My thoughts and takeaways from CMA Live 2017

My Takeaways from CMA Live 17

My thoughts on CMA Live 2017In my last blog post, I wrote about Why CMA Live is The Best Event I’ve Ever Attended (go on, have a read of that article — I’ll be waiting here when you get back!) based on the amazing community involved, the atmosphere, the venue and the overall vibe that organiser Chris Marr has created for his Content Marketing Academy event.

I also mentioned that this year’s CMA event was the first I’d attended as a delegate, as I’ve been a speaker at the previous two CMA Live events. I’ve loved being a speaker at the event, but it’s fair to say that without the preparation (and, let’s be honest, general worrying) that goes with being a speaker, at this year’s event I was able to fully concentrate on what was happening on-stage.

With that in mind, I thought I’d share my own key takeaways from this CMA Live 2017.

The CMA Live 17 Speaker Lineup

CMA Live 2017 Speaker LineupFirstly, the speaker lineup this year was nothing short of incredible — with some world class experts taking to the stage to share their knowledge and wisdom.

The agenda was broken down into two types of speakers. The keynote speakers (an hour or so) and lightning speakers (15 mins). The lightning speakers consisted of members of the CMA community sharing their personal stories.

In every case of the lightning speakers, I was full of both pride and awe at business people who weren’t regular public speakers, taking to the stage and sharing so openly and honestly in front of a big audience. Kudos to the Lightning speakers, one and all.

I’m not going to cover my thoughts on every speaker in the event, as others (such as Cathy at Socially Contended, and Ross Coverdale of RAD Creatives) have done a much better job of that already. I thought it was worth sharing my top takeaways though.

Chris Ducker on Influence

Chris Ducker at CMA Live 17I’ve long been a fan of Brit Chris Ducker’s writing and am a member of his excellent Youpreneur community. Chris is a wildly successful entrepreneur who I’ve learned a lot from, both through his blogs, Podcasts and his books.

Chris’ presentation focused on building influence. Specifically, he stated that simply being liked was no longer enough — you had to make yourself somebodies favourite.

Chris also shared the statistic that by 2020, 90% of content online will be video. If you’re not embracing video in your content marketing, be prepared to be left behind.

My biggest take away from Chris’ presentation was one simple phrase. “Being seen to sell builds influence”.

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This had a profound effect on my thinking, as I’ve always considered myself a keen Go-Giver, sharing content of value. If you don’t ask for the sale though, you’re harming your influence.

I’ve now set myself a goal to being seen to sell at least once per week.

Ross Coverdale / Col Gray on Branding

Ross Coverdale and Col Gray at CMA Live 17Full disclosure here, both Ross and Col are good friends of mine and a part of Team Tubb. I’m going to love whatever they say or do, because, well, I love those guys anyway!

With that said, both Ross and Col have helped me realise that your brand should represent who you are and what you do.

In this amusing and educating lightning presentation, Col and Ross shared the process they went through to help Chris Marr find the right brand and logo to represent himself and the CMA.


As a long-time CMA community member myself, I found myself shocked at how I viewed the old (and at the time, what I thought was perfectly functional) CMA logo compared to the new logo. I’d go as far as to say this was a revelation to me on how branding can help or hinder your business growth.


Old CMA Logo
The Old CMA Logo


New CMA Logo
The New CMA Logo

Ross and Col shared a thought on branding that also resonated. Ask the question “If you were to describe your business to a friend using just one sentence, what would you say?”

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Have a think about that question in relation to your own business. I certainly have been. Expect more on the Tubblog rebrand soon…

Yva Yorston on Success

Yva Yorston at CMA Live 17Another lightning speaker who really caught my imagination was Yva Yorston. Yva shared her own journey and what people think the path to success looks like, versus what the path to success actually looks like!

Yva shared how she has received support, both business and emotional, from the communities she’s involved in — such as CMA and Youpreneuer.

My big takeaway? I thought I was good at asking my peers for support. Upon reflection, I don’t do it nearly enough. The next time I’m feeling low, uninspired or demotivated, I’ll ask for help. Being a business owner is a tough enough gig without trying to do it alone.

Mark Schaefer on building an audience

Day two kicked off with Mark Schaefer, world renowned author, speaker and business consultant. Mark was talking about how to build an audience.

Mark shared that you need to find the following four elements for your business:-

  1. Place — A sustainable interest that you want to be known for.
  2. Space — An uncontested or underserved niche with enough people in it to matter.
  3. Content
  4. Audience

Pete Matthew, John Espirian and Mark Schaefer at CMA LIve 17

Mark talked specifically about “the 30-month mindset”. The idea of focusing on one type of content, such as blogging, podcasting or video, and delivering that content consistently — day in, day out.

“Everyone starts at the bottom” shared Mark, before bringing on stage two inspiring stories of CMA community members who have done incredible things. Technical Writer, John Espirian, and Financial Advisor, Pete Matthew of Meaningful Money.

John’s business is thriving through his consistent use of quality content, and Pete Matthew has grown his Podcast to 50,000 listeners a month which has led to his announcement of being rewarded with a book offer from a publisher.

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If the CMA Live event had ended right here, I would have gone home brimming with inspiration and enthusiasm. As it was, it was only 1030 in the morning. We had more amazing speakers to listen to!

Andrew & Pete — Content Crickets

Andrew & Pete at CMA Live 17Have I mentioned the reason I’ve moved to the North-East is to be closer to Andrew & Pete? It’s true! My getting married was a happy co-incidence. šŸ˜‰

Andrew & Pete are two incredible content marketing experts from my newly adopted hometown of Newcastle-Upon-Tyne. I’m a member of their fantastic Atomic Community which provides great value.

Their presentation was very, very funny and insightful as they talked about how to avoid “Content Crickets” — the horror of you creating content that nobody pays attention to.

A&P talked about the 5 elements of a brand, which were:-

  1. Brand Values
  2. Mission
  3. Avatar
  4. An Arch Enemy
  5. Lingo

The concept of an “arch enemy” really struck me. Who is the worst example of somebody in your own line of business? For an accountant, it might be a boring, stuffy old bookkeeper. For a salesman, it might be a sleazy, slimy used car salesmen. Whatever your arch enemy is, picture them and make sure that your content represents the polar opposite of that person. Instead of being the sleazy, slimy used car salesmen, you’ll be the open and honest, trustworthy educator, for instance.

Pamela Laird on How to Get Better Customers and Sharon Menzies on Going “All In”

Lightning speaker Pamela Laird talked about her challenges as an owner growing her Hair Salon business Fin & Co Hair Salon, and the difference between good customers and those that suck the life out of your business.

In a separate lightning presentation, Sharon Menzies gave a deeply personal presentation on the challenges she has overcome in growing her business, Influx Recruitment, by 722% this past year while maintaining the ethical and quality standards that are so often missing in the recruitment industry (a fact I alluded to some time ago in my controversial blog How to spot Recruitment Agency Dirty Tricks).

Both of these lightning presentations struck a chord for me in the terms of the honesty they showed. Life happens, and business success isn’t simple. I found both Pamela and Sharon’s presentations to be inspiring and I’ve so much respect for them both for sharing so openly and honestly of their challenges.

My biggest takeaway from Sharon’s presentation was to shine a light on the people within your team who are doing amazing work. Expect a “Team Tubb” page soon where you can hear more about the amazing work that Col, Gudrun, Holly, Judith and Ross do to help my business thrive! I’m very grateful for all their help and support.

My biggest takeaway from Pamela’s presentation was that not every client is going to be a good fit for you, and you have to work hard at attracting the right type of client. As I reboot my own business, that’s something I need to keep reminding myself of.

EDIT: – Apologies to Sharon and Pamela for mixing the text, descriptions, links… well… everything of their individual sessions up when I initially posted this article. All now corrected. Thank you, both, for great sessions. šŸ™‚

Janet Murray on PR

Your Press Release is Breaking My Heart by Janet Murray.jpgPR guru Janet Murray is a former journalist who helps businesses to gain high-quality coverage for their companies.

Jan’s presentation was nothing short of a masterclass on how to do PR (Public Relations) well. It featured practical advice and real-world stories of everyday business owners who had achieved amazing media coverage through innovative ways of building relationships and effectively pitching journalists on their stories.

For instance, did you know that journalists are asking for *your* help, every day? Go and check out the #Journorequest hashtag on Twitter and see how many journalists you might be able to help.

My biggest takeaway from Janet’s talk was this. “Tell the stories that people want to hear, not the stories you want to tell.”

Janet Murray’s book “Your Press Release is Breaking My Heart” is now lined up on my Kindle ready for reading!

George Thomas on How to build your own inbound marketing machine


My notes from George Thomas CMA Live 17 session on "How to build your own inbound marketing machine"
My notes from George Thomas CMA Live 17 session on “How to build your own inbound marketing machine”

George Thomas is the inbound marketing technical expert at The Sales Lion. In this witty and whistle-stop presentation, he gave a virtual framework of how to build your own inbound marketing machine without spending huge bucks on tools such as Hubspot and Eloqua.


My takeaways from this presentation were many, including checking out a wide variety of low-cost, high-value plug-ins for WordPress such as Monster Insights and Social Warfare.

I’m going to use George’s advice during my upcoming overhaul of this web-site. Watch this space!

Marcus Sheridan on Success

If you’ve never seen “The Sales Lion” Marcus Sheridan speak before, then you’re missing out. Inspiring, motivating and life-affirming are just three phrases I’d use to describe this former pool salesman from the USA who, rarely for a keynote speaker, shared not only of his successes using content marketing to grow his influence, but also his failures.

  1. Marcus’ session can be best summarised with these bullet points:-
  2. Don’t marry your goals, marry progress.
  3. Cling to the metrics that actually matter.
  4. Embrace the messy (or as I would say, get bloody started!)
  5. Let go of the 10% – the doubters, the haters.
  6. Seek opportunities for kindness.
  7. Effective communication is the most valuable skill in the world today.
  8. Let trust be your compass.
  9. Own your story.

I think the above statements speak for themselves, and the idea of marrying progress rather than goals had a particular effect on me. I also like the idea of embracing the messy — a skill (idea?) that I’ve drifted away from in recent years, instead of being wrapped in the procrastination of perfection.


CMA Live 17 AudienceThe above takeaways were just a handful of headline ideas that I took from pages and pages of notes during the CMA.

Organiser Chris Marr has put together an incredible event, full of wonderful, inspiring and motivating speakers, surrounded by a community of people who are open, honest and eager to help their peers to succeed.

I wanted to share my own takeaways with you via this blog post in the hope that you’ll find value in some of them too. Additionally, if you’ve read this far then I’d ask you to do me a favour.

The best events I’ve attended are not the ones which have inspired and then faded from memory. The best events I’ve attended are the ones that have inspired me to immediate action.

Based on my own takeaways above and the actions that I’ve committed to taking, I’d like to ask for your help. Would you hold me accountable for the actions I’ve committed to taking in this blog post? The next time you see me, ask me how I’m getting on with creating a web pageĀ to highlight Team Tubb. Drop me a Tweet and ask how I’ve found reading Janet Murray’s book. Ping me an email and ask me what my progress on my business rebrand is.

As one of my mentors, Arlin Sorensen shared with me “Vision without execution is hallucination”.

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What are your takeaways and goals from attending CMA 17 or reading the above? Leave a comment below so we can follow your progress too.

I hope to see you at CMA Live 18, next year when we can look back at these goals and compare progress.


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