Digital Project Management & Communications

Tag: Conferences & Events

Jillian Kuhn Warren attends conferences and events to network with other web, marketing, and communications professionals and learn more about writing, SEO, social media, page optimization, content strategy, design, etc.

An Invitation to the Governor’s Mansion

State Internship Reception at the Governor's Mansion

This summer, I have been fortunate to be a supervisor for the N.C. State Government Internship Program, run by the Youth Advocacy and Involvement Office of the Department of Administration.

It’s a highly selective program – both for students and for government agencies. After an intense, months-long process of putting together internship proposals and interviewing candidates, we were matched with a terrific grad student (pictured with me, above) to help the content effort for our intranet redesign project. It turned out to be a great partnership, and I’m sad our intern’s tenure is coming to a close on Friday.

Invitation to the Executive Mansion

My formal invitation to the reception

The highlight of the internship program is a reception hosted by the governor at the Executive Mansion. This year, interns and supervisors were welcomed with cookies and cold drinks on a blistering hot day, and we were treated to an address by Governor Pat McCrory as he stood on the staircase of his home. He touched on his previous internship experience, the importance of public service, and a brief tour of the mansion.

Governor McCrory

The governor prepares to address the interns

Our intern definitely deserved such an honor for his hard work and achievements, and I’m sure the other interns are equally as deserving! It was a pleasure to take part in this year’s program – and a real treat to have my first visit to the Executive Mansion with the governor himself as the guide.

Check out the Governor’s Office’s coverage of the event:

Digital Marketing for Business Conference Recap

Keynote by Gopi Kallayil of Google

Put a couple hundred of the brightest minds in digital marketing in one room, and… Go!

That was the scene at last week’s Digital Marketing for Business Conference at the Raleigh Convention Center. This inaugural, locally organized conference featured a lineup of mostly local marketing professionals covering topics from social media to content marketing to storytelling. I spent two days alternating between sessions in its two tracks: enterprise and small business.

For me, these were a few of the conference’s highlights (in chronological order):

  • Keynote by Gopi Kallayil of Google (featured in the main post image above): I’m still not sure if I’ll ever embrace Google+ for my own personal use, but Gopi helped me see that it’s more than just a Facebook wannabe. He shed some light onto why it’s worthwhile from a business/brand perspective and where Google hopes to take us in the future. Plus, Gopi works at Google, so he’s clearly fascinating :)
  • How The Pit BBQ Used Social Media to Make Magic Happen: This downtown BBQ restaurant has always had a cult following on Twitter, and now I know why. It was part of a deliberate strategic plan to target locals and turn them into brand evangelists. This was a good case study of small steps one small business took and how they are ultimately paying off.
  • Video for People Who are Terrified of Video: As a former television editor, I didn’t learn much here that I didn’t already know… But, I did get a lot of pre-packaged golden knowledge nuggets that I can easily turn around and present to my coworkers in my ongoing uphill battle to bring video to the Judicial Branch.
  • Slide from Gregory Ng's DMFB Keynote

    This slide from Gregory Ng’s keynote shows that data-driven marketing is where the CMO, CIO, and analyst collide.

  • Keynote by Gregory Ng of Brooks Bell: One of my biggest takeaways from this, other than that Greg loves 80s cartoons, is that as technology evolves, so must businesses. Your chief marketing officer and your chief information officer need to be closer than ever… And don’t forget the importance of your analyst!
  • Content Marketing Art of War and Is Content Marketing the Future?: “Content marketing” is clearly this year’s trendy marketing buzz word. But, these presentations reinforced that content is here to stay. The first presentation took us through some successful case studies, while the second was probably the most interesting panel I’ve seen in a while (panels tend to bore me).
  • Social Media in a Big Brother World: Everything about this presentation spoke to me. Although Quintiles is in a different type of heavily regulated industry than my government employer, we face many of the same obstacles, and it was interesting to hear how they navigated the red tape and managed to plan and execute a successful social media strategy.

It always takes me a while to recover from a good conference. The intense concentration and high energy levels they require are exhausting, the mountains of work waiting for me back in the office are overwhelming, and the list of big ideas to explore and genius advice to implement is pages and pages long. So, with that said, I’m definitely still processing a lot of the big conference takeaways, but I hope to use them for good in the near future! I would definitely recommend this conference for anyone in the digital marketing space.

The Library of the Future

James B. Hunt Library at N.C. State University

James B. Hunt Library at N.C. State University

This isn’t your old college library.

I recently took a tour of N.C. State University’s brand new Hunt Library with the N.C. Association of Government Information Officers (NCAGIO). The technology, innovation, and design of this library blew me away.

We started at the BookBot: a several-story tall, automated storage and retrieval system that holds most of the library’s inventory. Then, on the main floor, the circulation desk has been replaced by an Apple Store-like “Ask Me” alcove, where students can borrow everything from flash drives to laptops to storage lockers. Throughout the building, the architecture and furniture work together to create a simple yet high-tech atmosphere. The walls near stairs, elevators, and bathrooms are color-coded for easy findability; and group study rooms, media rooms, a video game laboratory, and 360-degree customizable galleries are all outfitted with the latest technology. A 3D printing lab is even available for students to design and create 3D models. Built through state funds and private donations, the Hunt Library is on the cutting edge and will serve as a cornerstone of student life on Centennial Campus.

The best part is that the library is open to the public (hours), with free tours each week. Definitely go check it out!

Photo Gallery
[nggallery id=2]

Additional links

Email Newsletter Wins State Government Communications Award

Honorable Mention in Publications: NCAGIO Excellence in Communication Awards 2012

On Friday, September 16, I won the Excellence in Communications Award from the North Carolina Association for Government Information Officers (NCAGIO), during a ceremony at the association’s annual seminar in Chapel Hill. My email newsletter, the N.C. Judicial Center Building Bulletin, took home Honorable Mention (third place) in the Publications Category.

The NCJC Building Bulletin is a monthly email newsletter for employees who work in the N.C. Judicial Center. I’ve been the editor since June.

NCJC Building Bulletin: October 2012

Check out the October issue of the NCJC Building Bulletin

For the awards, the judges reviewed the following three issues of the Building Bulletin:

I am responsible for all newsletter content. Staff members are encouraged to submit story ideas and drafts, but I also create original articles and images. Then, I put all the content into an HTML template, upload the files to an FTP server, and email the newsletter webpage via Outlook. We’re in the process of transitioning to an email newsletter software service that will eliminate all the hand-coding of HTML that I currently do each month.

I put a lot of hard work into the Building Bulletin, and I’m so proud that it was honored by the NCAGIO!

Internet Summit 12 Notes


Last Wednesday and Thursday, I had the opportunity to attend the Internet Summit 12 conference right here in Raleigh. The conference featured speakers from across the country who are experts in various web-related disciplines, from analytics to content to user experience to social media.

I hope to share more insights from the conference soon, but, for now . . . Here are the rough notes I took during each session I attended. I saw several of my friends and colleagues struggling to keep up with their note-taking, especially during some of the more fast-paced presentations, so I thought I’d share. Enjoy!

My Private Tour of the Dean Dome

Dean Dome

Better than courtside seats!

Imagine being in charge of communications for one of the most successful collegiate athletics programs in history … Especially in today’s age where everyone is a photographer and everyone has a Twitter account. Can’t be easy, right?

As one of the newest members of the N.C. Association of Government Information Officers (NCAGIO), I spent this morning at the association’s monthly meeting — which, this month, featured a tour of the Dean Smith Center at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Steve Kirschner, UNC’s Director of Athletic Communications (and the man with the difficult job responsibilities described above!), gave us his personal tour of the Smith Center: home of the Tar Heels basketball team.

We started out in the Communications and New Media offices, and then worked our way to the Carolina Basketball Museum. From there, we crossed over to the basketball office, players’ lounge and training facility, press room, and the Dean Dome floor itself. We even bumped into to a couple current players along the way! Steve gave great background information and stories about his tenure, the team, and his communications duties and challenges. It was truly an interesting experience!

The rest of this story is best told in photos:

Michael Jordan UNC Georgetown Game Ball

As a Chicagoan and child of the 90s, I'm a huge Jordan fan. Need I say more?

UNC National Championship Trophies

Here's the museum's impressive National Championship display room

Roy Williams' Office

We took a peek into Coach Williams' office while he was out.

Dean Dome players' hallway

Even the hallways of the Dean Dome are shiny and new! It's a huge change from the Palestra, where my alma mater plays.

Autographed UNC basketball

It took all my will power not to "borrow" this autographed ball from the players' lounge.

Carolina press room

This is where Coach Williams sits for post-game press conferences.

A Tale of Two Conferences: WebContent 2011 and Texas JavaScript

WebContent2011 logo

June 20, 2011
Written for Viget Labs’ Four Labs Blog
Original Post

Here at Viget, we all have an annual conference/training allowance, among our other awesome job perks … And, we certainly put it to good use two weeks ago, when four Vigets traveled across the country to learn and make new friends!

For my training, I returned to my hometown of Chicago for WebContent 2011. This year’s theme was “Going Mobile,” and I spent two days soaking up a ton of information on content strategy and the mobile web. From a workshop on Content Strategy 101 to in-depth sessions on the latest mobile trends and their implications for your business, the conference’s offerings gave me plenty of food for thought and a whole new list of ideas for tackling my clients’ content issues. I also got to know a bunch of new faces in the web industry — plus, I got to eat wonderful Chicago pizza for a few days!

Brand and strategy consultant Margot Bloomstein of Appropriate, Inc., speaking at WebContent 2011 -- and using Viget's own SpeakerRate to get feedback on her presentation

Read more at…

14 Tips for Better Presentation Slides

PubCon Presentation

November 18, 2010
Written for Viget Labs’ Four Labs BlogOriginal Post

Your slides will make or break your presentation. An effective slide deck not only makes your talk easier to follow and comprehend, but it can also boost your credibility and leave your audience with a big smile on its face.

I saw dozens of dozens of presentations last week at PubCon Las Vegas, a web marketing conference focusing on search and social media. In addition to all the amazing insights I picked up, I also learned a lot about what makes a good (and bad!) set of presentation slides.

PowerPoint Tips: General

1.) Have a PowerPoint or Keynote presentation.

For the presentation newbies, PowerPoint is slideshow software by Microsoft; Keynote is the Apple equivalent. All the presentations I watched this week had a slide deck, so I have no complaints … But I did see plenty of complaints on the conference’s Twitter stream about speakers who went sans slides. Their talks were more difficult to follow, and they appeared less credible and professional.

2.) Use your slides to complement your speech, not overpower it.

Your slides aren’t the main attraction; you are! When building your slideshow, focus on the information and visuals that will best communicate and highlight your amazing ideas.

PowerPoint Tips: Design

3.) Choose a basic template.

A simple template will better emphasize your content. Complicated, cluttered, obnoxious themes make your slides difficult to read and dilute your message.

4.) Avoid fancy fonts.

Stick with a clean, clear font in a medium to large size — so even the near-sighted people in the back of the room can follow along.

5.) Pick easily distinguishable colors.

Blue text on a purple background is hard to read; black on white is not. Keep readability in mind when you choose font and background colors.

PowerPoint Tips: Layout

6.) There should be fewer words on the slide than in your speech.

Paragraphs are great for essays, but not for slideshows. Avoid large blocks of text and break sentences into smaller, more visually digestible pieces. Also, never read from your slides verbatim.

7.) Use bullet points wisely.

Bullet points are probably the best way to organize your info. Bullet point text should be concise, and don’t cram as many bullet points as possible onto one slide.

8.) Put important info in the top two-thirds of the slide.

Leave the bottom third of your slides empty, because it will be difficult for everyone to see — especially those in the back rows. The empty space makes a great place to list your contact info, date, or presentation name.

9.) Use visuals to your advantage.

A picture says 1,000 words. Images, infographics, and charts can help get your point across. If you have a great image, let it stand on its own.

PowerPoint Tips: Content

10.) Include your contact info at the beginning and end of the deck.

Not everyone will be paying attention at the start of your presentation, and not everyone will be paying attention at the end. This gives your audience two chances to know who you are and how to get in touch.

11.) Post your slides online.

Upload your slideshow to your web site or to a sharing site like SlideShare. Tell your audience upfront that your slides are available online, so they’ll spend more time listening and less time frantically scribbling notes. Then, include a link to the download at the end of your presentation. If you’re feeling particularly generous, provide a QR code as well! QR codes are a type of digital barcode that you can scan with your phone to easily access online data. Here’s more info from and Raleigh’s News & Observer.

12.) Shorten your links.

If your presentation includes links (which it should — see #11!), use a URL shortener like — which simplifies URLs and also lets you track how many people access the link.

13.) Make sure the slides match what you’re saying.

When audiences hear one thing but see another, they get lost fast. Make sure your slides and your speech follow the same rough outline, and do a run-through ahead of time to double-check.

14.) Thank your audience, and ask for feedback.

Let your listeners know you appreciate them, and invite them to comment on your presentation. Link to your SpeakerRate account (which, incidentally, is run by Viget’s Pointless Corp.) for easy feedback.

Twitter Plagiarism: Someone Stole my Tweet!


What would you do if someone stole your Twitter content and passed it off as his own to further his business? It happened to me!

I was attending the PubCon web marketing conference and sitting in a session about web analytics. Google Analytics‘ Tim Claiborne mentioned some exciting new changes to his product, so I tweeted a quote from his presentation:

@jillyk's PubCon tweet about Google Analytics changes

Throughout the session, I’d been monitoring Twetchup, a tweet aggregator that tracks tweets by PubCon session, to see what my fellow conference-goers were saying. One minute later, I saw the following tweet pop up:

A plagiarized tweet from a fellow PubCon conference attendee

I’m withholding the username, but this account belongs to a California-based SEO business. The founder of this company had been sitting near me in the previous PubCon session. I don’t know for certain if it’s her behind the corporate Twitter account — but if so, she’s old enough to know better than to plagiarize.

Every single thing about that tweet is exactly the same as mine. The style of the tweet, most notably the punctuation between the quote and the speaker’s twitter handle, is different from everything else she’s posted from the conference. It’s very clearly a copy and paste job.

Twitter plagiarism? Seriously?

If you’re trying to promote your business as credible, professional, and knowledgeable — don’t steal somebody else’s words. It’s common sense, really. I know I certainly wouldn’t want to hire someone who “borrows” content from others and then passes it off as her own.

To make things worse, I continued to watch the Twitter stream as the copycat tweet got retweeted multiple times, even by the session’s moderator… And they all attributed it to the plagiarizer!

I’ve never run into something like this before, so I don’t particularly know how to handle it. Do I respond to the tweet? Do I call her out publicly? Do I call her out privately? Ultimately, I opted to take the high road and posted a public tweet to my Twitter account, without the conference hashtag (#pubcon) or the plagiarizer’s Twitter handle:

@jillyk's response to the plagiarized tweet at PubCon

I didn’t want to start a Twitter “fight” or stoop to the same level by directly calling her out in front of the whole conference, and I’d honestly like to know if any of my followers have had similar experiences. If so, how have they dealt with it? What do they think is the proper course of action? If there’s anything I’ve learned about Twitter, I’ve learned that it’s an excellent way to get the opinions and advice of your peers — and that you should think before you act or do anything that could instigate Twitter drama.

This whole situation brings up much bigger questions: is there a such thing as plagiarism on Twitter? Do you own your Twitter content? Furthermore, is there a generally accepted Twitter code of ethics — a type of “man law” among Twitter users that emphasizes common courtesy and ethical standards? How should we deal with Twitter plagiarizers?

© 2022 Jillian Warren

Theme by Anders NorenUp ↑