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Content Marketing World is leaving Cleveland for a new experience next year in Washington, DC

CLEVELAND, Ohio — Content Marketing World, one of Cleveland’s largest business conferences, is heading to Washington, DC next year for what organizers say will be a new experience for attendees.

The announcement came Friday as this year’s four-day event, attended by about 1,500 to 2,000 people, wrapped up at the downtown Huntington Convention Center. Organizers haven’t ruled out returning to Cleveland in the future.

The conference for creatives, content producers and marketing professionals has begun in 2010 after Joe Pulizzi founded the Content Marketing Institute. For the first event, he reserved a room that could accommodate 125 people at the Cleveland Renaissance Hotel.

Instead, 600 people from around 25 countries took part. “It was a miracle,” Pulizzi told in 2019. “But it worked.”

The conference has been held in Cleveland every year since then, with two exceptions. It went virtual in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic and was held in Columbus in 2012.

Event general manager Stephanie Stahl said organizers “have had nothing but amazing experiences here in Cleveland.” Destination Cleveland, the Huntington Convention Center and nearby hotels have all been great partners, she said.

But because the event has so many alumni, who attend year after year, she said they felt it was time for a change so they could give attendees a new experience.

The event will take place in Washington from September 26 to September 29, 2023. Stahl said Washington DC would not become a permanent host. She said Cleveland could be a host in the future, but as of Friday they had no plans to move past 2023.

Stahl said this year’s conference, just the second since the COVID-19 pandemic began, was incredible.

“I’m grateful for the times we’ve had here,” she added.

The event has drawn thousands of people to the city in recent years and attracts celebrity speakers for each lecture. Tina Fey, William Shatner and Mindy Kaling have been guest speakers in the past. This year, comedian Hasan Minhaj and Cleveland Hustles host Bonin Bough were the keynote speakers.

The Content Marketing Institute was purchased for $17.6 million in 2016 and is now part of Informa, an international events, digital services and academic knowledge group headquartered in the UK.

Stahl said the Content Marketing Institute has a remote workforce, with people working in Ohio and other states like New York and California. Employees were working from home even before the pandemic.

The conference has made Cleveland the center of the content marketing industry and the professionals who work there every year.

Content marketing, oversimplified, is about creating content such as articles and podcasts for their potential customers. A local example is the Cleveland Clinic’s Health Essentials blog, which has been providing expert answers to health questions since 2012.

Marketing and PR professionals come together in workshops and dozens of focused sessions. Some workshops focus on business skills and social media marketing. Others focus on audio experiences and “creative pumps”.