Leveraging Your Events and Speakers for Continued Engagement

Share |

A recently completed local film festival has taken their most popular film and scheduled it again for June 12. "We're happy to announce our upcoming June Year-Round lineup featuring two Festival encores and a new selection," they write.

Publishers should follow a similar path for anything that strongly resonates at their events. Too many times we just take a deep breath and move on, failing to seize on that momentum moving forward. 

The SIPA Annual 2018 Conference is now less than two weeks away—have you signed up yet?—and one thing SIPA staff will be thinking of during the conference is how to keep the momentum going afterwards.

Here are some ways to keep the knowledge, momentum, group-think and goodwill you build up at an event going after it's over.

Create a webinar series based on the best content. The Public Library Association sent this out: "The PLA 2016 Conference was an extraordinary learning experience for public librarians, with over 8,000 attendees and more than 100 educational sessions presented. If you weren't able to make it to Denver this year or missed out while you were there, PLA has taken three of the top sessions from the conference and transformed them into live, one-hour webinars."

Ask speakers to present their sessions as the beginning, not the end, of the learning conversation. Instruct them to end their session with a "call to action" or "next step" for attendees. During the closing general session, announce a learning challenge or a new initiative based on something from the event. Center it around a new approach to a thorny hot topic or the first steps to developing a new habit. Be action-oriented.

Send out recorded presentations and panels—in easily consumable pieces. The odds are not high of most attendees going back on their own to review a presentation or speaker from an event. So it's up to you to slice, dice and refresh these. Consider releasing the audio or video replays you have one by one at a steady cadence to remind your attendees of the valuable insight they got at your event and the sessions they couldn't attend—and show non-attendees what they missed.

Request photos or videos. The Canadian Society of Association Executives asks its National Conference attendees to share their videos and photos with the association. CSAE then incorporates them into the post-conference content it develops. This can be done in an announcement at an opening session.

Involve conference sponsors and/or exhibitors in your post-conference learning plan. How could they contribute their specific talents? Could they provide a year-round sponsorship instead of an event-based sponsorship? Come up with a knowledge chart with contributions from all your vendors to send out.

Repackage presentation content. Your presentations should live on. Package them in a variety of formats to get more out of them—and give your attendees more options. Turn them into infographics, blog posts or audio for podcasts. (Business Management Daily's Adam Goldstein says they still "do a healthy business with [post-webinar] CDs.") One member told me that summaries are often much easier—and faster—for her to consume than videos. Transcription services can be cheap and worthwhile.

Create online discussion groups through Facebook or LinkedIn. Instead of a popular speaker handing out cards after her session, she could take cards to give to staff to start a special discussion group. This could be a perfect place where the conversation continues—with some stimulation—and where speakers and attendees can share further resources and make recommendations about related learning programs.

Seek out guest blog posts. These make a lot of sense in driving traffic and can often be win-win propositions, either for someone on your team to post on another site, or an event speaker to post on yours—after a popular session.

Curate and send. Pick five or six of the best sessions from your event—based on feedback from attendees. (How best to get that feedback is a column for another day.) Build a one-day, online event around some or all of them. Check out this article I wrote last year about Education Week's very successful all-virtual event.

Start an online book club. Select books written by your speakers. Can help add gravitas to them and your company. Rob Ristagno, a SIPA 2018 speaker, has a new book out titled A Member Is Worth a Thousand Visitors.

Ronn Are you subscribed to the SIPAlert Daily?
If not, you're missing out on daily strategies, tips, profiles and case studies that can build your audience and increase revenue. To sign up, please contact Nevena Jovanovic.

Ronn Levine began his career as a reporter for The Washington Post and has won numerous writing and publications awards since. Most recently, he spent 12 years at the Newspaper Association of America covering a variety of topics before joining SIPA in 2009 and SIIA in 2013 as editorial director…