At least a dozen times this week in Cleveland someone remarked to me that they could not believe that this was the first Content Marketing World. The event was exceptionally well run and executed. Then in the final goodbyes, Joe thanked his CMI team for ELEVEN months of work on the conference.
And it definitely showed. The event boasted THREE keynotes that most other branding/marketing/social media conferences would have loved to have on its agenda. Add in an opening reception at the Rock N Rock Hall of Fame (with a LIVE #Blogchat) and a closing keynote by Kevin Smith (yes, @ThatKevinSmith), and you’ve got the recipe for a truly memorable conference.
Another thing that really struck me was how polished the speakers were. As a speaker myself, I can tell when another isn’t prepared. Every speaker was ready, in fact the conference kicked off with Sally Hogshead and literally as soon as she walked on stage, she jumped right into presentation. The delivery from the speakers as a whole was exceptional, and coupled with the presentation, it really made you feel like you were at a $1,000 conference. It really felt like a more prestigious experience.
Another thing that struck me was how few attendees left during the second day. Normally for a 2 or 3 day conference, on the final day you’ll see attendees leaving throughout the day to catch flights home. Normally by the end of the final day, up to half of the attendees are already gone at most events. On Thursday I ‘hosted’ the social media track, so I attended 4 sessions from morning to afternoon. There were over 200 attendees in each of the 1st three sessions, and probably 175 in the final one. That is truly the litmus test of how valuable attendees perceive a conference to be, and the majority of the attendees stayed until the very end. And making Kevin Smith your closing keynote is another good way to encourage people to stick around!
Finally, the event kicked off with an opening reception at the Rock N Roll Hall of Fame. This was a genius move on the part of CMI. One of the aspects of a great conference is that it has a lot of networking opportunities and chances for the attendees to connect with each other. Now let’s be honest, networking with strangers isn’t always the most exciting way to spend a few hours. So to make this process a lot earlier, why not hold the event at a venue that people WANT to be at? Like say, giving your attendees total access to the multi-floor Rock N Roll Hall of Fame?
And I would be completely remiss if I did not tell y’all about the wonderful Live #Blogchat we had as part of the opening reception at the Rock Hall (Thanks again to ON24 for sponsoring!. We had another fabulous discussion, even though most of us were meeting for the first time at the event. I keep telling event organizers, but it’s amazing how attendees respond when you put them in an environment where THEY are the stars of the show. Everyone wants to be heard and to have a chance to participate, and that’s why #Blogchat Live works. Thanks so much to everyone that came!
Thanks again to all the team at Content Marketing Institute for a truly amazing event, can’t wait for 2012!