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  • Stephanie Morillo

How to Repurpose Your Conference Talks into Blog Posts

How to create a developer blog: Developer brainstorming on laptop
Photo: #WOCinTech Chat

After most conference talks, speakers will generally share their slides online for attendees to look at later and to this day, I still don't understand the value one can extract from a slide deck taken out of context. The problem with many slide decks is that they're devoid of actual information. And removed from the context of an actual talk, random slides added for comedic or dramatic effect make less sense and provide no additional value.

When audiences ask for slide decks, they're really asking for the meat of the talk—the actual information presented. The problem is that many times, this information is either not available or not provided in full.

Over the summer, I had to produce a blog post for work based on a colleague's talk. The recording of the talk hadn't been released, and I wasn't in attendance. So I asked my colleague for their talk notes. To my delight, my colleague produced very thorough talk notes and I drafted an entire blog post based on their notes alone. In fact, the notes contained so much information—his talk clocked in around 40 minutes—that I only used two-thirds of the content for the blog post. It was widely shared, and an excellent companion piece to the recording.

But I don't take good notes...or I'm not a great writer. Everyone doesn't take notes with the same level of detail, and some people use their slides to guide them through their talk, but they don't have the bulk of their content written down. So how can we turn this content into a blog post?

Answer: record yourself running through the talk and get it transcribed. Once you get the transcription, make edits to the content, lay it out in a way that reads like a narrative (places where your slides introduce new sections in your talk == section headers in a blog post), and follow up with resources or a link directly to the talk recording. (I've used for transcriptions before and they're affordable and super fast.)

Here are other reasons why a blog post make a better post-conference talk resource than slides:

1. Blog posts allow you to expand on areas that were glossed over. Considering how most talks have time limits, you might find that there are places where you—or your audience—wanted to go in depth. You can hone in on certain sections of your talk and expand on them in a blog post or two, without having to worry about time limits (but be mindful of length; posts that go more than 1,800 words should be split up into multiple posts).

2. They're better for accessibility. Unfortunately, not all video recordings of conference talks are close captioned, and even for those who have impaired vision, it might be difficult to follow along especially if you use slides to punctuate certain emotions, actions, or thoughts. By writing something down in narrative form, you make your content more accessible and inclusive of people with disabilities and impairments.

3. They can promote your future talks! Turning your old talks into blog posts is a great way of promoting yourself as a speaker. It gives conference organizers the opportunity to get a sense of your expertise and how you present your thoughts to audiences.

This doesn't mean you have to ditch slides altogether; include the slide deck in your blog post to augment the experience. You can then provide the write up in a link to your audiences after the conference.

If you're looking for good examples of speakers that have done this, look at these write-ups from André Arko and Aaron Gustafson, both based on their conference talks.

Like this post? Purchase The Developer's Guide to Content Creation for more content-related tips and exercises.


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