How to make everybody love your industry event: CMW 2021 analysis

Elena Sinekovich
by Elena Sinekovich on September 2, 2021

Article summary

Usually, the major engagement magic around successful industry events happens long before their actual launch. Social networks go a long way for that! In this article, we analyze how a well-performed SMM pre-campaign around the Content Marketing World (CMW) 2021 conference is made.

  1. CMW 2021
  2. The anatomy of the SMM pre-campaign around CMW 2021
  3. Goals definition
  4. Platform prioritization
  5. Target audience identification
  6. Content: topics, frequency, design
  7. Influencer marketing

Any event promo begins months before it. In the case of such occasions as The Oscars, preparations can take even more than a year.

This is the period when a marketing team focuses on spreading news far and wide, generating the momentum for registrations, ticket purchases, donations, or peer-to-peer fundraiser sign-ups.

Let’s look how marketing pros do that.

CMW 2021

In the US, Content Marketing World 2021 is a noteworthy event in the realm of content marketing since 2011. (No, it is really not an ad.)

The conference will be hosted at the end of September in Cleveland, Ohio. Due to post-pandemic trends, the organizers provide digital sessions as well. More than 3 000 attendees from 250 companies and 225 speakers are expected. 

How to draw marketing pros’ attention to the event?

There are many options. You can send last year participants emails, advertise on industry-specific platforms and media outlets, even try telemarketing. However, most likely, your first idea will be an SMM campaign around the event. It is no wonder that the CMW team has launched one. 

The anatomy of the SMM pre-campaign around CMW 2021

Goals definition

It is important to determine the goals for each stage to get the job done well. 

The pre-campaign on social media is one of the ways to hit several most important goals. By posting a lot of information about the event, the hosts try to boost the conference’s brand awareness and attract the target audience.

Social activities around CMW 2021 started back in late June. The hosts announced the oncoming conference on Twitter, Facebook (as a quick point, these posts are pinned for now), and LinkedIn. 

However, the first video about the registration opening was uploaded on YouTube as early as April! By now, it has already earned 26K+ views. It is a not bad result for an industry-specific event.

Announcements on the rest of the social platforms also did not go unnoticed. Users commented on them, made quote tweets, tagged their friends, and liked the posts. 

CMW 2021 Facebook page
On Facebook, users warmly welcomed the announcement of CMW 2021

There are two ideas behind these messages: to remind the last year’s participants to come back and attract new ones.

Marketing outcome

  • Do not put off the promotion of your event for too long 

It is a good idea to start with announcements a couple of months before the day. This tactic will work even better if you are going to host a conference in the middle of the new business season as the CMW team does. They launched the pre-campaign during summertime when business activities on social networks slow down. It enabled them to seize the attention of users who missed the working buzz.

  • Incorporate your competitive advantage into your social message

The CMW announcements are based on the idea of belonging to the marketing family, the conference becomes for its participants. The promotional clips highlight great networking, new friends, and creative environment, not famous speakers as competitive advantages of the show. 

This tactic works. Just take a look at the sentiment of the CMW mentions calculated by Awario! Seems the conference is really associated with good mood and evokes positive emotions first.

The sentiment rate of CMW 2021 in Awario
CMW 2021 has already got many positive mentions on the web. Screenshot from Awario

Platform prioritization

If you have profiles on all popular social networks, running a pre-campaign everywhere at once would be a bad idea. You need to identify the best ones, for example, with the highest engagement rate. It enables you to not spread yourself too thin, prepare a good content plan, and get better results. 

The CMW team is promoting the conference on three platforms of five on which they are presented – Instagram, YouTube, and Twitter. They chose the social channels with the most active subscribers. It is a good choice if you want to increase your brand awareness. The more likes, shares, and comments your posts have, the more their reach is.

Preparing these accounts for the conference promotion, the hosts changed the information in the bio: added a branded hashtag and a link to the registration page.

CMW 2021 Instagram
Change the info in your bio to grab attention to your event like the CMW team did

Marketing outcome

  • Intensify your social media activities before the event

The CMW hosts post on their social pages regularly. It helps them retain the audience between events. For instance, they remind about the conference round the year by uploading on Instagram 1-3 photos or videos per week from the past event. 

The frequency of posts changes ahead of oncoming conferences. For now, they post more updates, videos, and photos on their social channels. You can see these spikes on the CMW reach graph in August (I generated this report with Awario).

The reach graph in Awario
Your social activity affects your messages reach. Screenshot from Awario


Target audience identification

Since the first CMW was hosted back in 2011, most likely, the organizers have already studied their target audience to a T. They know where the prospects work and locate, their age and gender.

According to the CMW mentions analysis, the event attracts both men (51.5%) and women (48.5%) from the US. The majority of the attendees are 35-44 years old (44.6% of the audience). While people between 25 and 34 know about the conference as well (33.9% of the mentions).

The Awario Age metric
Screenshot from Awario

Having this data, we can suggest that CMW 2021 is interesting for marketing professionals with 5+ years of work experience. This information influences the topics, speakers' selection, and defines the ways of the conference promotion. For instance, using TikTok will be a bad idea for this case.  

Marketing outcome

  • Meet your target audience and prepare the content they like

To attract attendees to your event, you need to target your people. The audience defines what social platforms, style, and format of content you will choose. 

If you do not know your target audience well, analyze your event or brand mentions with social listening tools such as Awario. Creating an alert, you can choose the language and location (select your city and state to narrow the search). Setting up the date range and sources like Twitter, Reddit, YouTube, and the like is available, too.  

If you want to use your 7-day free trial, here is a short tutorial on where to start:

Content: topics, frequency, design

As it was mentioned before, launching the pre-campaign, the CMW hosts focused on three social platforms. 

On Instagram, they share photos and videos twice per week. Sometimes, updates on the page are announced in their Stories. Instagram content is rather emotional than informative. It looks like a photo album with funny captions where memories from last years’ conferences are kept.  


A post shared by Content Marketing Institute (@cmicontent)

On YouTube, the hosts created a special playlist where they publish videos dedicated to the event. There are several Q&A clips, for instance, “Why should you bring your team to #CMWorld?” with short interviews of hosts and attendees. These are kinds of evergreen promotional videos that can be used on various social pages and even during the conference.

Orange-branded thumbnails of the CMW videos help users to find them easily. 

CMW 2021 YouTube
Branded thumbnails can make your videos more notable

The Twitter page is the center of all updates around the event. The hosts publish up to 10 tweets daily, including retweets and quote ones, with the news, announcements, and helpful articles. 

On Twitter, you can find information about the speakers (they always tag the speaker’s account in the message). The hosts began to publish these updates about two months before the event. To keep things intriguing, the most famous speakers are presented later. 

The Twitter CMW page, as well as their YouTube, is full of helpful marketing content. For example, you can find loads of posts with links to the CMI blog posts. This content saves the page from being over-promotional during the pre-campaign and retains followers who are interested in marketing at all, not the conference only. 

Besides, there are several special events that the CMI hosts before the conference. For instance, they provide Twitter marketing chats and YouTube video podcasts. As a rule, their presenters and guests are the speakers of this year at the same time. 

It is a great way to mention the event incidentally. In the captions on YouTube, you can find the links to guests’ social pages and the ones to the registration page where you can get your pass on their session on CMW 2021.  

Marketing outcome 

  • Suit up your content with branded accessories

The CMW hosts use brand color everywhere — on thumbnails of the videos, a logo, and visuals. As a quick point, the organizers appreciate when the attendees wear this color during the conference. It makes the pre-campaign brighter and notable. Use this approach to highlight the posts dedicated to the event among regular ones.

Also, the conference has an official branded hashtag — #CMWorld. An additional one — #orange — is used by hosts, participates, and speakers, too. 

Topic cloud in Awario
Topic cloud of CMW 2021. Screenshot from Awario

Branded hashtags are the keywords that help find your event on social media quickly. Be sure people will use it after the event to search photos and videos from there. Besides, many of them will post your hashtags on their pages, too.

For instance, on Instagram, there are already 16 942 posts with #CMWorld. It is user-generated content mostly.      

Influencer marketing

When you prepare an industry-specific event, your speakers always turn into your influencers. They surely will tell their following all about their appearance at the conference.

The CMW is not an exception. Since it is a marketing event, they have a privilege of true professionals such as Andrew Davis and Carla Johnson as influencers

Awario revealed dozens of influencers who mentioned the conference in their tweets. The majority of them join the event as speakers.

Influencers report in Awario
CMW 2021 was mentioned by dozens of marketing influencers on Twitter. Screenshot from Awario

 Also, the CMW was mentioned by marketing agencies, marketing automation providers, and industry media outlets. The most of mentions were published on personal Twitter pages. It always works better because looks more genuine and convincing for users.

Type of account report in Awario
Screenshot from Awario

Marketing outcome 

  • Use the power of influencer marketing

Promoting industry-specific events through their speakers’ accounts looks seamless. There are high chances that their followers turn into your attendees. 

The CMW team wisely used the power of influencer marketing to boost tickets purchases. For instance, Andrew Davis, one of the notable speakers of the conference, posted the tweet with a discount code.

To cut the long story short

Running an SMM pre-campaign around your event enables you not only to get attendees but also to grow your following. It is a good time to experiment with different kinds of content and to reach out to influencers. Use this time wisely, and you can take your social media marketing to the next level.

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