Content Marketing

Is Content Marketing World Worth It? Advice from a First-Timer

By November 5, 2018 No Comments

Here we are, two months out from Content Marketing World 2018. The changes of the season are in the air in Cleveland, no doubt, as the summer sun and humid air give way to browning leaves and chilly breeze.

Here in Michigan, it’s much the same, but the weather isn’t all that’s changed since CMWorld. Our mindsets, our strategies, and our tactics have changed as well, and how could they not have?

When people ask me if CMWorld was worth it, it’s a resounding “yes.”

If they ask me if I’d do anything differently next time, it’s a “you bet I would.”

7 Things I Wish I Knew Before Attending CMWorld for the First Time

1. Go to the opening night event.

Honestly, I was on the fence about going. I was tired from traveling, I had some work to catch up on, and a restful night in sounded like just the right thing to do before a jam-packed three-day conference.

I’m glad I didn’t listen to my intuition.

This year’s event was at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, just a couple blocks away from the Convention Center and my hotel. It was an iconic site I would have otherwise not seen, and it was pretty cool, even for this country music fan.

Plus, it was all free. There was food, drinks, music, and of course lots of people to mingle with.

2. Get to breakfast early.

Not only will you beat the rush and the long lines, but there are virtually no seats in the exhibit hall or hallways, so you may be able to grab one if you’re early enough.

Pro tip: Head into the opening keynote early to eat at a table near the front.

3. Go to the furthest coffee stations.

The ones at the front of the hall have long lines and often run out. But there are stations all around the hall, usually with no lines and full dispensers.

4. Get the app.

I thought I could write down the sessions I wanted to go to in a Word document, but it was inefficient. The list was saved on my computer, which made it hard to reference when needed. Sometimes the session I planned to attend was full, so I had to go to a backup.

Having all the info in the palm of my hand would have been much easier.

5. Bring a friend.

This isn’t a paid promotion for CMWorld, I promise. I truly wished I had a colleague to split the sessions with and compare notes.

There are so many great sessions, many happening at the same time, that it was hard to decide which to attend. Having a partner in crime would have helped us cover more ground.

This would have been especially helpful for an agency like ours that does so much from strategy to execution.

6. Time your breaks well.

If there is a really juicy session you want to sink your teeth into — I mean one that jumped right off the page at you when you saw it in the agenda — I guarantee a couple hundred other people had the same thought.

If there’s a session you cannot afford to miss, attend the session before it in the same room. Get a seat, and don’t leave during the break (even if they ask you to). You’ll come back to a long line and find yourself on the outside looking in.

I made the mistake of an ill-timed bathroom break and came back to an impossibly long line and missed the session I wanted to see most.

7. Don’t skip Friday.

While there are only two sessions on Friday, they were honestly two of the most important I attended in the three days. One on buyer personas and the other on content marketing strategy gave me many actionable takeaways that I’ve already implemented here at Clarity Quest.

Stick around to the end — you might be surprised.


If you’re interested in CMWorld 2019, ask your employer now so they can budget for your trip to Cleveland next September.

Brian Shilling

Author Brian Shilling

Brian is a Branding & Digital Marketing Director with experience leading diverse teams of marketers and designers in strategic marketing, content creation, and crafting comprehensive messaging and positioning platforms for our healthcare and tech clients. To learn more about Brian's experiences and qualifications, visit our leadership team page.

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