I don’t know about you, but I like being a part of something special– something that can change lives and help people around the world. And although these words may seem over the top to some, this is exactly what I am feeling about the first Content Marketing World event that was held in Cleveland Ohio this week, put on by the folks at Junt42 and their incredibly affable and inspiring leader, Joe Pulizzi.

Content Trailblazers

For 3 years now, I have found myself at conferences trying to convince businesses that content is the future. Some folks have listened, but the majority, sadly, have not.

But that’s how truth and change work. They don’t come easy. Leadership is required. Faith is necessary. And a whole lot of guts are needed for a special group of people to say, “You know what, the way this has always been done is messed up….and we’re going to do something about it.”

650 of these people, guts and all, made such a statement this week by flying in from around the world (12 countries I believe) to learn and grow together in an industry that is in its complete infancy.

In It Together

As you might imagine, for me, this was thrilling. As a speaker in the event(video coming soon), I wasn’t there to convince any longer. Nope, these folks had already bought in. My job was to give the vision….and that’s dang sure what I did (more on that Monday). :-)

I certainly wasn’t the only one though. Major thought leaders in the areas of blogging and content marketing all heeded Joe Pulizzi’s call to be a part of something special, most of which paid their own way simply to show others the amazing impact content had on their lives and businesses. A few of the names you’re probably familiar with were:

  • Michael Stelzner of Social Media Examiner (Wow, what an amazing guy. We literally spoke for hours. As for his site, if you stink at Facebook for business like me, make a visit, it’s amazing, and you’ll learn a ton.)
  • Brian Clark of CopyBlogger: (Here’s some advice– Go read every headline on Brian’s site from the last 6 months. When you’re done, you’ll likely change everything you currently think about how to write amazing blog headlines/titles.)
  • CC Chapman and Ann Handley: (Remember how I wrote about their book Content Rules? It’s an amazing piece of work, a pioneer in many ways. Read it.)
  • Jay Baer of Convince and Convert: (Jay spoke twice at this event. The dude is awesome, seriously had my brain on overdrive with his message.)
  • Jason Falls of Social Media Explorer: (Want clear, no-holds barred communication about Social Media that’s impossible not to understand? That’s Jason.)
  • Sally Hogshead: (Talk about a fascinating lady with energy to carry a room of 650 people on her shoulders, Sally  makes marketing magical, and meeting her face to face was awesome.

A Shared Vision

I could literally go on and on about the great people that attended this event, but I mainly wanted to stress that every speaker I talked to was not there to collect a check. Nope, not at all. Like me, content marketing has affected their lives and businesses so very much that they know it’s time everyone else caught this vision.

So as I sit here in my hotel room tonight, I find myself in great contemplation of where the state of marketing is headed in this world. And although some folks are always going to be slow to embrace a new and better way, I’m thrilled to say the industry is in good hands, content and inbound marketing are a wave just beginning to form, and their influence on this world cannot be imagined by any of us–it’s that profound.

And I’m just glad to be a part of it. :-)

Your Turn:

If you attended CMW, what were your impressions of the inaugural event? Also, for those that didn’t make it, how do you see the future of content? Are you enamored as I am with the impact content and inbound marketing will have on businesses going forward? And finally, how long do you think it will be until this style of marketing will be in the majority, instead of the minority? As always, your thoughts are much appreciated.



57 thoughts on “A Review of Content Marketing World 2011: The Movement Has Begun

  1. I don’t have much to say except for I wish I was there – both for the learning and to hear you speak my friend :). I look forward to seeing the video soon!
    I’m also so happy for you that your experience there was great and that you had the chance to meet some of these wonderful folks.

    As for content and inbound marketing – I share your same views. We’ve nearly grazed or scratched the surface of what is yet to come when it comes to this type of marketing. Some of us are already there and know where we’re going whereas others as still miles away from realizing what it can do for them and their business. Either way – I’m happy to see more and more people believing in the power of content.

    Thanks for sharing your trip with us Mufasa – I’m excited to hear more.
    Have a super day M.
    Oh and…I missed hanging out here! I’m on my way back to the blogosphere that I love so :).

    • Great to see you back Griddy!

    • You missed hanging out here Griddy? Well heck, I think the blogosphere’s IQ has gone down as a whole since you took your wisdom on hiatus. ;-) To say I’ve missed your content would be an understatement, and I just really hope you’re able to get your groove back on (assuming that’s what you want). You sure have the talent and ability, and a ton of folks that love the way you think and write.

      Let’s chat soon. :-)


  2. Hi Marcus,

    I had the pleasure of being at CMW and seeing you in action. I put some thoughts down on my first day at CMW here on the Silver Square blog (http://bit.ly/oiuTTQ). It’s my top 7 takeaways. And these were just a few highlights. Thanks for the most invigorating presentation of the whole conference!


    • Invigorating, ehhh Casey? Well I’ll take that!! :-) I certainly was a joy to be a part of something so very special and important. So glad you were able to be there and I genuinely appreciate your kindness.


  3. Hey Marcus,

    Great to hear that you had such a wonderful time; I would have loved to go but maybe next year :)

    As for content marketing, I highly doubt that we’re going to see a shift in that direction for quite some time – I would bet between 5 – 10 years for many big businesses and even longer for the average.

    Why? Well, look at the adoption of a single website. A vast majority of businesses STILL don’t have a website and people, like us, have been telling them to get one since the 90’s.

    Fast forward and it’s been almost a DECADE since early social media has come around and businesses are STILL resistant of it.

    You’re trying to convince people (despite a great position and argument) to basically throw out a lot of what they’re taught and constantly used – mainly, paid advertising, for their business.

    Of course, smart businesses that will be mover and shakers in the coming years WILL be on board with content marketing so we have to put up the good fight. However, I don’t see an immediate future for the average business to adopt content marketing as one of their main vehicles for inbound marketing.

    • Hey Murray, good to hear from you my friend. Your comparison is a very valid one. The fact that so many companies still don’t have websites is utterly dumbfounding…but true. So if they’re slow to embrace the totally obvious, it’s going to be tough to get the semi-obvious. ;-)

      Thanks for your support Murray!


  4. Marcus…of all the people at Content Marketing World, you might have made the MOST impact. Countless people came up to me to specifically tell me that you had positively affected their lives. That’s a BIG deal. Beyond that, I wanted to thank you for your involvement, feedback and passion, and am proud to call you my friend.


    • Wow Joe, what can I say man? Powerful words my friend. But changing lives is why I do what I do. It’s what motivates me to be the odd-ball I am. Props to you and one heck of a staff buddy.

      Here’s to CMW 2012 and its 2500 attendees!!!


  5. Great analysis, and great job speaking. It was an amazing event, we agree. Nice to meet you and watch you own the audience. I was impressed.

    • Jim, I appreciate your words man, but to be honest, I hope they give you more than 7 minutes next time. You were GREAT. Really, really great.

      Keep up the tremendous work my friend and thanks for being an awesome host,


  6. Marcus,

    Meeting you and spending time getting to know you was one of the highlights of CMWorld for me. I’m so glad we had the chance to connect at this terrific event.

    • Deb, it was absolutely amazing to meet you and get a chance to know the person behind the title and the avatar. I have a feeling you and I are going to be friends for a long, long time Deb..

      Can’t wait for November ;-)


  7. Marcus – my only quarrel with your review is that you left yourself out! I attended your session and came way as excited and energized as I did from any of the others. Great job of mixing straight talk and actionable ideas.

    My key take away – every small business owner already know all he needs to about what content to create. Our clients tell us every day. We just need to listen.


    • TJ, I love, love, love your takeaway! Yes, business owners already have all the content in the world that’s needed to become great at content marketing. They don’t so much need tools and other ‘stuff’ as they need to embrace the idea that ‘yes’, they are capable of doing what’s necessary.

      Appreciate the kind words TJ, that means a lot, and I hope we can chat more at the next event. :-)


  8. Marcus, you rocked your segment. You needed a full hour, however. Great info, great event.

    • Hahaha Dan, thanks bud, I’m certainly hoping to get that hour next year!

      Thanks for taking a moment to drop by, and I hope you’ll be back again.



  9. Great wrapup post! I attended both days and had a terrific time — all the speakers during the breakouts were terrific, knowledgeable and full of information. (Although seeing everyone’s mentions of “@thesaleslion” take over the #cmworld hashtag kept making me think, “I should be at THAT session, not this one!”) It was especially rewarding to hear that other organizations, regardless of scale, deal with the same challenges in developing and distributing content; and the advice I was able to get both in the sessions and from talking to other attendees will, I hope, prove invaluable.

    • Hey Phil! So glad you took a moment to stop by my blog here and leave your thoughts…and I wish you were in my session as well!!

      There is something very powerful about mixing with folks who go through the same grind you do each and every day…and the inspiration that can come from such interaction.

      Hope we get a chance to catch up again Phil down the road!


  10. Hi Marcus,
    I really enjoyed your presentation at CMWorld. Your energy and excitement for content marketing was awesome. I’ll be using you as an example when I talk with some of our smaller clients who are still trying to wrap their heads around blogging. Since you asked for our impressions, here are the Top 4 Takeaways that I gained from the inaugural event. http://bit.ly/n8m4Lv

    • Hey Dechay!! I’m so very glad you were in my presentation and that you got a little something out of it. Heck, I know I had a good time! ;-)

      Good luck with your clients. If you ever need any help, I love to yap, so don’t hesitate to give me a shout.

      See you next year!


  11. Marcus,

    Sounds like you had an awesome time at the event! That is awesome. I am definitely looking forward to the video. From what I have seen you are a really awesome speaker.

    As for the future of content, I think the general consensus on quality content is starting to swing around. Of course like anything it will take a long time for large businesses to catch on…but it is already forming a groundswell at the bottom.

    Those that refuse to provide quality content will simply be slowly and ineffably left behind.

    • Steve, love the phrase that you used there at the end man– “Ineffably left behind”

      Yup, that says it, perfectly man. Heck, I’ve already seen this happen..alot. In fact, when I watch some businesses turn their back on this approach, I get that distinct feeling they’re doomed. Bummer. But hey, that’s the way life works.

      Thanks for all your support Steve,


  12. Thanks Marcus. You already had me convinced, but I can’t wait for the video and to check out the other speakers who rocked the house in Cleveland. Wish i would have been there. I feel moved to share some things. I am relatively new to the on line world, but I know Content Marketing is the way to go.

    We are getting there, slowly but surely. I believe content marketing, WILL be king, sooner than later. It just makes sense. It works. It kind of goes along with so many other things we talk about, Marcus. People need to simplify it. It’s like life. HOW can this work or HOW can my life or business get better. What ? another acronym ? Ok.

    H.O.W. you ask ?

    Honesty – Be honest with yourself. I love the old sayin; “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” . Well, it’s broke people. This ain’t working anymore ! Time to try something else. Maybe Content Marketing ?

    Open mind – Be open to new and wonderful ideas and strategies that work ! Check it out ; yellow pages, billboards, etc. and all that wasted $$$. Not working anymore.
    Stay Close minded and be prepared to Close your doors. Invest in your future, if you want to have one.

    Willing – Be willing to CHANGE. It really isn’t that hard. Change is not difficult, it is the thought of Change. And one of my favorites: “Change is inevitable, Growth is optional” The world is constantly changing and Content Marketing is one of the new and exciting things in todays world of marketing.

    Check it out, embrace it. You and your business will be glad you did.

    Sorry I got carried away, Marcus. Thanks again for all you do. I know you CARE.


    • Dang Al, this was like a perfect little blog post within itself. Love the ‘HOW’ acronym. That mentality alone can make all…the…difference.

      Believe in yourself brother, I know I do.


  13. Marcus,
    As you know I’m REALLY super happy for you. Your voice needed a big platform and you got it in Cleveland.
    I wish I was there, the subject and talks sounded very business focused and rich in value.
    Thanks for sharing this tip of the wave movement with us, heck without you blogging here I wouldn’t what inbound marketing stands for.
    Looking forward to watch the video and the see how they managed crowd control at your presentation.

    • John, let me just say that you’re one of my best friends in the world, which is why I couldn’t wait to chat with you about this event. There’s nothing like having a constant support to bounce ideas with. Thanks for all my friend :-)


  14. Marcus, congratulations on your CMW appearance. I am stoked to check it out!

    “The future so bright, I gotta wear shades!” That is all good news for the future of content and inbound marketing. It’s gonna be much harder for businesses and companies to play catch up for those already heavy in the content game (good news for us!). Those on the fence need to get ‘er going or be prepared to continue to pay out the ying yang for clicks.

    My only fear in the evolution of content is what I call “Content on Autopilot”. This would be the content factories that put out ghost-blogged junk-ol-a! I also recently stumbled upon a small biz that hired some company to do fake customer video testimonials. I might have believed it, had every one of them not looked like a model! I smell a blog post on this ;)

    I guess in the end, compelling, remarkable content should win out every time!

    • I really like what you’re saying here Adam. Content farms…the ‘fake’ ones, are not too appealing, in the slightest. I actually did an article on this once–about fake testimonials. With the ‘fiverr’ effect, anyone can get testimonials on anything…and therefore people are getting fooled all the time. Kinda makes me want to barf man…oh well. ;-)

      Thanks for all your support my friend!


  15. Great to meet you, Marcus!

    Wish we had a little more time to talk.

    The Franchise King®

    • Hey Joel!! Yeah man, it was really great meeting you too, like you, just wish we had a little more time. Something tells me we will though, especially next year! Good luck on your book bud, I’m happy for you and hope you get the results you’re looking for.



  16. Wow! It seems as though you had an amazing time with some amazing people. It’s a great pic by the way!

    I’m also excited about content marketing and it’s potential in the market. I look very forward to the video, too!

    PS Wanted to make sure you saw your blog on my new CommentLuv enabled blog list!

    • Hey Ana!! Yep, I know you certainly ‘get it’, as shown on your blog day in and day out. :-)

      The people here were more than amazing. And even cooler, they were humble and willing to talk, which makes all the world of a difference.



  17. Sounds like you’ve had a great time Marcus. The infectious enthusiasm you have for content marketing will have shined through in your presentation, no doubt.

    • Hey Tom, thanks man, and I do believe it did. ;-) BTW, you coming to Blog World LA man? Would love to see you there.


      • I would love to go, but it’s not within my budget :( Perhaps when I’m actually making more than a few quid a month from blogging, I will be able to justify it. It’s a shame as it would be great to meet you.

  18. Marcus,

    Sounds like a great event, and it definitely would have been great to see all those speakers you list above — and, of course, you! I was able to check the hashtags for the event a couple of times, and it is obvious you killed it! Congrats, and I look forward to seeing it on video.

    As for the power of content/inbound, well… I’m already a believer, and you have a lot to do with that. So, I thank you for that.

    Glad you had a great conference my friend! Talk soon.

    • Hey Adam, good to see you man, so glad you were able to check out some of the twitter action. It’s amazing how ‘feedback forms’ are no longer of relevance because twitter is the greatest feedback tool in the world. It was neat being able to sit down after speaking and know exactly what attendees thought of the event. Gotta love that little blue bird!!

      Appreciate your comment and support my friend,


  19. O man! I wish I was there!! What an AMAZING group of people!!

    You know you dont need to convince me on content or the power of it but I think we have a ways to go convincing the masses. Its sad but true. I will share an interesting observation though and that is that people and brands are doing content marketing and not even realizing they are doing content marketing. What do I mean? Consider the sales slide deck, the script the lead qualifier follows, the blog post the CEO writes about joining the company, even the corporate website; it’s all content. Now whether or not resources are devoted to amplifying this effort and using it to generate leads in a very agnostic, neutrally ‘helpful’ fashion remains to be seen.

    • Hey Christina, yeah, you would have loved it, right up your alley and boy were people really into it.

      You’ve actually made a really good point about content. Yes, many companies are doing a form of it. And although they don’t get it, the seeds are starting to be planted. Now if we can get’em to embrace it to its fullest. ;-)

      Great seeing you Christina, as always!


  20. Walter Pollard

    Marcus I’m pumped! Inbound marketing has so many exciting and evolving aspects to it.

    As any new endeavor, education is a vital component to success. # 1 as inbound marketers, we must clearly convey and teach the methodology. Today in the social realm, there is too much concentration on tools, technology and techniques with limited focus on identifying user personas and targeted content creation strategy. We must first strip down to the core principles of inbound marketing.

    At this stage, we’re still in our infancy with inbound marketing. Yes, there has been great success with smaller brands but lacking with larger corporations. Corporate marketers and Ad Agencies just don’t get it. Until they strip away their core marketing ideologies, inbound marketing will take longer to develop in large scale.

    Congratulations on your latest speaking engagement. See you at HUG Summit.

    • Good point, all the way around Walter. My question is when are the big corps going to get with it? When are folks going to look at companies like Hubspot and say “Hmm, they let all their employees produce content…and it looks like they’re having a little bit of success..”

      Looking forward to seeing you as well my friend. HUG is going to be a great experience.


  21. Sales lion front and center in the group pic. How’d you manage to get that spot? :)

    I think it’s going to be a long, long while before content marketing becomes the norm for businesses. And those that get on it early will reap a lot of benefits from jumping on the pre-bandwagon.

    Wish I would have made it out to this. What did you think of Cleveland?

    • Hahaha Eugene, I just got lucky bud. ;-)

      Actually, I loved Cleveland. I walked the streets alone a couple of times and it was cool. The only thing that surprised me was how it just didn’t seem like it had tons of people down town, ya know? There was little ‘bustling’. But the city was great, and I road the tran to and from the airport, which was really easy too.

      Overall, can’t wait to go back.

      Good seeing you bud,


      • Yeah, unfortunately that’s the way the city is now. Completely dying off. Over the past couple of decades it’s become completely suburban, so you don’t get much bustle anywhere really (maybe on one or two streets on a Saturday night – or of course on Browns game day :) ). That’s one of the reasons I moved to NYC, I needed a little bustle in my life. But I do love the city, hopefully they can turn it around – they need some better politicians in there.

  22. Sounds like it was a great event! Hope there will be one next year – I’ll definitely be keeping an eye out.

    Also, I just want to echo your praise for “Content Rules.” It was one of the best books I’ve read in the past few years. Every business owner should read it!

    • Hey Carmen!! Yep, the event will certainly be next year and if you like Content Rules, you’ll LOVE CMW. Seriously, it’s a can’t miss event, and I’d love to meet you in real life!! :-)

      Thanks so much,


  23. Traci Wheeler

    Marcus – I attended CMW with my colleague, and we had the pleasure of attending your session. WOW!! It was awesome. We learned so much listening to you talk. It was inspiring and exciting. We are hoping to change a lot about what we do in coming months. Thanks for getting us pumped! Hope to see you at CMW 2012!

    • Hey Traci!! Yes, I do remember you. :-) Well I’m so glad you got a little something out of the session and if you ever have further questions about content suggestions and strategies, please drop me an email. Would love to help in any way….plus I kinda like talking about this stuff. ;-)



  24. Thanks for highlighting the above 6. Knew of 2/6 and am checking out another 2

    Can’t wait for the video. I have nothing more to add this time…


    • Hey Rajka!! Yep, all great people, you’ll love ‘em :-)

      Thanks for dropping by!!


  25. Great information here thanks for sharing!
    Take Care

  26. Marcus
    I couldn’t believe how wonderful and FUN content marketing world was. As an entrepreneur with a small start up I felt I was given the tools to market my new business well in a manner which is both intuitive and a good fit for my industry.
    Your talk helped me find my voice: I am now busy creating content which simply answers the questions that our clients ask every day. How simple is that?
    I’ll keep you posted on my success

    • Hi Sarah…thanks so much for being a part of Content Marketing World. Really means a lot. I LOVE that you really got a ton out of the content!

    • Awesome Sarah, I honestly feel there is nothing more important (in marketing) than knowing who you are, what you’re all about, and then having the voice to carry that message to the people. So good for you Sarah, I’m stoked you enjoyed the event and my session, and I hope we get a chance to chat at next year’s to discuss 12 months of content results. :-)


  27. Hey

    You did it so well, your presentation was so good, I wanted to listen to you on and on. It was awesome. It just didn’t happen to me, everyone present there were bewildered.

Comments are closed.