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In It Together: Co-Creating Your Content Strategy

Content Strategy Philly in association with O3 World and Forge Conference are proud to present the following talk by renowned content strategist (and CS Philly member) Sara Wachter-Boettcher. Here, in her own words, is the pitch...

"When I turned my web writing job into this 'content strategy' thing back in 2008, I thought I’d hit the jackpot: Finally, I had the tools to solve the problems that plagued my projects. Content wasn’t left ’til last, projects weren’t delayed, concerns weren’t limited to design and development. Win, win, win.

But then some terrible someone always came along to spoil my party. I’d make a style guide; the authors would stop following it. I’d work out a content model; the designer would insist on an interface it couldn’t support. I’d go through the audit results; the client would smile, nod...and go back to business as usual. I wanted to make content meaningful. Instead, I was making documents. I was making fantasies. Sometimes, I was even making enemies.

I was overwhelmed, overworked, and disappointed—until I changed the way I saw my role. Instead of tying things up with a bow and delivering it to others’  doorsteps, I learned how to make the work theirs instead—to create strategy with them, not for them.

In this talk, I’ll share the ways I overhauled how I work, and how that’s led to more successful projects and more satisfying client relationships. You’ll learn approaches and activities to help you work with authors, designers, developers, marketing, PR, product management, or any other group to:

- Put the power to decide on strategy, messaging, modeling, and more into everyone’s hands—even if they’re not content experts—and get meaningful commitment as a result.

- Identify colleagues’ or clients’ motivations, challenges, and desires, and relate them back to content.

- Help diverse teams build good habits around content, rather than get hung up on rigid rules they don’t understand."

Sara Wachter-Boettcher runs a content strategy consultancy based in Philadelphia. She is the author of Content Everywhere from Rosenfeld Media, a book that helps content professionals, designers, and others plan for flexible, adaptable content systems that can be accessed across channels and devices. She is also the editor in chief of A List Apart, a magazine about web content, culture, and code, and a speaker at conferences like SXSW, Confab, the Content Strategy Forum, Web Directions, and UX Week. You can find her at or on Twitter @sara_ann_marie.

This event is made possible with support from our host and sponsors O3 World and Forge Conference.


O3 World is an interactive agency located in the Fishtown neighborhood of Philadelphia. We create brand experiences through websites, digital products, and applications for the best people in the world. We take an iterative approach to all of our work, which enables us to build on and refine the experiences we create. By continually gathering user feedback, leveraging client insight, and examining multiple points of data, we ensure that creative details and technical nuances are constantly improving. Interested in working with us? Awesome, check us out at and introduce yourself. 


Forge is a conference for people who are creating digital experiences and driving innovation on the web. We all know that creating for the web is hard work. Every win has a story, and every loss a lesson. Succeeding takes talent, passion, and dedication to overcome challenges, hurdles, and roadblocks. Forge Conference is where we share these stories, hit failures head on, celebrate successes, and grow together. To see our speaker lineup, purchase tickets, and learn more about the conference visit We're looking forward to seeing you in September.

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  • David C.

    Sara drove home the need to work together with others to make the content and its environment work, for the long term. It's about helping people learn and become invested.
    I especially liked: 1. be a guide, not a genius; 2. find what feels right; 3 help others shine.
    Yay, Sara!

    September 22, 2014

  • Sara W.

    Thank you for coming, everyone! Here's a link to a PDF of the presentation:

    Erika: The slides might be hard to glean much from if you missed the talk, but maybe someone will have notes to share. Sorry you couldn't make it!

    1 · September 11, 2014

  • Edward F.

    Great event. The speaker was amazing. Great presentation and well focused lecture.

    September 11, 2014

  • Erika F.

    Sorry to have missed it! If anyone has notes or slides to share I'd really value!

    September 11, 2014

  • Bonnie

    So disappointed I can't make it in the end =(

    September 10, 2014

  • A former member
    A former member

    This sounds really great. I'm looking forward to learning more - and this will be my first meetup with the group!

    September 8, 2014

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