I just got back from the premiere marketing event of the year: Content Marketing World (CMW) in Columbus, Ohio. As a long time content marketer, author of two books on content marketing and friend of the event organizer, Joe Pulizzi, I had been looking forward to this one for a long time. Although I speak at many online marketing conferences, I didn’t speak at this one (A rare one for me…I missed the deadline). But I did act as a Room Moderator for the social media track, which was great.

In short, CMW was the best business conference I have ever been to. Seriously. I was completely blown away. And it’s not even close. I have been to or spoken at the New Media Expo, Online Marketing Summit, SXSW Interactive, Search Engine Strategies, PubCon, SMX and others over the years, but CMW blew them all out of the water.

Let me explain why…

  1. The session content was very actionable, high quality and set up the right way…some short sessions, some long ones, depending on the topic and no BS and no fluff

  2. The people were great…the staff, the speakers and attendees…there was an air of         friendliness and approachability and openness that I have never seen at a conference like this. No arrogance or elitism here.

  3. The way they set it up to encourage EASY interaction…this was nothing short of genius. For example, at breakfast and breaks, they had cocktail tables…not regular tables…and they set up the sponsor booths around them. Cocktail tables facilitate conversation with new people!

  4. There seems to be an air of cooperation, collaboration and comradery in the Content Marketing Community…again, I have never really seen this at any other conference, at least at this level.

  5. I met over 200 new people in 2 short days..I know, because I counted the business cards ;)…amazing. (There were 1000 in attendance) Usually, I’ll meet 50 or so.

  6. The keynote speakers were Mitch Joel, Marcus Sheridan and Jack Hanna…in a word, spell binding…I mean, are you kidding me?…Mitch was super informative, Marcus made everyone feel inspired and Jack was hilarious (and brought with him at least 8 animals from the Columbus zoo.)

I would say the only detraction was the host city of Columbus, Ohio. Number one, it was difficult to get to (very few direct flights from anywhere in the country), number two it was very humid and uncomfortable weather wise. And number three; the city had a very high population of homeless and generally scary people wandering the streets of downtown…especially at night. I was at an off site hotel, and it was not enjoyable getting from there to the conference at the downtown Hyatt each day.

    But lastly, there is this:

    Content Marketing is VERY 2012. While SEO has been around a long time and those conferences started over 10 years ago and social media has been around for at least five years and companies are still challenged with finding a ROI, content marketing (and “Inbound Marketing” ala Hubspot) are newer, hotter and have a long, bright future. I think the biggest reason why is because content marketing puts the customer or visitor first. In other words, its about PEOPLE. Not the search engines, not the social communities. It’s all about giving your potential customers content they want that will help you build a relationship with them. And that wins every time.

    It was really cool to feel so connected to a large group of passionate people and I can’t wait for Content Marketing World 2013!

    Jon Wuebben is the CEO of Content Launch, a web content marketing agency that handles content development and content strategy for hundreds of companies, digital agencies and web designers. His book, “Content is Currency: Developing Powerful Content for Web & Mobile”, helps businesses everywhere learn how to plan, create, distribute and manage content. Find him on Twitter and Google+” rel=”nofollow” title=”Google+” target=”_blank”>Google+

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