A Preview of #CMWorld from Someone Who’s Never Been

First-time caller, long-time listener.

From September 5-8, I’m stealing away to Cleveland, Ohio, America’s North Coast, to attend Content Marketing World, the biggest content marketing conference in the world (naturally).

First, a few stats:

  • Content Marketing World attracts over 4,000 content marketers from over 50 different countries
  • 225 speakers (including leading content influencers) will deliver 120 different sessions over the course of 12 separate tracks
  • Over 500 different companies show up to talk about the challenges and opportunities in content marketing

It’s safe to say that Content Marketing World is the premier event for content marketers. It’s also fair to say that, for someone who’s never been before, it’s a little intimidating.

So I’m facing my trepidation head-on by documenting and sharing my experiences throughout the conference, starting with this blog.

I sifted through the entire lineup of sessions and want to share a few that I’m particularly excited about and think will help you and I get the most out of Content Marketing World. Let us know what events you’re looking forward to by tweeting @brandpointco.

Wednesday, September 6

Be the Exception: How Brilliant Marketers Find and Follow What Makes Their Stories Different in a World of Average Content

Speaker: Jay Acunzo of Unthinkable

“In a world overrun with commodity content, ask yourself one question: Are you ready to be the exception?”

This seems like a perfect session to kick off the conference. Content marketing is incredibly important to your company’s success, but developing truly unique and compelling content is … well … really, really hard. I’m hoping to walk out of this primer session with an appetite for the rest of the conference.

Conducting a Content Audit

Speaker: Laura Creekmore of Creek Content

“Step one [for most new content projects]: Audit your content.”

A simple title for a tall order. Before starting a new campaign, developing a new strategy or adding another product, it’s important to know what you’ve already got and whether or not it’s any good. This 45 minutes is billed as a tactical session, and I’m really excited to learn about some new content audit tools and methods for determining the quality of our existing content.

Is It Time for Scrum to Scram? Alternative Agile Methodologies to Keep Content Creators Sane

Speaker: Andrea Fryrear of AgileSherpas

“The Agile methodology known as Scrum comes with a log of baggage, and for many marketers, the complexity of Scrum just doesn’t work.”

Full disclosure: Our marketing team doesn’t actually use Scrum yet. But we’ve watched another one of our departments use it, and have seen how beneficial it can be for project management. We, along with every marketer in the history of marketing, struggle with balancing the priorities of our customers, our internal stakeholders and our other marketing initiatives. This session looks like an interesting way to apply some general Scrum features specifically to the content creation process.

Thursday, September 7

KEYNOTE: Inside the Art of Storytelling

Speakers: Colson Whitehead, best-selling author of The Underground Railroad and Clare McDermott, Chief Editor of CMI’s print publication, Chief Content Officer.

I don’t know anything about the session other than who’s speaking. But that’s plenty to get me amped to sit in on the session.

REI’s How-To Guide to How-To Content

Speaker: Eric Hess of REI

“How-to content not only helps customers, it also drives business.”

I’m a sucker for a good how-to blog. Especially when it comes from a brand I really like. REI’s Senior SEO and Content Program Manager, Eric Hess, will be talking about their special Expert Advice program and how they leverage how-to content to engage a very active audience.

[Brandpoint how-to: How to build bulletproof buyer personas]

How to Create Original Research and Get the Most Out of It – A CMI Case Study

Speaker: Lisa Murton Beets of Content Marketing Institute

“…conduct original research to gather information to help get answers to the burning questions that your target audience wants to know.”

There’s a staggering amount of marketing tools and technology hitting the web every day. This tells us two things:

  1. Marketers’ jobs are getting quite complicated.
  2. The present and future of marketing lies firmly in data.

So, it stands to reason that your marketing efforts may only be hindered by the quality of your own data. This should be a really interesting session, diving into the why and how of conducting and presenting your own first-party data.

How to Use Improv Techniques to Improve Your B2B Storytelling

Speaker: Tim Washer of Cisco Systems

“By applying four principles from improv theater, every marketer can become an idea factory.”

Some of my favorite actors and comedians seem to share one common career thread: improv.

Now, I’ve certainly heard of improv being a great tactic for overcoming a fear of public speaking or as a fun creative outlet. But Tim Washer (an improv pro turned marketer) is going to share how improv techniques can help B2B marketers be more creative storytellers (and maybe he’ll throw in some fun Amy Poehler stories, too).

How to Document and Test Your Content Marketing Strategy Around the B2B Customer Experience

Speaker: Scott Lum of Microsoft

“Content marketing becomes increasingly more complex as it is integrated across the customer journey …”

I know, the title may seem boring, but it should be a really fascinating session. Just as it’s important to audit your content and develop your own research, understanding the B2B customer journey (an often elusive concept) is one of the best ways to make yourself a more efficient marketer. This session will be jam-packed with tools and tactics to craft a better message.

Friday, September 8

Feeding Many Streams with Small Teams

Speaker: Jonathan Kranz of Kranz Communications

“Fear not, relief is on the way.”

It’s a tale as old as marketing itself. Too many projects, not enough people. Marketing teams serve the needs of so many, but it’s difficult to do when you’re pulled in so many different directions. Jonathan will show us how small teams can take on big content projects by simply organizing, consolidating and some clever strategizing.

So there it is. My “Content Marketing World” Greatest Hits lineup. As I mentioned, these are just a few of the sessions I’m attending. I’ll publish my whole itinerary before the event.

In the meantime, check out our other blogs and follow along with me when I hijack the Brandpoint Twitter account for the entire conference and connect with me on LinkedIn. I’ll be sharing recaps and wrap-ups right here during the week of the conference. I’m looking forward to seeing you all there!

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