When content marketers talk about diversity, most of the time they are discussing the diversity of content.

Is your content marketing strategy diverse?

Does it address the variety of questions asked at different stages in along your customer journey may in a variety of ways? Diversity in your content marketing is essential.

Or in other words, don’t put all your content marketing eggs in your blog basket.

Diversity in content marketing strategy was discussed by a number of speakers at CMC17, but the type of diversity I want to focus on is different.

Not diversity of tactics discussed by speakers, but diversity of keynote speakers, workshop leaders, and session presenters.


Diversity at CMC17

I was pleasantly surprised to learn that CMC17 very nearly achieved gender parity among the speakers and presenters. On top of that, these women were speaking on a variety of topics.

They were sharing the industry expertise, not an overly reductive presentation on “how to target women with your content marketing.” CMC17 simply gave women the space to share their expertise in the industry, same as the men.

In terms of gender diversity, CMC17 knocked it out of the park.

In terms of racial and ethnic diversity, however, there’s some room for improvement.

One thing CMC17 did really well in terms of racial and ethnic diversity was to include people of color in more than just the small breakout session.

There were general sessions and two keynotes led by people of color. And again, the topics they discussed presented on were centered on their expertise in content marketing.

That said, the majority of the speakers and presenters at CMC17 were white, in the range of 85%. Given the number of content marketing experts who are also people of color, I think this percentage is too high.

It is worth exploring how this percentage compared to other events in the content marketing industry.


How Does #CMC17 Compare?

I found that another prominent content marketing conference has announced a new commitment to diversity for their upcoming 2017 conference in response to feedback from their 2016 conference.

Given that CMC17 did not have publicly stated intention to address diversity, honestly, I didn’t expect it do favorably in a direct comparison.

I was wrong.

The other conference has announced over 150 speakers. They also achieve near gender parity, with people of color making up about 17% of the docket.

That’s only 2% more than CMC17, which tells me that CMC is on track to be an industry leader in terms of creating a diverse and inclusive content marketing conference.

I wasn’t involved in the planning aspect of CMC. However, given that the other marketing (not content marketing specifically) conferences I researched had 40-50 speakers without a single person of color presenting, I do not believe the diversity at #CMC17 happened accidentally.

I am fairly certain there was an intentional commitment to create a conference where diverse voices are given the platform and the stage to share their expertise.


Where to Go From Here?

We can always improve. I would encourage the CMC planning team to keep working on intentionally creating diversity and take the next step by incorporating a commitment to accessibility into the CMC 2018 planning strategy.

One of the key takeaways I heard at #CMC17 was the importance of meeting your customers where they are.

That’s what Customer Experience Design (CED) is all about. This, in my mind, is the perfect opportunity to discuss ways to ensure your content marketing is accessible to those with disabilities. 

This is a major gap in most content marketing discussions.

An accessible conference with experts who can share knowledge on what it means to create accessible content, from optimizing your website for screen readers as well as search engines to creating your own closed-captioning content, is an opportunity for CMC 2018 to lead the industry into an new era of inclusivity and accessibility for all.   

Elizabeth L is one of a group of freelance WriterAccess writers who attended Content Marketing Conference 2017.

We value her unbiased account of her time at the conference, and encourage you to comment with any questions you may have had about her experience!