Business | 18 November 2014

BarCamp Philly Experience

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This past Saturday I spent the day with a bunch of fellow geeks eating bacon and talking about technology. Okay, there was a bit more involved. I attended the 7th annual BarCamp “unconference” where the programming is collaboratively built on the fly by the attendees. Want to give a talk on WordPress or mobile design or diversity in IT? Just show up! It’s a cool premise and I have to say it was a big hit with this first-timer.

I had heard on the interwebs via @BarCampPhilly that there would be a lot of bacon. Another attendee pretty much summed up the situation:

After the consumption of three (okay five) pieces of bacon, I checked out the topic board and starting planning out my schedule. There were so many great options!

Lately we’ve been focusing more on a blogging and social media strategy for the business. As small business owners, Andy and I have to wear many hats, including social media manager, content strategist, analytics analyst, and so on. I wish there were more hours in the day or better yet – the technology to clone ourselves and have the bizarro usses handle all of these marketing services. So my focus for BarCamp Philly was simple – learn some tools that can help us create a strategy for online marketing and execute it successfully.

Here are some of the highlights:

Cecily Kellog gave a witty talk on “Blogging & Marketing” that focused on the difference between a great story and a great bit of marketing content. Cecily described web content as being “snackable” like an easy-to-skim blog post of about 350-500 words. Key takeaway: edit, edit, edit. Oh, and set a blogging schedule because you just have to. It’s tough thinking about our business in terms of customer conversions because it doesn’t work in the same way as someone selling a product. However, one thing every business needs to do is make its customers/clients happy. That sentiment drew me to Megan DiFeo’s session on “Creating Amazing Experiences.” 

This session got me thinking about new ways to ensure my clients are having a great experience from the commencement of a project through to website launch. I’m thinking of testing out quick email surveys at key points along a project to give a client the opportunity to provide feedback during the process.

In keeping with my web content being “snackable,” I’ll wrap this up. The final session I attended was David Dylan Thomas’s talk “So You Want to be a Content Strategist.” I recently wrote about content strategy in its relation to custom website design and David’s talk was a great overview of content strategy’s role. In particular, he discussed a less typical deliverable which he called an “integrated experiment strategy” which brings together a content strategy with the visual design of a project.

BarCamp Philly 7

Overall, BarCamp gave me the chance to connect with some really interesting people, eat too much bacon and think about how we might utilize difference techniques to grow our business and create even better experiences for our clients.

Did I mention I enjoyed a mid-unconference beer? Above: Old Rasputin by North Coast Brewing Company

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