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Major Changes Come to Content Marketing World 2017


A few months after every Content Marketing World, I review each and every survey response about the event.  In 2016, about 800 of the 3,600 attendees completed the survey. I always start with the good stuff – what did you like best, who was your favorite speaker. It’s like watching a video with both babies and puppies at one time.

Then, I find a quiet place to go through all the constructive feedback. Don’t get me wrong, I love hearing all the ways that we can improve or where we didn’t quite hit the mark. But I have to say, it does sting a bit. When you put everything into an event, one that is planned over a year in advance, and some people don’t like it, it hurts. It’s like whatever the opposite is of watching a baby/puppy video.

But I digress. (And yes, this post digresses from our articles’ usual prescriptive focus. Of course, it offers a universal lesson for all content marketers – listen to your audience and give them what they want.)

Listen to your audience and give them what they want, says @joepulizzi. #CMWorld Click To Tweet

I have a notebook full of every piece of critical feedback from the year before, and then I categorize the issues to identify consensus around big issues that we need to tackle for the next year. That’s what this post is about – a list of what you (our audience) believe that we (CMI) need to cover more seriously in 2017, AND what we are doing about it.

(This a shortened list of key topics for Content Marketing World 2017. The full list is too long to include today. We will be adding it and more to the event site,, shortly. We host an event-specific blog on the site to share event-related stories, news, etc.)


I covered this issue in depth in November (Tackling Diversity in the Marketing World). That post was one of the toughest posts I’ve ever had to write. I edited it a dozen times. After it was published, I was contacted by a number of event producers who are not taking this issue as seriously as we are. The CMI community has been supportive about us moving in this direction, and we are starting to make an impact.

You should have noticed different voices on the CMI blog. Our editorial team has done a fantastic job of reaching out to new contributors. It’s just a start, but we are making an impact.

As for Content Marketing World 2017, we are about 80% of the way through agenda planning. I’ve had the privilege of working with a number of industry leaders who have helped shape this agenda with our twofold goal, as I shared in November:

First, there are women and people of color already out there who are amazing, accomplished speakers. We need to stop ignoring them. Second, there are talented marketing experts that may want to speak, but have, to this point, not reached out to us. We want to reach these people as potential speakers as well.

We have made a serious dent in bringing new voices to the 2017 event and there is no doubt in my mind that the 2017 speaking lineup is our best ever, creating the most valuable experience possible for our attendees.

We have made a serious dent in bringing new voices to #CMWorld 2017, says @JoePulizzi. Click To Tweet

Advanced courses

You asked for more advanced courses, and you will receive more advanced courses. In addition to providing a workshop on advanced content marketing measurement, we are committing to at least two advanced classes per breakout time (we have 14 concurrent breakouts this year). Sessions this year include advanced analytics, advanced email conversion, advanced data visualization, advanced structured storytelling, and advanced SEO and reporting (just to name a few).


Maybe more than any other topic, you asked for more classes on writing (which I loved). This year, we have added a marketing writing boot camp pre-conference workshop, as well as a full-day track dedicated to writing led by speakers like Ann Handley, Jonathan Kranz, and Michelle Park Lazette – all writers and/or journalists.

Agency education

I guess the agency marketers felt left out last year, so we are rectifying that by adding a standalone workshop and a full-day content marketing agency track.

Print integration

Yes, believe it or not, many of you asked about how to integrate a consistent print magazine with the rest of your content marketing. Lucky for you, we’ve added a pre-conference workshop on just that.

Hardcore strategy

Content Marketing World 2017 features more breakout sessions on building a strategy than ever before, including:

  • How to Document and Test Your Content Marketing Strategy
  • How the Enterprise Marketing Department Can Build and Scale Media
  • Structuring Content for Dynamic Storytelling
  • Building a Strategy with Insight into your Buyer Persona’s Decision Mindset

Interactive content

A number of attendees requested information on how to build quizzes, calculators, and other interactive assessments into their content marketing plans. So we added.

#CMWorld attendees want to know how to build quizzes & calculators. We added sessions, says @JoePulizzi. Click To Tweet

Automotive and transportation

We always have a number of marketers from the automotive and transportation industries, but have never made them a focus. This year, we’ll be adding a post-conference lab for them.

Sports and entertainment

Here’s another big area where we simply haven’t given enough attention. In 2017, we are adding sessions from Adidas, Cleveland Cavaliers, and the Cleveland Indians, and a post-conference lab on the topic.

Account-based marketing

ABM is all the talk today, and if you want ABM, we’ll have it in the form of a pre-conference workshop (from the one and only Ardath Albee), as well as multiple sessions covering the how-to of this topic.

Influencer marketing

Yep, we have a track dedicated to influencer marketing this year, as well as a special pre-conference workshop on creating an influencer marketing strategy from A to Z (with Lee Odden).

Yep, we have a track dedicated to #influencermarketing this year at #CMWorld, says @joepulizzi. Click To Tweet

More brand-side speakers

CMWorld 2017 features presentations from Google, IBM, CBC, Arrow Electronics, Rockwell Automation, Cleveland Clinic,, Xerox, City of Sacramento, Business Insider, Travelers Insurance, Kawasaki, HCSS, Lincoln Electric, BNY Melon, Zillow, LinkedIn, Dell, Schneider Electric, GE, Citrix, HarperCollins, Lowe’s, adidas, SecureWorks, Marriott, Pepsi, and many, many more.

Add a day

Yes, one of our most requested items was adding another day of conference time. Every year, we provide one day of pre-conference workshops, two days of conference sessions, and a day of post-conference industry lab workshops. Well, this year, conference sessions will be on Wednesday, Thursday AND Friday morning. We didn’t quite go three days, but we added another half day of sessions before the industry labs begin.

Thank you for your feedback and support in helping us create the best learning experience for you. I’m truly looking forward to seeing you at Content Marketing World 2017 Sept. 5-8 in Cleveland, Ohio.

Grow your knowledge and expand your professional network at Content Marketing World this September in Cleveland, Ohio. Over a few days, you can select from over 80 sessions and workshops presented by the leading brand marketers covering strategy, integration, measurement, and more new ideas than you can shake an orange stick at. Use promo code BLOG100 to save $100.

Cover image by Joseph Kalinowski/Content Marketing Institute