Content Connections | Chicago | November 13-14, 2014

Content Connections


November 13-14, 2014  |  
Columbia College 
Film Row

1104 S. Wabash Ave.

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

Content Connections — Full Schedule

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Welcome and Coffee | 8:30am


Session T01

Welcome and Keynote Address: Jay Heinrichs

Crossing the Great Content Divide: Actionable Steps to Creating a New Content Career

In a sea of changing content, how do writers find the next wave? Jay Heinrichs, author, editorial director and persuasion consultant, will share insights on how to create an identity, build an audience, set (and raise) your price and more. Heinrichs is the editorial director of Southwest Airlines' Spirit Magazine, and divides his time between creating content and advising clients. In the process of writing and promoting his latest book, "Thank You for Arguing: What Aristotle, Lincoln, and Homer Simpson Can Teach Us About the Art of Persuasion," Heinrichs discovered that by becoming an expert in a chosen topic, he managed to expand his platform and gather new clients in the process. He'll share techniques that will inspire and equip freelancers at all stages of their careers. Heinrichs works with a number of clients, including the National Association of Realtors, NASA, Ogilvy UK, Harvard, the Pentagon and Kaiser Permanente on persuasion strategies. He's also served as editor of Dartmouth Alumni Magazine, US Airways' Attache, Outside magazine and was the editorial director at Rodale, overseeing the Bicycling, Mountain Bike, Backpacker, Scuba Diving and Runner's World brands. He has also authored Word Hero: a book on figures of speech, tropes, and "witcraft."

Jay Heinrichs@JayHeinrichs
After 25 years as a journalist and publishing executive, Jay dedicated himself to studying persuasion full-time, researching ancient and modern rhetoric and linguistics, interviewing rhetoricians around the country, and studying modern neuroscience. He lives with his wife on 150 acres in New Hampshire -- though he finds himself traveling for clients about 40% of the time. He has two grown children who feature prominently in his books.


Session T02

Targeting Your Search: How to Find Clients Hiring Content Marketing Writers

Marketing can be time consuming, but if you are marketing towards the right clients you will maximize your time and land new clients. During this panel discussion you will learn who hires content marketing writers, the benefits/challenges of working with brands vs content marketing agencies and how to find agencies and brands who need content marketing writers with your experience. You will leave this session with practical ideas on where and how to search for new clients. You will also learn what clients look for when hiring and how to stand out from the crowd. One key takeaway: how to craft an effective Letter of Introduction.

Stephanie Vozza, ASJA
Stephanie Vozza has been writing about and for businesses for more than 20 years. She's a regular contributor to and, and her byline has appeared in Parade, Success, American Profile and Costco Connection as well as in dozens of trade and custom publications. She's created content marketing deliverables for companies that include Staples, Ford Motor Company, Century 21, Sherwin-Williams and General Electric. In 2006, Stephanie took a brief hiatus from writing to launch The Organized Parent, a website that offers products and tips for busy moms; in 2011 she sold her company to FranklinCovey.

Amy VanStee
Amy VanStee is editorial director with StayWell, overseeing the team that provides engaging, results-driven content marketing solutions to health care clients. Her more than 15 years of editorial experience includes corporate/employee communications, academic publishing, custom publishing, and freelance editing.

Jennifer L.W. Fink, ASJA
Jennifer L.W. Fink is a Registered Nurse-turned-freelance writer. She's parlayed her healthcare experience into a lucrative career, writing health-related content for hospitals, healthcare agencies and organizations, trade magazines, websites and consumer publications. Jennifer also frequently writes about education and parenting. Read about her adventures in parenting four boys at

Session T05

Building a Movement Through Storytelling

How storytelling empowers people to create global change by volunteering their voice. Carrie will discuss how buildOn approaches their content, finds the writers and trains/empowers its stakeholders & students to share their stories.

Carrie Pena
Carrie Pena is a cause-storyteller and chief marketing officer for the global nonprofit, buildOn. She has traveled to some of the most challenging communities in the U.S. to the economically poorest countries on the planet to find powerful stories of compassion and empowerment.

Session T06

Spin Your Reputation Into Revenue

Content clients want writers and editors who have deep expertise in topics and insight into target audiences. Here's how four experts cultivated reputations and clients in sync.

Joy Loverde
Joy Loverde, author of The Complete Eldercare Planner (Random House, 2009) advises the elder-care industry through her firm, Silvercare Productions and frequently presents to eldercare industry groups about societal and market trends shaping expectations and reality of eldercare.

Mark Miller
Mark Miller is a journalist and author who focuses on retirement and aging. Former editor of Crain's Chicago Business, he is a retirement columnist for Reuters, Morningstar and WealthManagement magazine, and contributes frequently to AARP Magazine.

Lynn Valastyan
Lynn Valastyan is communications manager for the Society for Laboratory Automation and Screening, overseeing its publications and social media. When hiring freelancers, she draws on her own experience as a freelancer.

Erin O'Donnell, ASJA
Erin O'Donnell worked as an editor for Natural Health magazine and as a senior editor in marketing at Northeastern University in Boston before launching a freelance career, writing mainly on health, wellness, and science topics. Her clients include WebMD magazine, the Boston Globe magazine, the Robb Report Health & Wellness, Harvard Magazine, and She also helps create marketing materials for universities and hospitals.

Networking Lunch | 12:00noon


Session T03

Show Me the Money: How to Set Your Content Marketing Rates

When an editor at a consumer publication assigns you a project, you are most likely told the pay rate. But with content marketing, potential clients often ask the question "What are your content marketing rates?" This panel discussion will talk about the benefits/downsides of the different pay models (by hour, word and project), what the typical rates are for different projects and help you determine how to provide project estimates next time you are asked for your rates. With one panelist an experienced freelancer and the other a business owner hiring writers, you will get a glimpse into both sides of the negotiating process.

Kelly James-Enger, ASJA
Kelly James-Enger "escaped from the law" in 1997 but she's no fugitive. Since then, the former attorney has written more than 1,000 articles for 60+ national magazines and more than a dozen books, including Goodbye Byline, Hello Big Bucks: Make Money Ghostwriting Books, Articles, Blogs and More and Six-Figure Freelancing: The Writer's Guide to Making More Money, Second Edition (Improvise Press, 2013). James-Enger has also been a ghostwriter who has coauthored/ghosted a dozen books for clients and is also a popular public speaker covering topics including healthy habits, stress management, and time management.

Casey Meehan
Casey Meehan is the founder of Epic Presence, a Chicago content marketing agency made up of writers, editors and designers who are passionate about the written word. The company helps brands achieve specific business goals by creating engaging content marketing campaigns. These long-term campaigns are built to attract a loyal following of readers who may be ideal customers for any given client. Epic Presence has proven that a few well-written articles can dramatically increase the bottom line of almost any business.

Session T07

What's Your Client's Number?

Master these five digital metrics and you'll be speaking your client's language.

Kate Eyler-Werve
Kate Eyler-Werve is co-author of Return on Engagement, and developed a model for the book on how to design metrics into content development from the ground up. She is a project manager with Chicago digital agency Mightybytes.

Session T10

Culture & Heritage: Leveraging Who You Are to Get Work

Learn how to build a platform and enhance your freelance career by developing a specialty based on culture, heritage or lifestyle. Four pro writers with expertise in Latino, African-American, LGBT and Asian-American markets discuss how they did it, what it takes and how you can grow your career outside of the mainstream by writing about these niche markets, too.

Joanne Y. Cleaver, ASJA
Joanne Cleaver designed and manages the MOVE Project, a comprehensive content project that measures and supports the advancement of women in various industries. MOVE findings led to her book, The Career Lattice (McGraw Professional, 2012), which shows how lateral moves power sustained career growth. Visit her corporate website at and her personal portfolio at

Rosalind Cummings-Yeates, ASJA@farsightedgirl
Rosalind Cummings-Yeates is a freelance journalist and blogger specializing in travel and lifestyle topics. She's the author of Exploring Chicago Blues: Inside The Scene, Past and Present (History Press, 2014), a guidebook to Chicago blues history and landmarks. Her other credits include Woman's Day, Hemispheres, MSN, Salon, Travel + Escape, Time Out Chicago, and Get Lost, Rough Guide to Women Travel. She writes a monthly blues column for the Illinois Entertainer and teaches journalism at Columbia College Chicago.

Erin Chan Ding, ASJA@luvpiggies
Erin Chan Ding is an award-winning freelance journalist with 16 years of experience writing and doing multimedia for a variety of newspapers, websites and magazines. Her work has appeared in the Chicago Tribune, The New York Times, Detroit Free Press, Time Out Chicago magazine, The Huffington Post, AOL City's Best, Los Angeles Times, Miami Herald and West Suburban Living magazine.

Gregg Shapiro
Entertainment journalist Gregg Shapiro's interviews and reviews run in a variety of regional LGBT publications and websites, including OutSmart Magazine, Wisconsin Gazette,, The Florida Agenda, Bay Area Reporter, Outlook Columbus, Baltimore Outloud, Watermark, boiMAG, Dallas Voice, Guy Magazine and Q Salt Lake. A 1999 inductee into Chicago's Gay and Lesbian Hall of Fame, Shapiro is the author of the forthcoming short story collection Lincoln Avenue (Squares and Rebels, 2014).

Elio Leturia
Elio Leturia is an Associate Professor in the Department of Journalism of Columbia College Chicago and an English/Spanish writer and blogger for publications in the U.S. and abroad. He has worked for the Detroit Free Press, !Exito!/Chicago Tribune and El Comercio in Lima, Peru. He is a Fulbright scholar and holds a master's degree in journalism from the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign, and a bachelor's in communications from the Universidad de Lima, Peru.


Session T04

Get More Clients by Finding Your Niche: a Hands-On Workshop

Think you don't have a niche that works for content marketing writing? This workshop will prove otherwise. You've written on lots of topics. Some you love. Others are lucrative. Here's how to smooth broad interests and experience into focused expertise that establishes credibility and authority with potential clients. During this workshop, you'll learn a process for using your past experience to determine which niches you should focus your marketing efforts. Participants will work in groups and leave with a list of potential clients based on their personal expertise. Bring a laptop or tablet to the workshop to help with research.

Jennifer Goforth Gregory, ASJA
Jennifer Goforth Gregory has been writing professionally for over 20 years and has been working as a content marketing writer for the past 3 years. She was worked with a variety of brands including IBM, State Farm, Intuit, American Express, Costco, LinkedIn, Fifth-Third Bank and Adecco. Her work has been published in, Success magazine, American Express OPEN Forum, FOX Business, MSN Money, and the Raleigh News & Observer newspaper. Jennifer also blogs about transitioning from traditional writing to content marketing at her popular blog The Content Marketing Writer.

Wendy Helfenbaum, ASJA
In her 25 years as a writer and television producer in Montreal, Wendy has specialized in being a generalist. Wendy's work -- covering parenting, architecture, travel, railroading, film, graphic design, meeting planning and philanthropy, among other topics -- has appeared in consumer, trade and custom publications around the world, and she also writes for large corporations and non-profits.

Session T08

My Clients Circle the Globe

Lisa Lubin seems to have pulled off the impossible: she is a travel writer who has strung together so many traditional and corporate clients that she actually does live the travel writers' lifestyle that so many dream of...but that most of us never achieve. How'd she do it, and how can you adopt and adapt her tactics?

Lisa Lubin
Lisa Lubin is an established travel/food writer and three-time Emmy-award winning TV producer. She is a travel industry expert and has appeared on WGN-TV and Good Morning America. After more than a decade in broadcast television she took a sabbatical of sorts which turned into nearly three years traveling and working her way around the world. She documents her (mis)adventures on her blog,, with photographs, videos, and articles from the road/train/rickshaw/camel. Her writing and photography has been published by American Way Magazine, the Wall Street Journal, the Chicago Tribune, Smithsonian, the Malibu Times, Encyclopedia Britannica, Orbitz, and Huffington Post. Lisa also owns LLmedia, a media & video consulting business. She has spoken about video and journalism at several conferences including the Travel Blog Exchange (TBEX), the World Travel Market in London, the New York Travel Fest, the Women in Travel Summit, and "Visit Russia" in Yaroslavl.

Session T09

Hidden Connections: How to Find and Use Influencers

Brad Farris is CEO of Chicago's Anchor Advisors, a small business growth consultancy. He constantly recommends freelancers to his fast-growing clients. How can you tap into hidden influencers like Farris to be on the receiving end of referrals and recommendations? Farris will share his seven top tips for finding and leveraging hidden influencer networks.

Brad Farris
Brad Farris is CEO of Chicago's Anchor Advisors, a small-business growth consultancy. He constantly recommends freelancers to his fastgrowing clients. How can you tap into hidden influencers like Farris to be on the receiving end of referrals and recommendations? Farris will share his seven top tips for finding and leveraging hidden influencer networks.


Session T11

Hard Core Networking

How do you convert conversations into clients? The Content Connections committee became its own peer-mentoring group with the aim of referring work amongst each other. It worked! Here's how we did it, and how you can immediately use these techniques to give and get work.


Session T00

Client Connections

ConCon also offers content marketers the opportunity to participate in a special Client Connections session where they can meet skilled, professional freelance writers with an expertise in subject matters that align with their content needs. One-on-one meetings between writers and potential clients will take place at the conference during a speed-dating-style networking session.

Session T12

The Ballpark: Coaches on Call

Experienced freelancers at the ready to answer your questions.

Reception | 5:30pm - 7:30pm

Session T13

Wine Reception

Networking, chit-chat, and wine!

Friday, November 13, 2014

Welcome and Coffee | 9:00am


Session F01

Forms Of Success: Contracts, proposals, and letters of introduction

Craft and negotiate the terms of successful client engagements and relationships while you learn how to protect your copyrights and your time. Attendees will learn the wizardry behind professional letters of introduction, proposals and contracts that create formulated systems for pitching current and future clients. Each participant will also walk away from this workshop with at least 50 ideas for expanding their business brand.

Sherry Beck Paprocki, ASJA
Sherry Paprocki has provided content for some of the world's most elite brands including the Ritz-Carlton Resorts and Sotheby's Real Estate, as well as many colleges, small businesses and city and regional magazines. She is vice president of ASJA.

Session F02

How to Write Infographics

Whether you are designing an infographic from scratch, including research, or collaborating on an existing concept, creating an infographic requires a unique technique. Find out what makes an infographic successful (or not); how infographics can expand your sales and client service; and how to write and edit a one-page infographic.

Lonnie Turner
Lonnie Turner, Art Director, Country Woman/Readers Digest; former Creative Director, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel; adjunct instructor, Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design

Session F03

Smooth Move: Staff to Freelance in Five Steps

Translate current or recent staff experience to a smooth transition to freelancing, engineering clients and cash flow as you go.

Joanne Y. Cleaver, ASJA
Joanne Cleaver designed and manages the MOVE Project, a comprehensive content project that measures and supports the advancement of women in various industries. MOVE findings led to her book, The Career Lattice (McGraw Professional, 2012), which shows how lateral moves power sustained career growth. Visit her corporate website at and her personal portfolio at