Kristina Halvorsen is a widely recognized leader in content strategy and UX. She is the owner of Brain Traffic, a content strategy consultancy; the author of Content Strategy for the Web; the host of The Content Strategy Podcast; and the founder of the popular Confab and Button conferences. She’s come a long way since dreaming of being Marsha Brady as a pre-teen.
Curious by nature, Kristina is driven by the constant craving to meet interesting people, learn new things, and take on challenges. Curiosity, supported by her resilience, has helped her run her own successful business and stay on top of her game for more than 20 years. Oh, and she loves just the right amount of chaos thrown into the mix for fun.
As a theatre major in college, after graduation, she quickly turned her sights to a gig that could help her pay rent and to eat, and so began her foray into the web world via sales, PR, and marketing. She noticed themes – a lack of focus on the importance of content and that content problems are actually people problems. Inspired by the article “Content strategy and the philosophy of data”, where she saw the term Content Strategist for the first time, she took it on as a title, wrote an article, then a book, and then built a business on it.
Kristina has seen the discipline of content and UX be born, grow, and mature, and she continues to embrace the changes that continue today. “It’s exciting times,” she says, talking about the growth of awareness and specializations that have come about in the last five or so years. “People are asking tough questions and pushing for the answers” – it’s what our industry needs. It’s one of the reasons she started the ConFab conference in 2011 – to bring content strategists together to learn, connect, and grow.
Kristina takes a hands-on role in multiple areas of her business. From helping clients get to their lightbulb moments, coordinating speakers for her events, and sponsoring scholarships for speakers and attendees. This may be the training ground for her next passion career in the theatre.
Her best advice – treat yourself to therapy; it’s a gift that just about everyone could use. And if you’re lucky, your work benefits will pay for it. And another thing we can start doing right now is to stop being so hard on ourselves. The internal dialogue of “we’re not parenting well enough, we’re working too much, not doing enough for others” is unproductive. Kristina believes we need to stop looking at what is wrong and turn to look at what is right when we look in the mirror, and while you’re there – pat yourself on the back – you deserve it.