Content Pros Update is a free, monthly recap newsletter of all goings-on from The Content Technologist, including overviews of our most recent articles, events, and more.

Upcoming events

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MIMA Next Conference: Your future overlords need your help

November 9, 2023 | 12:00-9:00 PM
Hosted at Urban Daisy in northeast Minneapolis

Hey Twin City locals! Have you gotten your ticket to the MIMA Next Conference yet? Our very own Deborah Carver will be joining a panel of other humans to discuss our future working relationship with AI robots.

Salon: Never go out of style — Keys to stand-out digital content

Salon: Never go out of style — Keys to stand-out digital content

December 1, 2023 | 12:00-1:30 PM Eastern
Online only: $10 for members, $60 for non-members

In the age of automation and replication, style sets your content apart and makes it more human. But what is style, exactly? Get ideas for how to cultivate and advocate for content style in your organization; identify tools and tips for keeping style on-brand; and help us define the different dimensions of digital style.

Got something you want to advertise in this newsletter? Curious about sponsoring an upcoming event? To be one of The Content Technologists inaugural sponsors, reply to this email or fill out this form, and well be in touch.

Recent essays

Here's a rundown of the essays we published this month:

White squiggles on a black background.

“Content” isn’t the enemy: Keeping content creative, not generative

By Deborah Carver

Publisher Deborah Carver steps into the ring to weigh on recent media criticism of the word "content," suggesting that the budgets allocated to content production and the possibilities of generating "form" with AI should be where our attention lies.

Recent pieces in The New York Times and Slate offer up the term "content" as sacrifice, arguing that craft and art get washed away when anything described as content is seen as interchangeable.

"The term doesn't just de-professionalize the creation of art and culture by implying that it's all just more chum to feed to customers too hungry to say no," Aaron Bady wrote in Slate last month.

I don't disagree with Bady's assessment, but I'd wager the attitude he describes comes more from paternalistic 20th-century conceptions of the consumer as a dull receptive brain with no ability to learn, create, or change. Whether media and tech executives call it "content" or "writing," the attitude toward both creators and audiences is the same, and the budget line item is seen as expendable or replaceable.

Graph paper with a line graph drawn on.

Building systems for replicable project success

by Natasha Serafimovska

Freelancing gets a bad reputation because of its infamous feast-and-famine cycles that can make even the most resilient among us feel anxious. One way to not only survive, but thrive is to build repeatable, scalable systems that position you as the unequivocal expert in your field.

Last December, I lost a steady client that brought in about 10 percent of my income. In February, another client went through restructuring. As a result, my point of contact got fired, and I lost another 40 percent of my income. Within two months, half my income was gone. While I did win some new clients in that period, the initial panic frightened me.

Once the things settled, I decided I never wanted to experience sudden financial precarity again. In my work as a content marketer, I spend hours advising clients on their content strategy and positioning, but I was too busy with client work to apply my skills to my own business. After my scare, I decided it was time to change that and my prioritize myself.

Neon sign reading KITCHEN OPEN.

Join me in my media production kitchen

By Wyatt Coday

For content creators, it can be a struggle juggling multiple content streams at once. Turns out there’s a lot we can borrow from the restaurant industry to create efficient production pipelines of our own.

Months after quitting my job to pursue full-time self-employment, I'm dreaming of working less. I'm a skeptic when it comes to productivity culture, especially when we're talking about meaningless scaling and infinite apps promising to squeeze gold out of immaterial time.

But as a business owner who pays for premium health insurance out of pocket, has a professional practice that requires some powerful but expensive equipment, and desperately needs more vacationing, I'm always toying with efficiency hacks. Recently, I've found that getting things done in a timely manner might be simpler than I thought. 

My solopreneur art and media business involves attracting new audiences via my newsletter, but my content production workflow usually bottlenecks whenever I try to add a large, lucrative, and meaningful project to the mix. Since these expansive projects provide a sizable amount of my income, I end up having to balance my regular content production with the demanding research and community-driven programming I'm developing on the fly. My clients are primarily artists who are similarly working alone and trying to stabilize their creative business. 

Enter large-batch cooking. 

In case you missed it...

When the discourse misses the point: Techno-optimists vs. legacy media
There’s a lot of chatter on this new platform-driven internet, the rise of AI, and how that effects the future—but what’s with this echo?
Productization: The path to more profitable freelance scopes
Agencies are starting to convert services to products. Here’s why (and how) freelancers should follow their lead.
“Good” content vs. the algorithm
A reflection on the meaning of good content, as defined by Google — for better or worse.

The Content Technologist: Content Pros Update is compiled by Deborah Carver, founder and publisher of The Content Technologist, and Digital Production Assistant M.E. Gray.

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