meet up of content marketing world people
PHOTO: Dennis Shiao

Content Marketing World 2019 held a special meaning for me. 

I long considered myself a member of the Content Marketing World community. I participated in the weekly #CMWorld Twitter chats, developed online friendships with community members and followed along each Fall during the Content Marketing World conference. I’d see tweets with keynote photos, keynote quotes, group photos and video. But I never made it to Cleveland for the conference.

Content Marketing World 2019 took place last week in Cleveland and this year, I finally made it.

The kick-off party took place at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and Content Marketing Institute Founder Joe Pulizzi gave one of the opening keynote presentations.

Since I co-presented a talk on “Community,” I thought it fitting to ask community members for their takeaways from the conference. 

Bernie Fussenegger
Bernie Fussenegger
Bernie Fussenegger: The Drive to Agile

Bernie Fussenegger, director of Global Platforms at Papa John's, drove 349 miles from Louisville, Ky., and said the trip was worth every mile.

Fussenegger's favorite session was by Andrea Fryrear and titled "Failure is Feedback: How to Succeed at Agile Marketing by NOT Doing These Things." 

According to Fussenegger, "We are an agile shop and some of the challenges I see every day were discussed in this session along with approaches on how to solve or address the failures." Fussenegger’s top learning from the conference is to look for opportunities for agile fixes. He's also looking forward to post-presentation resources that he'll receive from Fryrear.

Related Article: Joe Pulizzi Shares His 7 Laws of Content Marketing at CM World 2019

Michelle Garrett
Michelle Garrett
Michelle Garrett: Trust Matters

Michelle Garrett, writer and PR consultant, Garrett Public Relations, made the intrastate drive from Columbus to Cleveland. Garrett’s favorite presentation was titled “The Perfect Content Marketing Organization: 7 Essential Qualities of the World's Most Successful Content Marketing Companies,” by Marcus Sheridan.

According to Garrett, “It left the biggest impression on me and I was wowed. Marcus was fun to watch.” Garrett’s key takeaway from the conference is that trust matters, a thread that ran across several presentations she attended. 

According to Garrett, “Building trust takes time. We need to get out of this mindset of an overnight win. Building trust also requires content that is tailored for your audience.”

Millie Lapidario
Millie Lapidario
Millie Lapidario: Grow Agency Revenue

Millie Lapidario, agency owner and chief copywriter at Copy for Humans, flew in from Oakland, Calif.

Lapidario's favorite session was "Welcome to the Dance of Client-Agency Communications," presented by Melissa Harrison. According to Lapidario, " It was so practical. The language she shared from her contracts was extremely helpful. Any client would find those conditions reasonable and the messages weren't hidden in legalese."

Lapidario is looking to repackage her agency services and build new revenue streams, something she learned from Gini Dietrich's session, "You Don't Need More Content Marketing to Grow Your Agency." In her session, Dietrich recommended the book "Built to Sell" and Lapidario listened to the audio book on the flight home.

Related Article: What's a Marketer's Greater Challenge: Content or Data?

Kristen McCabe
Kristen McCabe
Kristen McCabe: The Power of Data

Kristen McCabe, senior content marketing specialist at G2, flew from Chicago to Green Bay, then on to Cleveland. She endured one cancelled flight, but arrived in time for the kick-off party.

One of McCabe's favorite sessions was Clare Carr's, "Unlock the Data: How to Create an Army of Data-Powered Content Marketers." 

According to McCabe, "I’ve always known the power of data, but Clare had unique ways to use data to drive results in terms of lead generation and build a lasting strategy that gets links and press coverage. I was almost jumping up and down, so excited to get home and put it into practice!”

What else will McCabe work on when she’s back in the office?

“Find what works and build on it. I love still having that 10% of time to get creative and play with new ideas and be okay with imperfection,” said McCabe.

Emilie Moreland
Emilie Moreland
Emilie Moreland: From Analytics to Insights

Emilie Moreland, content marketing manager, Digital Room, drove four hours from Cincinnati.

Moreland's favorite session was presented by Andy Crestodina and titled "How to Analyze Content Performance Using Google Analytics: From Basics to Advanced." 

Now that she's back in the office, Moreland said, "I'd like to start analyzing our FAQ pages as Andy Crestodina recommended. Google Analytics reports can tell me whether or not information should be moved to product pages or kept as separate pages, as well as questions to ask and actions to take based on the results."

Related Article: Think You Aren't a Content Marketer? Think Again

Tod Cordill
Tod Cordill
Tod Cordill: All About AI

Tod Cordill, business growth strategist, Moderno Strategies, flew into town from Portland, Oregon.

Cordill's favorite session was Christopher Penn's "Practical Applications of AI for Content Marketing." According to Cordill, "In 40 minutes Penn explained what AI can do for marketers, why they should do it and how to get started." Now that he's back in the office, Cordill plans to learn about applying natural language processing to help craft brand messaging. 

My Answer: 'Press the Damn Button'

I flew into town from San Francisco. My favorite session was titled, “Press The Damn Button: How To Stand-Out From the Bad News and Fake News On Social Media” by Brian Fanzo.

Brian told deeply personal stories and showed how key life moments inspired him to “press the damn button” and be who is is today. Shortly after his session, I recorded a video to thank Brian for his talk:

Content Marketing 2020 marks the conference’s 10th anniversary. See you in Cleveland!