Does hearing Katy Perry’s “Roar” make you think about content marketing?

If the answer is yes, then you were at Content Marketing World last year in Cleveland, Ohio. And you remember the video that ended with Joe Pulizzi running into the conference in a bright orange suit...

If you're like me, then the rest of the conference was a blur of interesting speakers, orange-colored snacks, and 80s dance parties. Not to mention the extremely helpful takeaways that we implemented after the four-day content event.

Remember CMWorld 2013?

Last year Jonathan Mildenhall, VP of Global Advertising Strategy and Creative Excellence at Coca-Cola, shared the company's new marking mission statement: Content 2020 (watch Part 1 and Part 2). 

Jay Baer spoke about the concept of Youtility, the reason why smart marketing is about help not hype.

I could go on about all the great presentations, but others have already written about the highlights and key takeaways 

2014 is Going to Be Even Better

The Content Marketing Institute (CMI) made the Inc. 5,000 for fastest growing companies, and was the only one in Cleveland to make the Inc. 500. That's a pretty big deal, especially for a company that only has 15 full-time employees.

More INC. 5000 numbers about CMI 

  • #7 Top media companies
  • #3 Cleveland Metro Area
  • #11 Top Ohio Companies

With less than a week to go before the big event this year, I thought I’d help you out with some of your prep work.

7 Tips To Help You Prepare for #CMWorld 2014

1. Set Goals

I know you're thinking about the people you'll see, and how great ContentFest will be (you can’t go wrong with live music and Cleveland food trucks), but what are your goals for CMWorld? 

Think about how CMWorld aligns with your personal, professional, or company goals. Then figure out which sessions will offer support or inspiration for you to achieve your goals.

  • Are you a beginner trying to better understand content marketing? 
  • Are you trying to convince your boss about the value of content marketing?
  • Are you having trouble pushing a consistent message across various marketing platforms?
  • Do you need to see examples of how content is driving revenue for other companies?

Answering these questions can help you determine which sessions you should attend.

Or, maybe your goal is to connect with more professionals in the content marketing industry.

If so, you’re in the right place! And I'd suggest not skipping out on the post-session events. I made some great friends last year at the House of Blues event dancing to 80s music. 

2. Organize & Update Your Social Media Profiles

Most speakers will list their twitter and social media accounts during their presentations, but why wait when you can get ahead of the game?

I made a list of over 100 speakers for CMWorld 2014. Subscribe or just check it out to see who will be in Cleveland during the event.

You know you’ll meet people who want to connect professionally, so now’s the time to fine tune your profile. And last year LinkedIn was there to take professional profile photos for free. Talk about an example of helpful marketing...

3. Layout Your Game Plan

There will be over 2,500 industry professionals in attendance and more than 100 speakers. To say you’ll have to make some hard decisions is an understatement. 

Work out a plan with your team (or team of one) so that you get the most out of the experience, and find sessions that support your goals for the event. Remember, you’ll have access to the materials online after the event to review anything you missed.

Bottom Line: Pace yourself.

You're going to need a lot of brain power to get through all the sessions, speakers, workshops, lunch-and-learns, and keynotes over these four days.

Speakers & Sessions I’m Excited About (In No Particular Order): 
  • Ann Handley- Sorry Did You Say Something? The Future of Content is Writing
  • Kristina Halvorson- Strategy First, Look Before You Leap
  • Brian Clark/ Jerod Morris- Writer, Producer, Director: How to Marry Content Marketing to Your Business Model
  • Rachel Lovinger- Content Auditing: Unearthing the Substance of Your Brand
  • Doug Kessler- Mastering Tone of Voice
  • Kevin Spacey Keynote (is this a given?)

See the full schedule for 2014 so you can start your own list of speakers and sessions.

4. Wear Orange

Orange is everywhere in Cleveland and at Content Marketing World. It’s the color for the Cleveland Browns football team, and the defining color for the Content Marketing Institute.

You’ll notice it everywhere- the snacks, t-shirts, decorations, and more. If you want to join in on the fun (you do) pack some of your own. Plus, it’s a perfect fall color. JUST PACK IT ALREADY.

5. Charge Up

Don't forget to bring your extra chargers and adapters (for our international friends). The team from CMWorld thinks of everything and has charging stations all over, as well as internet access for all attendees. You can be in constant contact with colleagues, but beware they might start to get jealous of all the fun you’re having. 

6. Say Hi to the CMI team

You know the “King of Content Marketing” Joe Pulizzi, but have you met the rest of his incredibly talented team? They’ll be the ones in orange (of course) running around behind the scenes to make sure your time in Cleveland is a memorable one.

And maybe they’ll be trying to casually snap selfies with Kevin Spacey (or will that just be me?).

7. Explore CLE 

I know your schedule is full of sessions and events, but take some time to explore the city in your down time. The event takes place downtown, so I came up with some must-try places within walking distance of the convention center and downtown hotels.

Must-Visit CLE Places Downtown

Think Ahead: After the Event

You'll want to write blog posts about the key takeaways, share what you've learned with your colleagues, and maybe put together a plan to implement changes based on what you've learned at CMWorld.

This is what usually happens at Aztek.  Each year our team will learn something at Content Marketing World, bring it back, discuss it, adapt it, implement it into our process, and review the impact. Last year it was mental modeling and personas. This year, who knows? 

What are you looking forward to most at CMWorld 2014? Let us know in the comments below.