The best of valuable content in 2013


What a year! Before we say goodbye to 2013 we’d like to share some of the highlights with you, from right here and around the web. It’s been quite a ride – new book, new office, new partnership and some amazing projects. If we’re honest, we’re looking back at it all with a mixture of pride, shell shock and awe.

So we’d like to raise a glass to everyone who has supported us over the year. You’ve been brilliant!

We wish you a very merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. And in the spirit of all the best reality shows, here are our best bits!

  1. Best article: Without a shadow of a doubt – We Don’t Build Websites Anymore by Chris and Mark at Newfangled. Can’t wait for their talk on this for the Bristol Content Group in January. A glimpse of the future.
  2. Best event: the UX Bristol conference at M-Shed in the summer, no contest. We spoke at many events this year but this stood out. Really well organised, great atmosphere, excellent speakers and a very engaged audience. We enjoyed having Rob and Jimmy from Roll For The Soul in the room so the UX community could practise content strategy live.
  3. Best content tool: Gather Content. It’s made creating and collaborating on web content for client projects so much easier.
  4. Best team: When content + web + design + story all come together, how much fun is that! Special mentions to Lizzie Everard, Christian Tait, Iain Claridge, Gordon WilsonRupert Skinner, and David Sloly for being awesome collaborators in 2013.
  5. Best city: Bristol, obviously; particularly with the new Content Group – so much talent in one beautiful location.
  6. Best trip: Valuable Content outing to Lanzarote, speaking at the fantastic Sands Beach Resort. Big thanks to marketing manager John Beckley. It was a bold thing to do to get us out there; genius idea to look at content collaboration across the island and great people. We loved it.
  7. Best words of wisdom: “The moment you see something is going wrong is the moment to act. Don’t wait until you hit a rock.” Essential advice given to us from Chris in Lanzarote when paddle boarding that will get you out of a lot of trouble in life too.
  8. Best client: Too close to call, but safe to say all of the people we’re working with right now we’re loving.
  9. Best project: Desynit’s website. Work we love best for a great company; starting with the story, planning the content, building the right website with the support of a great team. And lovely people to work with.
  10. Best chairman: Chris Thurling! Thanks for your support and guidance Chris. We’re so happy to have you with us.
  11. Best party: We loved our book launch party. Such good fun, and fantastic support from everyone – family, friends, clients and collaborators. Mixing it right up. Mind you, Brisfest wasn’t half bad too!
  12. Best spat: Sonja’s run in with Andy Maslen at the Professional Copywriter’s Conference – nothing like a bit of a row to help you get clear what you believe.
  13. Best prop: Cardboard Rob. Great day taking him around London. Thanks for letting us cavort with your flatter self Rob!
  14. Best content from an unlikely source: HSBC Expat’s crowdsourced hints and tips – a helpful bank with awesome content. Who’d have thought it?
  15. Best story: Hiut Denim gave us a reason to believe.
  16. Best word: Moxie. Thanks to Andrea P. Howe of The Get Real Project for that. Moxie means spirit, courage, determination or nerve. And she definitely has more moxie than most!
  17. Best article by us: Well, most popular anyway: How Lorem Ipsum makes your web project fail. Nearly 10,000 views, super fast. Best badge too. Cheers Lizzie!
  18. Best visitors from overseas: Our book editor Robert Watson and his wife Coralie on tour from Australia. So great to meet them at last.
  19. Best marketing rant ever: Jim O’Connor on the new Lloyds Bank. There really is something rotten in the state of Brand land.
  20. Best comment about us: “You’re like the Trinny and Suzannah of websites!” Ha ha! Thanks Kerry from Voxgen!
  21. Best VC visuals: Lizzie for the stunning F-Words series for F-Works.
  22. Best book review: New York Journal of Books’ Valuable Content Marketing review. Oh we liked that.
  23. Best collaborative post: Riding Solo – content marketing tips for lone rangers.  Thanks to Charles Green, Chris Brogan, Vaughan Merlyn, Henneke Duistermaat, Iain Claridge.
  24. Best B2B campaign: Definitely the super-creative Mr Feel Good from pensions & benefits advice firm Hymans Robertson. Proving that B2B doesn’t have to be boring and that bold creativity gets amazing results.
  25. Best mascot: Bella the dog, or is it Cardboard Rob – fight!
  26. Best training course: Mastering the Digital Channel by Chris Brogan – learnt loads, still putting it into practice.
  27. Funniest content: Brought to you via @quietroomtweets – check out their refreshed Santa Brand Book. It’s hilarious!
  28. Best talk on content: Love this talk on free content and the art of asking, via David Meerman Scott
  29. Best social network: We both went Instagram crazy this year and loved every minute of it. But Twitter is still our serendipity channel.
  30. Best work in progress: The new Get Real Project website. Watch this space, it’s going to be great.
  31. Best Bristol event: The Gromit Trail. Brought the city together over the summer for a great cause. Everyone loves Gromit!
  32. Best long term client: It has to be you Ascentor! Dave, Paddy, Steve and the team – we’re delighted that all your content efforts are bringing in so much work. Great to work with you and look forward to a big push in 2014.
  33. Best client we nearly worked for: Tim LeRoy at Novatech. Another time we hope Tim.
  34. Best person we’ve yet to collaborate with: Ian Sanders. Really hope we can work together in 2014 Ian.
  35. Best sales tip ever: Closing the loop, from Blair Enns. Invaluable method for reopening conversation with leads that are going cold.
  36. Best social media manifesto: From sociable social media masters Novatech. Take a peak.
  37. Best publishing team: Matthew Smith and Liz Gooster. Thanks for your confidence and support. We’ve loved working with you both.
  38. Best statistic: 60% of the sales process is now over before you speak to a prospect in business-to-business: Content has never been more important.
  39. Best content on content marketing: CRAP! – by the UK’s Doug Kessler. Just brilliant.
  40. Best content on selling: Think Like a Buddhist, Sell Like a Rock Star By Charles H. Green
  41. Best content on er…living: What if we all lived life like a surfer on a wave? via @HarvardBiz
  42. Best surprise: Gratitude from Eli. Thanks, for this and all your help this year Eli and Toby too. Love what you are doing with Human Measures Toby too.
  43. Best business rant: Bryony Thomas on Why ‘The Apprentice’ is bad for British business.
  44. Best integrated content: Mark Durnford’s ebooks on swimming. Swim coach Mark’s ebooks have embedded video – just so valuable.
  45. Best article on proposal writing: How to write universe-conquering proposals. Read it and win.
  46. Best best content strategy tweet: “Content strategy is not just what; it’s what, why, how, for whom, by whom, with what, when, where, how often, what next.” – Kristina Halvorson
  47. Second content strategy tweet: “Content strategy is to copywriting as information architecture is to design” —Rachel Lovinger
  48. Best Forbes quote: “The road to success in the social business world is paved with valuable content that customers want.”
  49. Best tip on public speaking: Clench your bum (it centres you and makes your voice stronger – try it!) Thanks Robin Kermode!
  50. Best support from overseas and one to watch. Nenad Senic we hope to meet you in 2014!
  51. Best guest post. The “Secret to Writing Outrageously Good Web Copy.” Thanks Henneke – yours was our most clicked guest post.
  52. Best newsletter list: Ours! Thank you all for inviting us into your inboxes – it’s a real privilege. You can join us here.

What are your highlights? What lit up 2013 for you? We’d love to know.

Have a fabulous festive break. Catch up in 2014.

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  1. Avatar

    A big highlight for me has been an extended one – that is being able to work more closely with VC. I’ve learnt absolutely loads, feel like I’ve been able to contribute something meaningful, and to have that all come back with that Bristol Media award means I’m feeling a bit shell-shocked too!

    Loving sharing your space at Spike Island, and of course, when you’re not in the studio I get to chat with a cardboard cutout.

    Thanks Valuables for a totally cracking year…. *KERBOOM!!*

  2. Avatar

    Ooh thanks… bundles of valuable stuff! It’s like a shopping list of cool stuff in which I can do a quick supermarket sweep!! Merry Christmas gals. See you on the other side of the festive season. RJx

  3. Avatar

    Cheers Ryan – a massively merry Christmas to you too. xx

  4. Avatar

    Best round up.
    Fun, funny and worth clicking on the links.
    (And thanks for putting Crap on your list!).

  5. Sharon Tanton

    Thanks Doug – you’re very welcome. We love your Crap! Have a very merry Christmas.

  6. Avatar

    Sonja and Sharon,

    Thanks for including us and for tirelessly spreading the word about our content and what we do. We couldn’t ask for better evangelists. Honestly, you’re too generous!

    We can’t wait to join you for the Bristol Content Group in January!

    Have a merry Christmas and we’ll see you in 2014!

    All the best!


    (…and Mark, too — he’s out having just welcomed the latest little O’Brien into the world. No surprise, she’s just darling 🙂 )

  7. Avatar

    Thanks Chris.

    It’s content that needs to be spread far and wide and we will continue to evangelise. Too valuable not to. Looking forward so much to January talk and hope to get you guys to Bristol some time in 2014. I am on the case!

    Huge congratulations to Mark and the O’Brien clan.

    And a very merry Christmas to you too.


  8. Avatar

    This round up is so much fun.

    Thank you for including my guest post 🙂

  9. Avatar

    Wow, best article?!?! We’re honored, really, and can’t wait for the event in January–hopefully the first of many to come. Thanks so much Sonja & Sharon! Thanks also for the congrats, Delia and mom are doing great.

  10. Avatar

    Thanks Henneke – very well deserved. More cross-posting maybe next year? We’ve really enjoyed your content.

    Ditto Mark – I’ve never shared an article so widely! Have a wonderful Christmas with the new baby. See you virtually in January.


  11. Avatar

    Hi Sonja,
    Mr Ranty here. Thanks for including me on your list and I thoroughly enjoyed exploring all the other people you included. I’ll try and make the list next year without being so grumpy…

  12. Avatar

    Please continue to be grumpy Jim – it makes for outstanding content!


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