Type here to search
Training & Development

CMALive17: A Review & the Big Takeaways

article featured image


Hey, so I wanted to do a quick review of CMA Live 2017, which I’ve just come back from. Feeling exhausted from it, to be honest because there was so much learning to be done, so much, just, value got from that event. Of course, also catching up with lots of friends, making new friends. Just tonnes of great people, great things to do.

I’ll just go through the event. It was just two days, one track, so you didn’t have to choose between the talks, which I love. It always stresses me out when you go to an event and there’s like four or five tracks, it’s like, they’re giving you more value but actually you always miss loads of stuff and feel really bad about it. I know there’s recordings but do you ever watch recordings? No.

We had Chris Ducker kicking it off. Chris was great as usual. Well, Chris Marr kicked it off, Chris Marr, the organiser. Inspired us, motivated us right at the start, but right into Chris Ducker who took us into his approach to live video and how that’s used for launches. Something really actionable, really useful stuff right at the start. Kicked us into it and started off with a really motivational, actionable talk. Which was really good. His usual energy as well. Good to see Chris is coming back to the UK quite soon, too, so we’ll be seeing a lot more of him in the near future, I’m sure.

Then we’re into Col Grey and Ross Coverdale who did a lightening talk around how they put together the CMA branding. I just love the fact that they were talking about the fact that it was about being them … It was about finding, really, something that reflect personality, truth, you know, the honest view of who Chris Marr is, the organiser of CMA Live and how that reflects, or how the community reflects on it too. The personality of the community itself and how that should be shown in the branding too, and it can be much more honest, basically.

We had Roger after that. I did a lot of live recordings for the event. I did some live broadcasting on Spreaker and I asked a bunch of people who they thought the best speaker was at the end of day one, and so many people said Roger Edwards, which is great, because I know Roger well. He’s an active member of both CMA and Youpreneur as well. He’s just … He brought so much energy to it. Talking about using your own voice, about getting rid of jargon and just being yourself on your website and your own marketing and how that can help you so much. It was just great to see Roger just delivering a killer talk. It was just so good, so motivational there.

Then we had Yva, Yva Yorston, who was talking about the power of community. Her take-away really was that she has got so much from communities like CMA, like Youpreneur, like lots of places out there where people just, you know, supportive, helpful, motivational. That’s something I took actually that I’m going to try to do a lot more of in the near future, is get much more involved in these communities because I’m a member of a few. I just don’t do enough. I don’t give enough. I can’t expect to get anything from them. I need to do a bit more of that in future.

Then we had Stefan, of course Stefan’s always great. Just talking about his expertise which is networking, and how that all comes together. How you really use that network of people that you … That’s a bad word for it, not use. How you develop a network of people who you, you give to it and it gives back to you naturally. It was great to see Stefan speak, he’s a good guy.

We had after that Sharon Menzies who is a lightening speaker. Inspirational story around how she’s built her company and the assistance she’s got from Warren as well obviously. Just great to see people … Sharon’s a member of the CMA community and see how progress she’s made in the last little while as well, is just … It was an inspiration, I think it touched a lot of people. There was a personal story in there too, which, yeah … It was quite powerful. It was great to see her doing that, delivering it in such a good way.

Doug Kessler after that. We had moved at this point to an afternoon of swearyness, shall we say. Doug Kessler kicked it off and then we had Cara after that. Cara is usually, maybe, the sweary member of the CMA community, but actually it was a … Her presentation was great. A brilliant presentation about how to deal with criticism, about trolling online, and she was actually by far the cleanest of all of the afternoon speakers, despite her reputation online.

After her was Erika Napoletano who did a talk around how to own your brand, how to talk in your own voice. It was her and Doug together really … Talked about … The message there was, even if you don’t necessarily want to swear in your branding … You don’t want to use F-words, C-words, whatever, in your brand and your marketing and your copy … Talk in your own voice. Talk how you talk, you know, be yourself much more. Be more honest. It was kind of harking back to what Roger said earlier on too, so I took a lot from that about trying to just speak more like myself and not use jargon and just be human basically.

That was the end of day one. Great day of learning. Again, it was just, “Speak in my own voice,” was the lessons I took from that. That night we went into the social which was at a gin bar. It’s owned by the West End of Edinburgh. Great fun catching up with people. Meeting some great new people and everything. Didn’t go too bad though.

Didn’t go too late to go into day two, which was kicked off again by Chris, Chris Marr, and led into Mark Schaefer. Now Mark Schaefer is always just great. Mark Schaefer said afterwards, actually … I had a quick chat with him and he said that it was one of the first times he’d delivered that talk. It was funny because, thinking about it, I’ve seen him speak a few times before and you could tell it was less … What is the word? See, what I was going to say there was like, polished, than his normal. There were a few kind of, little jitters and backs and forth and stuff like that, but it wasn’t in any way bad. It was funny, it was just … It was a demonstration, I think, of how pro and how experienced Mark Schaefer is that you could tell that it was a slightly newer talk but actually it was just as compelling, as engaging, as amazing as normal. He’s just such a good speaker.

Even though it was the first time … Maybe it wasn’t quite as slick, that’s maybe the word, as his other ones. It was almost more human, actually, because he did kind of jump back and forth a wee bit more, and … But it was just amazing, and he brought up a case study at the end in the form of two people: Pete Matthew and John Esperion, who he’s worked with. It was all around his newest book, Known, and about how to be known online. About finding the place that you can leverage the best. About finding the platform that you can leverage the most, a platform that you like the most. Whether that is podcasting, video, or blogging. And about then going all in and finding your niche. About where your most … Your personality, you expertise, your background. All the skills that you have tied together from personal side to hobbies to work. How they all tie together to give you a really unique niche that you can own and be really well-known in.

Then after that, we’re on to Andrew and Pete who are always great fun. Hilarious talk as always. Just love Andrew and Pete, they’re so good, and what they do … So much energy, so much enthusiasm, and they were talking about a content marketing matrix, you might want to call it. I’m sure if you tweet Andrew and Pete online they’ll send you the download that they gave out at the talk, or they said they would give out after the talk. That was kind of a matrix that you can walk through to make sure your message is there, and you can reach out and create compelling content marketing.

Then we’re on to Pam Laird and the story around her building the salon that she works in, the team that she works with, and allowing her team to have their own voices, really, about how to attract the perfect client. Get rid of the bad client, attract the great clients, all through, again, having your own voice, being honest, being human! You attract the right people towards you. By doing that you repel some people, sure, but that’s good. You repel the “Bettys”, she called them. They were the burdensome, terrible clients you just don’t want, and attract the Bernies, who are her favourite clients.

Finally, before lunch we had Janet Murray who is from Soulful PR. Janet’s great. Janet’s always brilliant. She talks about PR, to grow our brands. She calls it the missing piece of our content marketing and I think she’s absolutely right! We can sometimes disregard the newspapers, the radio, the TV as kind of a … Either it’s traditional, old-fashioned, it’s not where we want to be, or it’s where we’d love to be but it’s too hard to get into. She shows how both of those are not true and how it’s easier to get into both, all three of those mediums, than we think, and showed how to do it as well. Go and check out Soulful PR if you want some tips there. She’s got a podcast over there which gives all of the normal … All of the tips that she gave in that talk and much more as well.

After the lunch we’re into the final leg of the session. Started off with Karen Reyburn who’s a great member of CMA. Talking through her experience of content marketing. Shared some great stories in there. It was just … Just so relaxed on the stage? It was just great to see Karen talking.

Then onto George B. Thomas. Brought his normal energy. I really enjoyed this one actually, because George was talking about tools so it was right down from … There was some quite high-level, motivational talks throughout the session, but this one was really, it was tactical. It was tools-based. It was actionable. It was, “These are the things you can use and do,” and it was geeky, basically, which appeals to me obviously. George is just hilarious, too. He’s so funny. You can’t help but be motivated by him because of the energy he brings to the stage, too.

Finally we had our last two talks, one of which was “secret” before we popped in there. It turned out that it was Marcus Sheridan’s daughter, who is 16, who’s been on a journey with him in the last year or so. More than that maybe, two years, I think, actually she said? She was talking about not being afraid to just do things. Not being afraid to try things, just jumping in feet-first. It was great actually, I was looking over at Marcus as she was going it and I’ve got a daughter as a few of you will know, just two and a half. I was watching Marcus, just curious what it would feel like to have a daughter doing something like that. He was wiping tears from his eyes. I can just imagine how he felt, seeing my own daughter … It was amazing seeing, actually. She did so well. Everybody loved it. It was actually really useful too, the message that she gave. It wasn’t just a gimmick. It was a genuinely good talk that she delivered.

Finally, of course the man himself. Marcus has been to CMA before, delivered a workshop two years ago and a talk that just went down a storm, motivated so many people, and he didn’t fail to do it over again. Again, it was just all about how to really get your message out there, just to make a massive impact with your content marketing. He finished it off so well, just on such a high as he could be … Only Marcus could be expected to do.

The event was just brilliant as always. I’ve told Chris at the end the talks were amazing, the atmosphere is amazing. He’s brought together such a group of people in that community and that feeds directly into the event itself as well, into CMA Live. If you’ve not been to the event so far, it’s one you need to put in your calendar, whether you’re in the UK, easy for you to get here. If you’re in the US, Australia, it’s worthwhile come to.

I’ve been to a lot of events in the last few years. Been Social Media Marketing World earlier this year, ProBlogger last year, Podcast Movement … A lot of big events. This is, it ranks in the best of them. It’s the best event I’ve been to, seriously. I’m not just saying that because I’m a part of the community or because I know Chris or … It’s genuinely the quality of the speakers, the atmosphere, the motivation that’s … Just the encouragement that’s brought from the people that attend it. It’s just one of the best events out there. You need to get there next year. Same time next year in 2018 and I’ve bought my ticket for it already and it’s only three days after it, so …

That’s my roundup of CMA Live ’17. I’m still decompressing, still processing what I’m actually going to do with it. One of the main things is I need to get more involved in the community. I need to get back in there and start giving more and get to know everyone in there again. There’s so many people in that community now that I actually don’t know because I’ve not been involved in the last six months, and I feel bad about that.

CMA Live ’17. Get involved. Congratulations to Chris, to Vicki who is one of the main organisers too. To Cara who is also one of the organisers, and everyone else that’s involved as well, of whom, I’m sure there’s lots. And all of the community there. All my friends and new friends and all of the great people that got involved, thank you for such a great few days, and for the croaky voice that I’m speaking with right now, which you can probably hear.

I said a quick video? 15 minutes? Nevermind. Too enthusiastic!

Talk to you next time. I’ll see you in Edinburgh, June 2018 for CMA Live 2018.

best podcast tools

Your next read

What are the best podcasting tools out there?

Read more