November 5, 2015Chicago, IL


Content Jam, a one-day content marketing conference on November 5th, 2015. Experts in content strategy, SEO, analytics, promotion, conversion, and measurement will share their smartest tools and techniques. More details coming soon!

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Listen up, y'all.

Web Strategist and Co-Founder of Orbit Media Studios

Andy Crestodina


Andy Crestodina is a co-founder and the Strategic Director of Orbit Media, an award-winning 35-person web design company in Chicago. 

Andy loves this stuff. It’s fun to translate complex content marketing tactics into simple, practical content marketing advice that anyone can understand.

Andy writes Orbit’s beloved, bi-weekly marketing newsletter. He's also the author of Content Chemistry a handbook for content marketing and he’s written hundreds articles for many of the top sites in the industry.

Writing is nice, but face-to-face is better. Andy teaches and speaks at conferences around the country on topics including content strategy, Analytics, social media, SEO and email marketing. He’s also provided web strategy and advice to more than 1000 businesses in Chicago and around the country.

Art and science. The best web marketing is a combination of both. Style and substance. The best teachers combine them. It’s that clarity and passion that Andy hopes to bring to every conversation.

Owner, StoryStudio Chicago

Jill Pollack


Jill Pollack is the founder and director of StoryStudio Chicago, overseeing writing and storytelling training for more than 1,200 students each year. She is a presenter on using stories in our personal and professionals lives and was again included in the Newcity Lit Top 50 list of literary leaders in Chicago. 

As an award-winning communications consultant, writer, and editor, Jill has helped Fortune 1000 companies, higher education institutions, and not-for-profits take advantage of changing technology to deepen their connections to customers, employees, and other stakeholders.

COO & Conversion Optimization Expert, Conversion Scientist

Joel Harvey


Joel is a seasoned digital marketing executive and entrepreneur with an 11-year background in executing complex optimization engagements. As a Managing Partner at Conversion Sciences, he and his team design and run hundreds of tests per year. He asks why a lot, challenges assumptions, laughs loud, and constantly reaches for the next level of results. Oh, and he's from the future.



Where the magic happens.


Columbia College Chicago

Film Row Cinema Building, 8th Floor
1104 South Wabash, Chicago, IL 60605
Get Directions › 




Time to get schooled.

Sessions at Content Jam are facilitated by industry leaders and are approximately 50 minutes long, including allotted time for attendee questions. Attendees will have 10 minutes in between to move from session to session. The sessions are separated into five tracks:

1) Strategy sessions cover the big picture: positioning, research, personas and best practices for content strategies.

2) Creation sessions are about making content: writing, visuals, storytelling and all things related to generating compelling web content.

3) Promotion sessions are about driving traffic: keywords and search, email and social media, building connected communities.

4) Conversion sessions are about getting your audience to act. Learn to convert visitors into leads, subscribers and lifetime customers.

5) Measurement sessions bring everything together into metrics. Use Analytics to continually improve; make smarter decisions with greater impact.

Attendees can attend any track they wish in any order they want.

8:00 AM
9:00 AM
Opening Keynote | BE BOLD... Tell 'em What You Believe
Brian Burkhart

Brian will be explaining the importance of being bold by communicating what you believe. Using real-world and personal examples, Brian will have you thinking, laughing, and asking questions about how you communicate.

You’ll leave with practical insights about how to engage people and attract more clients. Learn how to look inside your normal actions to find out what you stand for, who you should work with, and what this means to your personal satisfaction.

In one hour you’ll have a far deeper understanding of authentic brand building and a road map for truly engaging communications strategy.

10:00 AM
Creation | Don't Be Boring: Learn the Secrets of Keeping your Audience Enthralled
Jill Pollack

It's one thing to have your content topics and strategy, but quite another to tell a great story each and every time you connect with your readers. If you want to truly engage your audience and have them read to the end of the email (or tweet or post or caption, etc.), then you need to understand The 5 Secrets of Not Being Boring.

Bring something to write with it as you'll practice these strategies in the workshop and walk out knowing how to keep those eyeballs focused down to the last exclamation point.

Conversion | How to Build a Lead Magnet
Russ Henneberry
That's the goal, right?  More leads.  More sales.  More happy customers.
A Lead Magnet is a small chunk of value given freely in exchange for permission to continue the conversation with a prospect.  You've seen them before.  They are the the free ebooks, white papers and courses promised in exchange for your email address.  

But all Lead Magnets are not created equally.  
In this session you'll discover,
  • 13 Lead Magnet types, at least one of which will be perfect for your business.
  • The dirty little secret that makes creating a Lead Magnet super simple. 
  • A 6-part checklist ensuring that you have the perfect Lead Magnet for your audience.
Strategy | Paradigm Shifts in the Matrix
Nick Kellet

Short Form, Short Lived & RealTime - Nothing is what it once was.

Welcome to the Content Strategist Living Hell.

Winners are grabbing your attention with less. Content is morphing, evolving. We need to become fast learners & frequent experimenters. Platforms are converging, attention is diverging.

We don't need more tools or platforms, we need more skills, more applied knowledge & more mastery.
Discover thought leaders, tools & techniques to master short-form media in the different digital trans-formats.

Words, videos, audio all have their long forms, but short and snappy wins today. Learn how to start short to earn longer bursts of attention.


Promotion | Kiss My Glass: How to Create Passionate Relationships Between Your Buyers and Brand
Barry Feldman

This presentation will dive into branding, social media, and writing strategies you can use to grow your business with online marketing. There will be a focus on the value of engagement and specific strategies for engaging prospects on your website, blog and across your social media networks.

Measurement | Advanced Blogging: Analytics, Optimization and Outreach
Andy Crestodina

You’ve been blogging for years, but traffic growth is slow and leads are flat. But your Analytics are telling you what to do next. Here’s how to listen.

This session covers blog optimization for experienced bloggers, including the tactics for traffic and conversions using social media, email marketing and search optimization. Learn specific actions using Analytics and research to improve lead generation.

Key Takeaways Include:

  • How to get more value from the same audience
  • Advanced Analytics for faster list grown and higher rankings
  • Tips for deeper engagement and collaboration
  • Find topics that connect, share content with a targeted audience

Recommended for professionals with 2-5 years of experience in lead generation and content marketing.

11:00 AM
Strategy | Who Are You? 5 Keys to Positioning Your Business
Susan Silver

“I still don’t know how I got Yanni on my home page.” – True quote from a CEO who didn’t position his company before investing in marketing.

Don’t let this very unhappy client be you! Most companies know that a positioning statement can help them, but oftentimes it’s low on the priority list. This workshop focuses on the 5 key things everyone should know when they talk about and write about their company – whether it’s to potential customers, investors, agencies or even employees.

In this workshop you'll learn:

  • The 5 key things everyone should know when they talk about their company
  • Using your positioning statement to create personas
  • How to refine and tighten existing positioning statements

Even if you already have a positioning statement and personas, we'll help you tighten your positioning and will give you some new ideas for painting a richer picture or your persona

Creation | The Breaking Down Your Business Podcast LIVE at ContentJam!
Brad Farris & Jill Salzman

Podcasting is a rapidly growing medium, seizing the attention of professionals, advertisers and marketers. Or so Jill & Brad think. If you’ve been thinking about podcasting, or just want to see something really LOUD and entertaining, stop by and watch as Jill & Brad record an episode of “Breaking Down Your Business” live and in person!

Breaking Down your Business, created by Brad Farris, the hilarious founder of Anchor Advisors and, and Jill Salzman, the wise-cracking founder of The Founding Moms, tackles the most complex small business questions of our day: How do I make more money without driving myself nuts? Why am I not a billionaire yet? How long is *that* going to take? And is it possible to take over the world armed with nothing but a smart phone and a credit card swiper?

They get to the bottom of these mysteries with help from guests who are business owners just like you! The soothsayers of success have arrived, and you don’t want to miss the priceless insights of these prophets of profit. Because they’re the most entertaining podcast hosts in the world. (It's mademade the "New & Noteworthy" list 3 times on iTunes since its inception, gets 1,000+ downloads per week, has 29,436 5-star reviews, and the interviewees featured on each episode have offered gems of invaluable small business advice.)

Check it out on iTunes here: or on the website here:
Promotion | Email Marketing Campaigns That Drive Action – Featuring Email & Social Engagements
Steve Robinson

At the heart of small business marketing are the campaigns that drive action – collections of marketing activities that help a small business or organization to achieve its goals and objectives. Newsletters and Announcements have become a core component of those campaign choices.

Email is more important than ever – to the communication efforts of businesses and nonprofits everywhere; and to the customer, donor, client or supporter of those organizations. This session will reveal some simple but effective best practices and considerations for the small business or nonprofit seeking to make their email newsletters more effective.

Attendees of this presentation will learn:

  • The different types of newsletters
  • What to write about in your newsletter or announcement and how to consider using images
  • Subject line best practices, and when to send your newsletter
  • The importance of understanding how connected email and social media are…they have to be done together.
  • What types of additional tools might be useful

Learn some great new strategies to help your email and social media efforts be more effective components of one of the core campaign types, newsletters and announcements.

Measurement | Analytics Without Fear
James 'ContentHam' Ellis

Studies show that after dying and public speaking, Americans' biggest fear is analytics, even more than mutant spiders that talk or Gary Busey*. But unlike monsters or Mr. Busey, understanding your analytics helps you make smarter web and business decisions with confidence. It can show you who your most valuable audiences are, how they find you, and how to grow them. But you can only do that if you get past your fear. That's where I come in.

While I can't turn you into a Google analytics nerd in an hour, I can give you three smart rules to give you a far better grasp of your analytics and actionable items for your to-do list, all without having to do any real math. Understanding these rules will help you shake your fear, feel smarter, and make better decisions.

*Mr. Busey will not be attending. They made me say that. Because you never know where Gary Busey will be!

Conversion | Best Practices Are Killing Your Conversion Rate
Joel Harvey

A "Best Practice" is something that conventional wisdom says you should do on your website without testing. And that's what many people do. The problem is that there really is no such thing as a "Best Practice." For every test where a responsive design or removal of a slider drives more revenue, there are 10 more instances where they don't.

In this session, you'll learn:

  • The most dangerous "Best Practices" and see examples of tests where they failed.
  • Why "ugly" designs often outperform "attractive" designs
  • How to write counter-intuitive calls to action and copy that drive results
12:00 PM
Break | Lunch and Networking
1:10 PM
Creation | Visual Content That People Actually Want
Joe Cardillo

Whether you're an established brand or just getting off the ground, you're probably hearing how important visuals are. We’re constantly told things like “photos get more engagement”, and that more visuals make everything better.

But the web is rapidly filling with junk content, and the boring, problematic 500 word blog post titled "5 Things Lady Gaga Can Teach You About Marketing" is coming to visual content, too. When that happens you'll need more than a pile of shiny objects to get people to pay attention to what you do.

In this session we’ll take a rapid fire look at dozens of examples of visual content - including stock photos, infographics, web design, presentations, and social channels. We'll talk openly and honestly about what's working and what's not.

Note: This session may contain strong language. We'll give you an email address at the start to send in examples from your brand, if you choose to do so please be prepared for both brutal honesty and constructive advice.

Measurement | What's the ROI? Setting Benchmarks and Measuring Social Media and Content Marketing Results
Mana ionescu

Most companies believe that successful marketing starts with creativity and pretty designs. In the social media space too much attention is being placed on fuzzy concepts such as “likes” and “engagement,” and the burning “ROI” question is often ignored.

But the BEST marketing starts with data. From understanding who your customer are, and where they hang out online, to evaluating and evolving your current marketing activities, data will be your best marketing ally.

This presentation will teach you how to:

  • make data-driven social media marketing decisions
  • establish benchmarks and KPIs
  • use the best tools and techniques to track campaign data
  • evaluate your social media marketing ROI
  • gain demographic and other insights from your social media work
Promotion | Going Rogue: Borrowing Ranking Power of Other Sites via Guest Posting
Sean McGinnis
Inbound links are still a critical ranking factor in modern search engines. One of the best ways to generate those links is to spread your knowledge across the web and write guest posts for other sites with authority. Despite their importance, many try to spam or abuse their way to search engine victory.
In this session we will learn:
  1. How to identify sites to approach.
  2. How to determine which sites to write what content for.
  3. A step by step guide to creating quality content for sites you don't own.
  4. What to do after your post goes live to maximise value.
  5. A method for following up that will ensure you are invited back to post again.
You'll leave this session with concrete ideas for how to build links to your property (or that of a client) that are bound to generate real results.
Conversion | Integrating Content Strategy and User Experience Design
Kate Eyler-Werve

Is Content Strategy siloed away from Design and Development at your company? Too often, the content we put on our websites is an afterthought, lumped in with marketing that happens after a site is built. But a great content strategy starts during the wireframing process and continues long after a site design is finished.

In this session, we outline a practical step-by-step process for integrating your content strategy work into the user experience design workflow. We'll show examples from two real projects: a brand new website build and updates to an existing website. You will leave with a host of practical proposals to bring back to your whole team for streamlining project workflow and minimizing expensive oversights.

Strategy | How To Energize Your Content Using Marketing Personae
Heidi Cohen

You need to see, hear, feel and touch your target buyers and influencers to have a visceral understanding of who they are and what they’re seeking from your company and your content

Customers continuously adopt new technologies. In the process, they discover how to use them to improve their lives faster than marketers can keep up with them.

You must work smartly to understand what your prospects, customers and the public are doing and where they’re doing it to provide useful information where and they need it.

Done well, a marketing persona energizes your entire team to brainstorm new ideas and to do their best work.

Marketing personae enable you to create marketing and related communications tailored to your audience’s needs. They enable your team to create content that breaks through and engages your potential market to build relationships that yield sales. Marketing personae also improve your ability to distribute your content effectively.

Take aways include:

  • Tailored marketing persona plan
  • Targeted content marketing plan based on your marketing persona
  • Content distribution plan based on your marketing persona
2:10 PM
Strategy | Content Governance: Planning for Success Throughout the Content Life Cycle
Chris Mickens

Content governance allows organizations to determine priorities, assign responsibility, and establish detailed guidelines for creating and managing consistent, high quality web content. Sure, it’s not the sexiest thing in the world, but a well thought out content governance plan provides a solid foundation for achieving short and long-term content goals while maintaining a smooth editorial workflow.

We will examine how a content governance plan provides guidance throughout the following stages of the content life cycle:

  1. Planning
  2. Development
  3. Revision
  4. Distribution
  5. Management/Archiving

We’ll wrap up with a look at some useful Drupal modules and WordPress plugins that help streamline the content management workflow, and attendees will leave with a sample content governance guide to help kick things off.

Conversion | Brain Science and Web Marketing
Andy Crestodina

Call it neuromarketing. Call it behavioral economics. Call it Jedi mind tricks. Whatever you call it: brain science and marketing go together. And anyone can learn how to do it.

In this session, Andy will review the research and then show how to create web marketing that works with natural, human behavioral tendencies.

  • Social proof: herds, halos and credibility
  • Fear, Loss and calls-to-action
  • How to write for busy minds
  • Context, contrast and the power of "anchors"

He'll reveal secrets of marketing masters with specific actions and outcomes based on brain science and behavioral marketing research. If there are humans in your target audience, this presentation is for you.

Creation | Creating Content With Conversations
Mark J. Carter

How interviews save time, build your network and triple your marketing reach

While content marketing can be an amazing tool it takes time, costs money, takes time and requires a LOT of creativity and knowledge on your part.  How can you build more content that creates measurable results without exchanging business development time for writing time?

You need more bandwidth and people to help increase your marketing reach that WANT to help and aren’t just doing you a favor.  You need a way to build marketing partnerships, create cross promotional opportunities and dramatically increase your online and offline reach.  During this interactive discussion you’ll learn how to do exactly that by examining:

  • Why metrics like page views, click throughs and follower counts are secondary to what every marketer should be measuring FIRST
  • How to increase the long-term value of every business interaction
  • Why showcasing other people’s genius is the smartest marketing move you can make this year and how to get more introductions
  • How the slight shift from “me” to “we” builds a support team and doubles the amount of content you can create each week
Measurement | Social Impact and Content Strategy: Building Brands with Purpose
Tim Frick + Panel Discussion

Successful purpose-driven brands use their mission to redefine marketing roles and create shared value for entire ecosystems, not just the brand itself. This means more than just measuring revenue growth. This means measuring impact. To do this, we must evolve standard marketing metrics and consider those that relate to social and environmental impact, employee and stakeholder engagement, business governance and community service. Does increased enthusiasm and engagement among employees, communities, and stakeholders count? Can it be measured? You bet!

This moderated panel will explore how four different organizations use mission and purpose to not only drive content marketing efforts, but to measure success. We’ll discuss frameworks for building and growing a purpose-driven brand and how the standard marketing conversion funnel needs to be reconfigured to fit with this new model.


Promotion | So You Think You Want to Podcast?
Brad Farris & Jill Salzman

There’s good reason for it too, while your blog, newsletter, ebook or other written content does a great job positioning your expertise, the intimacy of hearing your voice and getting to know your personality through having your audience listen to hours of audio recording builds trust and brings your “Superfans” that much closer.

In this session we will talk about how to plan your podcast and develop the “show”. Who’s your audience, and what do they want? What’s the role of interviews and guests? How do you get people to listen to this thing?

We are not going to be going over the nitty-gritty of amplifiers, microphones and editing software (we hire Lightning to do all that!)

There will be plenty of time for Q&A so bring your questions and we’ll make up answers!

3:10 PM
Creation | Content Curation: 7 Keys To Success
Heidi Cohen

Want a content marketing strategy that meets your audience’s insatiable information wants and needs and delivers business results?

Need to produce sales from your content while staying within cost and time budget constraints?

Who doesn’t?

The secret is an actionable content curation strategy integrated into your overall content and marketing plans. Many content creators consider curation as a poor substitute for their original work.

They neglect their own skills in terms of re-envisioning other people’s content. By presenting other people’s information in a different context you can broaden its audience while building your position as a thought leader.

90+% of marketers create original content BUT their target audience doesn’t listen to their business promotion. A quality content curation strategy cost-effectively overcomes this challenge by changing your information mix so curation accounts for 25% of your content.

To satisfy your market’s content needs and wants while avoiding potential problems. Content curation requires a different toolbox and skill set than your existing content creation.

This session provides the 7 keys to content curation success so that you can develop and implement an effective strategy and related tactics to deliver results without tarnishing your brand.

Take aways include:

  • Business examples to make your own.
  • Content curation templates to guide your content curation plans.
  • Content curation glossary to help you.
Conversion | Does Conversion Matter –or--So Why Is My Conversion Not as High as My Boss Thinks it Should be?
Lauren Freedman

Lauren will tackle the conundrum of conversion. As consumers connect via multiple channels, retailers face greater challenge in securing sales but ultimately measuring conversion behavior. Rather than focus on a “number,” her session will tackle how to trend conversion up sharing hard-learned  lessons from 20-years of retailer selling. Topics will include: 

  • Retail Conversion Trends-Industry Averages and KPI Highlights from the e-tailing group 2014 Merchant Survey
  • Conversion Challenges in the Age of Mobile
  • Tips to Drive Conversion up and Hazards to Avoid  that Cause Abandonment
Promotion | Relationship Selling in the Trust Economy
Jeff Korhan

Relationship selling these days takes a media first approach for creating exceptional customer experiences that build relationships and earn trust. The profitable outcomes that follow are a natural byproduct of a process that focuses on relationships, not transactions.

  • Learn why content marketing is blurring the lines between social marketing and relationship selling, and how to leverage this phenomenon.
  • Learn why a unique selling process is a tangible and marketable differentiator for increasing sales conversions, and how to get started building yours.
  • Learn why your media should never stop answering the question: What’s next?
Measurement | From Lag to Lead: Actionable Analytics
Dr. Pete Meyers

As content creators, it can feel like we spend most of our lives peering into the past, analyzing our successes and failures. We know how well we did, and we have many ways to measure success, but we’re often left empty-handed when it comes to what to do next.

This session will be a crash course in content analytics, from the basics of page-level analysis to more complex, aggregate metrics. It will take an honest look at where metrics serve us well, and where they fail us. You will learn how to:

  • Take a top-down view across a content campaign
  • Drill down into your successes
  • Learn from failure
  • Find the insights that will drive the next success
Strategy | The Creative Brief: The Secret Ingredient That Will Make All Your Content More Powerful and Effective
Nancy Goldstein

How do you make sure that every action you take, such as blog posts, videos, AdWords, is not only consistent with your brand, but brings in the customers you want for the work that you actually do? It starts with the creative brief - a one page roadmap that will make sure that everything you create is super-charged to get actions you want.  

In this session we will work through the key elements of a creative brief and how to write one to make your content more powerful. At the end of this session you will be able to design a creative brief that will: 

  • Articulate the specific thoughts, feelings and actions you want someone to take after engaging with your content
  • Describe why engaging with your brand will inspire people to have those thoughts, feelings or take action
  • Ensure that everything you create has a tone and language that matches both your brand and your desired audience

Let’s make grumpy cat work harder for you.

4:10 PM
Closing Keynote | Spin Sucks… How to Communicate in a World of Sex, Lies, and Big Butts
Gini Dietrich

We live in a world where big butts and sex tapes are what makes one famous, yet hard work, experience, and good deeds are rarely rewarded. Gini will provide some real-world examples of when sex sells, when whisper campaigns and astroturfing help an organization, and when it’s okay to lie.

You’ll leave inspired to say, “Stick it” to the next person who tells you to just spin the story or do whatever it takes to get results. Learn how to run a proverbial marathon, why a sprint is bad for your knees and your content, and how to properly engage through content marketing.

In about 45 minutes you’ll feel sick to your stomach, then you’ll be inspired to kick some butt, and you may even admit you like Mr. Dietrich better than you like Gini.



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