Find breakthrough content solutions
that work for stakeholders, users and you!

29–30 Jan. 2018,
Sadler’s Wells Theatre, London
Case studies from Global Radio, GOV.UK, Breast Cancer Care
Workshops on pair writing and content design


When stakeholders push back on your content recommendations, you don’t need to cringe. When they share opinions and anecdotes, insist on using jargon, or appear to ignore the data, resist the temptation to argue your case. Objections are opportunities: they show that stakeholders care about content and want to be involved in making it effective. All it takes to move from conflict to productive dialogue is to change how you hear feedback. What if your stakeholders aren’t trying to undermine you, but instead want to work with you to find content solutions that work for users?

At the fourth annual agile content conf you’ll learn to reframe objections as opportunities to work together on solutions that everyone buys into, through:

  • case studies of collaboration from organisations like Global Radio, GOV.UK, and Breast Cancer Care
  • short workshops where you’ll practise techniques like pair writing and user research
  • a full-day workshop where you’ll deepen your learning and apply it to your content challenges


Find inspiration, practise techniques, network with peers

Case study presentations from major organisations

Step-by-step workshops led by experts in content collaboration

Facilitated networking activities

Question and answer sessions with the speakers

Opportunities to try out techniques like pair writing and user research

Informal conversations over lunch and coffee

Monday 29 January, 9:00-17:00

Day 1: Conference. Speakers:

Trisha Doyle

Head of Content, Government Digital Service

Leads the team of content designers responsible for GOV.UK

What is good content design?

Steve Wilson-Beales

Head of Editorial, Global Radio

Leads digital content strategy for brands like Capital FM, Heart Radio, LBC, and Classic FM

How LBC gets people to engage with audio on social media (interview)

Claudia Knowles

Digital Content Strategist, Breast Cancer Care

Collaborates with clinical specialists and users to create mobile content that supports women after breast cancer treatment

BECCA, the Breast Cancer Care app

Sarah Richards

Director, Content Design Centre

Author, Content Design

Content design vs editorial (blog post)

Beth Aitman

Technical writer, Improbable

Helps developers to create user-focused content

Writing for better user interfaces (slide deck)

Lynne Roberts

Head of Content Design, Home Office Digital

Builds a community of practice for content creators within central government

ConCon, the cross-government content conference

Jonathan Kahn

Founder, Together London

Helps groups to find breakthrough solutions that everyone buys into

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

Richard Ingram

Content developer, Geckoboard

Leads pair writing workshops on three continents

Pair writing: how to collaborate effectively with subject matter experts (slide deck)



Registration, coffee, and facilitated networking activity

Welcome and set your goals

Try out the first collaboration technique of the day and set your goals for the conference.

Find breakthrough content solutions that everyone buys into
presented by Jonathan Kahn

Do you encounter objections about content from stakeholders or subject matter experts? Would you like to learn collaboration techniques that can resolve differences of perspective about content? In this session 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 create content solutions that satisfy stakeholders and work for users without giving up your values
Designing a content operating model for government (GOV.UK case study)
presented by Trisha Doyle

GOV.UK, the single website for the UK government, has changed the way people interact with government online. This success has brought new content challenges, including a dispersed network of publishers with different approaches to digital. How can we build collaborative relationships after disruptive digital change? In this session you’ll learn:

  • strategies for creating a unified model for content across a complex organisation
  • how to create a “digital content culture” in a traditional organisation
  • tactics to encourage collaboration
How to launch editorial experiments to connect with new audiences online (Global Radio case study)
presented by Steve Wilson-Beales

For many organisations, digital-first publishing doesn’t sit well with existing processes. So instead of trying to revolutionise your approach to content, why not run experiments instead? In this session you’ll learn:

  • how to take risks with content in order to learn from both success and failure
  • strategies to get stakeholders to buy into pilot projects that test new content formats
  • tips to speed up your learning process using social media

Group discussion with the speakers


Coffee break

Using data to collaborate with experts on user-centred content (Breast Cancer Care case study)
presented by Claudia Knowles

BECCA is a mobile app that supports women after breast cancer treatment. To develop content for the app, the digital team collaborates with clinical specialists, front-line staff, internal stakeholders, and the users themselves. In this session you’ll learn:

  • how to use data analytics to show stakeholders which content is most useful to users
  • strategies to encourage experts to collaborate on content that meets user needs
  • tips for sourcing content ideas from users
Supporting non-writers to write effective content (Improbable case study)
presented by Beth Aitman

How can you make a large amount of content work for users when you don’t have the resources to write and maintain it yourself? One solution is to support writers to create user-focused content themselves. In this session you’ll learn how to:

  • explain the principles of user-focused content in way that resonates with authors
  • find common goals with authors so that they hear your suggestions and feedback in a constructive way
  • make decisions together about what content to write (and what not to write) based on a shared understanding of user needs

Group discussion with the speakers

Content design 101: how to collaborate on evidence-based content (workshop)
led by Sarah Richards

Content designers ask the question, “what is the best way to fulfil this user need?” And follow up with, “we’ll produce content that displays the answer in the way that’s most effective for the user.” In this 45-minute workshop session you’ll learn how to use content design techniques to collaborate on content with stakeholders. Learn how to:

  • write in a way that matches how humans read—using the most efficient way of getting your message across
  • find and use the vocabulary your audience uses
  • create targeted, user-focused content together with your stakeholders
13:00 Lunch (included)
Collaboration techniques for content professionals (workshop)
led by Richard Ingram

To build shared understanding with our stakeholders we need to invite them to learn with us about a content problem. That means stepping back from the content. In this 45-minute workshop session you’ll learn collaboration techniques that will allow you to create content with your stakeholders that everyone buys into. Learn how to:

  • use non–directive interviews (a contextual research technique) to learn about user needs alongside your stakeholders
  • document your shared learning with “user stories”
  • use pair writing (a collaborative writing technique) to create content that meets the needs you discovered
Improving content standards through communities of practice (Home Office Digital case study)
presented by Lynne Roberts

We can’t make authors follow content standards, but we can encourage them to choose to. One strategy is to build a content community, which creates cooperation across silos, a sense of shared mission, and more effective content. In this session you’ll learn how to:

  • build a community of practice for content creators, whether you work in a large or small organisation
  • make content more effective for users by engaging with your content community instead of enforcing standards
  • influence content standards when you have no formal authority over the people who create the content

Group discussion with the speakers


Coffee break

How to integrate different perspectives and create solutions that everyone buys into (workshop)
led by Jonathan Kahn

When our stakeholders have different perspectives it’s easy to get trapped in either-or thinking. The way out is to integrate both perspectives and find a third way that works for everyone. In this 45-minute workshop session you’ll learn how to:

  • support stakeholders to hear each other fully
  • derive shared content principles from everyone’s perspectives
  • create content solutions that everyone buys into
Closing activity

We’ll reflect on what we’ve learned today and choose our next steps.


Day 1 ends

Tuesday 30 January, 9:00-17:00

Day 2: Workshop. Deepen your learning and apply it to your content challenges

This full-day workshop led by Jonathan Kahn is an opportunity to apply what you learned on day 1 to your specific context and challenges. Immerse yourself in the collaboration techniques, get feedback on your challenges from peers, and come away with an action plan that will enable you to find breakthrough content solutions in your workplace—starting tomorrow.

“The workshop day was a great opportunity to really dig into next steps and turn our conference experiences into practical actions when we returned to our respective workplaces.” Rachel Bhandari, University of Edinburgh

workshop session

Testimonials from past events

“The agenda was set up to meet my concerns over stakeholder relationships and how to create convincing content. I have already raved to my colleagues and hopefully some of them can attend next year.”Alison Jacobs, Tesco

“It was good to meet other content folk from different industries and the case studies and workshops were fantastic. I came away inspired and with some practical skills I’d like to test out in my role.”Tasha Kidd, University of York

“Good conference and nice company. The range of topics, insights and activities gave me a lot to work with.”Jennifer Buley, SOS Children’s Villages International

“I enjoyed the break up of time between case study presentations and mini-workshops. The presenters were relevant and astute and the venue was spot on. I have a handful of takeaways to action.”Meghan Bates, Royal Sun Alliance

“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 would definitely recommend the conference to colleagues. I got a chance to meet far more people than I usually would at a conference. I’ve come away with some good practical tips and examples of successes to apply to my work.”Emma Cragg, Newcastle University

“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

“A good mix of subject matters held together by some common themes with practical advice on techniques. I particularly liked the style of presentations with the interviewer helping to frame the discussion around the key themes of the day.”Lee Somers, Shop Direct

“Every speaker clearly communicated their approach, techniques used for digital projects and what they learnt from it. Great to have representation from a mixture of commercial and publicly funded organisations.”Eiren Vargas, Royal Sun Alliance

“Engaging and enjoyable. I came away with a lot of new techniques that I wish to implement in my current role.”Joshua Evans, The Stroke Association

“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

Watch videos from last year

Get a feel for the event by watching videos of case study presentations by American Express, Facebook, and the BBC—all recorded at agile content conf 2017.


Two–day ticket (29–30 Jan)

Cost: £1100 + VAT.

Conference ticket only (29 Jan)

Cost: £600 + VAT.

Note: these prices are for online payment by credit/debit card.

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.

Thanks to our sponsor

If you’d like to sponsor agile content conf, get in touch.