Attending a professional conference is a fun and engaging way to energize your career and build professional relationships that will last for years to come.
A great conference will provide you with practical tools and knowledge, teach you about the successes and failures of leaders in your field, and help you discover trends and technologies that are moving your industry forward.
Just as important is the opportunity to expand your network and meet like-minded professionals. Chances are high of coming away with your next job opportunity, friend, business ally – or even all three.
Since content departments are rarely overflowing with budget, you’ll want to choose a conference that provides the most bang for your buck – whether because of its focus, format, size or location.
So without further ado, here are the top 14 conferences to attend in 2020 if you work in the creation, strategy, implementation or management of technical communications.
- ContentTECH Summit (April 20-22, San Diego)
- AIIP Annual Conference (April 23-26, Denver)
- DITA North America (April 27-29, Phoenix)
- Journeys (April 27-29, Phoenix)
- Technical Communication Summit (May 15-18, Bellevue, WA)
- Confab (May 17-20, Minneapolis)
- Omnichannel X (June 8-11, Amsterdam)
- CCMS Link (Date TBA, Montreal)
- CIDM Best Practices (September 21-23, Baltimore)
- LavaCon (October 25-28, Austin)
- tcworld conference (November 3-5, Stuttgart, Germany)
- DITA Europe (November 16-17, Budapest)
- Digital Experience Conference (April 27-29, Washington, DC)
- SDL Connect (October 21-22, Location TBA)
Date: April 20-22, 2020
Location: San Diego, California
Unlike most of the other conferences on this list, ContentTECH Summit is geared towards anyone at the intersection of content, technology and strategy – including directors, VPs and executives in marketing, innovation, demand generation, customer experience and ecommerce.
Attendees will learn from experts in content technology and marketing strategy who will show how the use of new technologies and better processes can help you create, manage, deliver and scale your enterprise content and provide customers with better digital experiences.
AIIP Annual Conference
Date: April 23-26, 2020
Location: Denver, Colorado
The AIIP 2020 Annual Conference is a top choice for information professionals who are running their own business. It’s a great opportunity to meet other business owners in the field, learn from dynamic speakers, and collaborate with like-minded peers who may become professional collaborators
The program focuses on four main themes: business development, professional development, tools of the trade, and personal enrichment. It includes a range of interesting sessions and workshops, with topics ranging from business-planning techniques to opportunities in emerging industries to working in a gig economy.
It’s organized by the Association of Independent Information Professionals, an international network of independent business owners running info-centric business. They provide a variety of services that equip AIIP members for ongoing business success.
An Early Bird Discount is available until January 31, and there are also discounts for students and AIIP members.
DITA North America
Date: April 27-29, 2020
Location: Phoenix, Arizona
Now in its 22nd year, this conference is hosted by the Center for Information Development Management (CIDM) – a member organization that brings together managers in the field of information development to share information about current trends and best practices.
DITA North America is designed for information developers at all stages of DITA implementation, from those exploring new possibilities to those wishing to fine-tune their strategies as they create and manage technical content using XML architectures. It will take place in Phoenix and feature more than 80 presenters and 20 sessions in the Technology Test Kitchen.
If you register for DITA North America, there are discounts available for CIDM members, students and organizations bringing four or more associates. Don’t qualify for any of those them? Use the coupon code Zoomin-2020 and you’ll get $100 off any full-priced registration.
Date: April 27-29, 2020
Location: Phoenix, Arizona
This year’s DITA North America conference is being held in conjunction with CIDM’s new Journeys conference, which will bring together content developers from all areas of business – from marketing to support, from training to documentation. Journeys will focus on ways to meet information needs throughout the entire customer journey, from initial discovery to long-term advocacy.
The two conferences will be co-located in Phoenix and share a keynote presentation, exhibit hall packed with content management solutions, and social and networking events. But they’ll offer separate breakout sessions.
You can register for Journeys or DITA North America separately, but you’ll enjoy a discount if you register for both. Again, there are discounts available for CIDM members, students and organizations bringing four or more associates, and you can use the coupon code Zoomin-2020 to get $100 off any full-priced registration.
Technical Communication Summit
Date: May 15-18, 2020
Location: Bellevue, Washington
Attracting over 600 attendees and 40 exhibitors, this is considered one of the premier conferences for education and networking among technical communicators. This year’s theme is “Career Vision 20/20”, with the goal of helping people at every stage of their tech comm careers.
Sessions at the Technical Communication Summit are offered in a variety of tracks and presentation types, and you can personalize your itinerary based on your specific interests. The following areas will be covered:
- Content Design and Delivery
- Tools and Technologies
- Training Development and Delivery
- Project Management
- Leadership and Career Development.
Meanwhile, in the expo hall, companies will be demonstrating new and exciting products, services, and technologies for the world of technical communication.
The conference is hosted by the Society for Technical Communicators, the world’s largest and oldest professional association dedicated to the advancement of the field of technical communication. They offer educational opportunities, professional certifications, industry publications, a career center, and a global community of over 6,000 technical communicators.
Discounted registration rates are available for STC members, students and retirees.
Date: May 17-20, 2020
Location: Minneapolis, Minnesota
Confab is for people who plan, design, build, or manage content – not just technical communicators, but also content strategists, UX designers, content marketers, writers, editors, content managers, and more. The conference aims to help these professionals make their content better for their users and organizations.
Organized by Brain Traffic, this leading content strategy conference draws attendees from more than 30 countries and every state in the US, including professionals from Fortune 500 brands, retailers, nonprofits, government institutions, and agencies of every size.
The program spans several areas related to content strategy, such as:
- Analytics and performance
- User experience design
- Workflows and stakeholders
- Content design for AI and bots
- Editorial assignments and calendars
- Hiring and staff management
You can register for one, two, three or all four days. Discounts are available for groups of three or more, as well as people working in nonprofits, government, and higher education institutions. Since time and budget don’t come easy, they’ve also created this nifty guide to help you convince your boss to send you to the conference.
Date: June 8-11, 2020
Location: Amsterdam, Netherlands
Omnichannel X is uniquely dedicated to helping organizations build strong personal relationships with their audience. It brings together managers and teams across the four key disciplines needed for omnichannel success: content, design, governance and systems.
Organized by Urbina Consulting and Kunverj, this conference features speakers and brands who will share their success stories, their failures, and techniques they’ve used to orchestrate and personalize content across multiple touchpoints. Topics will range from content strategy to service design, content marketing and UX.
Early Bird Tickets are now available, and there are also discounts for students and groups of three or more.
Date: To be announced
Location: Montreal, Quebec
CCMS Link is an opportunity to get up-close and personal with the people behind the popular IXIASOFT CCMS (component content management system). Attendees can network with the IXIASOFT community as they learn from case studies, workshops and presentations by experts
Registration details aren’t up yet, but you can take a peek at last year’s agenda to see what it’s all about.
CIDM Best Practices
Date: September 21-23, 2020
Location: Baltimore, Maryland
Best Practices is the premier annual conference for managers and senior leaders in information development from across the US and internationally. Another long-standing event organized by CIDM, it’s a great opportunity to build relationships with other professionals and collaborate on industry best practices.
This year’s theme hasn’t been announced yet, but if you’re interested in registering for the conference, they’re offering a special hotel rate until September 1st or until the block of rooms is sold out. There are discounts for students, CIDM members and organizations bringing 4 or more associates – or you can use the coupon code Zoomin-2020 to get $100 off any full-priced registration.
Date: October 25-28, 2020
Location: Austin, Texas
With a name inspired by its Hawaiian roots, the LavaCon content strategy conference helps senior content professionals stay ahead of authoring and publishing technologies. This year’s conference will be hosted in New Orleans, with a focus on unifying content from silos across the enterprise, leveraging new immersive technologies, and creating stellar content experiences.
LavaCon features dozens of industry professionals who share best practices, case studies and unique strategies, and is known as a great opportunity to network with industry peers. There is also an exhibit hall and several fun activities to attend.
Tuition discounts are available, and the first 100 registrants will enjoy Buy One, Get One Free.
Date: November 3-5, 2020
Location: Stuttgart, Germany
tcworld conference is the largest international event in the field of technical communication, catering to both beginners and experienced professionals in the field. It features around 250 lectures, workshops, tutorials and meetups, covering important topics in the field of technical communication, such as:
- Content strategy
- Content design, organization and standardization
- Information products
- Developing and applying terminology
- Optimizing production processes
- Visual design
- Translation and localization
- Quality assurance
- Information logistics
This conference is held in conjunction with the tekom fair, which features 140 international exhibitors serving the creation, management and quality of structured information products.
Registration isn’t open yet, but there will be reduced early registration rates when it opens. You can get a better sense of this conference by checking out last year’s program and speakers.
Date: November 16-17, 2020
Location: Budapest, Hungary
The European equivalent of DITA North America, this CIDM-organized conference offers two days of career-empowering knowledge, networking and strategies to help you create and manage technical content.
This year, DITA Europe will include nearly 50 presenters, 14 sessions in the Technology Test Kitchen, and an exhibit hall packed with the best content management solutions. This is the only DITA conference in Europe, and it’s a great resource for those new to content management and/or DITA, as well as experts who are looking to expand their knowledge.
The dates are yet to be announced, but we can tell you that CIDM members will receive $200 off the conference registration. If you use the coupon code Zoomin-2020, you’ll get $100 off any full-priced registration.
Digital Experience Conference
Date: April 27-29, 2020
Location: Washington, DC
The Digital Experience Conference (formerly known as Gilbane’s Digital Experience Conference) brings together over 750 professionals responsible for top-level digital and customer experiences.
Although technical communication isn’t the focus of this conference, you can meet with and learn from digital experience experts in the fields of technology, marketing and business. It’s hosted by EContent, a leading authority on digital publishing, media and marketing.
Over 25 leading practitioners and executives will speak about how you can provide engaging digital experiences through the creation and management of high-quality content, measurement and analysis of customer interactions, building of consistent user interfaces across channels, and integration with enterprise systems.
In addition, more than 30 top technologies and solutions will be on display in the Customer Solutions Expo. The conference is co-located with three additional conferences – Smart Customer Service, CRM Evolution and SpeechTEK – which “All Access” passholders can attend to learn even more about the tools and technologies available to create great customer experiences.
Date: October 21-22, 2020
Location: To be announced
This conference is geared towards customers, partners and colleagues of SDL – a leading provider of language and content management solutions
SDL Connect is an opportunity to learn about the latest trends, strategies and technologies for creating, analyzing, translating and delivering more content to global audiences. Industry leaders will take to the stage to share best practices, strategies and case studies, and there is also an Innovation Center and breakout sessions.
Registration details aren’t up yet, but we’ll update this article when they are. Last year’s event in San Francisco saw over 400 attendees.
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Last updated: February 6, 2020