I’m sitting in one of those multi-airline lounges in Oslo airport.*
Thinking about the very cool, one-day event I just participated in: Epic Content Marketing Norway.
Run by the most laid-back organiser I’ve ever met (Ola Hanø. Zero stress. Very few logistics. Just, “Hey let’s put on Norway’s biggest content conference.”).
I’ve been to a lot of content marketing conferences.
These guys are hard core.
Hanging with them is like hanging with old comedians on the borscht belt circuit:
“What you doin’ Ann? Ya doin’ Slow Marketing?”
“Nah. Last year. Got a new one. You?”
“Hey: is that a cronut or is that a, like Norwegian muffin?”
But still: I’ve been to a lot.
And the thing that always surprises me is that something always surprises me.
Just when I fear the discipline is slowing down or settling into a rut, some perky smart-arse gets up on stage and yoiks my eyebrows up.
A startling new tactic (Jamie Pham of LinkedIn had some really cool ones around employee-led content creation).
A great case story (Ann the Handley told one about a guy whose family business was steel but he loved pizza so he made a pizza baking steel and… she does it way better.)
A deep dive into a thing I thought I understood but clearly did not (Lee Odden is the undisputed Top Influencer of Influencer Marketing and he made me feel embarrassed that I’ve just been dabbling in the art & science of it all).
Or maybe it’s a story that I thought I could see coming but then took a turn and made me pretend not to be crying (Björn Owen Glad from Spoon showed a killer video about saving a baby from a river).
Or just getting slammed against the wall by a force of nature. (Marcus Sheridan is the Southern Baptist preacher of content marketing — but his stuff is TRUE. And SMART. And when he sells it, every last soul in the room is BUYING).
And sometimes it’s just a really simple, fresh take on a thing we all think we do every day. (Pontus Staunstrup riffed on mapping content to the purchase journey and made it all just feel so clear and easy).
Hell, I even learned something from Øyvind Vederhus and his session was in Norwegian. (I learned that, no, you can’t actually pick up the gist of things in Norwegian if you just let it wash over you like warm rain). (Varm regne).
(I missed Emma Jessica Knox from Hubspot because I had to do a conference call. (I didn’t learn anything at all on the call). I’m sorry about it because when I came back, there was that weird buzz that HubSpotters give to a room and a faint whiff of high-grade weed.) (Damn.)
So even though I might go in thinking, “Maybe I can pretend to be furiously tweeting bon mots when I’m really catching up on emails.” I end up bloody riveted by these smart bastards.
So that’s what I’m saying: get your ass out of your office and get to a really good conference.
Risk getting that look your boss’s boss gives people whenever they spend money.
Pretend that the whole company doesn’t grind to a halt the moment you step out the door.
Make a commitment.
Mark the diary.
Get the Early Bird Discount for once in your goddamn life.
Don’t even bring a pen — they’ve got nice pens.
Don’t bring your favourite brand of tea bag. Yes, the tea will suck but you’re bigger than that.
Bring an open mind.
And, when the day starts to kill your brain, fight off the urge to tune out.
I personally promise you will take away more than five good things.
And that one if not all five will more than pay for your ticket and hotel and taxi and Duty Free – many times over.
And if it doesn’t… you can Skype me the bill**.
* Always a weird vibe. In a BA lounge, you at least know these are your tribe. The guys slouching around here? Could be Iberia. Could be Finnair. Feh.
** I will not pay it. But Skype away.