Conferences: Live Event Content Marketing You Need To Boost Results

Content Marketing World (aka: CMWorld) isn’t your run-of-the-mill live business conference. 

Attracting over 4,000 attendees, Content Marketing World literally takes over and has a financial impact upon Cleveland.

By contrast, in another city, Content Marketing World would be just another business conference.

Don’t take my word for it.

Even the airport with its oversized guitar bling (lest you forget that Cleveland is home to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame) sports orange banners welcoming CMWorld attendees. As the mega industry event, the conference is an attention magnet. 

More importantly, as the ultimate live content marketing event, Content Marketing World forms the heart of an on-going community.

This identity, as part of the Content Marketing World family, extends beyond the 4 short days attendees, presenters and staff spend together in Cleveland.

As a 7 year veteran, I continue to attend and present at Content Marketing World.

Conferences-Live event content marketing - Content Marketing World

Proof of Heidi Cohen’s 7 year attendance at #CMWorld


Because unlike other business events where shy attendees stick like glue to their colleagues, Content Marketing World is a big gathering of my favorite friends from around the world!

Further, Content Marketing World attendees develop deep relationships with each other over time. They’re connected both in person and via the internet.

As I pointed out in my Content Marketing World presentation, The Secret 3 Steps To Content Amplification and Distribution:

Great brands stand for something greater; they create community around their content. #ContentMarketingClick To Tweet


Let’s examine how you can use conferences to create live event content marketing.


Conferences: Live Event Content Marketing Creates Experiences

Conferences are the ultimate live event content marketing. #contentmarketingClick To Tweet


As a veteran of stand up comedy, keynote speaker Tina Fey expressed the essence of live events best when referring to Broadway shows, “They’re experiences that change with every performance.” 

Tina Fey Keynote at Content Marketing World 2018-Photo Lane Harbin

Tina Fey Keynote at Content Marketing World 2018 in Cleveland. Photo via @LaneHarbin on Twitter

A live performance differs each time based on the interaction between the actors or presenters and the audience in that specific time and place.

To appreciate this, put yourself in the shoes of an experienced actor.

Years ago, I had the good fortune to see Hal Holbrook play Samuel Clemens on Broadway in Mark Twain Tonight! (BTW, Holbrook was born in Cleveland.)

Holbrook created his 90 minute solo performance from 16 hours of prepared materials based on The Lectures of Mark Twain. (Free download: )

More importantly, during an unusual post-show question and answer session, Holbrook explained the power of the actor-audience interaction that many theatergoers don’t realize.

According to Holbrook, he selected each show’s set of anecdotes based on the vibe he got from that night’s audience during the performance.

Similarly, at a conference or other event, the best speakers adapt their presentation based on the attendees. Often they check out the room and talk to the people who arrive early. (HINT: If you want to meet the speakers, show up early for their presentation. Of course this doesn’t usually hold for the keynote speakers!)


Conferences Provide Immersive Live Event Content Marketing

Understand that even new presentations may incorporate examples from older presentations. For example, Andrew Davis included the Fresh Books video example from his 2017 Content Marketing World Session in his 2018 keynote. But Davis positioned it differently.

According to Orbit Media’s Andy Crestodina:

Like hearing your favorite rock band in concert, conference attendees come to hear your greatest hits. @Crestodina #contentmarketingClick To Tweet


Regardless of session length, conference presentations provide 2 types of content based on the best elements of the presenter’s existing body of work:

1. Big Idea Content Marketing Presentations

At the heart of keynote talks Big Idea Content Marketing Presentations provide the backbone for the conference content. At their best, big idea presentations inspire the audience to think beyond their immediate marketing problems.

As Joe Pulizzi pointed out during his keynote:

If your boss accepts your first content marketing plan, then you’re not thinking big enough. @JoePulizzi #CMWorldClick To Tweet


At Content Marketing World 2018, big idea content presenters included Andrew Davis, Jay Acunza and Doug Kessler.

2. Actionable Content Marketing Presentations

Organized around the major conference themes, most conference presentations provide useful tactics that attendees can go home and put into action. Further, these presenters provide examples and templates.

These sessions are where the real gold is for businesses. It’s relatively inexpensive training for employees. Unlike more conventional education formats, they provide real-life vetted tactics and examples

At Content Marketing World 2018, actionable content presenters included Andy Crestodina and Ian Cleary.


Content Marketers Need Conferences As Audience Attention Magnets

Even if you or fellow employees don’t attend the major conferences in your category, mega live event content marketing is important to your content marketing strategy.


Conferences in your business category create audience attention magnets that support your content marketing creation and distribution. #CMWorld #contentmarketingClick To Tweet


As a result, you don’t have to work as hard to attract and hold audience attention for your related content.

In his keynote, Andrew Davis underscored this point when he said:

Marketers can’t buy attention; they must earn audience attention over time!  @DrewDavisHere #marketing #cmworldClick To Tweet


Live Event Content Marketing -Visual Notes

Visual notes of Andrew Davis’s Curiosity Factor Keynote at Content Marketing World 2018. Notes by Kelly Kingman. Photo by Heidi Cohen

Actionable Content Marketing Tip:

  • Use conference agendas to determine the key content topics for your category.
  • Schedule your mega-content like research and crowd pleaser content like long blog posts to publish prior to major conferences.


Conference Example: Content Marketing World Evolves


As live event content marketing, conferences evolve over time. The best ones keep getting better.

The success of Content Marketing World 2018 is proof of the quality of the event and the strength of its related community. It was the first conference produced with UBM’s Stephanie Stahl and her team at the helm.

Stahl and her extended CMI team deserve kudos for continuing to expand Content Marketing World in terms of attendees, sponsors and revenues. (BTW, I gave Stahl and many of her team a shout out in my Top Content Marketing Experts List. Why? Because they lead the way for the rest of us content marketers!)

But more importantly, beyond the financial success, they preserved the loyal community at the heart of Content Marketing World. Attendees left excited to attend again in 2019.

Actionable Content Marketing Tip:

  • Attend key conferences for your business and profession. They help you build relationships that help your career and keep your skills up-to-date.


Live Event Content Marketing Conclusion

The Live Event Content Marketing bottom line:

Conferences are important for attracting and keeping audience attention for your content creation and distribution.

But more importantly, the best live events and conferences build something bigger. The best events nurture a community that stands for something greater.

Content Marketing World is a great live event content marketing case study because the CMI team continues to build on its past success to expand and deepen their community.

Ask yourself how you participate in the major conferences and live events in your business’s category to extend your relationships with your audience.

Also consider how to use conferences in your content marketing plans for both content creation and distribution.

Go on–Take the first step to creating conference content.

Don’t worry your work will improve over time.

Happy Marketing,
Heidi Cohen

Heidi CohenHeidi Cohen is the President of Riverside Marketing Strategies.
You can find Heidi on FacebookTwitter and Google+.


Get Heidi Cohen’s Actionable Marketing Guide by email:


Want to check it out before you subscribe? Visit the AMG Newsletter Archive.

Photo Credit: All photos by Heidi Cohen of Actionable Marketing Guide except Tina Fey via Twitter courtesy of

Tags , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Comments are closed.