Making the most of in-person events: The #CMWorld 2017 edition

June 13, 2017 Cathy McPhillips

You’ve been on CMI webinars and twitter chats, you read the CMI articles every day and receive Chief Content Officer magazine. You engage with the content marketing community on a regular basis and catch our #CMWorld Twitter chats on Tuesdays. Now there’s an event coming up. Haven’t you gotten all you need in the content marketing space already? Why invest the time and money to attend?

We think that you’ve barely scratched the surface, and there are so many reasons that in-person events make a huge impact on your career, your productivity and your happiness. Here are a couple of our favorite reasons.

Make that Connection!

You’ve heard it before, but in-person events are a great place to connect offline with the people you spend time with online. It’s a time to talk to, and learn from, people that are dealing with the same challenges you are, and who may in fact have that awesome, yet viable idea you have been looking for that help grow your business. At CMWorld this year, we’ve built in more networking time and have more ways to connect with new (and old!) faces.

How can you maximize your networking time? Make a list of people that you must see in person during your time, and write down some questions you’d like to pose to other attendees who you may sit next to in a session, or who you end up meeting at an evening networking event. Trust me, they’ll love that you have a conversation starter, and that industry peer relationship can go far beyond the hors d’oeuvres table.

Taking Time to Think

It is hard to make time for strategizing and bigger thinking in an average workweek because of all the day-to-day projects that come up. You’ve been trying for months to build out some templates for your editorial calendar for your blog. You’re trying to find time to create a workflow for your creative team to provide assets for your content calendar. You know that a particular channel would be ideal for your company, but don’t know where to start.

How can any of these items relate to in-person events? Primarily, listen to the speakers and the sessions that tell you how to do some of these things. One of the best things about Content Marketing World speakers, in my opinion, is that they aren’t talking heads, they’re content marketing practitioners from leading brands – in the trenches, sharing their stories. They are there to teach, to explain, to SHOW. Yes, you’ll get inspired. But ultimately, these speakers were selected because they can cite specific examples of their own content marketing successes that they can show you.

Also, make the most of your flight time. It’s a great time to organize your inbox, to create folders in your documents to get you more organized. It is uninterrupted quiet time (hopefully) that you can use to write some blog posts. In-flight time is precious to me to do some of my best thinking. A window seat and my earbuds are all I need to have the creative juices start to flow.

Taking Technology for a Test Drive

Sponsors help make events happen. But did you ever look at the sheer volume of brilliance in an exhibit hall? From the behemoth larger companies in the content marketing world to the new, innovative startups, all have something to offer attendees. Consider this the RFP phase of your tech company search. Visit the booths, talk to folks, explain your challenges, needs, and what hole you’re hoping to fix with a partner. Putting a face to a brand certainly humanizes it; and making a connection beyond products and services helps too.

Sit down with your team before an event (even if the team is just you), and look at your documented content marketing strategy. Where do you need help? Where can you be more efficient in your day, but what can’t you do personally? There are likely lots of opportunities where partners can help you. Bring that list with you to the event, scope out the list of sponsors before you arrive, and have a plan to visit those booths in the exhibit hall.

The best way to enjoy an event is to be prepared for that event. Take the time needed to really know why you’re there. Then, of course, make sure you have some fun. Because there is lots of fun to be had.

The 7th annual Content Marketing World conference and expo is taking place September 5-8, 2017 in Cleveland, and we want you there. Register before July 21, 2017 to take advantage of our summer pricing. Plus, use code BLOG100 to save an additional $100!

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