Content Jam 2013: Story, Science, Strategy and Very Social

Kicking off the day...

Our 2nd annual Content Jam conference, a day-long event for those who create or curate web content, took place last week at Columbia College’s Film Row Cinema building.

The sold-out content party drew 150+ attendees eager to learn about everything from SEO and keyword research to best practices in measuring performance metrics and telling engaging stories. With tracks on strategy, content creation and writing, promotion, and measurement spread across 18 different presentations, there was certainly enough content to consume at this jam. Lunch, a Write Club competition, and an after-party down the street offered plenty of social and entertainment opportunities as well.

The crew at Lightspan Digital did a great job capturing the spirit of the entire day using Storify: embedded tweets, Vine videos, photos from the day, and even a conversation via our trending hashtag with Chicago Fire actor David Eigenberg. The folks at Orbit Media published a detailed Content Jam recap as well with lots of video, links, and other content. Orbit Media also had a fun photoset on Flickr.


A Social Impact

As an event produced by three B Corps, it’s no surprise that we had a social impact as well:

  • A portion of the proceeds will benefit Barrel of Monkeys, a Chicago-based organization that teaches literacy to Chicago Public Schools students through storytelling and performance.
  • Leftover food was donated to the awesome folks at First Slice, who used it to feed the homeless via their community outreach programs.

We are already looking into Content Jam 2014 and will make giving back an integral part of the programming for next year.


A Low Impact

As B Corps, it is also important for us to keep the event’s environmental impact as low as possible too. We’re not event producers by trade, we’re marketers, storytellers and web geeks, so I think we still have some room for improvement here, but nonetheless sustainability was a recurring topic that came up again and again throughout planning. Here’s where we kept impact low this go-round:

  • Morning coffee cups were compostable and napkins made out of recycled paper.
  • Buttons in the button machine were made of recycled steel at Busy Beaver’s solar powered button factory.
  • Where possible, printing was done on recycled paper. (In the case of signage, unfortunately, that wasn’t an option this year . . . we’ll work harder on that next year.)
  • Lunch was served on compostable plates with compostable napkins.
  • We recycled all lanyards and chains. In fact, recycling bins were everywhere!

Next year, I’d like to reach out to other B Corps and figure out how we might make this event even more low-impact while still providing the high-quality experience that we did this year.


Our Awesome Sponsors

So many people helped us put this successful event together by providing time, materials, space, discounts and so on. Many, many thanks to our sponsors and volunteers:


The Presentations

We had a lot of great speakers and incredible content. The folks from T60 Productions were interviewing attendees and speakers while animator George Berlin captured several of the presentations with live animations that were played back during lunch.

Sketch Notes by George Berlin 3

Many of the presentation decks were uploaded to SlideShare as well. The folks at Orbit Media captured them in this of the presentation decks. Click the link if you want review all the decks. Some good stuff in there!


Content Jam 2014

Yup, we’re already talking about it. Attendees have given us some great feedback on what we can improve and how to make the next Content Jam even more useful, fun, educational, and of course, sharable. Jill, Andy, Amanda and I look forward to sharing more info as we figure things out. Hope to see you there!

On that note, I’ll leave you with this awesome slideshow of photos taken during the day by Jeff Livorsi:

See you next year!