Ben Silverman

Cleveland has had a busy summer. It’s been a mecca for basketball fans and delegates (and the city is looking like it might see some World Series action as well). While you still might find some Cavs confetti or popped RNC balloons on Ontario Street, the city is ready for its next event: #CMWorld, Content Marketing Institute’s four-day learning and networking conference. But you already knew that.

Get ready

#CMWorld is the largest content marketing event in the world. And with over 4,000 other marketers, 100 speakers, 80 workshops, one rock band and a Jedi master, it can be hard to navigate the conference and make the best of your time. Though we aren’t sponsoring the event, we thought we’d offer some advice. Here’s our guide to help you make sure that you hit the right places, and know where to be and when, and maybe even find something to do in town in your downtime:

Start planning your speaker schedule

Overwhelmed by the pages upon pages of speakers?

The safest bet is to pencil in Rand Fishkin to your schedule first. He’ll be speaking on Sept. 7 at 2:15 in Exhibit Hall A. If you’ve ever seen his weekly videos on, you know that he has a knack for making dynamic content marketing concepts easily digestible, with the help of his handy whiteboard.

We’re also excited about Eric Hess’ address on Sept. 8, at 11 a.m. in the Grand Ballroom C. He’s the content marketing manager at REI, which has been a leader in longform and experimental content. Podcasts and short films for an outdoor gear retailer? They work surprisingly well – customers are engaged and employees become evangelists.

It might be worth your while to stop by Joe Chernov’s talk at 3:20 on Sept. 7 in Room 25. He was the VP of Marketing and Content at HubSpot and now has the same position at InsightSquared. He an expert in bridging the gap between content and account-based marketing.

It wouldn’t be a content marketing conference without Jay Acunzo (Sept. 8 at 10 and 1:45) and Joe Pulizzi (Sept. 7 at 8 a.m., and Sept. 9 at 8:30 a.m.). Joe will kick off the conference and talk about startups and small businesses, and Jay will speak about hiring and creativity.

Mark Hamill gives the keynote on Sept. 8 at 4:30. While his topic is TBA, we’re hoping for any topics along the lines of “Using the Force to build your brand,” “Do or do not. There is no try when it comes to content marketing.”

When in Cleveland

They’re a couple notches above last year’s Barenaked Ladies, but if this year’s headliner Cheap Trick isn’t your thing, head over the lakefront to visit the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (where the band was inducted four months ago). There you can spot Kurt Cobain’s lefty guitar, Lennon’s Sgt. Pepper’s coat, and even Hendrix’ sofa. Your conference card will get you a small discount here, as well as at the Aquarium, and theatres, museums and restaurants around town.

A few local favorites: Blue Point Grille, Cleveland’s most popular restaurant; The Cheese Shop in West Side Market; USS Cod Submarine; the three sports stadiums are worth a visit – the Indians are in town Sept. 7 and 8, and while the Browns are out of town for a preseason game in Philly, there’s always a chance you can see recently-waived Johnny Football hanging around the bars outside The FirstEnergy Stadium.

… And the house from A Christmas Story, with the leg-lamp in the window, is located a few minutes south of the conference center, on West 11th St. in Tremont.

Required Reading/watching/listening

  1. We recommend taking a look at the Content Marketing Institute’s blog. It’s a great resource for all things content marketing. It’s worth it to also read Content Marketing World’s blog for news and tips for the event.
  2. The Unthinkable Podcast will warm you up to Acunzo’s style (and it’s also an extremely insightful marketing podcast.
  3. Sign up for the #CMWorld mailing list if you haven’t already. They send out time-sensitive updates – this week’s mailin in particular contained a $100 promo code and the announcement of open registration for sessions.
  4. Watch Star Wars.

There’s less than a month until we’ll see you at #CMWorld in Cleveland. Itching for more to do in town? Head over to Curata’s blog from last year for a guide to downtown Cleveland. Let us know which sessions and speakers you are most interested in seeing in the comments below. 

Make sure to use the case-sensitive promo code BRAFTON100 to get $100 off main event or all-access passes. See you there!