Image courtesy Chesapeake Bay Program/ChesapeakeProgress

Image courtesy Chesapeake Bay Program/ChesapeakeProgress


  • The Problem: Oversight groups need help holding a unique regional partnership that drives positive change in the Chesapeake Bay watershed accountable for its environmental protection and restoration promises.
  • The Solution: A clear, accurate and easy-to-navigate website that uses plain language and dynamic and downloadable charts and maps to make clear what the Chesapeake Bay Program is doing, the factors that impact this work and the way this work is funded.
  • My Involvement: Developed user research questions for group discussions and one-on-one interviews and used the results of this research to develop user personas. Contributed to the development of the product’s information architecture and overall design. Developed a comprehensive content strategy that planned for content substance, structure and governance. Worked with a range of stakeholders and subject matter experts to plan, write and edit high-quality content. Facilitated a successful product launch, developing informational slide decks, a media advisory and talking points. Measured content success with website analytics and remote user testing. Developed a data-driven marketing plan that used search engine optimization and email and social engagement campaigns to improve user engagement.
  • Highlights: The launch of ChesapeakeProgrss was covered by 52 news outlets. In the five months following our implementation of practices to support search engine optimization, the portion of our audience acquired through organic search rose 128 percent. In a recent user survey, 93 percent of respondents reported being able to find the information they needed on their previous visit, and 40 percent called doing so "very easy."

ChesapeakeProgress Quarterly Newsletter

  • The Problem: Users need to be notified from a trusted source when new data and information about the Chesapeake Bay Program's progress toward its environmental protection and restoration promises becomes available.
  • The Solution: An electronic newsletter delivered every three months containing notable content updates from the previous quarter.
  • My Involvement: Used best practices to design newsletter template. Each quarter, develop content for and distribute newsletter and track email analytics to inform iterative product improvements.
  • Highlights: On average, each newsletter has generated a 45 percent open rate and a six percent click rate, both of which are above the industry average.

ChesapeakeProgress poster series

  • The Problem: The Chesapeake Bay Program’s governing body needs an at-a-glance understanding of the partnership’s progress toward the commitments it has made and a subtle reminder that our data and information around environmental health, restoration and stewardship now appear on a website called ChesapeakeProgress. 
  • The Solution: A series of seven posters depicting the Chesapeake Bay Program’s progress in critical focus areas, designed to recall ChesapeakeProgress and displayed at the annual meeting of the Chesapeake Bay Program’s governing body. A series of so-called STATCards provided more detailed information and were placed within attendees’ Briefing Books.
  • My Involvement: Developed written content for posters and STATCards. Contributed ideas for product design and layout.   
  • Highlights: The posters were well-received and repurposed to support a social engagement campaign that explained the accomplishments made possible through the work of the partnership. In the month following this two-week campaign, the portion of our audience acquired through social rose 149 percent. 
Image courtesy Chesapeake Bay Program.

Image courtesy Chesapeake Bay Program.

Bay Barometer

  • The Problem: Students and teachers need access to sound scientific data and an understanding of how this data can be used to explain the health of the environment around them.
  • The Solution: A clear and concise publication that uses icons, images, charts and text to tell the story of Chesapeake Bay health and restoration and a rack card that summarizes the statistics our audience cares most about.
  • My Involvement: Developed exercises, discussion questions and exit interviews for a focus group of students and their parents to determine what our target audience needed to know about Chesapeake Bay health and what kind of content would resonate with them. Developed written content. Contributed ideas for product design and layout. Wrote media release and blog post and suggested the product launch involve leaders from two organizations that publish their own annual Chesapeake Bay assessments to demonstrate the importance of partnership in science and strategically expand the reach of our publication.
  • Highlights: The release of Bay Barometer was covered by ten news outlets. A blog post on the Chesapeake Bay Program’s flagship website received almost 1,100 views in its first week of publication. In addition, the process of developing this report--which involves summarizing a wealth of data and information and submitting content to dozens of subject matter experts and stakeholders for review--has become more streamlined: what was once a hefty report has become over the last four years an approachable and effective product.
Image courtesy Waterfowl Festival

Image courtesy Waterfowl Festival

Waterfowl Festival 

  • The Problem: A nonprofit organization needs to build and engage its audience around its annual signature event. 
  • The Solution: A social media strategy that improves brand awareness; builds relationships with vendors, exhibitors and artists; attracts event attendees; and keeps event-goers apprised of important information.
  • My Involvement: Met with stakeholders to complete a branding exercise that informed voice and tone for social media platform. Set content goals and shared and created content. Used analytics to track content success and delivered insights report that included six recommendations for cultivating the organization's online presence. 
  • Highlights: More than 6,000 users reached through Facebook event. Five percent increase in page likes over the course of four months. Twenty new Facebook reviews.
Image courtesy Will Parson/Chesapeake Bay Program

Image courtesy Will Parson/Chesapeake Bay Program

Talks and Workshops

I have given several talks that empower scientists to share their research on the Internet. These have included From Jargon to .GIFs: Content Strategy for Scientists and We Are All Web Teamers Now: How We Work and How You Can Be Part of the Process. The former (presented at the Restore America’s Estuaries 2014 Summit) introduced scientists and science communicators to the principles of content strategy and the rules of writing for the web. The latter (presented at the Chesapeake Bay Program’s 2015 Webstock) introduced my colleagues to the way my team uses the discovery process to solve problems and the principles of content strategy to guide our work. 

In September, I co-led a workshop on user-centered storytelling techniques with a fellow content strategist at the 2017 Code(Her) Conference in Washington, D.C.