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Content Strategy Lightning Talks

On Tuesday 26 February our popular lightning talks event returns, where each speaker gets 5 minutes and 20 slides (15 seconds per slide) to share their unique perspectives on content strategy in a blur of energy, passion and intensity. The buzz is incredible—you should try it! (Our lightning talks events always sell out, so make you get your ticket early.)

Meet the speakers

Check out our 11 amazing lightning talk presenters.

Cat Townsend: When content strategy is a matter of life and death

We’re all prone to the illusion that our work is a matter of life and death, but what happens when it actually is? Based on her experience working in medical manufacturing and incident response, Cat will share stories and examples of how good content strategy can save lives—and how bad content strategy can put lives at risk.

Catherine Scott: Creating a content strategy for advocacy websites

Often clients see public affairs websites as being all about taking action while communicators focus on telling a story. In this talk Catherine will explain how to put content strategy at the core of an advocacy programme without compromising activism. She’ll use a case study from a community website where she was responsible for content strategy.

Chris Atherton: Malcontent Strategy: where UX at?

Sometimes, clients seem to want a content strategy before there is any content. This sucks. User experience can help you create a content framework, even where no content exists.

Clare Evans: Making publishers ‘appy with HTML5

When taking a publication from print to digital, using HTML5 for content is a great way to go. But if you’re used to print, it’s easy to mess things up. Other people have, so maybe you shouldn’t?

Elizabeth McGuane: On co-creation

“Working with others
Is a heartache and a joy
And brings forth beauty”

Elizabeth’s talk is about co-creation and the crazy places it’s led her, from living in an eco-cabin in Scotland amidst grazing Highland cows, to dancing onstage in a toga in South Africa. There’s no better, and no more frightening, way to learn.

Ellis Pratt : Applying Lean principles to content strategy

Ellis will explain how the principles of Lean manufacturing can be applied to developing and managing content. It’s a way of writing that focuses on maximising the value to the user and minimising waste. Since the Agile development methodology is based on Lean principles, it will help you to position content management within an Agile environment.

Lee McIvor: Tigers, tortillas and faces in clouds: Visual perception and what it means for design

Our brain constantly interprets what we see to make sense of it, freeing our conscious to focus on the important details. The problem is, it often gets things wrong, resulting in strange illusions, problems of memory and disconcerting visual effects. Learn how a basic understanding of perception can help us design more effectively.

Rahel Bailie: Contextual narrative as a content strategy method

Contextual narrative provides a useful set of user research data—richer than traditional inquiry methods such as surveys or focus groups. This is a Cognitive Edge method that deals with issues within complex adaptive systems. This is an interesting method to add to any content strategy toolkit.

Rob Mansfield: How Age UK changed its online donation culture

Age UK’s “Spread the Warmth” campaign is in its 3rd year—and this year, they took a totally different tack, with both the treatment of the online campaign and its objective. Rob will explain how they “broke ranks” with offline activity, embedded new functionality, and revolutionised the donation journey—with impressive results.

Rupert Bowater: Content cautionary tales

Rupert will tell us about the perils of immersion in specialist content, based the last 15 years of his job. Beyond the straightforward risk of being a serial bore for anyone not involved in your projects you may, for instance, come over as creepy (specialist medical knowledge of operations) or the ultimate nerd (eg letterbox minutiae). Then again, there are benefits: if you want a carriage to yourself on the train, try leafing through a picture book of skin diseases.

Sue Davis: 10 content strategy visuals that changed the world

When Sue trains people in web writing and content strategy, she’s found that some visuals get over important ideas better than others. Find out which ones make her course participants really “get” key content ideas.

What you can expect

Check out these amazing talks from our lightning talks event in May.

Our venue: The Book Club

We’re delighted to be back at The Book Club in Shoreditch, which manages to be beautiful, hip, intimate, and friendly, all at the same time.


  • 6pm: Arrive, grab yourself a drink.
  • 6:30pm: Lighting talks start (first half).
  • 7:10pm: Break (grab another drink.)
  • 7:30pm: Lightning talks start (second half.)
  • 8:20pm: Lightning talks end.
  • 8:30pm - 10pm: Drinks and informal networking. Stick around to meet the speakers and chat to your fellow content strategy advocates.

Join or login to comment.

  • clare e.

    Well, seeing as everyone else is sharing...

    1 · March 6, 2013

  • Gary C.

    Cat Townsend is a good friend, but it doesn't stop me from saying how good I thought her presentation on Crisis Management was at the Content Strategy Lightning Talks.

    March 4, 2013

    • Cat T.

      It only cost me £20 to get him to say that...

      March 4, 2013

  • George T.

    thanks for sharing Penny, Rob and Elizabeth (PS Elizabeth I found your presentation funny, and I'd only had the one)

    1 · March 4, 2013

  • Rob M.

    If anyone's interested, the slides from my talk are available :)

    March 4, 2013

  • Penny Dakin Kiley (Penny K.

    Sunday's my blogging day, so here's my take on the event.

    March 3, 2013

    • Rob M.

      Thx for the plug, Penny - nice post :)

      March 3, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    Like a banquet of great, actionable information. I'm now stuffed!

    February 26, 2013

    • A former member
      A former member

      - Really enjoyed your talk, Cat!

      February 27, 2013

    • Cat T.

      Thanks Lisa!

      February 27, 2013

  • sue d.

    Proud to be part of last night. Great insights and hilariousness! Thinking of starting a content strategy jokes page...

    1 · February 27, 2013

  • George T.

    My first time at a CS lightning talks event; great format and bold, interesting speakers coming at CS and related disciplines from a variety of angles. Roll on June!

    February 27, 2013

  • Rob M.

    Great to be a part of last night and I felt honoured to be among some great speakers - looking forward to the next one already :)

    February 27, 2013

  • Penny Dakin Kiley (Penny K.

    Excellent. Good, diverse speakers; efficient format.

    February 27, 2013

  • Matthew B.

    Very good talk and very strong speakers and apparently very well organised. Well done!

    February 27, 2013

  • Jonathan C.

    Very friendly and stimulating. I was surprised to read the message about respect that went out the day before - have they had problems in the past? If so, it certainly did the trick.

    February 27, 2013

  • Paul S.

    This was just my second Meetup in this group - and now I'm addicted. Just lovely to meet articulate, knowledgeable and enthusiastic people. Sizzling presentations.

    1 · February 27, 2013

  • Chloe B.

    Yes, I wanted to come too but completely forgot that I was travelling back from Barcelona this evening... Silly me! Enjoy and see you next time!

    February 26, 2013

  • Robert A.

    Hi GUys - I bought a ticket - I can't make it - sorry. Really looking forward to seeing videos and/or slides. Thanks.

    February 26, 2013

  • Hans K.

    Sorry.. Other meeting ran late and now too late too join! Next time better and enjoy!

    February 26, 2013

  • Emily C.

    So sorry - stuck in horrible traffic - ugh! Hope someone else can benefit from my place.

    February 26, 2013

  • Paul S.

    Waiting for vegetarian nachos ... mmm

    February 26, 2013

  • Isabella S.

    Hi, sorry I can't make it tonight so the spot is open for some other eager content geek!

    February 26, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    Sorry chest cold has come on.

    February 26, 2013

  • Isabella


    February 1, 2013

  • Stephen G.

    Sorry - have to be elsewhere that night. Hope it goes well!

    January 24, 2013

  • Gary C.

    Looking forward to Cat Townsend's Lightning Talk

    January 23, 2013

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Refunds offered if:

  • the Meetup is cancelled
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