When Content Marketing World started in 2011, the new Cleveland Convention Center was under construction.
“We were hoping for 100-150 [people] we got 600 people to show up and we said, 'this is something, this could be a thing,” event founder Joe Pulizzi said.
From those humble beginnings, the 2015 edition boasts more than 3,500 people who have come to Cleveland from 53 different countries to hear from 235 speakers.
The convention center they watched go up in those early years, they now fill along with most of the hotels in the city.
It’s an event that has grown as quickly as the very industry it promotes.
“I really believe that Cleveland is the content marketing capital of the world,” Pulizzi said. “We have so many amazing storytellers in this region and I think we're now seeing more and more organizations saying Cleveland, this is a great place to set up camp for content marketing. We're sort of on a crusade right now to get more of those businesses thinking about Cleveland.”
Content Marketing World 2015 is the largest event for marketing practitioners that create content on an ongoing basis to attract and retain customers, Pulizzi said.
“So they’re publishing blogs and websites and podcasts and videos, but instead of advertising against it like media companies do, they're actually trying to create new customers through that. It's one of the fastest growing industries in all of marketing today,” he said.
The Sandusky native has called the Cleveland area home for 20 years now and he said the annual gathering is in the perfect place.
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In the meantime with more than half of those coming to Cleveland this week from outside of the area, they’re exposing the city many people who through social media have a reach well beyond their friends and family.
“We love the fact that if they come to Cleveland, and they can spend some time in our city, they really realize wow, this is something," Pulizzi said. "Then the executives think maybe we should come back here maybe we should do more business here.”
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