Content Marketing World 2020 Review: Is it Worth Attending?

November 23, 2020

Content Marketing World offers insight into content marketing. The conference aims to educate people and businesses on the importance of creating marketable content. The world of marketing is evolving, and CMWorld addresses those changes in the annual conference. Here’s what Content Marketing World is and a recap of the Content Marketing World conference of 2020.

Table of Contents

  • What is Content Marketing World
  • Who Should Attend?
  • Key Speakers
  • Day-by-Day Breakdown of the Agenda and a List of Sessions
  • Example Cost Breakdown
  • How to Sponsor Content Marketing World
  • How to Become a Speaker at Content Marketing World
  • Final Note
  • Key Highlights: What to Expect in 2021

What is Content Marketing World?

What made the Content Marketing World conference special this year was it going completely digital. There were over a hundred sessions that registrants can access for about the next half of a year. Joe Pulizzi founded Content Marketing World back in 2010, making 2020 CMWorld's tenth year.

This conference's primary objective is to provide the knowledge participants need to develop their content marketing strategies. Thousands of people learn about content development and building relationships with audiences to grow business. Notable speakers of the past include Amy Balliett, Ryan Estes, Marcus Sheridan, Andrea Fryrear, Mitch Joel, Sam Sebastian, Christoph Trappe, Cathy McPhillips, and founder Joe Pulizzi.

In 2020, there were many keynote presentations, dozens of breakout sessions, and multiple opportunities for attendees to speak with speakers, sponsors, and fellow attendees. Some featured speakers were Luvvie Ajayi Jones, W. Kamau Bell, Christine Carter, Andy Crestodina, Robert Rose, Matthew Rayback, Pam Didner, Andrew Davis, and Joe Pulizzi. The conference was held virtually from October 12 to 16, 2020, though Cleveland is CMWorld's town of choice. Sessions are still available to attendees until April 2021.

Who Should Attend?

Ideal attendees are content marketers who are interested in using content to grow business. Content managers, creators, marketers, PR professionals, company leaders, and managers can find value at CMWorld. Creators and content managers hear real-life stories and get proven advice at CMWorld. They discuss topics like how to publish and promote content on social media.

Marketers and PR professionals can speak directly with some influential people in the industry and discuss content marketing strategies with each other and speakers. They leave more prepared to both construct and execute successful strategies.

Company leaders and managers come to the conference to adjust their perspectives. They leave with a better understanding of content marketing, budgets, and hiring procedures. Those who attend work on developing a vision, creating draft plans for changes, and preparing practical ideas to share with their teams.


Featured speakers for 2020 include Luvvie Ajayi Jones, bestselling author and podcaster, and W. Kamau Bell, Emmy-award winning producer and comedian. Some other featured speakers were:

Lastly, Robert Rose (Chief Strategy Advisor at Content Marketing Institute) and Joe Pulizzi (founder of Content Marketing World and author of “The Will to Die”) also spoke at the event.

Day-by-Day Breakdown of the Agenda and a List of Sessions

This year was interesting because attendees did not need to select their schedules in advance, though it helped to review the session schedule beforehand. Those with a virtual pass had access to all live-streamed keynote presentations, post-show access to breakout sessions, meetings with sponsors, and exclusive content from the Content Marketing Institute (CMI).

All-access and plus passes grant participants on-demand access to workshops (sessions that detail content marketing solutions) and industry forums (sessions that cover content challenges in varying industries). Those with virtual plus passes also gain on-demand access to one workshop or one industry forum. All-access virtual passes grant attendees on-demand access to all workshops and industry forums.

Day 1

On Monday, October 12, 2020, #CMWorld released 11 sessions. Robert Rose of CMI delivered two content marketing presentations. Other speakers were:

  • Michael Brenner on content optimization and distribution
  • Jessica Best with an email marketing workshop
  • Andy Crestodina had two sessions: one on Google Analytics for content marketers and the other on SEO.
  • Cathy McKnight on content strategy
  • Jonathan Kranz on marketing writing
  • Chris Penn on the applications of AI for content marketing
  • Ardath Albee on how to use serial storytelling
  • Bert van Loon with a content marketing roadmap

These were made available on Monday, October 12, at 10:00. 

Day 2

Tuesday, October 13, 2020, began at 10:00 with a welcome by Robert Rose from CMI. Rose followed this with a presentation about content marketing strategies for the next decade.

At 10:45, Pulizzi gave a keynote speech on the new marketing business model. He and Rose followed these with separate 15-minute Q&A sessions.

A break and a technology showcase followed.

At noon, Shafqat Islam and Alex Cheeseman gave a keynote presentation on the importance of connections in marketing.

At 12:30, Jay Baer offered another keynote presentation, and, at 1:00, attendees had the chance to ask questions before a short break.

At 1:30, Paige O'Neill of Sitecore on human connections of the digital nature.

At 2:00, Luvvie Ajayi Jones delivered her keynote presentation: “Speaking Truth to Power."

Content Marketing World followed up with the following 30-minute breakout sessions:

  • Ann Gynn, Jonathan Crossfield, Penny Gralewski, Ahava Leibtag, and Michelle Park Lazette with sessions on writing and content development.
  • Andrew Hanelly, Carlijn Postma, Jacquie Chakirelis, Andrew Wheeler, Kathy Klotz-Guest, and Doug Kessler with sessions on content creation and development.
  • Rachel Mann, Eric Goodstadt, Igor Bielobradek, Chris White, Val Swisher, Ruth Carter, Alenka Bester and Inga Batur, and Carmen Hill and Meredyth Jensen with sessions on content strategy.
  • Randy Brasche and Matt Malanga with sessions on content marketing.
  • Chris Luecke, Ashley Zeckman, David Fortino, Inbar Yagur, and Lee Odden and Ursula Ringham with sessions on content distribution and promotion.
  • Gini Dietrich, Drew McLellan and Susan Baier, Mariah Obiedzinski and Marcia Francis, and Erika Heald and Mareen Jann with sessions on agency strategy.
  • Caroline Nuttall, Vishal Khanna, Amber Naslund, Jessika Phillips, Will McKenna, and Dennis Shiao and Rich Schwerin with sessions on brand strategy.
  • Annalisa Nash Fernandez, Zari Venhaus, Andi Robinson, and Andrew Seibert, Martin MacConnol, and Munni Trivedi with sessions on global strategy.
  • Brian Piper, Mike Murray, Katie Tweedy, and Christoph Trappe with sessions on SEO.
  • Paul Tsigrikes, Laurel Miltner, Kelvin Gee, and Sean Tracey and Shannon Farrelly with sessions on analytics and data.
  • Nick Dujnic, Chris Dayley, Nancy Harhut, and Liz Willits with sessions on email and conversions.
  • Adele Revella, Tom Martin, Randy Frisch, Jessica Bergmann, and Kenneth “Shark” Kinney with sessions on demand generation.
  • Stacy Adams, Tony Gnau, Amy Balliett, and Madeleine Lourey and Rob Logan with sessions on visual storytelling.
  • Wally Koval, Cor Hospes, and Jennifer Jordan and Matt Johnston with sessions on social media.
  • Andrea Fryrear, Ann Gynn, Marcus Collins, Scott Armstrong and Stacey Cummings, and Laura Ramos and Christine Polewarczyk with sessions on teams and culture.
  • Dana Miller and Chantelle Meiboom, Nikkole Couture and Emma Knuckmann, Nikkole Couture and Dave Borden, and Emma Knuckman and Gabriella Cyranski with sessions on virtual events and webinars.
  • Michael Kolowich, Paula Kreba, Caroline Hull, and Shannon Jasper with sessions on creation of virtual event content.
  • Matthew Rayback, Adam Morgan, and Jay Acunzo with sessions on creativity.
  • Bernie Borges, Viveka von Rosen, Peter Stadlinger, Ardath Albee, and Ardath Albee and Tim Riesterer with sessions on sales enablement.
  • Rob Walch with a session on podcasting.
  • Amanda Todorovich with a session on long-term success.
  • David Brown with a session on delivering content as a big idea.
  • Christina Sanders with a session on making memorable content experiences.
  • Lindsay Hotmire with a session on authenticity.
  • Julia McCoy with a session on the basics of building an online audience.
  • Pamela Muldoon with a session on increasing audience engagement.
  • Chris Ross with a session on connecting to customers.
  • Shachar Orren with a session on human connection.
  • Michele Linn and Clare McDermott with a session on survey-based research.
  • Jacqueline Loch with a session on growth, opportunities, and spending.
  • Maggie Leung, Giselle Abramovich, Shannon O'Donnell, and Robin Bennefield with a session on trade secrets.

The aforementioned sessions were suitable for all audiences and intermediate audiences. Two advanced breakout sessions were offered: 

  • Brian Fanzo's session on social media
  • Paxton Gray's session on content strategy.

From 3:00 to 5:00, attendees were given the chance to speak with sponsors. Also at 3:00 was a Legends of Rock trivia segment.

Day 3

Attendees were able to speak to sponsors at the start of the day. An hour later, at 10:00, Melanie Deziel delivered a keynote presentation entitled “More Brain, Less Storm: The Power of the Creative Process.” 

At 10:30, Sydni Craig-Hart delivered a keynote presentation on diversity. 

They followed with 15-minute Q&A sessions. A break and a technology showcase followed.

The keynote presentation by Andrew Davis was scheduled for 11:45, followed by a Q&A segment. 

At 1:00, there were Content Marketing Awards and a break.

Then there were two keynotes and Q&A sessions with Tamsen Webster, Folayo Lasaki, and Viveka von Rosen

At 3:00, the day concluded with the one-hour availability of sponsors.

Day 4

Once again, the day began with sponsor sessions and a keynote speaker. This time it was Ann Handley. Then there was an intermediate level keynote by Christine Carter and “Ask Me Anything” sessions.

After a break, Pam Didner delivered a keynote presentation. 

At 12:15, Christi Olson gave a keynote presentation, and at 12:45, they both answered questions. 

Then there was another break before a keynote presentation by A. Lee Judge. A keynote presentation by W. Kamau Bell and another hour-long opportunity to speak with sponsors ended the day.

Day 5

The final day began at 8:00 with seven industry forums. One industry forum on travel and tourism ended the conference at 11:00.

Example Cost Breakdown

Since this year's conference was virtual, tickets were cheaper than usual. Attendees also didn't need to take the cost of airfare, transportation, hotels, and food and drink into consideration. 

An all-access virtual pass cost $300 more than a virtual pass, so the total cost for full access was $999. Regardless, the estimated cost of transportation, hotels, and food and drink are listed below:

  • $699.00 Ticket price
  • $200.00 Airfare
  • $100.00 Transportation
  • $500.00 Hotel
  • $150.00 Food and drink
  • $300.00 After-party access

Are there ways to get discounts?

During the promotion up to the event, CouponBirds had coupon codes, and also had coupons for CMWorld. 

ExhibitCoupon offers a coupon code for 20% off, and CouponAnnie has a coupon code to save 30% off. Attendees can also save 10% when they register four or more virtual passes.

How to Sponsor Content Marketing World

Sponsors have the opportunity to speak and connect with attendees during the conference. Pre-event workshops, content marketing awards, and face time with attendees also provide sponsors the opportunity to share their brand

Aspiring sponsors to CMWorld should complete the form for more information.

How to Become a Speaker at Content Marketing World

Content Marketing World gives speakers a chance to be heard from a different platform and spread awareness about their brand. CMWorld looks for a diverse gathering of inspirational speakers who share their stories. 

All those hoping to speak at the conference should submit a video sample with the online submission form. Attendees can still ask speakers questions

The deadline has passed for this year, but 2021 is right around the corner.

Final Note - Content On Demand

CMWorld's sessions are now available on-demand. The next Content Marketing World conference won't be held until 2021.

Key Highlights: What to Expect in 2021

This year's conference addressed recent and upcoming changes in content marketing. Attendees will see a greater focus on the digital world and how marketing will likely change.


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