Content Connections

The Business of Creative Content

November 7 & 8, 2013 • Chicago, IL

Presented by The American Society of Journalists and Authors Educational Foundation
and the Columbia College Department of Journalism

Digital content doesn’t write itself.
If you’re reading it … someone wrote it.

Corporations, nonprofits, associations, custom publishers, marketing agencies and others need expert content for each project. Professional freelance writers and editors have the skills that are sought by these groups. This is a partnership with success written all over it…when you make the right connections. ASJA’s Content Connections is a new conference created to connect professional freelance writers and editors with those in the business world who need their expertise.

Program Highlights

Join us for a full day of sessions designed to appeal to everyone in the content industry—freelance writers and other creatives new to the marketplace, those who are in it and want to rev up their businesses, and those in the business world who hire and work with content creators. Lunch and a networking reception are included on Thursday, plus an optional half-day of intensive sessions on Friday to round out your experience.

Download a detailed program agenda here (PDF).


Thursday, November 7 • 10am - 7pm


Keynote Presentation

Ron Smith

Ron Smith

The Evolution of Pulitzer-winning Story Platforms, from Print to Tablet with Ron Smith, Assistant Managing Editor, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Learn how the storytelling and digital tools evolved for each successive Pulitzer-prize-winning project published by the Journal Sentinel — three in the past five years. Regionally renowned for his wit and warmth, Ron will show how freelancers and content marketers can adopt and adapt the Journal Sentinel's winning strategies.

Dan Davenport

Dan Davenport

Dan Davenport is Content Director for Meredith Xcelerated Marketing (MXM), a content-powered engagement agency that creates content-centric programs to help clients build stronger relationships with their customers. Dan and his teams work with leading brands such as Lowe’s, Kraft, Volkswagen, Bank of America and Chrysler to develop and implement engaging and industry-leading marketing platforms. MXM is a 700-person global agency whose work across all channels—mobile, social, digital, video and print—is built upon the abiding power of storytelling.

After the morning keynote presentation, three tracks of programming through the day focus on information for anyone involved in the creative end of content:

Break In!

New to freelancing? Start smart and strong with expert guidance.

  • Nationally published author and freelance writer Kelly James-Enger tells her story of midcareer transition and success
  • Business basics from the experts from the Women’s Business Development Center
  • See how nationally published ASJA members win and keep publication and corporate clients
  • Finally, get a grip on personal branding with author Sherry Beck Paprocki
  • Shake hands with networking, with etiquette expert Ellen Ericson
  • Bring your questions, queries and conundrums to The Ballpark for on-the-spot expert coaching and personal guidance

Established content entrepreneur? Tank up for growth and take your business to the next level.

  • How MXM/Meredith Xcelerated Marketing views the current business models for content marketing and what that means for companies and content creatives
  • What Leo Burnett execs say journalists need to know about working with marketing staff, and vice versa
  • Epic Win, Epic Fail: Paige Greenfield, health writer, explains how to construct a winning pitch for any client
  • How Miles Harvey, novelist/journalist/Depaul Assistant Professor of English fuels creativity across all genres
  • Points of entry, points of view from publishers and creators on what associations need; how nonprofits use storytelling; the hidden market of corporate blogs and executive collaboration
Content Confidence!

Do you work with content creatives in a company, association, nonprofit or other organization? Here’s where you can start or fine-tune your content strategy.

  • How Rogers Publishing makes the most of freelance talent for evolving client content projects
  • How to use original research to build content, engagement and members, like the Accounting and Financial Women’s Alliance
  • How to assemble the best content talent for content projects that drive business results
  • The real-life going rates for all kinds of content
Special Event

Client Connections!

Matched meetings of creative professionals with the content publishers who need them. If you’re a writer seeking your future best client, or a business in need of quality writers to produce your content, this is the place. (Optional, additional fee applies; see registration.)

Friday, November 8 • 9am - 12:30pm


(optional, additional fee applies; see registration for details)

Roll your sleeves up and learn best practices and real-world tactics for success at one of these intensive sessions.

  • Storyboards for word people
    — For experienced creatives and for content publishers
  • Build a business plan and get an in-depth critique of your pitches and marketing
    — For writers and other creatives new to the content marketplace
  • Build or improve your editorial calendar
    — For content publishers