After my recent blogs on virtual meetings, Kristin Zurovitch, Director of Marketing at Sonic Foundry, a tech company in Madison, Wisconsin got in touch with me to suggest ways that you can follow up your meeting – whether virtual or face-to-face – to increase the likelihood that your event will be remembered, acted upon, and made generally worthwhile. And to create buzz for your next event. It's a perennial worry for conference people: how do you keep the interest alive so that the meeting has power long after it's over?
I liked the list, so here goes on the best ideas that came out of the discussion with Kristin and her colleagues at Sonic Foundry. Thanks, all!
Use that social media — it's why they call it social. Share your content via social media, in blog comments and via discussion forums. Tweeting a title and link to the content a day, week or even a month later broadens your reach and exposes more people to what was shared at your event. Promoting short 5-10 minute videos from the content also gives people a quick look at what’s being discussed. The more you remind people about what happened, the more they will engage in the content and remember your event beyond those days on site. Continue throughout the year or until your next event.
Crowdsource it! Don't try to be smarter than they are. You can use viewer statistics to determine what were the most popular or most viewed presentations or parts of presentations. Share these favorite presentations (e.g. “Top 5 Sessions at ABC Conference”) through newsletters and email campaigns to let people know what they missed. Viewership stats may also uncover hot themes and presentation topics based on what your audience wants – helping you build a session and speaker lineup for your next event.
Continue the dialogue. Let them carry on the work. Spark team discussions by encouraging attendees (either remote or on-site) to go home and watch sessions of interest with their colleagues and discuss. Posting content to online discussions, websites, forums, LinkedIn, etc. will also get the content in front of a much larger audience. Maybe even choose a session for a tweet chat.
Offer free content. Give something back. Promote recorded sessions as on-demand webinars on your homepage and require people to register so you’ll have their name and permission to contact them about the next conference. Make sure that all such approaches are ‘opt-in’.
Increase registration – for better luck next time. Hold a countdown campaign to your event by sharing content from the previous year. Making select presentations available for free and promoting them as a sample catalogue will entice prospective attendees to attend next year, either remotely or on-site. Linking screen grabs of the videos in blog posts, newsletters and email campaigns is a good way to visually generate interest when you’re talking about the event.
How have you kept the buzz going about your event or conference long after the fact? What are the best ways to engage people over the long haul?