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Quizzes Can Serve Sponsors, Bring People in, Sell Products and Create Lead Gen

Quizzes can bring people back to your website, which can be huge. Northwestern’s Medill research determined that the frequency with which a reader comes back to a publication’s website “is the single biggest predictor of retaining subscribers—more than the number of stories read or the time spent reading them.” So quizzes are definitely worthwhile to try.

I just found out that I am a Strategist, thanks to Lessiter Media’s No-Till Farmer quiz. The quiz is sponsored by one of their advertisers, Indigo Ag “to provide you with a customized personality profile, information and tools you need to get closer to the results you want in 2021.” After answering a few fun photo choices to figure out my personality, I received this:

“You are the Strategist. You’ve got the perfect plan, so others follow it.” And then at the bottom you see this: “At Indigo Ag, we know how effective asking one question can be. How one practice change, one grain marketing decision, can accelerate your path to success.” I’m also given links to their Grainwaves podcast and Atlas Insights, their next-gen product.

The quiz was definitely more fun than just reading an ad. We like quizzes, trivia—virtual nights still attract a big crowd—and puzzles. The Wall Street Journal studied how different reader habits affected subscriber churn. They looked into how various products and subscriber actions affected customer retention during the first 100 days after a reader had signed up. They found that “playing a puzzle had a more dramatic impact on reader retention than other actions the team had been promoting.”

Here are more reasons for using quizzes:

To facilitate your advertisers. At this time last year, the quiz “Mexican Caribbean: What is Your Celebrity Travel Style?” in Questex’s Luxury Travel Advisor brand might have looked a little out to sea. But now seems a good time to get people excited about traveling again. “You know your clients’ celebrity travel style,” they write. “You may even have clients who are celebrities. But did you ever wonder about your celebrity travel style? Take this quick quiz to find out…” The six questions range from who you want on your private plane down there to whether you want to stay in a private jungle loft or beach villa. There’s no right or wrong here at the end, only “Apple Leisure Group can help you and your clients find the perfect vacation package for every celebrity style. Click here to learn more.” Oh, my style is America’s Sweetheart!

To sell products and build archives. MedLearn Media has a popular Compliance Question of the Week. Typical “Laboratory Question” is: “I’ve heard there is a CPT® code for COVID-19, is this true?” After the answer is given, readers are told that “This question was answered in an edition of our Laboratory Compliance Manager. For more hot topics relating to laboratory services, please visit our store or call us…”

To educate readers about your topic – and maybe sell a webinar. “Who are these Five Influential Women Engineers?” the American Society of Mechanical Engineers asks in this quiz. “Many influential women engineers are role models and mentors for the next generation of female engineers. How many of these women do you recognize?” Then after I got just 2 out of 5 questions right, I got this: “Interested in finding out more about these influential women engineers?” Hit the Learn More button. Another way to do this would be to market a webinar based on showing people how much they do not know on an important topic.

Lead generation. “How Much Do You Know About Professional Development for EdTech?” the latest Education Week quiz asks. It’s sponsored by Spectrum Enterprise, but Education Week maintains editorial control. You have to give your email address to see the results. For this quiz, there were 593 participants. (I got 5 out of 8 right, just below the average.) In the past, Education Week would regularly achieve nearly 90% quiz completions and around 60% of people who completed the quiz filling out the registration form.

To establish the organization as an authority. On the American Chemical Society homepage, there’s a “Molecule of the Week” feature: “I’m a new weapon in the fight against COVID-19. What molecule am I?” (There’s always a clever question.) I click for the answer. “Clofazimine. In the age of COVID-19, clofazimine may have a new life,” the answer page says. “Learn more about this molecule from CAS, the most authoritative and comprehensive source for chemical information.” When I click on their archive, I see they’ve been doing this feature since 2005! (Bullvalene was the first. Superbowl was the fifth.)

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Global Audience, Discussion Rooms, Polling – The Virtues of Virtual Events

“Virtual events break down geographic barriers to attendance. Stretch your event across time zones so participants can experience it live wherever they are. Leverage digital conferencing platforms… that enable live captioning and translation for speaker remarks so audience members can view subtitles in their local language.”
Bob Bejan, Microsoft corporate VP, in a Fast Company article titled “8 Ways to Rethink Virtual Events for the Age of Social Distancing”
There’s no doubt that there are some drawbacks to virtual events. After all, we are social creatures. But there’s also a lot to embrace. At the SIPA 2020 Virtual Conference June 1-2, Matthew Cibellis of Education Week will speak about Creating a Stand-Out Virtual Event. Their Online Summits were revenue producers even before the pandemic hit, so they’ve been at this longer than most.
Here are other ways to take advantage of virtual events.
Go global. As mentioned above, there should be no barrier besides time difference why you can’t have a bigger global audience, if that works for your niche. Content from virtual events can also be put on-demand, so if the time difference is a hindrance, they could watch it anytime. “Consider how you can make the sessions and conversations viewable after the fact,” Bejan writes. “At Microsoft, we publish event recordings to Stream and Yammer for people to watch when it works for them.”
Audience access to editorial staff. EW’s Online Summits provide readers with a unique opportunity to interact directly with reporters, practitioners and experts. Attendees can participate actively in reporter-expert-peer/peer conversations around niches within K-12 educational topic areas. At live events, it may not always be easy to interact with who you want. They could be popular and busy, or there just isn’t time. In a virtual event, you can have a place where, for instance, Education Week journalists and guests staff online “discussion” rooms on a host of topics within a broader niche. This can also give good exposure to your editorial staff.
Try to bring in tougher speaker gets. There was a 90th birthday tribute to composer Stephen Sondheim a couple weeks ago and they had every star imaginable—Meryl Streep, Christine Baranski, Audra McDonald, Sutton Foster. And why shouldn’t they? Everybody’s home probably with some time on their hands. I’ve also seen online conversations with famous authors and playwrights. If there’s a speaker or two you couldn’t get before, try again now.

Offer content—video, gamification, polling—and then bring people together around that. Speaking at the ongoing-through-May CES Deconstructed Jesse Serventi, founding partner, Renovus Capital, said (in a virtual discussion) today that we’re really just starting to learn how to “have a keen understanding of how to engage an audience virtually. A lot of it is asynchronous. You’re on an island. You’re going through it by yourself. It’s tough to engage. But then it’s also synchronous where you might be watching many hours of content. That’s tough too. The companies doing the best job are bringing in both. They might be starting off with prerecorded asynchronous content, watching video, doing a multiple choice quiz, and then coming together to do a group exercise around that and developing relationships—reaching you through multiple modalities. That’s just a great way to engage the customer or get customers hooked in an even better way than live in-person training. I do believe there’s great opportunity to use all these different tools to create a better experience.

Get a top moderator. This is important in live events, of course. I don’t know how many Q&As I’ve been to where moderators let audience questioners go on far too long or don’t follow up enough on key questions. It might even be more important virtually. It’s so easy to turn away at home. The moderator needs to keep the conversation flowing and not get bogged down. And then she gets to choose which questions to ask; the QA&A could be the best part. When it’s live, you don’t have that choice in front of you.
Be creative. “Your exhibitors are in desperate need for leads,” said Brian Cuthbert, group vice president, Diversified Communication, who will also present at the SIPA Conference on 5 Things to Include in Every Event Contract. “So whether it’s virtual tradeshows or webinars with companies like Webex, or ON24, your vendors need leads… Everything is drying up and that lead funnel is critical. It’s about content and education. Can you create certificates, master classes, certification? Using a learning management system that tracks their progress through the experience. We’re thinking of a way to use e-learning as a component. Whether you try to replicate or go with webinars and e-learning, they’ll pay for it. Create it once in these platforms and sell it as many times as you can. It’s something we do a lot. We’ve used vFairs. The single most important thing is realistic expectations about what the sponsor and attendee can expect.”
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Education Week’s Winning Online Summits Become Even More Valuable in These Times

As Education Week geared up for another Online Summit this week—with more than 2,300 registrants signed on—it is clear now that, knowingly or not, the long-time publisher was amazingly prescient in starting these as an ongoing series in 2018. (There was one previous iteration in 2017.)

To provide a refresh, Education Week Online Summits invite educators to access timely information about a range of critical issues in K-12 education easily by using their phones, tablets and other handheld devices, or desktops and integrating their learning directly into their usual workflow.

“This cross-departmental partnership led by the editorial team’s deep, rich content in a multitude of K-12 areas provides learners meaningful continuing education from experts in the field and practitioners in schools,” said Matthew Cibellis, director of programming, live & virtual events, for Education Week. In 2019, Education Week won both a Connectiv Innovation Award (see more info here) and a SIPAward for the Online Summits. (Enter the 2020 SIPAwards here.)

The video-friendly, chat-heavy Online Summits take place monthly from 1 to 3 pm ET. This week’s topic was Uprooting Inequities in Schools and had almost 1,000 live attendees. “In this virtual summit, Education Week reporters and expert guests discuss the hard work behind uprooting inequities such as challenging educators’ longstanding biases and practices, re-allocating resources across schools to support opportunities for all students, and more.”

Needless to say, this summit was the first one produced totally remotely—attendees, guests and staff. “Unfortunately, this meant that we could not hold a live, in-studio livestream at the conclusion of the event,” says Cibellis, “We thought through all the options, but none were satisfying. Instead, readers received a post-event written summary of key takeaways they can use for further professional learning.”

Three major sponsors signed on, thus the profitability. Leading all the way up to the event, Education Week staff continued to add articles and blog posts to their “booths.” Staff communicated on a Slack channel, thus keeping needed discussions in-house.

Some speakers had to back out and educators are indeed busy closing schools this week, but given the atmosphere we’re in—with so many people working from home—the huge crowd was expected. Sponsors were happy.

 

 

“At the last minute, I worked directly with the editors and our lead reporter to explore how equitable access of online learning impedes the learning for some students, and in a day, they developed a new discussion around Coronavirus and Equity we’re calling, ‘Remote Learning Under the Coronavirus: Grappling With Equity,’” Cibellis adds. “Despite the newsroom’s overloaded plate, we’re thrilled they took this on and really ran with it bringing in two exceptional guests in just a few hours.”

Here are more reasons for the Online Summits’ continued success.

Readers’ access to reporters. The Online Summits provide readers with a unique opportunity to interact directly with reporters, practitioners and experts. Attendees can participate actively as peers in reporter-expert-peer/peer conversations around niches within K-12 educational topic areas.

Comprehensive discussions. The topics are diverse and newsworthy because they come from editorial. Today’s summit will feature 14 guests with topics ranging from the implications of the Coronavirus to the how of creating an equitable education for all. And sponsors too have the opportunity to share their lens directly with readers on equity in K-12 schools.

Discussion rooms. During the event, Education Week journalists and guests staff online “discussion” rooms on a host of topics within a broader niche. When not produced remotely, “attendees” can also watch a livestreamed post-discussion interview with the reporters who “break it down” for them.

They make money. The model has been “so profitable” for Education Week that their newsroom submitted to the sales and marketing team an FY2020 roster of new topics (and some updates on former topics) for them to budget against. (Microsoft has been a past sponsor.) In February, “development of independent content for [that] virtual summit [was] supported in part” by a grant from the Spencer Foundation. Since then the Kern Foundation has come on board with a significant grant for a summit around building character in K-12 students set for the fall of 2020. There’s a line at the bottom of the landing page for each summit: “Would you like to learn more about sponsorship opportunities?” That leads to an EdWeek Marketing Solutions page with a summary of all previous Online Summits.

A great livestream with valued takeaways. Who doesn’t love takeaways? The livestream that usually follows the first 90 minutes of each summit provides key takeaways, learnings and insights that participants can download in pdf form. “The livestream ran really smoothly [last time],” Cibellis reports. “We saw really awesome retention of viewers—we had around 93 live viewers and that number didn’t fall at all throughout the full half-hour livestream. That’s a first. [As of about a month ago], we have had 305 views of the livestream. Our average on-video time is 11 minutes and 7 seconds; 59% of attendees watched our livestream, and we have 18% watching for 30 minutes, which is frankly, remarkable for any video let alone our Online Summits.”

Editorial staff gets positive exposure. The Online Summits provide a showcase for Editorial Week’s newsroom expertise and the deep, rich content knowledge they provide. By lifting the profiles of editorial people, it gives them more gravitas and followings for the rest of the work they do. People might want to attend in-person events just to meet them or subscribe to read their articles.

Low costs. Costs are limited to the platform itself, which is also used to produce their online job fairs, as well as the staff time necessary to produce the event, carry out discussions and respond to reader questions.

It’s unique. Cibellis says that audience members would be hard-pressed to get this type of online learning experience in their field anywhere else—and especially for free.

Added resources. More information is available in the form of Resources for attendees.

It’s virtual and things can happen but it’s virtual. Getting Reading Right was probably our most balanced and successful summit, Cibellis said. “The overall audience response was very positive in spite of an early-on event glitch with the tech.” Discussions are taking place around holding a multi-location live tour on that topic for 2021, but, of course, that will have to wait.

 

GETTING READING RIGHT ONLINE SUMMIT RESULTS (from earlier in 2020)

Fully registered audience: 2,540

Attendees: 517 live

Editorial Discussions:

Maddie Will – How Colleges of Education Are Approaching Early Reading– 179 comments

Sarah Schwartz– Improving Comprehension with Emerging Readers- 120 comments

Sarah D. Sparks and Catherine Gewertz – How Do Kids Learn to Read? What the Research Says- 236 comments

Stephen Sawchuk – What Teachers and Professors Say About Early Reading: A Look at Our Survey Results – 108 comments

Sponsor Discussions

imagine having this many conversations with prospective clients over 90 minutes! These are their best results until this week’s event.

Istation (a sponsor) – A Practical Conversation about the Science of Reading – 111 comments

Texthelp (a sponsor) – Turning Struggling Readers into Striving Readers – 250 comments (They had a very popular guest)

 

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Virtual Events May Be a Great Answer in These Down-Travel Times

Half the respondents who have attended a virtual event said they would do so again. But only a third of those who have not attended a virtual event indicated an interest in attending one. So there’s an education component here. But a virtual event remains an attractive option because it helps offset the biggest stressors of attending events—being away and logistics—especially in these troubled times of people traveling less.
Education Week’s Online Summits “are an ideal way for busy educators to access timely information about a range of critical issues in K-12 education easily by using their phones or desktops and integrating their learning directly into their usual workflow,” wrote Matthew Cibellis, director of programming, live & virtual events, for Education Week, in his 2019 SIPAward-winning entry.
“This cross-departmental partnership led by the editorial team’s deep, rich content in a multitude of K-12 areas provides learners meaningful continuing education from experts in the field and practitioners in schools.”
The video-friendly Online Summits take place monthly—in fact, the one in January, titled Getting Reading Right, was probably their most successful. Their fully registered audience was 2,540 with 517 live during the event.
“The livestream ran really smoothly; we saw really awesome retention of viewers,” Cibellis wrote me in an email. “We had around 93 live viewers and that number didn’t fall at all throughout the full half-hour livestream; that’s a first.” A couple days after the event, they had 305 views of the livestream. “Our average on-video time is 11 minutes and 7 seconds, and 59% of attendees watched our livestream. We have 18% watching for 30 minutes, which is frankly, remarkable for any video let alone our online summits.”
Copyrightlaws.com holds free Zoom On Ins—20-minute live video sessions on a popular copyright topic that Lesley Ellen Harris conducts virtually. Testing the market, they put on six of these meetings from Jan. 10-28 and added many new names to their mailing list and eventually some did sign up for paying courses. Copyrightlaws probably can’t continue at that pace—6 in 18 days—but with as many as 250 people signing up for a Zoom On In (on open access and copyright in January), they have found a good formula to build their audience.
“It’s another way for us to get amplified,” said Harris. “Someone on the call will tell one or two colleagues to sign up for the next one.” Harris uses Zoom, so people can see everyone else in the “classroom.” People can also join by audio—if they don’t want to see everyone or be seen. Read more.
Here are three tips for holding virtual events from the Bizzabo blog:
1. Use Slack. One of the few potential drawbacks of virtual events is the lack of community. But Wistia wanted to make sure that their aptly named CouchCon was full of networking opportunities. They accomplished this by creating dedicated Slack channels that event attendees could join, meet their peers, and share resources.
2. Repurpose. Virtual events offer the opportunity to easily repurpose content. Each session can be recorded and streamed to virtual attendees. After the event is over, these sessions can then be used as marketing materials like lead magnets. Gainsight does this with its PulseCheck event. To help build the company’s email list, they offer the recorded sessions for free to new subscribers. After your virtual event has concluded, use the recording as marketing collateral to continue building your business.
Get sponsorships. Just like many live, in-person events, Drip, popular email marketing software, found sponsors for their virtual get-together. Zapier, Twilio, Big Commerce, and more were a part of the festivities. Just because you’re hosting a virtual event doesn’t mean you can’t get sponsors. Not only will sponsorship help financially, but it will also lend your gathering more credibility.
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Education Week’s Winning Online Summits

Two weeks ago I wrote about Copyrightlaws.com’s Zoom On In, a 20-minute virtual lunchtime session they do to focus on a specific topic. Last week, I’m told that they got 250 listeners signed on! Lesley Ellen Harris also co-presented a SIPA webinar about Zoom On In on Jan. 16. (Watch it here.)

Another SIPA member, Education Week, puts on a more elaborate show, but still free and with that same engagement goal in mind—with some profits mixed in.

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“Education Week Online Summits are an ideal way for busy educators to access timely information about a range of critical issues in K-12 education easily by using their phones or desktops and integrating their learning directly into their usual workflow,” wrote Matthew Cibellis, director of programming, live & virtual events, for Education Week, in his 2019 SIPAward-winning entry last year.

“This cross-departmental partnership led by the editorial team’s deep, rich content in a multitude of K-12 areas provides learners meaningful continuing education from experts in the field and practitioners in schools,” Cibellis wrote.

The video-friendly Online Summits take place monthly—in fact , the next one, titled Getting Reading Right, occurs tomorrow from 1-3 pm. “In this online summit, Education Week reporters and their expert guests will discuss the science behind how kids learn to read, as well as explore original survey data on what elementary teachers and education professors know and believe about early reading.”

Here are some reasons for the Online Summits’ continued success.

Access to reporters. The Summit provides readers with a unique opportunity to interact directly with reporters, practitioners and experts. Attendees can participate actively as peers in reporter-expert-peer/peer conversations around niches within K-12 educational topic areas.

Comprehensive discussions. The topics are diverse and newsworthy because they come from editorial. For tomorrow, there are 11 speakers listed, with topics ranging from testing and assessments to literacy, social-emotional learning, and STEM education curriculum and instruction.

Discussion rooms. During the event, Education Week journalists and guests staff online “discussion” rooms on a host of topics within a broader niche. “Attendees” watch a livestreamed series of interviews with the reporters who “break it down” for them.

Takeaways. Who doesn’t love takeaways? The livestream provides key takeaways, learnings and insights that participants can download in pdf form.

A 30-minute video wrap-up. After the 90-minute topic discussions, there is a 30-minute wrap-up hosted by Education Week editorial folks. For the one tomorrow, associate editor Stephen Sawchuk will “close out the day with insights from the discussions they’ve had with you, the readers.”

Editorial people get positive exposure. The Online Summits provide a showcase for Editorial Week’s newsroom expertise and the deep, rich content knowledge they provide. By lifting the profiles of editorial people, it gives them more gravitas and followings for the rest of the work they do. People might want to attend in-person events just to meet them or subscribe to read their articles.

Low costs. Costs are limited to the platform itself, which is also used to produce their online job fairs, as well as the staff time necessary to produce the event, carry out discussions and respond to reader questions.

It’s unique. Education Week says that audience members would be hard-pressed to get this type of online learning experience in their field anywhere else—and especially for free.

They make money. The model has been “so profitable” for Education Week that their newsroom submitted to the sales and marketing team an FY2020 roster of new topics (and some updates on former topics) for them to budget against. Tomorrow’s Summit is sponsored by Istation and texthelp. Microsoft is also a sponsor. And “development of independent content for this virtual summit is supported in part by a grant from the Spencer Foundation.” There’s a line at the bottom: “Would you like to learn more about sponsorship opportunities?” That leads to an EdWeek Marketing Solutions page with a summary of all previous Online Summits.

Added resources. More information is available in the form of Resources for attendees.