Do you attend business events? Conferences, networking and peer group events are certainly a regular part of my diary. I get great value from attending such events, both from a personal and professional development perspective. I find they energise and inspire me.
However, there is no denying that attending such events is an investment of both time and money. The time you spend at an event is the time you’re not spending in the office, serving clients or winning new business. The money you spend on travelling to an event (and often staying over at a hotel) is money you need to view as an investment, rather than a cost.
In short, you need to make sure that any event you attend has a great return on investment (ROI).
One such event I’ve recently attended (for the third time!) both meets and exceeds that investment ROI. That event is the Content Marketing Academy Live — or CMA Live.
What is the Content Marketing Academy?
The Content Marketing Academy (the CMA) is a community of business owners and professionals with one goal in mind — to become better content marketers.
If you’re unfamiliar with the term content marketing, then you’ll surely be familiar with content marketing. It’s a type of marketing that most progressive businesses now use. It involves creating valuable online material (such as blogs, videos and social media) that aims to educate and stimulate interest rather than explicitly sell. Rather than think of traditional marketing, where you’re encouraged to buy, buy, buy — think of your favourite blog or YouTube channel, where you come away from reading or watching the content feeling educated and/or inspired.
The CMA was founded by Scottish-based entrepreneur Chris Marr and has grown today into a thriving online community that I recommend to my clients and friends. Chris is a friend, a phenomenal motivator and an amazing community leader. But don’t take my word for it — listen to my Podcast interview with Chris Marr from TubbTalk episode 11 to hear what I mean.
What is CMA Live?
CMA Live is the annual event that brings members of the Content Marketing Academy together in Edinburgh, Scotland. The event is open to both members and non-members of the Academy and is attended by folks from all over Europe and further afield.
I was first introduced to CMA Live when I spoke at the event in 2015. I consider myself an event veteran, having attended conferences and symposiums all over the world. Despite this, I was blown away by the quality of the CMA Live event. The community is so warm, so open and honest, so eager to learn — it’s infectious. You can’t help but be inspired! Afterwards, I made a point of telling all my clients and friends that they should consider attending the following years’ event.
I was invited back to speak at the CMA Live in 2016 and my experience was similarly inspiring. Immediately after the event, I made it my mission to not only tell people they should consider attending CMA Live in 2017 but that they’d be crazy not to attend. The event was that good!
This year I attended CMA Live, not as a speaker, but as an attendee. This gave me the perspective of being able to relax and take in the event without having to prepare to go on stage. I was joined at the event by a dozen or so of my clients and business friends.The experience was nothing short of amazing. In fact, it was the best event I’ve ever attended.
Why is CMA Live so special?
I often say that the real value of attending events is not necessarily in the speakers or the workshops, but the time you spend with other attendees. The conversations in the breaks, at the coffee shops, over lunch and in the bar afterwards. These are the moments when you make friends, pick up golden nuggets and build relationships that can accelerate your personal and professional growth.
CMA Live has a community that is like non-other I’ve experienced. Everyone, from the wildly successful business owner to the new starter, is there to not only learn but to share what they’ve learned. It’s hard to put into words, but if you’ve ever spent time with somebody who you thought “I want to suck that guy/gals brain dry of all their knowledge!” then be prepared to meet a room full of these folks at CMA Live.
This isn’t a room full of marketing people either. This is a community of business owners, ranging from photographers to T-Shirt Designers, Accountants to Solicitors, Graphic Designers to Physical Therapists. Basically, anybody who is really good at what they do and wants the world to see that.
Coming from the IT industry, there’s a growing group of technology businesses in attendance too.
— Richard Tubb (@tubblog) June 8, 2017
What about the speakers?
The event also has speakers like few others you’ll experience. These are well recognised, world-class experts who don’t just fly in, deliver their presentation and then leave — they spend time as a part of the community before, during and after the event.
Seriously! If you were to engage any of the speakers at CMA Live in one-to-one consultancy or coaching, you can expect to pay handsomely for the privilege. But for the cost of a CMA Live ticket, you can engage them directly in conversation, ask questions and learn from them for a whole two days. What’s more, these experts are some of the nicest people you’ll ever meet!
It’s worth noting that the venue for CMA Live is incredible too. The Hub in Edinburgh is a former Church converted into an event venue which has high ceilings, is well lit and has great facilities.
If you’ve ever been to a conference in a dingy, hot and sticky hotel facility next to a motorway — the Hub is the antithesis of this.
Making arrangements to attend CMA Live
I’ve been asked by a few people how they should plan for their first CMA Live.
The event is a two-day affair, taking place on a Thursday and a Friday.
There are social events (both officially organised, and casually organised) on the Wednesday, Thursday and Friday evening.
Personally, my wife and I treat the event as a busman’s holiday. We get into Edinburgh on a Wednesday morning and stay in an Airbnb apartment near the centre of Edinburgh until the Sunday. Total cost? £250-£300 plus travel. That type of schedule gives plenty of time to enjoy the City, the Conference and ahem, recovering from the amazing parties…
Should you attend CMA Live?
If you’re a business owner who wants to understand how to reach potential clients without being a stereotypical, grinning, slimy salesperson — you’ll benefit from attending CMA Live.
If you’re a marketer who wants to understand how to create content and leverage social media to cultivate an audience who actively seek out your expertise — you’d find value in attending CMA Live.
If you’re an individual who is trying to build a business or a brand and want to know how to face your fears head on and achieve your full potential — you should attend CMA Live.
If all the above sounds like hyperbole, then don’t take my word for it, check out the #CMALive17 hashtag on Twitter. I guarantee you’ll get value and nuggets of advice just from reading the Tweets — so imagine how good it is to be there at CMA Live 2017 in person!
In 10 years people will be wishing they could go back to 2017.
The best time to start is NOW. #CMALive17
— Ross Coverdale (@radcoverdale) June 9, 2017
— Emma Fox (@FreshFinancials) June 9, 2017
CMA Live is a must-attend event
Suffice to say though, I’m booked in for CMA Live 2018 and I’d encourage you to do the same. The early-bird registration for CMA Live 2018 is now on-line.
Unlike previous years, I’m not just recommending this event to clients and friends. After speaking and attending CMA Live for the past three years, I’m telling you, without any shadow of a doubt, that if you’re in business and want that business to grow then you, or somebody on your team, should be at CMA Live.
Don’t misunderstand my intention here. I’m not financially incentivised for people to attend CMA Live. I’m not on some sweet affiliate scheme. I don’t get a kick-back. I just believe in what Chris Marr is building and I know that the event will make a profound difference to your business, should you choose to attend.
CMA Live is just that good.