Where is the Real Value Found in all these Social Media Conferences?

by Marcus Sheridan

Yes, there is great value in the educational side of conferences, but there is much,much more that can be gleaned from these events. (Sitting with Eric Pratum and Mitch Joel at Social Slam 2012)

As I sit here at 5:30am on Friday morning waiting for my plane to arrive and take me home, I find myself contemplating all that was Content Marketing World 2012 (great job again by Joe Pulizzi /CMI gang) and the profound experiences I had with the event.

Over the last year, I’ve spoken at quite a few conferences. Some were big and some were small. Some were full of well-known speakers and others not so much.

But in looking back at all of these events, it’s not the sessions that have stuck with me… nor the keynotes… nor the crazy parties.

The Power of Intimacy

Rather, over and over again, the magic of these conferences seems to happen outside of the classroom and loud music halls and instead in the intimate conversations we’re able to experience with our peers—the ones that are sharing so many of the highs and lows we’re all dealing with in this thing called business, life, and a pursuit of happiness.

It was a year ago at the first Content Marketing World when I sat down with Michael Stelzner, Amy Porterfield, and a few others at a restaurant and unexpectedly chatted for hours. About 90 minutes into the conversation, Stelzner got a serious look on his face and said, “Guys, what we are doing right now is the magic of these events. It can’t be replaced online. And it’s what I enjoy most about conferences.”

Although I was still very green at the time, Stelzner’s words have echoed in my ears many times over the past year.

Like the time I was speaking in New Orleans earlier this year and on a bus-ride back to our hotel Gini Dietrich and I had one of the best conversations about life I’ve ever had.

Or at Blog World New York this year when I had a quiet dinner with Craig Mcbreen and John Falchetto, accompanied with incredible conversation about goals, family, and making progress.

Or chatting with Jay Baer last month in Minnesota and having him explain to me, as only he can, how I need to scale my business going forward.

Or sitting with Don Stanley a few weeks ago and talking about kids, HubSpot, and growing a business.

And then just this week when I was able to get so much incredibly sage advice from Mitch Joel about some of the mistakes I’ve been making in terms of how I’m handling my speaking career and what I should be charging companies going forward.

Literally, the examples go on and on, and the experiences from each are invaluable.

I get asked all the time by readers what events and conferences they should be attending. Well, in reality, I don’t know if I’m able to answer that question.

First off, there seems to be a new social media/blogging/marketing conference popping up every week.

But secondly, and more importantly, there is magic to be found in all of these events. There are people attending them, just like you, that are just waiting to have a powerful and fulfilling conversation.

So where is the value found in all these conferences?

  • It’s in the quiet conversations.
  • It’s in the feelings of unity with others.
  • It’s the understanding that you’re not alone in your struggles.
  • And it’s certainly in the mentors that are willing to share.

And going forward, I hope to have more of these “moments” with each of you.

Your Turn:

Have you attended a social media/marketing conference over the past couple of years? What was the most rewarding part for you? What were your most memorable experiences from these events?

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