7 Steps to Squeeze Killer Content Ideas from Industry Conferences

Hello from Content Marketing World in Cleveland, Ohio! Fun Fact: We launched DivvyHQ at the first ever Content Marketing World (CMW) in September of 2011.

This is our 6th CMW and each year this conference is packed with amazing presentations by the industry’s smartest and most creative content marketing practitioners in the world. There’s no shortage of ideas and inspiration that flows from this show and we leverage these ideas in many ways throughout the year.

Note that I didn’t say, “We do a conference recap blog post.” There is certainly value in publishing a thoughtful recap immediately after the show is over (social shares, backlinks, etc.), but that juice won’t have a long shelf life. Think about it this way… How often do you have the opportunity to have this many industry innovators and thought leaders in the same building at the same time? These are golden opportunities to not only learn, but be the reporter that delivers new ideas to your own audience.

So I ask you… Do you have similar conferences in your industry? Are you just there to support sales (get new leads) or do you attend the educational sessions? If you aren’t inspired by the conferences you attend for your industry, perhaps you’re going to the wrong conferences. Or, you’re not doing it right.

Squeezing Content Marketing Value from Tradeshows/Conferences

Here’s a simple way to use industry conferences to fill up your bank of content ideas. For DivvyHQ users, this is why we created the Parking Lot. You can do most of the steps outlined below directly in Divvy.

1. Put Yourself in Your Target Audience’s Shoes & Review the Conference Agenda

Which sessions would your buyers most likely want to attend/learn from? The reason this is important – If you’re just thinking about which sessions sound interesting to you, then this entire exercise might miss the mark.

2. Pick the Best Sessions & Assign a Reporter

Of course this assumes that you’re not attending this conference by yourself. If you are rolling solo, that’s fine! Just attend as many sessions as you can. With a team, make sure each staff member has their agenda nailed down.

3. Prepare for each session

These days, most conferences have a conference website and each educational session has a synopsis of some sort. Review each of your sessions’ descriptions and devise 1-3 questions that you feel should be answered during the presentation. If your questions don’t get answered, ask them in the Q&A at the end.

4. During the Session: Put Your Reporter Hat On

The best reporters are those who can craft a compelling story from just about any type of event, even the most mundane. Throughout the presentation, don’t just take notes that mirror the presentation slides. Listen for interesting nuggets, stats or stories that provide compelling answers to the questions you jotted down before the session. Type fast.

5. Put Your Photographer Hat On

Depending on the layout of the room, and perhaps where you sit, try to snap a few photos with your phone to capture the speaker and the environment. Snap a photo of compelling presentation visuals/slides.

6. Get a selfie with the presenter!

This one is optional, but fun. If time and/or the speaker permits, be quick and try to catch the speaker before they leave. Thank them for the great presentation, tell them that you’re writing an article on this topic and ask if they would mind taking a quick picture with you. Most speakers will be flattered and happy to oblige.

7. The Next 48 Hours

It’s unfortunate, but the inspiration and excitement that you feel from a new content idea can wane after a few days. As soon as you can, after each conference session you attend, find a quiet place and review your notes. Complete important thoughts and sentences, fill in holes and try to create a solid outline for your content piece. How should this story be packaged? Blog post? Social post? Email? Something bigger? The more thought you put into it now, the better the chance this idea actually gets published. Wait too long, and you’ll forget the juicy details that gave the idea nice flavor in the moment.

One Last Idea

For a big, inspiring conference like Content Marketing World, one person could probably create 10-20 new pieces of content. Maybe you could create a new KPI for each conference: X quality ideas added to the parking lot.

Cheers to a full Parking Lot of content goodness!