I’m a conference junkie. I find conferences to be inspiring and engaging. I love the networking. I love the expo halls. I love the swag. I love the keynotes. I love meeting new people and finding out that you face the same challenges in the workplace. I love learning.

If you have money in your budget to attend a conference, I recommend you take advantage of it. But there are so many conferences for marketers that it’s sometimes hard to choose which one will be best. I’ve been searching for conferences for myself and my staff, so I thought I’d also compile a list for you. I’ve picked these conferences based on the value for the cost, relevance to our work in the library world, and the reputation of the organizers.

An apology for my international audience: this year’s list includes only American-based conferences. That’s because I can’t vet the international offerings. But… please let me know about great conferences in  your area or country in the comments so I can add them to the list. Include the conference URL and your recommendation if you’ve attended. I’ll cite you as my source.

In addition, there are some great library marketing conferences in the works for November and December but details are not yet available yet. I’ll add them to the list later in the year, so you may want to bookmark this post.

Social Media Marketing World
March 20-22, 2019
San Diego, CA
If you have the budget and social media is a huge part of your library’s work, this is THE conference to attend in 2019. Every one of the experts in the field of social media will be there, including Jay Baer, Mari Smith, and Ann Handley. You will learn everything you ever need to know about social media and all the platforms. It’s an expensive ticket ($1537 for the All Access pass) but the Marketer pass gets you into everything you’ll need at a $997 price point. In past years, I’ve purchased the Virtual pass. It’s $697 and gets you recordings of all sessions and workshop. That’s still a great deal.

Government Social Media Conference
April 2-4, 2019
Nashville, Tennessee
#GSMCON2019 is for people who manage social media accounts for government agencies, like the library. You’ll learn strategy, video production, and the latest trends in social media. The full ticket registration is $795 and the deadline to register is Feb. 28. It includes breakfast and lunch and a virtual pass. The virtual pass by itself costs just $225, and gives you access to video or audio recordings of most sessions along with speaker slides–a great deal for budget-strapped libraries. I’m sending one of my staff members to this conference.

Vidcon
July 10-13
Anaheim, CA
My husband attends this conference every year and he works in the health care industry at a non-profit children’s hospital. Last year, when he got home, he put together a lunch and learn to share his experience with his co-workers. He raves about it. There are tons of sessions that focus on video, from production to promotion. It’s packed with YouTube stars and they’re not all teenagers (but we can learn a lot from young folks!). Tickets are cheap–the creator pass is $175 through April 1. Your major expense will be the flight. My husband stays in an AirBnB near the convention center to save on hotel costs.

IDEAL ’19: Advancing Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, and Accessibility in Libraries & Archives
August 6-7, 2019
Columbus, Ohio

There is a movement in the library world to add more diversity and inclusion to libraries, and this conference is the perfect place to be educated on library diversity issues. Key speakers include Kimberle Crenshaw, professor of Law at UCLA and Columbia Law School and an authority in Civil Rights, and journalist Nikole Hannah-Jones who covers racial injustice for The New York Times Magazine. Register by April 30 for $200. After that, the rate is $250 and registration closes on July 1.

Content Marketing World
Sept. 4-5, 2019
Cleveland, Ohio

You’ve heard me rave about this one before. Last year, a group of seven library marketers joined me and it was SO MUCH FUN. CMWorld has tons of sessions for marketers of all levels and interests. There are sessions on SEO, internal communications, video, social media, strategy, and artificial intelligence. The networking potential is amazing. Super early bird rates for the main conference are $1099 and end Feb. 28, then the price goes up to $1299 until May 31. I know that’s steep for most libraries. However, if you email the organizers and ask for the nonprofit discount, you can get a percentage off the Main Conference ticket. That brings the price into the affordable range, about $800. There are also all-access and special industry forums that cost extra if you have the budget.

Library Marketing and Communications Conference
Nov. 13-14, 2019
St. Louis, Missouri

Confession: I’ve never been to this one, and I’ve always wanted to go. Our library’s conference budget is tight and I’ve always had to choose between CMWorld and this one. But I might not have to this year (fingers crossed!). I’ve heard great things about this conference. There are tracks on social media, graphic design, strategy, and more. Plus, the networking capabilities are phenomenal.  The conference sold out in 2018. Registration for this year has not yet begun but make sure you sign up for the email list so you can get notifications when it opens.

Subscribe to this blog and you’ll receive an email every time I post. To do that, click on “Follow” button in the bottom left-hand corner of the page. Connect with me on Twitter, Snapchat, and LinkedIn. I talk about library marketing on all those platforms!