agile content conf

Go beyond arguments about content to find an approach that works for everyone

1-day course: 25 Sept. 2017, Sadler’s Wells Theatre, London
Learn to find common goals with your stakeholders and create content that works for everyone


What would it take to collaborate on content in a way that satisfies all of your stakeholders?

As digital professionals, we know how to create content that meets user needs. We have evidence to prove it, from neuroscience to analytics to lab research. But our stakeholders often see things differently. They resist our recommendations with opinions and anecdotes, insist on using jargon and legalese, appeal to emotion, or offer reasons that seem to be motivated by politics. So we try to get them to “buy-in” to our methods by presenting more data and more evidence. We argue our case in the hope of convincing them to follow our advice. It rarely works.

It’s time to stop arguing. We can’t force people to see our perspective. But we do have a choice. There are techniques we can use to understand our stakeholders’ positions, to find out why they object to our advice. This isn’t compromise. We’re not giving up our values, we’re putting them into practice by finding solutions that work for everyone.

Collaboration techniques work by building a shared understanding of all of the constraints around a content problem—whether they’re business needs, technical constraints, or legal requirements—and working together to find an approach that meets all of them.

During this 1-day course led by Jonathan Kahn you’ll learn to:

  • use contextual research to step back from content and discover user needs alongside your stakeholders
  • collaborate with stakeholders to create content that meets these needs, using techniques like pair writing
  • integrate different perspectives and then find break-through solutions that work for everyone


Testimonials from past events

“A well paced, interactive and informative day. I now have simple tools and techniques I can use to collaborate with stakeholders which I believe will genuinely help.” Janey Crichton, NHS Health Scotland

“I came away with not only a clearer understanding of the issues but also with a number of useful techniques to help me tackle them and an action plan to put it into practice.” Rachel Bhandari, University of Edinburgh

“It was grounded in the day-to-day experiences of people who work with web content. The friendly and lighthearted tone of the day made it easy to try things out, learn and meet new people.”Liz Whyte, Citizens Advice

“Very relevant for a multiple stakeholder large organisation.” Simon Peters, Transport for London

“I would definitely recommend this event to other content editors and writers. It was informative, fun and challenging. I was surrounded by like-minded people and felt comfortable speaking to new people.” Louise Skinner, Christian Aid

“One of the best conferences I’ve ever attended. I usually attend copywriting or UX-led events, and this was a fantastic blend of the two. It was clear that the event was created by content designers for content designers.” Jen Lambourne, Inviqa

“A really interesting day. I learnt a lot from other participants as well as the speakers and workshop leaders.” Ann Horrell, National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE)

Register for the course

1-day course (25 Sept.)

Price: £500 + VAT.

Note: this price is for online payment by credit/debit card.

The course runs 9am–5pm and includes refreshments and lunch.

Register now

Refunds and transfers

We accept cancellations up to 60 days before the event: we’ll refund your registration minus a 20% cancellation fee. Fewer than 60 days before the event we won’t refund your registration.

Note: we don’t allow transfers. Please make sure that you can attend before you register.

Training for your organisation

For groups of 10 or more, we can lead training inside your organisation. Sessions can either follow our 1-day course syllabus or we can tailor them to your team’s needs. We can also present at internal conferences or team retreats.

If you’d like to arrange training for your organisation, get in touch.


Videos from the 2017 conference

Go beyond arguments about content to find an approach that works for everyone

Jonathan Kahn, Organiser, agile content conf

Do you experience challenges collaborating with stakeholders, subject matter experts, or different parts of your organisation? Would you like to learn practical techniques to build shared understanding and create efficient content processes that stakeholders are willing to take part in? You’ll learn:

  • why stakeholders resist evidence-based arguments and appeal to emotion, opinion, or politics
  • how to reframe objections as requirements and create a shared understanding of all the constraints around a content problem
  • how to invent an approach that satisfies all of these requirements without giving up your values

Content strategy for Facebook Messenger (case study)

Erica Hoerl, Content Strategist, Facebook

Erica shares what she learned during the development of features for Messenger, Facebook’s mobile messaging app used by over 1 billion people. Find out what’s involved in creating content for a digital product and how content strategists collaborate with other roles within a product team. You’ll learn:

  • how content strategists contribute to both the interface and the positioning of digital products
  • what the team discovered about the specific user group they were designing for through iteration and feedback
  • which processes are effective for encouraging collaboration between content strategists and designers, user researchers, data analysts, product managers, and product marketers

Unifying global content teams around a common purpose at American Express (case study)

Sarah Jones, former Manager, Global Digital Content, American Express & Lauren Pope, Content Strategist, Brilliant Noise

Hear how American Express worked with digital agency Brilliant Noise to pilot a collaborative model for content planning, production, and distribution across global teams. They created the Editorial Hub, an end-to-end system for content. The Hub promotes consistent, customer-focused content through a shared purpose and set of objectives. Learn how to:

  • unify content teams around a common purpose and set of objectives
  • encourage dialogue between separate teams in a large organisation
  • synchronise content planning by implementing a shared editorial calendar

Collaborating with journalists to create a mobile-only video experience for the BBC News app (case study)

Alex Watson, Head of Product, BBC News

Hear how the BBC News digital team worked with journalists to create a custom content experience for mobile video. Instead of treating this as a pure design problem—how to get video onto a platform as efficiently as possible—Alex’s team collaborated with editorial and broadcast delivery teams to experiment with new processes for creating content for a specific audience. Learn how to:

  • advocate for designing for a specific audience when one-size-fits-all content for multiple platforms doesn’t meet their needs
  • enable joint creativity with content creators and subject matter experts by finding shared goals and language
  • engage diverse stakeholders in digital projects by understanding their perspectives instead of appealing to data and evidence alone

Using contextual research at GOV.UK to find an approach that works for everyone (case study)

Naintara Land, former Head of User Research, Government Digital Service

Naintara explains how her team ran a user research project about the needs of small business owners that helped both digital experts and subject matter experts to broaden their perspectives about their users’ context. This enabled people to step out of their entrenched positions and find an approach that satisfied everyone. You’ll learn:

  • how contextual research differs from usability testing, and how to use it in the “discovery” phase of projects to create shared understanding
  • how to present research findings in a way that unites stakeholders by suggesting hypotheses instead of making recommendations
  • tips for getting involved in user research when it’s not in your job description

Creating a digital service to support women after breast cancer treatment (case study)

Jo Wolfe, Digital Lead, Breast Cancer Care

Jo’s team worked with a technology accelerator programme to create BECCA, a digital service that supports women to adapt to life after breast cancer. The project involved people from across the organisation, including clinical experts, front-line staff, and executives. Hear how Jo’s team supported stakeholders to collaborate on content, design, and functionality using a combination of user research and iterative development. Learn how to:

  • understand the underlying needs your content will meet by participating in contextual research, side-by-side with your stakeholders
  • collaborate continuously with stakeholders from across the organisation by including them in an iterative design process and regular usability testing
  • approach people who you don’t normally work with and invite them to work together on content

How to build effective cross-disciplinary teams (panel of hiring managers)

featuring Facebook, GDS, Breast Cancer Care, and Brilliant Noise

How can we build and nurture cross-disciplinary digital teams? In this panel discussion featuring hiring managers from digital teams in government, technology, charity, and agencies, you’ll learn:

  • what it’s like to work in digital teams in different sectors
  • how digital teams recruit across disciplines
  • what hiring managers look for when they’re trying to fill a role

Thanks to our sponsor