5 Marketing Conferences Content Creators Should Attend in 2016
Storytelling Communications

5 Marketing Conferences Content Creators Should Attend in 2016

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As content creators, we spend a lot of time staring at our computer screens, trying to put our next great idea onto the page. But shouldn’t we be stepping away from our desks and exploring marketing conferences, too?

Whenever I go to a conference, I’m reminded of how many ways there are to do things—that my perspective on creativity isn’t the only one. There’s no one right answer when it comes to content, and that sentiment is refreshingly on display at conferences across the country.

“Going to conferences is important for two main reasons,” says Hannah Richards, Content Marketing Strategist at Ethos Marketing, a full-service agency based in Westbrook, Maine. “First, because it’s important to get some insight into what marketers are looking to get out of content and the different ways in which they plan to use it, and also it’s a great way to network and make contacts who are looking for the type of work that you do.”

The last time Hannah went to a conference, she attended a presentation by the founders of EepyBird, a viral video production company (and the guys behind the Diet Coke and Mentos experiments). The insight the founders shared into what makes videos go viral inspired Richards to start incorporating some of their tactics into her upcoming video projects.

Kaleigh Moore, a freelance copywriter, believes that conferences are extremely useful because of the connections they foster. “Freelancers depend on their connections to other content creators, and these events are great networking opportunities where you can meet face to face with others working within your industry,” she says.

Conferences are a great source of inspiration, but it can be tricky to figure out which ones to attend. In this post, I’ll share six conferences content creators should attend in 2016, as well as some tips on how to get the most out of conferences.

1. Conversion XL Live: Austin, March 30th-April 1st

For content creators focused on optimizing content for clicks and conversions, Conversion XL Live is a must. Billed as “the most useful conversion optimization event you’ve attended,” the conference features the brightest speakers in the space, including Peep Laja, Annie Cushing, and Joanna Wiebe. Brian Massey, who spoke at Conversion XL last year, says that the conference is “a mix of content and networking that perfectly targets what I care about: online results.”

2. Forward 2016: Boston, June 22-June 23

Forward 2016, put on by Skyword, a content marketing software company that connects brands with its community of vetted freelancers, will help you elevate how you create stories for brands. For the content creator who treats his or her career as a “business of one,” Skyword’s user conference is a great opportunity to:

  1. Network with brand marketers (potential clients).
  2. Attend sessions aimed at improving creative, marketing, and business skills.
  3. Attend sessions highlighting contributors and their talents to Skyword’s customer base.

3. Content Marketing World: Cleveland, September 6-9

Content Marketing World is one of the biggest events in content marketing, and it’s where all experts and influencers come together to share insights and learn from each other. Content Marketing World is organized by Content Marketing Institute, and it’s a very large conference. Big isn’t necessarily best, however. Before you go, make sure you decide which talks and speakers you want to see.

4. MozCon: Seattle, September 12-14

MozCon is a conference put on by Moz, a software company that offers some of the best tools for search optimization and content strategy. MozCon is a three-day conference in Seattle, and focuses on actionable, forward thinking insights on SEO, social media, community building, content marketing, brand development, CRO, the mobile landscape, analytics, and more. “MozCon is a favorite conference of mine—full of great insights,” said Joel Klettke, a freelancer who runs Business Casual Copywriting.

5. INBOUND: Boston, November 8-11

INBOUND is HubSpot’s premiere inbound marketing conference, focusing on content marketing, social media, SEO, landing pages, and the interactions between these different areas. Like Content Marketing World, INBOUND is a very large conference, packed to the brim with impressive speakers and exciting workshops. I’ve attended INBOUND twice, and the speakers are always great. Its agenda is massive, though, so best to plan out what talks you want to see before you arrive.

How to Get the Most Out of Marketing Conferences

I’ve been to my fair share of conferences, and some have proven more beneficial than others. Sometimes, it’s simply the content of the marketing conference, but other times, it has to do with my own preparation. Here are some recommendations on how content creators can get the most out of a marketing conference:

  • Choose wisely. I’ve outlined six marketing conferences that are great for content creators, but don’t just choose a conference because you like the name or are lured by one of the speakers. Instead, do your research and compare and contrast a few conferences against each other. Which conference will benefit your business the most? In what areas of content marketing knowledge are you seeking expert advice?
  • Go in with some high-level goals. A conference is unlikely to provide you with a magic solution to all your content marketing woes, but going in with some high-level goals will help you be more successful. Perhaps you can use the conference to learn about social media, building an email list for your blog, or connecting with others in the field. Jot down three high-level goals before the conference begins.
  • Get your note-taking in order. Laptop, smartphone, tablet, or standard notebook? Before the conference begins, figure out what you’re going to use to take notes. You may be tempted to bring your computer—many people do—but I swear by the old school notebook and pen. Devices provide too many distractions (for me).
  • Bring business cards. In today’s digital landscape, we don’t use business cards that often, but a conference is when they’re essential. They serve more as a reminder than anything else to follow up with that person after the conference is over. Don’t forget your business cards, and bring more than enough to hand around. Talk to people, even if it scares you! One of the best parts of going to conferences is meeting other attendees. These attendees are often more interesting than the speakers. Rather than giving inspirational talks about the future of marketing, they’re down in the dirt doing the work.

Conferences are a great way to meet others in your industry and learn new tactics from the experts. To gain insights and learn more about brand storytelling, come to Skyword’s Forward 2016 this June.

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