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5 Ways to Get the Most Out of Marketing Conferences

Posted by Allison Kurz on September 25, 2017

Inbound_Marketing_Conferences.pngIt’s the most wonderful time of the year: conference season.

It’s up to proactive marketers to stay on top of emerging trends and best practices— or risk falling behind. What better way to come together with fellow marketing individuals than during industry conferences? 

But, how can you truly ensure you are getting the most out of your time away from the office? Conferences can often be costly and time consuming, so it’s critical to find ways to truly apply what you’ve learned.

I recently attended Content Marketing World (@CMIContent) where I sat in on a valuable session presented by Content Marketing Institute employees. The session, A Content Marketing World Review - What to Do Next After a Week of Learning, presented by Lisa Dougherty (@BrandLoveLLC) and Michele Linn (@michelelinn), discussed how attendees can truly take away value from conferences. 

Below are a few ways to get the most out of your next conference, based on key points from this session and other best practices.

1. Plan Out Your Agenda In Advance 

Don’t just walk into a conference or speaking event blindly. Prior to the event, take the time to plan your day(s) accordingly. Download the event app if available and evaluate different sessions or speakers you want to see and register (if possible). Determine what will be the most valuable information for you and your team, and your marketing goals and strategy.

Don’t miss out on the opportunity to listen in on something essential due to lack of planning.

2. Meet Up With Attendees and Network

Attending an event isn’t just about hearing people speak; it’s also about networking. Before the event, check to see if individuals from your personal network, industry thought leaders, company connections or specific vendors will be in attendance. If possible, set up a time to meet during the event. Consider coffee, lunch breaks or even a happy hour to discuss cool ideas or just get to know each other better. Also, check to see if there are any local parties or meet-ups scheduled around the event where you can hang out and network.

3. Take Notes and Highlight Key Ideas

After attending a conference, speaking event or listening in on a webinar, always document your favorite ideas. To do this, take notes throughout the event, session, etc. This will make it easier to compile a list of takeaways at the end. Some free tools to consider for note taking, include:

When taking notes, highlight or star key pieces of information you feel could be valuable for yourself and your team. Start a running list of ideas so it’s easier to digest and fully utilize them in the future.

4. Schedule Meetings and Calls to Discuss Ideas 

After you’ve determined what your key takeaways are, think deeper about how they can be applied to your work or specific projects. For example, if you attended a session on “top ways to optimize blog posts,” sit down with your team members and overview the idea and brainstorm how it can be applied specifically to them. 

Once an idea is discussed, you can then plan how you will build upon that idea to deliver results in the near future. Also, make sure to build out a reasonable timeline to ensure you take action on new ideas. 

5. Re-watch Sessions for a Refresh 

Chances are you will have learned a lot over the course of the event. This means it’s almost impossible to remember all the important elements that you intended. If the event offers the opportunity, take some time and re-watch key sessions, or ones you may have missed. Check to see if the event offers an on-demand link or portal that will have recorded sessions available to watch. This will allow you to better digest the information at hand, and potentially discover key tips you may have missed the first time around. 

Where PR 20/20 Plans to Make the Most Out of Conferences and More 

The PR 20/20 team loves to take full advantage of speaking events and webinars each year and that stands true for this year, as well. So what events do we plan to make the most of this year? Check them out below: 


  • Who: Members of the team attending the event include, Paul Roetzer (@paulroetzer), Sandie Young (@SandieMYoung), Mike Kaput (@MikeKaput), Tracy Lewis (@Tracy_J_Lewis), Jessica Miller (@jessica_joellen) and Keith Moehring (@keithmoehring).
  • What: “Through inspiring keynotes, innovative talks, educational breakouts, hands-on lessons, and tons of networking, you will learn how the INBOUND experience, and especially our content, is truly remarkable. Past keynote speakers included Gary Vaynerchuk, Serena Williams, Alec Baldwin, and Arianna Huffington.”
  • When: September 25 – 28
  • Where: Boston, Massachusetts

Heading to INBOUND too? Check out Paul’s session “Hacking Inbound: 25+ Proven B2B Lead Generation Campaigns and Quick Wins." 

The Social Shake-Up Webinar 

  • Who: Paul Roetzer from the PR 20/20 team will be attending the event.
  • What: “Artificial intelligence continues to lure forward-thinking brands with the promise of faster content generation and the ability to predict and respond to individual users.”
  • When: September 26
  • Where: The comfort of your own desk! 

American Advertising Federation

  • Who: Various leaders or members of local American Advertising Federation (AAF) chapters.
  • What: “Attendees are engaged in the advertising/communications industry and are leaders in their local and district AAF organizations. Central Region attendees will be drawn from Ohio, West Virginia, Kentucky, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Nebraska, Kansas, Iowa, Missouri, Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, and Northwest Louisiana. We’re expecting somewhere between 170 and 225 participants - some of the best and brightest advertising leaders.”
  • When: September 29
  • Where: Amarillo, TX

Inbound Marketing Day

  • Who: Paul Roetzer from the PR 20/20 team will be attending the event.
  • What: “A hands-on event with speakers from all over the world. We provide you with you loads of tips that you can put into practice immediately, and we conjure up the 'best practices' and inspire you with success stories.”
  • When: October 11 - 12
  • Where: Belgium

 Yext Onward

  • Who: Paul Roetzer from the PR 20/20 team will be attending the event.
  • What: “ONWARD brings together the smartest minds in marketing and technology to explore how AI, digital assistants, and intelligent services will shape our world in the years to come.”
  • When: November 1 – 3
  • Where: New York City, New York

Buzzsumo Expert Webinar Series 

  • Who: Marketers interested in the power of artificial intelligence (AI).
  • What: “Come explore the present and future potential of artificial intelligence, and discover AI-powered technologies that can drive marketing performance and transform your career.”
  • When: November 9
  • Where: The comfort of your own desk! 

We hope to see you in attendance!

What conferences or speaking events are you attending this year? Share with us in the comments below.


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Image credit: Pixabay 

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