October 4, 2021 Content Chat Recap: Content Marketing World 2021 Takeaways

A #ContentChat header image that says today's topic is a CMworld 2021 debrief where the community shares their takeaways.

Last week was the hybrid Content Marketing World 2021 conference, which joined thousands of marketers and content professionals for one of the biggest annual marketing industry events.

In this #ContentChat, we debrief from our CMWorld experience and share how we will put our conference learnings into action. Read the full recap below, where we share our favorite sessions and takeaways so far, how we plan to apply our learnings to our work, and lessons for marketers planning a virtual or hybrid event experience.

Q1: Whose sessions did you love? What were some of your top takeaways from your favorite sessions?

There are 100+ CMWorld sessions, each PACKED with valuable lessons that can help you transform your marketing strategy. Early highlights from the community include Jay Baer’s session on How to Lower The Three DrawBridges of Content Success…

A1a: I joined ~10 sessions last week, so I still have A LOT to see. Some early highlights:
– @timschmoyer: Instead of asking “why should we tell stories?” ask “why don’t we tell stories?”
– @jaybaer: Right message, right messenger, right modality#ContentChat

— Alek Irvin (@AlekIrvin) October 4, 2021

I’m so glad @jaybaer used the word “modality”. I use that word occasionally because it’s a hold over from my training and development days and most marketers give me the confused dog head tilt when I say it! #ContentChat

— Maureen Jann (she/her) (@NeoLuxeMo) October 4, 2021

I can not wait to dive into the session recordings this week.

I also enjoyed @jaybaer’s presentation. For me, one of the points that really resonated was “The word ‘custom’ is in the word ‘customers,’ yet we too often treat them all the same. #ContentChat

— Erika Heald | Speaking at #CMworld + #MProfsB2B. (@SFerika) October 4, 2021

Jacquie Chakirelis’ session on Why Purpose-Driven Content Will Drive Your Marketing Strategy…

A1 So many good ones. @JacquieChak was one I particularly enjoyed and we’ve had some one to one followup afterward. And the keynotes were outstanding. To meet @mdeziel in person was an amazing moment. #contentchat #cmworld https://t.co/hFuUWLdwVW

— Shane Shaps (@520eastbrands) October 4, 2021

Andrew Davis’ keynote on Embrace the Constraints: Why Adding Constraints Sparks Creativity, Inspires Action & Creates Better Content…

This reminder from @drewdavishere is it in a nutshell for me. #ContentChat pic.twitter.com/lf5M5zD8yB

— Carmen Hill (@carmenhill) October 4, 2021

Ann Handley… everything… including her keynote on The Art of Storytelling: Telling True Stories Well…

A1b: I think that @annhandley’s coining of “resting CEO face” is one thing I will remember from this year’s #CMworld forever. #ContentChat https://t.co/hnb3dAORPH

— Erika Heald | Speaking at #CMworld + #MProfsB2B. (@SFerika) October 4, 2021

John Jantsch’s session on Rethinking the Customer Journey…

A1: Another helpful moment for me was in @ducttape’s session, with this great slide that maps the right kind of content to the relationship stages with your customers. It’s the sort of visual I always need to use with clients. #ContentChat https://t.co/2eVVvjxZoT

— Erika Heald | Speaking at #CMworld + #MProfsB2B. (@SFerika) October 4, 2021

Rob Walch’s session on Podcasting – How to Start & How to Promote…

A1b.: Starting or hosting a podcast? Check out Rob Walch/@podcast411’s session. He covered all the gear you’ll need from recording to editing and best practices for artwork and music.

Loved this tidbit: Don’t confuse social media followers with podcast listeners. #ContentChat

— Alek Irvin (@AlekIrvin) October 4, 2021

And sessions from our #ContentChat community! Including Erika Heald’s breakout on How to Conduct a Social Media Audit That Helps Your Community Thrive…

A1: it’s going to be hard to choose. @SFerika had an incredible framework for social audits, @carmenhill used legos to illustrate how to build a content framework and @520eastbrands brought REALNESS to our social content. Tons of good stuff! #ContentChat

— Maureen Jann (she/her) (@NeoLuxeMo) October 4, 2021

Carmen Hill’s session on Content Modeling for Marketers; Making Your Content Work Harder So You Don’t Have To…

A1d: I loved how @carmenhill used Lego bricks as a metaphor for her content frameworks and broke down what sounds like a really complex process into a dead-simple workflow approach for creating consistent, reusable content. #ContentChat

— Erika Heald | Speaking at #CMworld + #MProfsB2B. (@SFerika) October 4, 2021

And, obviously @NeoLuxeMo @carmenhill & @SFerika gave me great intel on areas I thought I knew well but clearly their info helped me improve. Implementing now! #ContentChat #cmworld

— Shane Shaps (@520eastbrands) October 4, 2021

Maureen Jann’s breakout on Leveraging Content To Build Connections (And Gain New Clients)…

Not to suck up to our guest, but loved @NeoLuxeMo—great way to close out my week. Also got creative juice from @DrewDavisHere, @ALeeJudge & @JasonMillerCA; provocative insights from @marctothec & @movie_pundit; and great practical tips from @SFerika & @ZonteeHou #contentchat https://t.co/6vF9NClroN

— Carmen Hill (@carmenhill) October 4, 2021

A1d: And from @NeoLuxeMo I picked up the tip of asking people you are networking with where else they hang out. So that way if they’re the kind of folks you want to meet more of, you know where to look! #ContentChat

— Erika Heald | Speaking at #CMworld + #MProfsB2B. (@SFerika) October 4, 2021

And Shane Shaps’s breakout on How Employee Engagement Can Tell a Better Story.

A1c: My favorite takeaway from @520eastbrands’s session. #ContentChat https://t.co/V0ElfDl7Vh

— Erika Heald | Speaking at #CMworld + #MProfsB2B. (@SFerika) October 4, 2021

Q2: How do you debrief from #CMWorld? What are you going to do to put your learnings into action?

Generally, it’s best to revisit your notes immediately after the conference while the content is still fresh in your mind.

I usually debrief on the plane home, but this year I had 50+ pages of a research report to proofread/edit. So I’m still catching up.#ContentChat https://t.co/4eYLntJugd

— Carmen Hill (@carmenhill) October 4, 2021

A2b. Ordinarily, I like to find the common themes and threads from all the sessions I attend and then add notes about how I can apply those to my own work. #CMWorld is so energizing/inspiring. And too easy to fade when you get back in the hamster wheel. #ContentChat

— Carmen Hill (@carmenhill) October 4, 2021

Many of us capture session-specific notes that we later mine for takeaways and actions.

A2b: I also always have shared Evernote files that I go back into and add any Tweets, additional resources shared, key slides, etc. after a session so I have a solid reminder of what stood out to me and how I can take action. That’s on this week’s to-do list! #ContentChat

— Erika Heald | Speaking at #CMworld + #MProfsB2B. (@SFerika) October 4, 2021

A2: From here…
– I’m making a list of the sessions I need to watch next
– The @ErikaHeald team has a shared @evernote notebook where we’ll capture our learnings
– We’ll grab top takeaways for a single doc, including strategies and new content ideas#ContentChat

— Alek Irvin (@AlekIrvin) October 4, 2021

Consider having a lunch and learn with your team or a group of friends to discuss your learnings.

A2a: When I’ve been in-house with a large team, I’d do a post CMworld lunch and learn to share highlights from the event, including a list of cool vendors I want the team to research and look into applying to our workflows. #ContentChat https://t.co/rttDTJdAor

— Erika Heald | Speaking at #CMworld + #MProfsB2B. (@SFerika) October 4, 2021

If you spoke at CMWorld, consider posting your script to your blog.

A2: I posted my speaking script to my blog, and now I’m working down my list of brainstorms that came out of that incredible experience. I’m noodling a Content-Driven Networking ebook to go with the Persona one! #ContentChat

— Maureen Jann (she/her) (@NeoLuxeMo) October 4, 2021

Many of us plan to create content based on our learnings from the event.

Thinking I may have a few blogposts in my future. #ContentChat #cmworld

— Shane Shaps (@520eastbrands) October 4, 2021

A2b: I know @CraftWrites is putting together a recap of what he learned for the @NeoLuxeMktg team! Can’t wait to read his takeaways. #ContentChat

— Maureen Jann (she/her) (@NeoLuxeMo) October 4, 2021

Q3: For those of you who attended in-person, how was that experience, and what learnings can you share for marketers planning similar in-person hybrid events?

Given the state of COVID, many in-person attendees were slightly hesitant to engage with new people. We anticipate that in-person events will feel awkward for many months to come.

A3: Being in person at a conference was mixed for me: seeing people = AMAZING, meeting new people = a little iffy considering I was concerned about people’s approach to safety in covidtimes. #contentchat

— Maureen Jann (she/her) (@NeoLuxeMo) October 4, 2021

A3a: No matter how many conferences you attended in the before times, being at a conference in person feels weird. It’s basically like we are all re-learning how to navigate conferences and trade shows. #ContentChat

— Erika Heald | Speaking at #CMworld + #MProfsB2B. (@SFerika) October 4, 2021

Agree. I didn’t really know how to act until we got there and just started hugging everyone. #contentchat

— Shane Shaps (@520eastbrands) October 4, 2021

To help address this challenge, we recommend that event planners offer badges or ribbons that provide visual cues of who is interested in engaging with new people, and their preferred level of contact. For example, we’ve seen some conferences use green, yellow, and red lanyards or wristbands to designate “Hug friendly,” “handshakes only,” or “no touch.”

A3d: With social distancing, I didn’t have many hallway or random table conversations. It would be great to have badges or more ribbons to help give visual cues you could see at a distance to encourage attendees to talk with folks they don’t already know. #ContentChat

— Erika Heald | Speaking at #CMworld + #MProfsB2B. (@SFerika) October 4, 2021

A few other learnings for hybrid event planners: Ensure any in-person sessions are live streamed for an optimal attendee experience. At a minimum, post-session replays quickly.

A3b: I would say that my advice to marketers planning hybrid events is to ensure that everything that is available in-person should ideally be live streamed. And if it can’t be live streamed, have your team on hand to post sessions quickly. #ContentChat

— Maureen Jann (she/her) (@NeoLuxeMo) October 4, 2021

Designate whether attendees are virtual or in-person to help coordinate meetups.

A3c: I would have liked to use the app to find folks to network with in person at the event, but didn’t end up using it in that way at all since there wasn’t a way to tell who was on-site versus virtual. #ContentChat

— Erika Heald | Speaking at #CMworld + #MProfsB2B. (@SFerika) October 4, 2021

Clearly communicate what sessions are available to attendees of each type.

I would add: make it clear that the sessions you’re missing live will be available on demand later, so folks don’t feel like they’re missing out. #ContentChat https://t.co/0LXzwvQZHP

— Carmen Hill (@carmenhill) October 4, 2021

Q4: How satisfied were you with the online event interface? What advantages or disadvantages did you encounter? Was it easy to connect with other attendees, both during the sessions and for week-long networking?

The virtual event interface allowed attendees to quickly and easily download speaker slides. This was a major benefit to the experience.

A4: I didn’t use the online interface at all, so I’m not such a great person to ask this of. One thing I noticed when I was peeking over @SuperDeluxeErin’s shoulder was each session’s slides were on the handy, so you could preview if the session was right for you. #ContentChat

— Maureen Jann (she/her) (@NeoLuxeMo) October 4, 2021

A4: I really liked the app having the session slides embedded in the session overview. So helpful for folks who want to read every detail in a screencap. And it’s nice to have the recordings in there now too, after the event. #ContentChat

— Erika Heald | Speaking at #CMworld + #MProfsB2B. (@SFerika) October 4, 2021

I share a few of my highlights from the virtual interface, including the ability to switch the agenda to my time zone.

A4: My virtual experience was great. A few positives:
– I could minimize a session window to simultaneously scroll the agenda
– I didn’t need to click “”go back”” on my browser b/c the interface had appropriate navigations
– I could switch the agenda to my time zone#ContentChat

— Alek Irvin (@AlekIrvin) October 4, 2021

The timezone functionality is KEY! No one wants to have to stop and do the conversion to see when a session starts and stops. #ContentChat

— Erika Heald | Speaking at #CMworld + #MProfsB2B. (@SFerika) October 4, 2021

As far as drawbacks, some sessions ended early and immediately flowed into the next session. This means that some virtual attendees joined sessions partway through (despite the agenda saying they just started).

A4b.: A few downsides:
– Some keynotes started/ended early, which threw off the schedule. I joined a session at its noted start time, but it was halfway done
– It wasn’t immediately clear what sessions I could access (but, I also kinda rushed into the platform) #ContentChat

— Alek Irvin (@AlekIrvin) October 4, 2021

Erika wishes she could adjust the “possible meeting times” that the app provided. Again, we recommend designating attendees as virtual or in-person so people can arrange meetings.

A4b: The big drawbacks for me were not being able to control the times it put in the app as possible available meeting times, and not being able to see if someone was in person or virtual. #ContentChat

— Erika Heald | Speaking at #CMworld + #MProfsB2B. (@SFerika) October 4, 2021

Q5: Who is someone that made your #CMworld event experience special?

The community shares love with those that made our #CMworld event experience great. Who made your event experience amazing? Let them know.

A5a: My vaccinated bubble made the event for me. THANK YOU @NeoLuxeMo @SuperDeluxeErin @amywhiggins @carmenhill for all the things. #ContentChat

— Erika Heald | Speaking at #CMworld + #MProfsB2B. (@SFerika) October 4, 2021

A5: Our marketing posse was really a life saver. Being able to see @SFerika and @carmenhill, room with the phenomenal @SuperDeluxeErin, hug @520eastbrands for the first time and cheers @amywhiggins. I felt like a lucky girl all the way around. #ContentChat

— Maureen Jann (she/her) (@NeoLuxeMo) October 4, 2021

A5b: Also, my parents and @Dwn2EarthOracle and the grandparent team really made it possible for me to go at all. #ContentChat

— Maureen Jann (she/her) (@NeoLuxeMo) October 4, 2021

And I have to give a shout-out to @AlekIrvin for keeping everything running smoothly back at the virtual office. #ContentChat

— Erika Heald | Speaking at #CMworld + #MProfsB2B. (@SFerika) October 4, 2021

The Twitter back channel is such a great way to see what #CMworld sessions you didn’t attend that you will want to go back and watch. #ContentChat

— Erika Heald | Speaking at #CMworld + #MProfsB2B. (@SFerika) October 4, 2021

A5: This was only my second #CMWorld, but it felt like one big gathering of friends. Everyone in the sessions was so friendly, and it was a blast engaging with people on Twitter. #ContentChat

— Alek Irvin (@AlekIrvin) October 4, 2021

– @520eastbrands for asking if I was at the event in person. It was such a simple message, but meant so much to me (and reinforced my need to go to Cleveland). #ContentChat

— Alek Irvin (@AlekIrvin) October 4, 2021

Special shoutouts to:
– @SFerika for introducing me to the world of content marketing and #CMWorld. I can’t wait to join in person so I can cheer you on during one of your future sessions. I cannot thank you enough for your mentorship and friendship. #ContentChat

— Alek Irvin (@AlekIrvin) October 4, 2021

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