One of the biggest mistakes a conference attendee can make at a huge, highly-concentrated industry event like the Content Marketing Conference is treating it like an extension of former school days. You know the attitude – coming to a specific room at a specific time, pen in hand, brain in “sponge mode” to almost mindlessly absorb everything presented to later recite it on command – in this case, perhaps to your bosses back home, rather than in a standardized test format.
While you definitely should be focusing on the various tracks and sessions at your marketing conference, the best results come from taking a more comprehensive view of all the new concepts you’ll be exposing yourself to during the event. Here are some tips for getting the most out of your Content Marketing Conference trips without feeling like you’re headed back to your hotel room with a head full of to-dos rather than want-to-dos:
1. Do your homework.
This probably sounds a little counter-intuitive in the face of the not-school philosophy being covered here, but sessions are as much about the speakers’ strengths as they are about the subjects being covered. While nearly any marketing concept can be applied to your products or industry with a little retrofitting, the Q&A portions after most sessions will be considerably more rewarding if you attend with an eye towards tapping speaker-shared positions or experiences in your queries. Most speakers have books or at least a blog out in the world, try perusing them in the weeks leading up to your marketing conference.
2. Leave room for networking.
A lot of attendees put emphasis on a packed schedule to get the most value out of their conference ticket, but value should be defined as value to you, not arbitrary more-for-the-money tallies. You know your own learning style – if you thrive on the frenetic vibe of heading to session after session, that’s great! However, most people find value in leaving “wiggle room” for networking with peers and verbally digesting new concepts with one another. To put it another way, brainstorms typically don’t flourish under strict environmental control, nor do they mesh well with a tight schedule.
3. Come prepared.
A few thoughtful steps before you attend the conference can make all the difference in staying in contact with thought leaders, leads, and peers alike after the marketing conference concludes. Download any conference-specific apps beforehand, as well as the major social media platform apps, and make sure you have a profile with a picture on each one. Following speakers and sending live posts of their key session concepts will expose you to an extremely valuable audience of their followers, exponentially growing your potential network in moments. Follow, engage, and maintain social media connections with speakers and fellow attendees.
4. If you don’t know, ask!
No matter how well-versed you may be in your particular marketing discipline, even highly specific events like the Content Marketing Conference will expose you to the unknown. Marketing pulls in the creative, the analytical, and the conceptual – three notions that seldom grab a proverbial drink together. There will be acronyms, methods, and even case studies that may feel out of your element, but just as you wouldn’t begrudge a cliffs-notes version of your own discipline to a curious attendee, you shouldn’t be afraid to ask for clarification. Remember, if you missed something, there’s a better-than-average chance someone else in the area did too. When you ask questions, you’re helping the collective convention understand things a little better.
5. Remember to take care of yourself.
Anyone who has been even tangentially involved in marketing knows the magical – if temporary – powers of coffee, but make sure you’re not running on fumes. Save your late night socializing for the final night of the conference, or you’ll risk missing a fantastic keynote or two in the morning or worse, you might feel run-down for the rest of the day. Get a good night’s sleep, remember to hydrate, and stay refreshed for your marketing conference sessions: you’ll get a lot more out of them.
Finally, during a marketing conference is the best time to start making plans for the next year’s installment. Tickets, if they’re being sold, will be at their lowest rates, as well hotel room reservations, and even flights if your airline of choice is booking that far out. Travel can be stressful, so plan head and make sure you’re ready to attend, learn, network, and implement from the moment you arrive at next year’s Content Marketing Conference!
Delany M is a well-rounded freelancer with an emphasis in product descriptions, landing pages and articles. With over a decade of experience to her credit, she has enjoyed writing for national chain retailers, small e-commerce boutiques and a wide range of service providers. She prides herself in going “beyond the word” to capture the essence of a brand or company, ensuring copy that is as noteworthy as the goods and services her clients provide.