Wednesday, December 12, 2012

The 12 Days of Conference - Day Two

As we prepare for 2013 I am hosting a series of blog posts called "The 12 Days of Conference".  Each day a different expert from the meeting, convention planning, speaking and hotel industries will add their single best idea on how to create better events or other tips for how to improve the "Conference Attendee Experience" in the new year.

Content Is King
By Craig Price

People want to know what they’re going to get and what they got from your event. They want information in hand, on the cloud, and the second they want it. Yet conferences are still keeping information from their attendees.

Look at how conferences are promoted.  Most events will offer up agendas, speaker bios and short program descriptions to lure attendees; but is that enough?

How about getting your presenters to create short content-packed videos that show what they’re going to talk about?

Why not provide in-depth interviews in the form of podcasts or videos that will highlight aspects of your various breakout sessions or keynote options?

Don’t worry about giving away too much content. That is the point! Attendees want content BEFORE they make decisions, and BEFORE they spend their hard earned money on a conference registration fee. In fact, they expect this information.

Give it to them.

Allow potential attendees to get excited about coming to your event. Give them things they can spread and share with others (some of whom might be harder to convince) see the quality of the content you offer. You want people to look forward to coming and not wonder if this event will be as good/bad as last years or another conference. People need to see your event as “can’t miss”, and they won’t unless you show them what they are missing!

After the conference information is still just as important as it was before and during the event. You want to bridge the conference you just had with other events you offer as well as build excitement towards next year’s conference.

Do you offer handouts and slides on your conference website so people can access them whenever they need them? This is so they can share them with colleagues or other potential attendees who will see what they missed.

Do you offer your community a way to tell others how awesome your event was? For example, encourage discussions on LinkedIn forums, Google+ hangouts or post-conference webinars where attendees share what they have learned.

Most importantly, are you making all this great information available to everyone?

Far too often, organizations hide their information behind “member’s only” sections thinking that people will join to get all this great information; you should look at it the other way.  People will join BECAUSE of all this great information.

Stop thinking of information as the reward for attending and start to think of it as proof of attending. Allow your conference to be the hub for your industry where people come to learn, share information, and engage. The more you give, the more people will want to get. As a result, more people will understand the importance of your conference and look forward to returning, year after year.

Craig Price specializes in distilling conferences down into actionable items with his Conference Recaps.  He works with meeting planners and conference organizers to maximize their attendees “Return on Attendance

He can be reached at his website or  

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