Content Marketing World, the world’s largest and most recognizable content marketing conference, is just around the corner and to say that there’s a lot to be excited about would be an understatement.
Comedy legend Tina Fey will grace the stage with what should be an irresistibly charming and inspiring keynote, content marketing professionals from across the globe will host intensive tracks and workshops, and passionate attendee’s will get to geek out about content in an absolutely electric environment.
My team and I are thrilled to be attending CMWorld this year and we’re positive that CMWorld 2018 will be another one for the history books. Aside from wearing lots of orange and bringing a notepad and/or laptop, we’ve come up with some helpful tips and reminders that will help you make the most out of your CMWorld experience.
[bctt tweet=”Content Marketing World is less than four weeks away and we’ve got 5 helpful, last-minute tips to help you make the most of your time at the world’s largest #contentmarketing conference. #CMIContent #CMWorld” username=”relevance”]
Set Some Goals
Hitting the event floor on the first day of any conference can be a pretty overwhelming experience, especially if you don’t have an action plan.
Sponsors will be vigilantly pitching their products and conducting demos with passerby’s, thousands of attendee’s will be networking and exchanging business cards, people will be rushing to get to their workshops on time and well…it can be hard to know where to start.
Before you head to Content Marketing World this year, you need to think about your goals.
Are you there to learn as much as you can about lead generation and take those tactics back to your office? Are you there to network with people and forge lasting professional bonds? Are you a sponsor with the intent of making sales? or are you simply there to take full advantage of the open bar and catch up with some marketing buddies?
It’s important to ask yourself these questions before you hit the conference floor. Go with a clear objective and your CMWorld experience will be way more streamlined.
Reach out to Prospects Early
Last year, a whopping 3,600 content marketing fans from over 50 countries attended Content Marketing World and this year over 4,000 are expected to attend. Each of these people are just like you, they have their own set of goals, action plans, schedules, and, if they’re smart, they already have a firm idea of who they want to network with and what they want to talk about.
Most attendees have full schedules laid out before they even hit the floor so don’t bank on having a 30 minute off the cuff discussion with CEO John as he rushes to deliver a riveting keynote on the main stage.
Content marketing world is a great place to network, connect with customers, and/or interview some content marketing leaders but don’t count on running into them by chance and unloading an avalanche worth of information onto them.
Not only is this terribly annoying and unprofessional, it could be detrimental to your reputation and you’ll leave the conference feeling defeated.
Whatever your goal is, it’s important to set up appointments well in advance (especially for things like demo’s, pitches, and interviews). Send prospects calendar invitations, jot down all your meetings on a well organized to-do list, and I guarantee you’ll have a much better experience.
Side note: If you’re having trouble finding people to talk to, check out the #CMWorld Twitter hashtag. The event organizers typically promote the hashtag far in advance and most attendees will use it to keep track of keynotes and tracks, share photos and videos, and chat with fellow attendees.
Bring Plenty of Business Cards
Business card exchanges are an unavoidable part of any conference experience. Having a stack of business cards is an unspoken, yet insanely important, conference rule. It may sound a little dramatic, but think of your business card as an extension of yourself.
Exchanging business cards is the way strangers at a conference politely say goodbye to one another so you’ll probably feel a little awkward if someone hands you a card and you don’t have one to hand back.
Be ready to hand out business cards to everyone you say hi to, not just to people you have scheduled meetings with. Building in-person bonds with industry peers, networking, and then following-up is a key part of the conference experience.
Keep the cards you receive organized throughout the event and, after you get home, gather them up and connect with your new content marketing buddies on LinkedIn or via email.
In summary, splurge on some nice business cards, bring double the amount you think you’ll need, have them on your person at all times, and you’ll be good to go.
Content Marketing World is jam packed with information and, at the time, the insights, stories, and tactics you learn from sessions, networking, and booth visits will have you feeling inspired, motivated, and recharged.
After you get home and the conference buzz wears off however, you may end up feeling like you haven’t remembered any of it, especially if you have a pile of jumbled up business cards and unorganized notes to sift through.
You can avoid some of this post-conference stress and memory loss by staying organized during the conference. Make it a priority to add headings to any notes you take (both digital and physical), write on the backs of business cards with some key identifiers that will help you remember the person, and create and stick to an organized schedule.
If you’re planning on attending the conference mostly as a learner, research the sessions you want to attend ahead of time, write them down, and dedicate sections in your notebook and/or create a new digital document for each session.
You can also use apps like EverNote, Trello, Wunderlist, or create a dedicated CMWorld Google calendar to keep yourself organized.
Don’t stress about writing every single thing down either. Sometimes too much information can be a bad thing and keeping your head buried in your laptop can leave you feeling disconnected. Stay relaxed, think ahead, and only jot down the information you think will be useful to you in the future.
None of us are immune to pre-conference jitters. Feelings of apprehension before a major networking event are tantamount to being human and, whether it’s your first time at CMWorld or your 101st time, we all get a little nervous.
If you learn how to embrace the butterflies, keep your head up, enter the event with an open mind, and have an eagerness to learn and have fun, then there’s nothing to be worried about.
[bctt tweet=”Embrace the butterflies, keep your head up, enter #CMWorld with an open mind, have an eagerness to learn, and you can mark down your conference experience as a win” username=”relevance”]
Content Marketing World is a massive event but it’s also a niche, open-minded, and relaxed event. Everyone at CMWorld is just as passionate about content marketing as you are and based on my own experiences, most everyone wants to see you succeed and support you.
Content Marketing World isn’t all business all the time either. In accordance with this year’s theme ‘Game-On,’ the ridiculously cool CMWorld organizers are setting up the CMWorld Backyard in the lower floor of the Huntington Convention Center.
They’re bringing in astro-turf, comfy chairs and pillows, games like ping-pong, yard Yahtzee, giant-Jenga, and an oversized Connect Four so you can always chill out and play some yard games with your fellow attendees if you’re ever feeling overwhelmed.
Content marketers are a friendly bunch of people and I can assure you this year’s event won’t nearly be as stressful as you’re probably making it out to be. In any case, take some deep breaths, embrace the butterflies, and don’t be afraid to dive in.
There’s so much to look forward to at this year’s CMWorld. From Tina Fey, to intensive sessions and tracks, to giant Jenga, and lots and lots of orange swag, this year’s CMWorld will be well worth the cost of admission.
While it’s always hard to predict exactly how a conference will pan out, the above tips should help you go in feeling prepared and at ease. Part of the fun of CMWorld is getting to know new people who are as obsessed about content as you are, rubbing shoulders with your marketing heroes, and learning more about this wonderful industry we currently thrive in.
To wrap it up, set some goals, get some business cards, reach out to people early, stay organized, breathe, and make the most of your time at the world’s largest content conference. We’ll see you in Cleveland.