On the 2nd and 3rd June, I will be hanging out at The Content Marketing Academy in Edinburgh. For me – this is the most important business event I will attend this year. More so than trade shows, industry-specific conferences, local conferences and networking events. I am really excited about the next few weeks as the build-up gets going and we all assemble in Edinburgh. In this blog post, I want to share WHY it’s such a key event for me.
In the spirit of full disclosure, I am helping Chris Marr, the founder, organise a few elements of the event. I had bought my ticket long before I offered to do that. It’s an event that I believe holds value for anyone trying to communicate with an audience.
1. I believe in content marketing
I truly believe that the best way to communicate with an audience is through content marketing. There are many lofty definitions of what this is. I think it’s a simple as this. Content marketing is communicating by serving your audience with helpful, informative or entertaining content. It is answering their questions honestly. It is not selling to them. It is even wider than putting out rich content – blogs, podcasts and videos. Content marketing is a philosophy of being helpful and building trust, being a good teacher and becoming an authority in your industry. I KNOW that it works. It takes time, patience and skill. The best way to see this philosophy in action is to read the River Pools & Spas story.
2. The speakers are quality
In June this year, three speakers at the top of their game are coming to Edinburgh to deliver keynote talks. The keynote line-up would be good for even the top US marketing events. To get all three to the UK for this one event is a major feat.
- Mark Schaefer – Social media and marketing heavy-weight. Best-selling author. Educator. Strategist. Speaker. Respected industry figure. He is also incredibly approachable and has even been happy to take calls with the CMA community.
- Ann Handley – First; Ann knows about writing. She knows about quality content and she is pretty passionate about it. Another best-selling author and friend of CMA, she is an engaging speaker and top marketing figure.
- Amy Schmittauer – Amy is the founder of the vlog, Savvy Sexy Social. Video is an increasingly popular way to consume content and it’s blowing up on Facebook. Snapchat is also seen as an authentic way to create value for your audience. Amy is a video expert. She is also smart, fun and puts out content like a machine.
We will also hear from speakers such as Pete Matthew, Colin Gray, Kate McQuillan, Bert van Loon and Richard Tubb. These are people from the UK and the rest of Europe who have integrated content marketing into the heart of their business.
3. Last year was awesome
I booked my tickets straight away after last year’s event. Last year’s line-up was good. It changed the way I communicated. Having an opportunity to experience a workshop with Marcus Sheridan (the guy from the River Pools & Spa story above) made me committed to content marketing and gave me the skills I needed to execute. He was also one of the best speakers I have ever heard. When Mark Schaefer was announced as keynote this year I didn’t have to know anything else. This event was still striving.
4. Fear of missing out
After TCMA2015, I chatted with some of my peers who didn’t come to the event or only came to one day. They definitely felt like they had missed out on an amazing opportunity. I didn’t want to feel like that. Everr.
5. I wish I could go to San Diego
Almost everyone with an interest in social media marketing will know that this week Social Media Marketing World has hit San Diego. My social feeds have been full of excitement, selfies and session takeaways and I have been feeling very envious. It looks like so much fun and the concentration of marketing expertise is just mind-blowing. However, a ticket and a trip to San Diego is out of my reach this year, probably next year too. It doesn’t matter though because Chris Marr has created that buzz and brilliant quality in Edinburgh this year. Only a short train journey away – yay!
Something that impressed me about TCMA2015 was how many people implemented what they had learned. As we heard presentations throughout the two days, people were ‘getting it’. You could hear a series of pennies dropping throughout the room like an arcade. To see my peers taking action from their inspiration, and making real changes to their business, reinforced what an important conference this was. I know many are focusing on attending TCMA2016 with results.
7. My goals have changed
As well as new speakers, this year’s conference sees me in a different situation. I am no longer a retail business owner. Instead, I am starting a new job, working for a social enterprise as a marketer. I will be thinking about how to apply the lessons of the conference to new messages, a new organisation, and a new audience.
8. I believe in small businesses doing amazing things
Sadly, my business was not to be a sustainable one. I had big dreams for it. I lived and breathed it. I was very sad to pull the plug but it had to be done. Business is about tough decisions. Many of my peers and customers were sad to see the business go with many expressing they wished it had more support from various sources.
The Content Marketing Academy is run by Chris Marr and his team of three. It is a small Scottish business but it has huge influence and is perfectly positioned to help businesses transform their marketing. It’s certain to be a positive influence on the marketing industry itself. TCMA 2016 will see this business run the UK’s best content marketing event. I am so proud of that team. It’s important to me to support them. Not just by reading the blogs and sharing their social feed but by paying for a ticket and being a customer. Even the businesses with a great brand, enviable social media presence, and strong characters need paying customers to achieve amazing things.
9. The amazing CMA membership community
My good friend, Laura Lucas (a Pecha Kucha speaker at this event), introduced me to the Content Marketing Academy 18 months ago. Since then I have attended meet-ups, the masterclass programme and the conference. I am also a member of the private online community. This is my richest source of advice in work and business. The experience in the group is as wide as it is deep. When I had a difficult time with business this group picked me up, dusted me down and helped push me along to my next challenge. It’s an honour to be part of such a fantastic group and I am really excited to spend two days at a conference with them – now some of my closest friends.
10. What an amazing venue!
I lived in Edinburgh while I was a student. It’s a beautiful city full of happy memories. There is so much to see and plenty of brilliant venues. This year’s conference venue is The Hub. The Hub is the home of the Edinburgh International Festival and is situated on the Royal Mile, very close to Edinburgh Castle. You don’t get much more special than that. There are also plenty of interesting pubs for post-conference catch-ups.