#CMWorld Level 8: De-Plane, Debrief, and Deploy

There’s so much going on at every Content Marketing World event that it can be easy to lose sight of the biggest reason you came: to gather new ideas, valuable insights, and helpful techniques that can inform and improve your content marketing efforts throughout the year.

Considering the sheer volume of useful information (and the pages upon pages of notes) you are likely to come away with from your time in Cleveland, you might start to feel a bit overwhelmed when it’s time to shift back into work mode. On top of catching up on your regular responsibilities, you now have to find the time – and the mind space – to process everything you’ve learned and turn those big aha! moments into tangible action items.

But fear not. Here’s a framework you can follow to maximize the value of your CMWorld experience and continue to reap its benefits long after the show floor has closed.

Step 1: Pause and reflect

Time frame: During your commute back home
After a week of non-stop activity, your brain might be tempted to switch off the minute you leave the convention center. But try to resist the urge to unplug right away. Instead, use the downtime during your flight to take care of a few “housekeeping” tasks:

  • Re-read any notes you’ve taken, filling in key details you may have missed as you typed (or scribbled).
  • Tag and annotate your photos, so you can more easily identify the people, ideas, and circumstances you captured (and recall why you did so in the first place).
  • Review the business cards, connections made within the app, and brochures you collected and make note of the connections you most want to follow up on.
  • Copy important names, insights, and ideas into your favorite collaboration tool (like Evernote, Trello, a Google doc, or even a simple notepad app).

Reviewing all these details while they are still fresh in your mind will help you better retain and apply the information later on. Bonus: With this prep step out of the way, you can relax, take your brain off the clock, and enjoy whatever time remains before you go back to work.

Step 2: Categorize and prioritize your key discoveries

Time frame: (approximately 3-5 days, post event)
Done resting? Good, because next you’ll want to separate all those little nuggets of wisdom into relevant categories, based on how you’re most likely to use the information they contain.

Here’s one approach you can follow for divvying up your data points:

  • Tools and technologies:Tech systems and solutions to investigate; digital trends, industry advances, or media innovations to explore in more detail.
  • Collaborators, competitors, and contacts:Solutions providers to evaluate, potential content partnerships to pursue, business contacts to follow up with, competing companies to track, potential contributors or other talent resources to tap.
  • Content ideas and inspiration:Creative concepts; new topics to consider; case studies and examples to learn from/iterate on; emerging formats, channels, and platforms to explore.
  • Strategic considerations:Alternative business models and approaches to consider; new frameworks you may want to implement.
  • Tactics and processes:Productivity hacks; novel techniques for addressing an existing challenge; tips for optimizing your current workflow; ideas to streamline your content creation, distribution, and measurement procedures.
  • Career & personal growth:Areas where you can develop/deepen your competency; training opportunities; personal-branding ideas; new business opportunities to pursue.

Once you’ve outlined and organized your insights, it will be easier to determine which ones you should follow through on immediately, which to keep on the back burner, and which simply fall too far outside your goals and priorities to consider.

Step 3: Report back to your teams, stakeholders, and communities

(Time frame: Within the first few weeks post-event, when possible)
You probably sent a flurry of tweets, shared some snaps and selfies, streamed stories on Instagram, or posted other updates as conference events unfolded in real time. But once you return to the office, you may also want to share key details in more structured and impactful ways.

Here are a few ideas that can help others benefit from your experience and illustrate how your investment in Content Marketing World will pay off in terms of business value:

  • Simple:Draw up a quick email or memo to thank your managers for allowing you to attend the event (and for picking up any slack while you were gone). Include a brief summary of the big takeaways, as well as any priority action items you plan to explore in both the short and long term.
  • Collaborative:Conduct a quick (30 minutes or less) team meeting or conference call to debrief your colleagues and outline any high-level ideas you picked up for improving your content efforts. Then, schedule a follow-up brainstorming session so your team members can weigh in with their own thoughts and ideas.
  • Formal: Depending on your role and company expectations, you may prefer to write up a report that can be sent to individual stakeholders or shared broadly throughout your organization. Summarize the big takeaways, place any abstract concepts and ideas into a directly relevant context (perhaps by including specific performance stats or data visualizations), and offer a list of suggested action items you recommend exploring.
  • Dual purpose: Pair speaker insights, data points, and practical tips with your own perspectives on the topic and you have the makings of an informative team update that can also deliver unique value to your audience. For example, you can write your thoughts up a blog post; turn session data into an infographic; or edit photos or video footage into a post-show wrap-up report for your YouTube channel.

Hopefully, these suggestions will help make your post-show experience less stressful and more impactful; but we’d also love to hear your favorite tips for getting the most out of Content Marketing World. Tell us all about them in the comments below!

Ready to register? We’ve been waiting for you! Visit our website and use code CMWBLOG at checkout to save $100! See you soon!