I had the pleasure of speaking at the CMS Expo last week in Chicago. This was the first time I had attended this conference I was not sure what to expect. I was pleasantly surprised at how great it was.
The CMS Expo is a learning and business conference devoted to Content Management Systems and website services. It features a number of tracks centered around business and technology themes. The five tracks at this year's conference were Joomla, WordPress, Drupal, Plone, and Business. I'm still working on getting them to feature my favorite CMS next time. The first four tracks were specifically focused on the respective CMS featured while the business track covered marketing, research, best practices, social media, and other business-specific topics.
I gave two presentations for the business track: “7 Habits of Highly Effective Websites” and “Twitter for Business”. Both went very well and got great feedback. It was a great crowd and I had lots of excellent questions and discussion.
Here is what I liked about the CMS Expo:
- Everyone was extremely friendly and outgoing
- The speakers were great
- The conference website was very useful and well done
- The facility (Hotel Orrington) was excellent
- The organizers really put on a great event with lots of networking
- It is expensive, which means higher-quality businesses in attendance (yes, I liked this)
The only thing I didn't like so much was the fact that everything tended to run late so I had to cut both of my sessions a little shorter but this was a fairly minor issue.
I attended some great sessions on Google Analytics and market research and had a great time meeting new people. Those who are more interested in technical tracks, especially related to one of the feature open-source CMSs, would find the material very valuable. I poked my head into a few of these sessions and also noticed lots of positive Twitter chatter about these tracks. Many of the speakers at the CMS Expo were original founders and developers of some of the CMSs represented.
The attendance at the 2010 CMS Expo was around 400 and and it also included a full group of great exhibitors who did a fantastic job of marketing themselves and contributing to the environment. They were even giving away iPads! I was also interested to see so many speakers and attendees from far away places, including France, and Norway.
The climate of the conference was definitely one of fun, learning, and helping others and it was a pleasure to be a part of it. John and Linda Coonen (CMS Expo founders) did a wonderful job and I look forward to next year's event.
If you work in marketing and/or technology, consider attending next year's CMS Expo. It will be well worth your time.