It may seem incredible that 2018 is just mere weeks away (where did this year go?) but along with the new year comes new opportunities to grow as marketers and brand storytellers

One of my favorite ways to immerse myself in this process--and squeeze in some all-important networking--is to attend a few major content marketing conferences.

While you may have noticed that there's no shortage of conferences all across the country, the greatest events align the most innovative minds in marketing speaking (or moderating panels) on content strategy, social media, technology, metrics, case studies, and trends.

The big ideas and insights I glean often help jump start my own, and I leave armed with powerful tools and strategies to share with my content company's clients.  

While there are nuggets of knowledge to be discovered at any conference you attend, the six I've spotlighted here are the mother lode of marketing knowledge, innovations, and conversation. Book your ticket--and tweet me at @mastheadmedia.com if you're heading out!

CES

For more than 50 years, CES (Consumer Electronics Show) has been the conference to attend if you want to see new technology first. The VCR, DVD player, and consumer 3D printers all made their debuts at CES; it's basically a preview of technology you'll have in your home or be using for your brand a few years from now. CES put a special focus on how technology affects consumer behavior in marketing and the entertainment industry with C-Space--a section of CES that premiered in 2015. This program is invaluable to content marketers, and features speakers from industry giants like Google, Hulu, NBCUniversal, Nielsen, A&E, and eBay, and education tracks dedicated to digital reality (think VR, AR, and AI), marketing, entertainment, and music.

January 9 - 12, 2018, Las Vegas, NV

Intelligent Content Conference

I can't emphasize enough how important it is for brands to have a content strategy, and Intelligent Content Conference focuses on just that. Geared toward marketing professionals, this conference teaches how to scale content, leverage technology in marketing efforts, repurpose existing content, and hone in on an audience. Think of it as Content Strategy 101--and be prepared to come away from it with plenty of homework for your brand.

March 20 - 22, 2018, Las Vegas, NV

Social Media Week

Celebrating its tenth anniversary in 2018, Social Media Week is so much more than just Twitter bootcamp. The conference always has cutting edge news on technology surrounding social media for brands (think   chatbots, AI, and VR), and provides valuable insights into social media trends (including how to navigate influencer marketing and the dreaded pay-for-play model that seems to be taking over). Headline speakers for #SMWNYC2018 include Vimeo CEO Anjali Sud, Diageo CMO James Thompson, and Verizon CMO John Nitti.

April 24 - 27, New York, NY

MozCon

Whether SEO (search engine optimization) and CRO (conversion rate optimization) mystify you or drive your content strategy, you're going to want to sign up for   MozCon.

This conference fills your marketing toolkit with tactics to improve your brand's search ranking and to use data to help in content creation. There will be a lot of technical information coming your way during the conference, but no need to spend it furiously typing notes--part of the registration fee includes a recording of all of the MozCon speakers so you can review when you return

July 9 - 11, 18, Seattle

Content Marketing World

Two mega-conferences at the same time? Why must you do this to us, Inbound and Content Marketing World? Fortunately, there's no wrong choice between the two, as both provide impressive speakers and incredible networking. If you want to focus on brand storytelling or, naturally, content marketing, head to Cleveland for CMW, which has over 120 sessions and workshops on content strategy, metrics, content marketing trends, and new innovations in branded content.

September 4-7, 2018, Cleveland, OH

Inbound

Bringing together both sales and marketing professionals, Inbound Boston aims to help you unleash the power of your brand through all areas of the customer experience. Presented by HubSpot, the conference includes over 250 breakout sessions, along with speakers spanning the marketing, entertainment, political, and editorial sectors. While the 2018 speaker lineup has yet to be announced, Inbound set the speaker bar pretty high in 2017 with a keynote address about women's empowerment from Michelle Obama.

September 4-7, 2018, Boston, MA

Published on: Dec 4, 2017
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.