You’re going to the 2019 Content Marketing Conference! You’ve got your bags packed and business cards made, and you’re ready to get to Boston. CMC 2019 promises four fun and educational hectic days of networking, learning new tricks to earn more business, and hearing top speakers give you their insights into content marketing. But have you prepared for making as many new contacts as possible?

Networking at the CMC can be incredibly rewarding, but knowing how to network beyond cruising the bar and handing out cards will gain you more useful contacts that you ever thought possible. (Although the bar is a great place to network!)  Here are six ways to network better.

1. Develop an Elevator Pitch

No doubt you’ve heard of the “elevator pitch,” where you’ve distilled the essence of yourself and your business in a few noteworthy sentences so that they can be spoken in the short time it takes for someone to ride the elevator to their destination. Elevator pitches have their places outside of elevators. Conference attendees are short on time, short on sleep, and are trying to pack in as much information as they can possibly learn, which is why having a clear message is so important.  Develop and practice your elevator pitch before the conference until it sounds natural and covers the salient points you’re trying to make. Include who you are, where you work, what you do, and how you might be able to help the listener. It’s doesn’t have to be salesy, but it does have to be clear.

Let’s say you’re a content writer who specializes in medical content. A good pitch might be: “Hi, I’m George Smith and I’m a freelance content writer here in Boston. I specialize in medical content, but I branch out into accounting, legal, and other B2B writing. I am currently looking for new clients.”  Simple, direct, and to the point.

2. Arrive Early and Look for Solo Attendees

Arriving early may seem counterintuitive if you’re alone, but it’s the best way to meet people before they start splitting off in groups. Look for people who are in the hotel lines waiting to check in and chat with them. Join someone who is sitting alone in the hotel restaurant and have lunch with them. Talk to attendees you don’t know. Make friends and listen to what they’re looking to accomplish at the CMC. Maybe their expertise isn’t what you’re looking for, but having them as a contact might pay off down the road. Maybe they’ll hear of someone else who might be able to help you or your business. You never know where that contact might lead.

3. Business Cards

Always have enough business cards available printed with your contact information. Hand out your business card out to everyone you meet. Everyone. Don’t use old business cards that have old addresses, email, and phone numbers that you have to scratch off and write in.  When you talk to other people, ask them for their business cards, and once you have them, make notes on them as to who they are and what their expertise is in. That way, you can be sure when you’re back home, you can remember who you talked to weeks later when you’re going through those cards for your address book.

4. Attend All Social Events

After a day of conferences, you may feel tired and want to skip the social events.  Don’t.  Social events are a great way to meet new people and a chance to relax while still networking.  Have your business cards with you in case you meet someone you haven’t yet been introduced to. It’s not unusual to find contacts you can’t normally meet at the social events.

5. Be a Good Listener and Ask Questions

People like to talk about themselves and their businesses.  So, it’s important to ask questions and listen to the person you’re talking to. You may learn about them, their business, and what they hope to accomplish. In return, you may get leads on connections that may help you, if not now, then down the road. Part of being a good business associate is to help out others. You help out a new associate and they might just help you down the road.

6. Stay Connected and Follow Up After CMC

Once you’re back home and assimilate everything you’ve learned at the conference, it’s time to go through those business cards and stay connected. Send thank you emails to the people you met there and look for ways to stay in touch after the conference. Maybe you’ve stumbled upon another connection that can help the business associate?  Maybe they have a connection you’ve been looking for? If nothing else, when you come back to CMC next year, you’ll have a friendly face you can meet.

Keep All Literature from the Conference

Anything you pick up at the conference is a connection. Keep the literature and the conference program as it will have speakers’ names and often their contact information right in the program.  Be sure to takes notes in the program so you can follow up on any leads.

Are you coming to CMC this year? There’s still time!  Register online now.

Maggie B WriterAccess
Maggie B
is a professional, multiple award-winning writer and editor of more than 30 books and more than a thousand articles. She earned her Master’s Degree in Liberal Studies with an emphasis in creative writing at the University of Denver. She has written articles on science, pets, sustainability, hunting, technology, outdoors and recreation, food, writing, publishing, careers, and other topics. She is the publisher for Sky Warrior Books and Garnet Mountain Press.