If you’re eager for a road trip in 2020, why not visit a new place and learn new stuff about design, content strategy, or digital marketing in the process?
There are hundreds of conferences sprinkled across the United States and around the world that focus on content and content strategy, design and development, accessibility, search engine optimization, and more.
But how do you choose where to put your money and time?
Check out these 13 conferences you won’t want to miss.
If you’re a designer or an aspiring designer, design conferences are an ideal place to rub elbows with peers of all abilities, learn new skills and approaches, and build connections with innovative companies across the country.
An Event Apart
Coders, designers, and content professionals unite! This multi-city conference has been hailed as one of the best and biggest conferences of the year for designers. From Seattle to Washington D.C., An Event Apart offers numerous opportunities in cities across the United States where designers can gather to share ideation, skills, networking, and more. And, a library of the videos are available to all attendees after the event for sharing back at your office.
An Event Apart is also one of the more important design-based conferences that focuses on upcoming trends in digital design and development.
Learn more and book your seat at An Event Apart.
If you’re a subscriber to Smashing Magazine, you know how great the articles and contributor’s thought leadership can be as a designer. Now comes Smashing Conference, a chance to meet these design extraordinaires and learn how to deliver the best possible user experience (UX) to consumers and users. It’s an ideal place to learn front-end skills, security, and interface design patterns.
If you’re on the West Coast, this is right up your alley: SmashingConf SF celebrates its sixth year in 2020.
Learn more and book your seat at Smashing Conference.
AIGA Design Conference
The AIGA Design Conference boasts to be one of the best design and creative conferences around. It brings nearly 100 speakers and thousands of creative folks together for a few days to learn, share, and explore new approaches and ideas to digital design. There are also plenty of opportunities to explore career development and paths to career advancement. If you’re looking to sharpen your eye for design, this is a conference for you.
Learn more and book your seat at AIGA Design Conference.
HOW Design Live
Industry-leading experts present a wide range of topics and attendees get to know designers, digital marketers, business owners, and other creative leaders. Hob-knobbing and elbow-rubbing are encouraged by many social events and roundtable discussions. In fact, attendees gush over the professional connections built during and after the conference. This event is also a great way to explore products and technologies, giving attendees the chance to test-drive new products and tools.
Learn more and book your seat at HOW Design Live.
If you’re more of a wordsmith — from UX writing and microcopy to content strategy to content marketing — there is no shortage of content conferences across the United States. Like the design conferences, content conferences offer networking opportunities, peer learning, and presentations from industry leaders. You’ll also build great opportunities to advance your career and make connections in a growing and ever-shifting industry.
Every spring, Confab in Minneapolis opens its doors to thousands of content experts, from writers to strategists to marketers, and everything in between. Founded and emceed by BrainTraffic CEO and author of Content Strategy for the Web, Kristina Halvorson, this multi-day conference brings in content pros from across the country. Intensive workshops are also available, giving smaller groups a more hands-on approach to perfecting information architecture, personas, user journeys, and content writing.
Learn more and reserve your seat at Confab.
Content Marketing World
Make your way to the city of rock n’ roll with Content Marketing World, held in late summer in Cleveland, Ohio. Hosted by Content Marketing Institute — a leader in know-how for content marketing strategy — this multi-day conference offers more than 120 workshops and presentations from experts in content strategy, storytelling, marketing, and more. More than 3,700 people attended in 2018, and the numbers of content folks who attend keep growing. Stick around for their celebrity keynote speaker, too.
Learn more and reserve your seat at Content Marketing World.
(Formerly Intelligent Content Conference)
Also sponsored by Content Marketing Institute, the ContentTECH Summit (formerly the Intelligent Content Conference) is all about strategizing content at scale, especially for large industries and organizations with complex software. The ContentTECH Summit focuses on technology and innovations for delivering content in new ways. It boasts its speakers as “trailblazing pioneers who are not just traveling the new content roads – but paving them.”
Learn more and reserve your seat at ContentTech.
Call To Action (CTA) Conference
Brought to you by the creative minds at Unbounce, an innovative landing page and online advertising tech company, comes Call to Action Conference. In September, the Call To Action Conference will find its visitors in Vancouver, Canada. You’ll get familiar with new strategies in content, social, email and digital marketing. From the broad range of topics, sessions, and presentations to networking opportunities with digital professionals from around the globe, CTA Conference is a popular destination you won’t want to miss.
Learn more and reserve your seat at Call To Action Conference.
If SEO, social media, and marketing principles are more your speed, these conferences have a perfect home for you and your team. Like other conferences, it’s a chance to network with other digital professionals and share strategies, ideas, and approaches to achieving more in an evermore Google-first world.
If you’re in the digital world and you’ve not heard of Moz, we’re here to help. MozCon is the annual digital marketer’s ultimate conference. Held each year in Seattle, Washington, you’ll start your multi-day experience with sessions led by industry leaders inside and outside Moz, as well as with some of Moz’s prestigious partners and sponsors. At night, you’ll socialize with other professionals during activities and events.
If you’re trying to grow your knowledge of all things digital marketing — SEO, paid advertising, pay-per-click, or just the shift in algorithms and technology — MozCon is a conference you’ll want to check for yourself.
Learn more and reserve your seat at MozCon.
SMX (Search Marketing Expo)
Wherever you are in the world, SMX is here for you. Held throughout the year and sponsored by Search Engine Land — a formidable expert for keeping a finger on the pulse of search’s little shifts — the SMX conference focuses on “white hat” SEO tactics, so you won’t find any sneaky rule breakers here. It’s diverse training and multiple opportunities for networking makes this one of the more highly attended (and sought after) conferences for SEO experts around the globe.
Their tagline? “You’re obsessed with SEO. We are, too.”
Learn more and reserve your seat at Marketing Land.
Get a taste of Hollywood, digital marketing, and anything else that calls to you at HubSpot’s INBOUND conference. Taking place in Boston, Massachusetts, this multi-day event brings in Hollywood actors, comedians, and producers who make an appearance along with (of course) industry leaders for digital marketing. With more than 24,000 attendees from more than 100 countries around the globe, this event is one of the highest attended digital conferences in the market. You’ll get inspired, educated, and ready to tackle your next big idea with help from INBOUND’s four-day experience.
Learn more and reserve your seat at INBOUND.
Social Media Marketing World
If wrangling the perils of social media’s ever-fluctuating environment and algorithms are more your speed, Social Media Marketing World is the conference you’ve been seeking. Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, and more are represented with industry experts, along with forward-thinking agency professionals from MarketingProfs, Social Media Examiner and more. This conference brings social media coordinators and professionals up to speed on the latest changes, return on investment (ROI) opportunities, and other tricks that help businesses and brands of all sizes take advantage of social media’s reach power.
Learn more and reserve your seat at Social Media Examiner.
The Adobe Summit is all about digital experience, no matter where your background or what you do day-to-day. Hollywood, professional sports, and big names like Microsoft and Adobe bring inspiring thought leaders to lead sessions and labs for attendees from around the world. The networking potential is high at this event, as well as the opportunity to connect with major brands and providers of marketing technology and services. No matter what industry you’re in — from healthcare to government to higher education to retail — there are sessions and breakouts that will not only inspire you, but connect you with others for peer sharing and learning.
Learn more and reserve your seat at Adobe.
Don’t Miss Your Opportunity
Whether you’re self-employed or you work within an organization or agency, don’t miss your opportunity to attend one of these events and advance your skills, imagination, and opportunities. While the conferences vary in price, length, and location, there are plenty of reasons to convince your manager (or yourself) why attending an industry conference is a good idea.
On top of your own learning, it’s a great way to share what you learned when you get back. And, most conferences offer slides of the sessions at the end of the conference or shortly after, so you can refresh your mind with what you learned or take a peek at any sessions you may have missed.
Written By Erin Schroeder
Erin Schroeder is a senior content strategist and writer at Geonetric, where she helps healthcare brands organize user-first websites, content marketing, and brand messaging. As a former journalist, she never lost her love to write. You'll also see her articles on content strategy and user experience around the web, including UX Collective, UX Booth, and Prototypr.