The marketing industry has weathered countless transformations, iterations, and innovations since our first Content Marketing World event in 2011. But some things remain unchanged, including our team’s commitment to epic programming, inspiring speakers, and valuable conversations.

Though we can’t celebrate our 10th event in person, we asked industry leaders who have been to every CMWorld for a hint of the fresh ideas and innovative techniques they’ll be sharing from our rule-breaking virtual stage this October. Listen to each of them in this video playlist and read the highlights below.



Though these experts come from a wide range of industries, disciplines, and fields of expertise, their messages share some common themes:

Break free from old patterns and outdated rules

CMWorld 2020 speakers eagerly tackled our Break the Rules theme, explaining what it means in their presentations and for our industry as a whole.

Bernie Borges wants marketers to break the tired rule that says sales content needs to be overtly promotional to be effective. In his session, Bernie will be talking about creating an account-based podcasting (ABP) plan to drive your content goals and sales revenue, instead. ABP is a versatile content approach that invites customers and prospects to be interviewed on a brand’s podcast. It helps hosts develop an authentic relationship with guests, delivers value by showcasing their thought leadership, and produces reusable content that helps businesses stand out. Bernie also plans to share effective practices that aren’t slimy or pushy to convert podcast guests into qualified prospects.

The marketing world doesn’t need another thought leader. We need visionaries. Find out how to transform your leadership and build your brand legacy at #CMWorld 2020, says @DrewDavisHere via @CMIContent. Share on X

Seasoned content rule breaker Andrew Davis thinks it’s time for marketers to forget about being the experts, rethink their position in the marketplace, and “limit less, question more.” He says some of the most successful brands in the world are no longer focused on becoming experts. Instead, they’re earning more revenue, generating higher quality leads, and building scalable businesses by making the leap from expert to visionary.

You wouldn’t think there’d be room for rule breaking in research. But while the surveying and data collection side of things needs to adhere to a solid methodology, marketers have creative flexibility in how they present their findings. Michele Linn will be sharing new ways to reimagine research, so you can extract more compelling stories from your data and amplify your findings for a greater impact on your business.

Know when ‘no’ is the best answer

Our industry is facing tough times in 2020. But could our current challenges be a chance to open new opportunities? Joe Pulizzi thinks so. In his keynote, he’ll answer the question, “Where do we go from here?” As he sees it, a big part of pursuing opportunities that drive revenue is to start saying no to doing everything, so you can focus on saying yes to the right things.

Content creators excel at understanding audiences and writing with their needs in mind. But they can often struggle when tasked with fulfilling unrealistic content requests (or outright demands) for departments or brand leaders who don’t always respect the writing process. In her presentation on getting the respect writers deserve, Ahava Leibtag will explain how to say no to mandates that you know won’t resonate (spoiler: You can prove it with analytics) – and how doing so will help you showcase your talents and regain excitement for delivering outstanding content to customers.

Content writers need to learn to say no to content requests that they know won’t resonate and yes to initiatives that make them excited to deliver outstanding content to customers, says @AhavaL via @CMIContent. Share on X

Since stay-at-home mandates took effect in March 2020, we’ve simplified our closets, our kitchens, and our lifestyles – but what about our content marketing strategies? If you’re struggling to create order out of content chaos, Ann Gynn’s session on how to pare down without sacrificing growth will provide actionable ways to get more done – even if you have fewer hands on deck.

Stand out, or stand aside

Robert Rose wants agencies to stand out – and to help their clients stand out, too. While distinguishing any business in a crowded digital marketplace isn’t easy, a strategic approach to business storytelling makes it more attainable. In Robert’s new workshop on content strategy for agencies, he’ll share a framework and structure for creating engagement, enabling clients to develop better content, and creating follow-on projects that lead to better long-term client satisfaction.

Circling back around to sales, how can brands distinguish themselves under an account-based marketing strategy? Through effective sales enablement, of course. In her workshop, Pam Didner will demonstrate how marketing content can shed light on your brand’s value for customers and help the sales team bring their deals across the finish line.

In years past, Jay Baer urged marketers to focus on content utility. This time around, he will ask them to bring guts, grit, and gravitas to all types of content initiatives. He contends that getting more courageous makes content more impactful, customer-focused, and noticeable amid the noise. In his session, Jay will share six types of courageous content and a plan for determining which one will work best for our brands and our customers.

Most content efforts will fail because they don't stand out. But there are still 6 ways to succeed – if you have the courage to try them, says @JayBaer via @CMIContent. Share on X

Influencer marketing can provide rich opportunities for brand differentiation and growth. In a recent TopRank Marketing study, 63% of respondents think adding an influencer program would help them get better marketing results. Yet 60% of those folks say they don’t have the skills and know-how to implement or execute it effectively. Enter Lee Odden, who joins SAP’s Ursula Ringham to explain the strategy and tactics they used to get great results from their global influencer marketing program.

Break the rules that limit your content success

After you’ve watched the videos from these 10 veteran speakers, check out the full Content Marketing World 2020 agenda. Then register so you won’t miss a minute of the rule-breaking, success-making action. Code CCO100 saves $100 on any virtual pass.

Want to share your thoughts on this article or suggest additional ideas? Email us at [email protected].