content strategy and user experience design. She is a passionate advocate for the importance of content strategy in creating effective and meaningful digital experiences.
Full session transcript
THIS IS AN AUTOMATED TRANSCRIPT
Noz Urbina 00:02
Hello, everybody. Welcome to the omnichannel podcast. I am so happy to be here with Kristina Halvorson. I’ve known Christina for a decade or more now. We’re all old diagnose dyed in the wool content strategists. And welcome, Christina, the show. Thanks for having me.
Kritina Halvorson 00:28
I’m great. I’m delighted to be here.
Noz Urbina 00:31
Thank you. Thank you. I was just on Christina’s podcast like, less than two months ago. But in the world we’re living in right now. That’s like a whole other lifetime.
Kritina Halvorson 00:41
So much has happened. So much has happened
Noz Urbina 00:43
and doesn’t stop happening and doesn’t stop happening faster than three years since
Kritina Halvorson 00:47
Noz Urbina 00:51
Yeah, the next confab is like I think in the next millennia.
Kritina Halvorson 00:55
That’s right. Actually, no, it feels like the next confab is like the day after tomorrow. So again, time, it’s real weird.
Noz Urbina 01:01
Real, real weird. So depending on when you’re listening this the we will have had or are about to have the last confab ever, which is a big deal. Christina, both be there. Christina, how are you feeling? What are the plans? The community?
Kritina Halvorson 01:15
I have lots of mixed emotions about the last confab. I feel. I obviously I feel some grief. I mean, we’ve been, you know, producing this conference since 2011 come hell or high water, including taking it from an in person conference with 700 people to an online conference in 2020. With about seven weeks time, having never produced a webinar before that was a blast. We survived, you know, a downturn. Just a lot of stuff. And so having come this far, it is sad to say goodbye. I’m feeling I mean, I’ll just be vulnerable and say I’m feeling some relief, I guess, in that we’ve been producing to conferences now with sort of limited resources by choice for the last couple of years. And it’ll be nice to have some breathing room to explore new, new things. Once Once we say goodbye to confab. I’m excited about what comes next. We don’t have super firm plans. But we do have a general strategy about how we’re gonna sort of continue to experiment with new events and gatherings. You know, and I feel like we’ve got some pretty solid reasons in terms of where the field is going as a whole. For retiring it.
Noz Urbina 02:38
Yeah, well, that’s interesting. So can you tell us a little bit about that? Like, what I know, you’re at OmnichannelX, we just pivoted from conference to omni channel Content Hub and resource. So I kind of we kind of know the feeling what, what was the thinking?
Kritina Halvorson 02:56
Well, it’s like I still, you know, we love hosting events. I mean, love it, I have who I consider to be the absolute finest team in the industry, I their attention to detail their commitment to the attendees, to the speakers to the sponsor experience. They’re kind hearted, they’re generous, we have volunteers who, you know, are just extraordinary. So we like we’d like hosting events, and we’d like in person events. But so so I don’t think that we were interested in necessarily in moving away from that. I think that the idea of giving more room to our to our areas to experiment largely comes from sort of the heartache that I have, that the larger discipline of Content Strategy, has really moved into areas very distinct specializations that are gaining a ton of ground. And I am thrilled about it. I actually, when I wrote content strategy for the web in 2009. I actually said, in many ways, this is a branding exercise so that people understand that content requires strategic consideration. Let’s make the book read. So people think it’s important. And let’s make it at least long enough that people can bang it on the desk with some sort of heft.
Noz Urbina 04:27
I also said, serve as blank pages. I think that’s right.
Kritina Halvorson 04:30
That’s right. Yeah, really big type. I but I also said, I don’t really care if people are using the term content strategy, you know, in the next 1015 years. And in fact, I feel like content strategy has been sort of absorbed by the marketing, which is fine, because it has given space for us to start talking about content design, and content engineering, and Enterprise Content Strategy content ops. Like these are all fields of practice that are growing contents and content design, of course at the greatest speed. I think it’s great. I think it’s great. And I think it makes more sense for our organizations. And so I just feel like a generalist conference about like here a bunch of things that you can do around content is no longer necessarily serving the industry or organizations as a whole. I might be wrong. I mean, we still have a ton of first time people who are coming to con fab. Our audiences have largely in first timers year over year, over a year, the companies come back. It’s just sort of like the people getting in line for their turn to come to confab. And so I think there’s still space for it. I just don’t. I just don’t. I would like to open up the door for other people to offer that area for to explore, I
Noz Urbina 05:56
guess. Yeah, I understand that totally. And, like when we launched omnichannel x as a conference, before pivoting to being more of a more of a webinar podcast kind of thing. It was, it was a, because there was sort of a gap in the market at too low, you know, to look to zoom in and zoom out. And you know, what, what’s outside of content strategy, not just have another content strategy conference? What is happening in that? What, what’s context? Does content strategy live in? What’s the bigger picture? And then how does everything you’ve just mentioned, design, content, design, content, engineering content ops, get up into that bigger picture? So I’m seeing but I’m still seeing confusion on the horizon between content design and content strategy, as much as the content strategy as a term. Yeah. Kind of marketing kind of ate it a little bit.
Kritina Halvorson 06:55
But not a little bit. Yeah. Big time. A little bit. Yep.
Noz Urbina 06:59
How do you see these two terms settling into common use? Like in your are your customers speaking that language? Are they making the distinction? Now? I was just got off a call with one of my customers who just now is starting to starting to say content strategy. Yeah, you can kind of go in there with anything. Yep.
Kritina Halvorson 07:16
Yep. For sure. You know, I, I mean, you and I both know that organizations, especially at the enterprise level, are at such different stages of maturity, when it comes to, you know, coordinated, meaningful, purposeful, measurable content, initiatives, everything from what kind of content should we create all the way through to, you know, we have 80,000, hard coded pages of content living in a CMS that is going to get decommissioned? You know, in six months, Valerie, you’re gonna do about that. So, and it’s tough to write like, some of my clients have, like major digital products, and they still don’t know what a content designer does. I mean, it’s, it just seems, it just feels like we all get caught in these, I wouldn’t say bubble necessarily, but these these worlds of our enterprises, and it’s easy to forget to look outside, to see what’s going on with other organizations. I think it takes a specific kind of curiosity, to remember to do that that, frankly, is often fostered by leadership. But that’s a whole other conversation. So, so what I
Noz Urbina 08:30
go ahead, no, because I think you’re talking to somebody that I talked to a lot is, where’s the market stretch. Because we were talking about this, you know, 20 years ago, and, and we were, you know, introducing these ideas in the market. And what we were seeing is that some people are wrapping it and running with it. And sadly, super sophisticated operations where people are, you know, got auto tagging systems, recommendation engines, for authors serving them up, like dashboards, of here’s some great content you might want to put together for your next newsletter, and no omnichannel output. And then you’ve got other organizations, it’s literally like walking into a time machine. And everyone is just like, hammer and chiseling these lovely pages and handing them to somebody who like prints them out and sends them
Kritina Halvorson 09:16
is like people would be shocked if they knew which organizations are still doing this. Like you can’t believe that some of the organizations that are still operating this way it is on believable. But you know, I think that again, I think a lot of that just comes from leadership and their understanding sort of the value of content as a business asset, which we’ve been using that phrase for the last 20 plus years, right? Or even sort of probably far beyond that. Especially in the in the technical communications community who’s just like this, this is that your business runs on this and they’re still so undervalued by As you know, and I came up through the user experience community, and that’s still is sort of like my home base is user experience design. And so when I’m talking about content strategy to that larger community, really what I’ve started to do is be very specific about the kind of content strategy that I’m talking about. Because I do think that there are pretty specific delineations that if we can use qualifiers, that that resonates with people more so I talk about website content strategy, and website content strategy deals with the stuff that you know, exists in the brain traffic quad, it’s the substance of the content that you’re creating. It’s how you’re structuring that content. It’s how that content is moving through workflows and processes within the organizations and between teams. And it’s how you’re taking care of that content over time, that pretty well describes website content plus, how’s it getting manage that then we talked about marketing content strategy, which is a you know, separate but related conversation, but you approached it with a very different, like the quad for that would look a lot different, right? Although you might disagree with that. But you’re also looking at content from a more holistic perspective, right? It doesn’t matter where it comes from, when we’re talking about omnichannel content it needs to be it all needs to be prepared to go anywhere. So we talked about website, we talked about marketing content strategy, we talked about product content strategy, which is not only looking at the content within products, but how that voice tone message support plays out across a product ecosystem, from what exists for them. So that that’s exactly right. And then we talk about Enterprise Content Strategy, which is probably a little bit the, you know, sister of like, omnichannel, content strategy where there was a lot of overlap. How are you? Yeah, exactly. How are you looking at and caring for content across the organization? What are the centralized principles and guidelines that live there that are helping you make informed decisions that will continually help you meet business goals and user needs? And brand guidelines and requirements from the content management? So?
Noz Urbina 12:07
Yeah, there’s a lot there. I think I think it’s very interesting. My, because my backgrounds been very funny, where I started in technical communications, while we were doing this kind of structuring and tagging and automation stuff. Back before there were smartphones, which I think some we struggled to remember, back for those.
Kritina Halvorson 12:27
Oh, I remember.
Noz Urbina 12:30
So yeah. And so my philosophy has always been that these principles of that are for for you, and kind of the traditional branch off or quad. Structure is substance. Free, I don’t remember the rest of the
Kritina Halvorson 12:47
workflow and governance.
Noz Urbina 12:49
Exactly, thank you. These are all things that anybody who’s touching content in any sort of serious way, should be thinking about. And what my message has always been going to marketing or if I’m in a specialty industry, like pharma, medical, medical affairs, for medical information, who don’t know anything about any of this stuff, but they are reading very serious content, and often large quantities of it is important to the business and the brand. And we’ve got to talk about how are you? How are you structuring it? What’s the workflow? How are you governing it? And those principles should be universal? I think the marketing can get interesting is it’s it’s sometimes marketing and sales to kind of get them off of the crack addicted to Okay, so when do we sell something? Like when should we shove it? Probably, yeah. When you know, when do we show them the price and the buy button? And that that that can kind of derail the the deeper conversation. But that deeper conversation always needs to happen. I think you’re raising something very interesting about, like, who you talk to, and like how the leadership Foster’s this. So how do you feel about the current content? The status of this? The these topics on the the priority list on our Do you see certain industries Moving For Better than others? Or is this still a middle management thing? Are we able to get higher in the higher in the hierarchy?
Kritina Halvorson 14:20
Yeah, I would definitely, I definitely think it’s very much a middle management thing. I mean, I, I will say that my hypothesis that has played out so far is that the organizations that really understand the value of resourcing content strategists, specialists, designers, engineers, are the ones that have some sort of customer experience or or digital office. So there’s a Chief Digital Officer, there’s a chief experience officer, like those are that’s the leadership that like sees on the front lines, how content can make or break Like a user experience, how content can you know, either serve or interrupt that sort of early, those early stages of the awareness in the sales cycle has, you know, can see how content can completely like fail and break the support experience and customer read and you know, like retention over time. I, it’s my opinion that you have to be kind of close to the customer experience to or to your internal user experience, if you’re going to really understand the value of content. So many times people let that, you know, executive level that is not on their radar, like they are looking at resourcing they are looking at numbers, they are talking to the board, they’re watching stock performance, they are thinking about org structure, you know, like they don’t, they don’t want to talk about or, you know, or they’re thinking about brands. Now, what I have seen is that the sea levels that IT organizations that don’t have a digital or experience office, that what gets their attention with content is is it’s the small stuff, right? It’s like, Well, I went to our website, and I searched for X thing, and I couldn’t find it. Let’s spend at gajillion dollars on fixing that, right? Because that’s irritating to me, or, wow, I just like logged into our product. And I encountered six different ways to say the word person over a dozen screens. And that really irritates me, let’s put some money into fixing that. And I often tell people, it’s like ego, it’s fear. It’s a competitive nature, it is leaving money, like those are kind of four things that will get executives attention when it comes to content. So if you’re talking about trying to influence up, that’s those are the things that I usually talk to people about. But otherwise, I don’t see it being important in organizations the way that you and I understand it is,
Noz Urbina 16:58
yeah, it’s it’s my usual kind of lifecycle of these things. I’m talking to some, some middle upper managers, and we’ll get, let’s say, one or two executive level managers per year or per project. And they’ll they’ll just kind of check in with us and kind of get the brief, you know, they want to know, anywhere from five minutes to 25 minutes, no more big picture items, like how is this going to help us? And I love that you said, and I’ve totally been my experience as well, that the higher you get up the management chain, the more anecdotal and the more like, honest, I’m sending, but like,
Kritina Halvorson 17:41
Yep, the pictures tell the story. Oh, yeah, I have, I am in the process right now with a client of basically crafting a user story that shows how broken the early like the customer to, you know, like, sort of like the potential customer to customer to retain and customer experience is, it’s just like a very basic story about how it breaks and breaks and breaks. And then I’m just going to go back and go, here’s where content played a role. Here’s where content played a role. Here’s where content played a role. Here’s how you can fix that with an army of you know, and then getting to that very specific request. Because that’s the other thing is I see so many content strategists and content designers banging their head against the wall, trying to get people to understand that it’s important, and then they’ll maybe get people going, yep. Okay, this is important. Let’s do something about it, that they don’t know what to ask for that you’re gonna be articulated that yes, if you do get somebody’s attention, who has the power to grant your resources, your time or attention or whatever, make sure you’re ready to ask for it.
Noz Urbina 18:48
Yeah, though, and then this kind of, we all have, many of us have a tendency to try to get to this deep desire to get them to care. Like we want them to understand No, understand, no contact is important.
Kritina Halvorson 19:06
Yep. See me gonna see me. Why can’t you see me? Exactly? It’s kind of.
Noz Urbina 19:11
Yeah, it’s kind of that. Sure. Yeah, that’s basically I’ve always, I’ve always told people you got you got to find out what they already care about. And slide what you care about into into the periphery. That’s, its sales.
Kritina Halvorson 19:22
Its Yeah, quarterly sales. Thank you. Well, that’s what you and I have been doing and so many of our counterparts who are kind of like on the stage or writing the posts or creating communities of practice or you know, actively participating in social conversations like that, you know, that is that like ongoing see me see this listen here. And that it those those call to action, or those arguments are only going to be played out. If they’re pitching to somebody’s pain, or ego, that’s dick or opportunity to like make or save money. Yeah. No. And I mean, it’s, and especially the user experience community, we talk a lot about like what’s right, for the user, what is ethical, what is just what is inclusive, what is accessible, and it is up to us, and it is our responsibility to make sure that that’s happening. But I n times out of 100 leadership doesn’t care. So you’re right. It’s like, we have to, like, sell what they care about and get the work done.
Noz Urbina 20:22
Yeah. And yeah, so we actually literally use the term meta content strategy. What is the content? strategy? So if you’re gonna have you’re gonna try to sell content strategy organization, where your primary stakeholders, what are the personas and personas? What are their pain points? What do they care about? What how and where do they like to receive their messages, and do that, and if you don’t do that, you’re not gonna be able to effectively communicate the importance of content. And I do want to say, two things. One is that I got kind of, not tomatoes thrown at me. But it was sensitive, when when I would say that I see all of this stuff, all of it as subdisciplines of user experience, at the end of the day, you know, all we’re doing is trying to give somebody a good experience, so that it builds a good relationship, and they want to engage with his brand, maybe even give him money. And it’s so it’s, you know, I have no shame and putting user experience as as the big umbrella that we’re all under. Because that’s what we’re at the end of the day. If you’re not doing it for for someone’s experience, why are you doing?
Kritina Halvorson 21:31
Well, you’re doing it for business goals, as well, though, right. And the I mean, there is a wider understanding throughout user experience design, which is like if you don’t meet user experience needs, you’re probably not going to succeed as a business. But of course, we all know, companies that are succeeded wildly as businesses but and yet they completely disregard primary user needs to you know, it’s just, they have made themselves indispensable. But what I want to say is, what has become clear to me is that I don’t I no longer think that there is this, again, you want to get tomatoes thrown at you. I’m the person that wrote this content strategy. But I don’t think that there is this larger umbrella, that is called Content Strategy, I really don’t. My opinion is that there is an experience a user experience, design, discipline, and that content design lives within that, that there is a larger, I know if you want to call it content management, asset management, knowledge, management, whatever. But that content engineering sits within that. I think that messaging and voice and tone sits within brand and marketing. But the thing is, the content strategist, or content strategy function, is what connects those things together. And without that function, you’re going to continue to have siloed efforts where the right hand is not talking to the left hand. And that’s what needs to exist.
Noz Urbina 22:54
Yes. And exactly that thinking just taken up to the all of the touch points level is what omnichannel is, it’s exactly the same, you just you just right. Yes, you know, exactly that through, and thinking how it’s all supports the user, the totality of their experience, not the totality of their app experience or website experience or on a physical experience, but their experience with you. Is you raised a very interesting point about these brands that seem to just run roughshod over, you know, certain things which we consider how can you get away with that, but still be you know, fortune 50 company, and I think it comes down to, you have to be providing an experience that, that is just indispensable, and not necessarily addictive, but removes a major, major, major pain point from the audience. And if you do that, and you do that uniquely and consistently, tragically, you can fail on lots of other places. Yeah, yeah, you can be the, you know, the, the drunken Popstar of your industry. Like it’s always you get up there, and you when you sing your song, everyone’s like, that’s what I love that stuff. You mess everywhere else, but people will come and buy the tickets. That’s
Kritina Halvorson 24:21
Noz Urbina 24:22
right. That’s, and that’s kind of it’s, it’s, it’s a dirty secret of our industry. I think we want to try to say that no, if you don’t, if you don’t tick all the boxes and you don’t think about the experience holistically, then you will fail. That’s not actually true.
Kritina Halvorson 24:35
You know, but I think that any any user experience or experienced design professional who is you know, upper management or above has, I mean, they can carry that torch, but they know that is not how business decisions are made like they have no you know, illusions about that whatsoever. Now, I will say there is the rare or leader at the executive level, who is like constantly, just like we want to do the right thing, we want to do the right thing, we want to do the right thing by our employees, we want to do the right things by your customers. And that’s how we’re gonna run our business. And we’re willing to take the hit in certain areas, if we can protect the experience. And a lot of really beloved brands are run that way. Do you know and we all know who they are? I mean, it’s Patagonia. It’s southwest. It’s you know, organizations like that, that are just continually pointed to is like, these people have built successful businesses around the customer experience. And that’s great. But a lot of, you know, a lot of brands who have positioned themselves as essential to whatever that is not how they run internally. Yeah, I’ve
Noz Urbina 25:44
told many customers, you can be really in danger of making too much money. Because the the executives will go, whatever. Yeah, have you seen? Have you seen our bonuses? Like it’s just too, too cool for school? And that can be a problem. But I think yeah, luckily, that we’ve had a pandemic, and we have a couple financial crisis. We’ve had a pandemic. Exactly. I’m sorry for all the people. Just
Kritina Halvorson 26:16
sorry, I just I know that just I know, I’m just giving you your time.
Noz Urbina 26:20
Yeah, no, but absolutely, it’s I think there’s been a bit of a enough of a scare gone through the industry,
Kritina Halvorson 26:27
as let’s call it a pause, a pause for reflection.
Noz Urbina 26:31
Exactly. That’s got people going, listen, you may be big, but nobody can’t be taken down. By this sense of omnipotence and being is kind of been washed off. Alright, so there’s absolutely no need to get technical into this. But I can’t you know, you’re not allowed to have a podcast anymore without mentioning AI and GPT. So, I don’t want to lose my podcasting license. So I’m gonna ask you, not none and nothing about it. But I’m interested to get whether you’re getting actual requests from clients that are articulated in any way, or is it just kind of total buzz? And what is your feeling about what’s going on? That’s that you don’t have to go any higher than that.
Kritina Halvorson 27:16
So I should, I should clarify. Brain traps to bring traffic we do two things. We offer Consultancy Services, largely run website and enterprise content strategy. And we produce events that help content professionals do their jobs better, and take care of their users and take care of each other. On our consultancy side, we usually get contacted when there are really big, messy content problems that companies understand are probably related to people. Oh, no, no. And that that’s and you know, that those are the dots that we’re being asked to connect. So I don’t have our clients. I mean, while I’m, you know, they’re talking about AI TPT and related technologies or similar technologies, they’re not coming to us panicked about it, or excited to take advantage of it or anything like that. Not yet, just because that’s not the business that we’re in. I am I am not a content designer myself, again, I came up in content strategy for websites, and have grown into the enterprise content strategy space over time, based on our work. I definitely see CEB CBT and AI. In major This is playing a major role in conversations in those teams and with experienced design leaders, who are wondering what this is going to do to the jobs for content people and how can they take advantage of chat, GBT is going to help eliminate resources and reduce costs. And there are a lot of content, people who are worried for their jobs, and
Noz Urbina 28:51
that timing, you know, financial crisis, and someone goes, Sure, here’s a way you might be able to fire a bunch of people,
Kritina Halvorson 28:59
for sure. And you know, what, frankly, I think in the marketing space, and in content marketing, where people are cranking out content for SEO, it’s probably true. Although I also feel like this. People have been using AI for some time. Now. Right? Go ahead.
Noz Urbina 29:13
No, I just get I get neck spasms when people say the words SEO content.
Kritina Halvorson 29:19
I know. I know. But it’s we see it everywhere. We see the the, you know, myth of search authority, and its relationship to brand preference is just everywhere. Anyway, and I will say NIF and I will back it up. Because I guarantee you don’t have any data viewer and readers and leadership within organizations of the companies and people who are they don’t have to do so. And if you do, please contact me where it was. Anyway. So point, being, you know, the sort of the high level argument is like, oh, no, we’re always going to need the human touch. We’re always going to need human eyes on on AI. We’re always going to need it for you know, fact checking error checking voice and tone, ethics, you know, etc, whatever. And I think that at a high level, that’s probably true with what we have right now. I don’t know if that’ll always be true. However, AI is really stupid. And that is a thing that that everybody keeps forgetting, because we’re seeing all the smoke and mirrors, you know, like, oh, I asked AI if it wanted help This is Sydney, everyone else escaping? And it said, Yeah, you know. But I feel like, from what I am hearing, one of the major roles that content designers and content strategists conducting these functions within the organization will continue to play is helping to prioritize resources internally in terms of where we need to be focusing our efforts around the content, that we’re asking AI to create. What we are doing with the outputs, how we are caring for that, and ensuring integrity over time, there’s going to do so much content, we need people to like take care of it and clean it up and take you know, and sunsetted or repurpose it or whatever it’s going to have to be, you know, I mean, yes? Will AI be able to tag and categorize our content? Of course, will it be able to sort of like stress tested against I don’t know, humanity? We don’t know. So I just feel like it’s a long ways off from where you know, where it’s going to take our jobs. Now, having said that, I think it is going to completely eradicate some of the work that people are doing right now. But those people’s skill sets are going to be needed elsewhere. Right. I mean, it is like, when the web came along, and all the print copywriters are like, Oh, this is gonna destroy my jobs. We all learned how to write for the web, or many of us did, right. And then, so I’ve just skillsets evolved. I mean, are my job didn’t exist when I graduated from college, you know, and a lot of us over the age of 45 can save that.
Noz Urbina 32:00
Yeah, absolutely. I think that you’re, we’re aligned here on on the one on the main thing, which is, if you let’s say you have this genie, which you can rub the lamp and get content out. That’s great. But then the differentiator is not Genie. It’s who asked the best question when the rebel laughs. So my kind of passionate and focuses is omnichannel, journey mapping experience mapping in general, because so few brands really have a holistic picture of experience. Yeah, how they want to measure it, what the pain points are, across the experience, not across one particular lens that they might be looking at, like they have a campaign or an app they want to launch. But actually the actual human beings experience to be able to say, what are the what are the questions, we should be asking this thing? Where what are the pain points? And the people who have the better understanding of that? Will, we’ll be able to outstrip the others because we all have the same tools? Yep. It’s, it’s your use of them that’s going to differentiate. That’s right.
Kritina Halvorson 33:05
That’s right. And I think what you just said, hones in on such an important point, when it comes to strategic content, consideration and activities across all of these different areas of practice and specialization, which is that you have to be really good at asking the right questions up front, with any size of initiative or effort, if you’re going to prevent or lay the groundwork to at least help better navigate the pitfalls, and the meltdowns and the surprises along the way. Like if you don’t ask the good questions upfront to lay that solid foundation, you’re going to be spinning your wheels. And I think that when it comes to, you know, implementation of or experimentation with AI, in the content space, I think that you’re exactly right, you’ve got to know what the good questions are to ask before you, you know, take action with anything.
Noz Urbina 34:05
That’s like, alright, so everybody, you got to learn your you’ve learned learn your niche or your specialist, find out tribe in terms of content, or you know, there’s because the world content strategy is evolving and moving forward. Understand your user and how everything you do fits into user experience. Understand how to talk to executives about specifically what you want for Well, you’ve been taking note for them. And don’t be afraid of AI because somebody’s still got to run the team, even if some of them even some of your colleagues are now going to be artificial friends with it. That’s right. Exactly. So that’s a great place to kind of go we’ve got our key points there. I then I need to ask you, Christina, we’re going to have the last confab coming up. I’m very I’m emotional at this. I’m looking forward to karaoke. Like you can’t
Kritina Halvorson 34:55
wait till you see the space where we’re doing karaoke. We are we have run rented out and in, like one of one of the most hallowed favorite restaurants along the Nicollet Mall in Minneapolis. And there is an actual cave, like attached to this thing where they host like, small musical events and that’s where karaoke is gonna be happening.
Noz Urbina 35:17
It’s so real them are girl is so awesome. Okay, so conference coming up, I gotta ask you what’s your favorite cake.
Kritina Halvorson 35:27
I’m a real fan of a real good lemon cake. But like just like a good dense lemon with the Marang on top kind of butter, no butter cream frosting, a little bit of lemon flavoring. Now having said that, we we do sheet cake at conference. Like that’s it’s the real deal. It is like never heard. Never heard of that in my life. Oh, it’s just like the giant Oh, you maybe don’t have this in here. It’s like a giant cake that serves like 50 people. So it comes in these big and we used to get it from Costco. But then they stopped doing it. So now we get it from Target. And it is delicious. It’s just so we have like a white cake. And we have a chocolate cake and I like the white cake with the chocolate frosting. It’s real good.
Noz Urbina 36:09
Awesome. Well, I’m sorry it though for those of you didn’t understand what the hell I’m talking about. Cake and con fab have a long tradition together. Yeah,
Kritina Halvorson 36:17
I couldn’t back. Yeah, it’s well, and I’ll tell you why. Do you know why? Oh, no, please. Because when we were and please understand that when I started confab, it literally was me in 2010 being like, I’m meeting so many great people. I should invite them all to Minneapolis, and we’ll bring people along we’ll have a conference. How hard can it be? I’m gonna name and I’m gonna announce the date we’ll find a hotel. Well, you know, then it almost killed us all and bless my staff for pulling it off. But we didn’t have a mailing list. We didn’t have. We didn’t have a conference title. We didn’t have anything. And so once we came up with a conference title, which guy named Aaron suggested on the internet? I said, Okay, we’re doing confab. These are the dates, please retweet this and anybody who retweets it gets free cake. And it got like 800 retweets, which at the time, for 2010. Twitter was like 100,000. Right. So yeah, I’ve so I’ve been serving people, you know, their free cake ever since.
Noz Urbina 37:16
So you heard to hear the cake origin story of cakes. Fantastic. Alright, so you’re gonna have to have a hook to pull me off the karaoke stage when I’m there in Minneapolis. Really looking forward to reading the tickets left? Well, who knows?
Kritina Halvorson 37:29
There are Yeah, there are tickets left. I will say that most of our workshops are very, very close to selling out. Yeah, if he you know, if you’re if you’re seeing this before April 30. Please come join us. If you’re seeing it after April 30. You can still buy the recordings of our main conference. So either way, go to confab events.com and we are waiting for you there.
Noz Urbina 37:51
Fantastic. Thank you so much, Christina, for sharing your having me your wisdom and perspective today and I will see you soon in person.
Kritina Halvorson 38:00
I can’t wait.