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3 Big Reasons Content Marketers Must Attend B2B Events in 2016

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My alarm rings. It’s 6:30 a.m. Breakfast is the usual bowl of fruit. I scan my social apps to make sure I didn’t miss anything while I was sleeping and read theSkimm before cleaning up and putting on my outfit. My walk to the subway is always the same route, and I see the same people. We say “Good morning,” but that’s as deep as the conversations go. At the end of my walk, I dip into Starbucks. George has my venti unsweetened iced coffee waiting for me. Then, I head to the train station and wait for the Red Line (it’s probably experiencing some moderate delays because it always is). Once I arrive at the office I sort through emails and dive into tasks. Projects are completed and new projects started. Surprisingly soon, the day is over and my teammates and I heading out the door.

There it is—my daily routine. It’s filled with the same friendly faces and familiar conversations.

It’s easy to sink into routines and turn them into habits. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but as a marketer in a rapidly-changing industry, it’s critical to seek new experiences as a way to see things from a different perspective and learn new skills.

New experiences reorganize the neural pathways in our brains and help us think differently and enhance creativity. And what is creativity? It’s our ability to connect ideas that we weren’t previously able to. For marketers who want to start thinking differently, I encourage you to attend in-person B2B events in 2016. Here’s why.

Steve Jobs Quote1. Make Connections—But Don’t Forget to Keep Them

Although B2B events may draw vastly different numbers of attendees (I’ve been to events with 30 people and events with 5,000+ people), one thing is usually true­—there are people from all walks of life and at every career level. There are so many opportunities to meet with fellow attendees and build upon shared networks. This is also an opportunity to build your personal brand by creating lasting, professional impressions.

Most events provide open learning environments for attendees. The open networking environments allow attendees to share advice and perspectives with one another. With virtual and text being the primary method of communication for most business, it’s refreshing to have all conversations happen face-to-face at events, and these engagements have the ability to last long after the event is over.

Post-event blogging gives you the opportunity to share takeaways and original perspective with the larger community. Amplify your perspective on the content and speakers of the event via social channels, and extend the conversation by sharing thoughts and experiences from the event on others’ blogs. What good is making connections if you don’t engage with people after the event is over?

2. Glean Valuable Industry Insights and Gauge Excitement

Events give attendees an opportunity to become completely immersed in the industry. Starting in the morning and extending into the night, agendas are packed with keynotes, sessions, and networking parties, all of which focus on celebrating the trends and evolutions that the industry is going through. They serve as a good opportunity for attendees (especially sales team members) to gauge the excitement level in areas of the industry. For example, which sessions are packed, and which are sparsely attended? Which discussions resonated with people? There are opportunities to hear case studies, learn about new technologies, hear from thought leaders, and demo products.

You’ll also be better equipped with competitive and market intelligence. What can your team be doing differently? Are you ahead of the curve? These are questions that you will be able to answer at the end of an event. These insights also become great fodder for content creation.

Presentation at a Conference3. Be Inspired

If the event is done well, then the theme will continue long after the event has concluded. A seed of inspiration is planted that leave attendees ready to bring big ideas and motivation into their offices. B2B events do an excellent job of showing attendees what’s possible when you begin to think bigger about your industry (Content Marketing World does a great job). Hearing a thought leader speak about her experiences in the industry has a stronger effect because it brings the connection to another level, rather than just placing a name to a face or Twitter handle to a Tweet.

There’s also a difference between good speakers and great speakers. Good speakers speak on their own behalf, or the behalf of their company. Great speakers share their expertise for the betterment of the audience. This past June I got the chance to hear Ann Handley speak at Content Rising Summit about the importance of tone of voice in content writing. She addressed the crowd as peers and delivered her morning keynote with authenticity, and attendees showed their excitement by filling their Twitter feeds with her talking points and stand-out quotes. That keynote set the tone for a successful day filled with lots of interaction and great feedback. Whether it’s an inspirational speaker, important session, or an interesting trend noticed, these ideas can turn into concepts for your content program.

Although the cost of attending B2B events can be high, I believe they deliver incredible benefits, both personal and professional. They’re a chance to network and make new connections, become completely immersed in one experience, and have the ability to inspire you to accomplish more. Are there any events you’ll be attending in 2016? Let me know in the comment section below. Skyword will be at Adobe Summit this March—we hope to see you there!

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