‘It’s Comforting for People’; Airing Live Shows or Blogs Can Attract a Crowd

A common denominator began to form as I started checking on live shows that publishers I know started doing last year. They’re still going strong. And that’s smart. A new article reports that live blogs/reports are converting at a much better rate than standard articles. We like when people are live, especially now—even when things go slightly awry. It makes us feel better for our own Zoom showings.

The article by Max Willens on Digiday calls these live blogs, shows, briefings and informational chats “conversion monsters” for publishers. I’ve always been a big fan of doing things live when possible—just seems to add a positive spontaneity—and the pandemic has even built in a small cushion for minor tech slip-ups and such.

During most of last year, the Coleman Report was doing a live midday show and garnering huge crowds. “For the most part, people are so thirsty for any spot of normalcy,” Joseph Coleman told me, speaking about his audience of small business bankers and lenders. “We start at 1 pm Eastern time every day, no matter what. I think it’s comforting for people to log in for 30 minutes. It’s a ritual now.”

Hundreds of small-business lenders—and perhaps, Coleman had heard, the #2 at SBA—and more were tuning in every day to hear the latest news about the trillions of dollars that the government earmarked for loans. I was curious if these were still taking place, so after a short search, there they are, Coleman Report Live, still daily and around 20 minutes long! It was good to see Bob in his usual ebullient self.

“Welcome to Coleman Report Live. I’m Bob Coleman.” The show quickly hits home not only with where his guests are but with the first guest saying they had a “spat of the virus” in the office so everyone is home now.

“Our show is still the place for our audience to go,” Joseph Coleman told me last year. “There’s so much misinformation out there. Bob and I have been doing this for the last 10 years. We’ll try to keep the show going as long as possible. All of the new connections we make become staples of the daily show.” (On this show, Bob calls it “Tuesdays with Chris.”) These shows continue to lead to lots of goodwill and revenue for Coleman Report.

Then I turned over to Facebook to see if Chesapeake Family’s excellent Live Friday discussion show is still running, and happily it is. Friday’s topic: What benefits does nature play provide and how does it go beyond what a typical playground or play structure or yard can provide? Find out what you can do in your yard.

“I really like to do those virtual interviews as long as we can give 2-3 day notice,” Donna Jefferson told me last summer, adding it’s a good platform to talk about timely topics. Previous interviews focused on Virtual School From Home Tips and Navy Football Takes on Racism with an assistant coach and running back. (That interview received more than 700 views. “By doing virtual [and live] interviews, we get things out there quickly.”

The New York Times actually has an assistant managing editor of live, a new division charged with driving adoption of the Times’ live briefings, live blog and live chat formats across the newsroom, writes Willens. The Times would actually prefer more of their writers go live on Times’ formats rather than just tweeting. The Philadelphia Inquirer’s live blog has a subscriber conversion rate twice as high as their standard articles, he adds.

Publishers are also using these live talks to build their membership programs. Last April, TechCrunch introduced Extra Crunch Live, a virtual speaker series with live Q&A exclusive for Extra Crunch members. I just took a look and saw this headline: “Extra Crunch Live is back in 2021, connecting founders with tech giants and each other.”

Inc. launched a weekly interview called “Real Talk.” “It’s people who have had success and are willing to give back to entrepreneurs and the small business community and answer questions for an hour.” It’s hard to tell how recent they are, but there are a quite a few of them up there now including this one: Should You Release a New Product During a Pandemic? Here’s How to Know.


How Coleman Report Live Is Bringing in Record Webinar Revenue – and Goodwill

This is the first in a series of articles on SIPA member companies that are dealing with some part of the frontlines of the pandemic. Today, it’s Coleman Publishing,
Joseph Coleman is very proud of the job Coleman Publishing is doing with their daily online show—Coleman Report Live—serving SBA lenders, bankers and small business financing experts. And he should be. It’s a hit. Hundreds of small-business lenders—and, he’s told, the #2 at SBA—and more are tuning in every day to hear the latest news about the trillions of dollars that the government has earmarked for loans.

“For the most part, people are so thirsty for any spot of normalcy,” Coleman told me at the end of last week. “We start at 1 pm Eastern time every day, no matter what. I think it’s comforting for people to log in for 30 minutes. It’s a ritual now.”

And it’s leading to lots of goodwill and record revenue for Coleman webinars. “We cater to a not-really-talked-about segment of banking,” he said. “They deal with cumbersome forms that most people don’t want to deal with. Overnight, the government passed $659 billion of small business loans—that’s like 20 years of SBA funding, and we’re doing it in one month. Pass it Friday, open Monday.”

Coleman said that, through the show, they are talking to “600 CEOs of lending departments every day. We’re the only player in town reporting on this on a daily show. It was only weekly but now we’ve turned it into this wonderful platform where we can have the most up-to-date news, can do polls and see what’s happening on the street, and sell our product… And [despite being daily] the show’s standards haven’t dropped at all. I’m up all night reading federal notices, putting webinars together, lining up guests.”
If Coleman looked tired one day on the show, perhaps it was the day a speaker for a webinar called him at 5:30 am to tell him that he couldn’t go live later that day. So thinking quickly, Coleman recorded him from 6:30 to 7:30 am to broadcast to an audience of 200 later. Then he went on TV at 10 am—he’s in California.
When I asked Coleman how filming himself at home is, he said that he and his wife bought a house and recently put in hardwood floors. It makes sound much better.
Does working through a pandemic mean making specific choices about your house? In the new normal, yes. Actually, just the fact that Coleman and his father Bob started this show was a huge factor in their ability to pivot now to do it on a daily basis.
Similarly, Paul Miller, CEO of Questex—a large media company that has been able to move to virtual events these last few weeks—said that a couple decisions allowed them to successfully pivot.
“We chose to [look for people with] a lot of centralized skill sets,” he said. “This has helped to attract great talent and become a real engine for a 180-degree pivot in this environment. We knew it would enable us to be very agile. And it has allowed us to be very agile.
“Second, we spent a lot of time in the last 18 months breaking down silos in the company, always a good thing. That has allowed very fast sharing across divisions. I’m even doing virtual breakfasts with employees… So it’s cultural as well as strategic.”
I met Coleman Publishing editor Caity Witucki in Washington, D.C. a few months ago at a Coleman event. Her credentials were impressive but she seemed quiet so it’s impressive to see her now co-hosting the daily show. As Miller said, the more skills that people have today, the better—especially in this crisis environment.
“Our show is still the place for our audience to go,” Coleman said. “There’s so much misinformation out there. Bob and I have been doing this for the last 10 years. We’ll try to keep the show going as long as possible. All of the new connections we make become staples of the daily show.”
At the end of last Thursday’s show, Coleman offered a sincere message to his viewers. “We love the audiences; it keeps growing every day. We really appreciate the support,” he said quietly, before showing an email address where people could address more questions to.
You could see just a slight sigh as he said that they will be getting to the slew of questions offline that afternoon. And I’m sure they did just that.

Personalization, Sustainability and Apps Stand Out in 2020 Event Trends

“Experience is not something that you try to emulate. It’s part of your design. It’s part of your culture. One of the most valuable things a destination or a venue can offer is their support in incorporating their uniqueness and culture into that experience, and that extends to professional services and expertise.”

That’s from an article on today’s Event Management Blog (now a part of Skift) from Julius Solaris. I recently visited Bob and Joseph Coleman of the Coleman Report at an event they did here in Washington, D.C. for their small business banking audience. The happy hour mixer, which preceded a full-day event, took place in a very impressive law firm office. As the Event MB article said, the venue enhanced the uniqueness and culture of Coleman’s event. People were smiling, interacting and felt comfortable and important in a top DC building near the White House.

I’ve seen a lot of event trend articles lately; here are some that I believe apply to SIPA members:

Gamification remains popular. In their 100 event trends for 2020, The Event MB Studio team found that 10% of the apps they analyzed listed gamification features as part of the app. “Drive traffic through the exhibit floor by rewarding points for connecting to sponsors’ booths; let people win rewards for acing a quiz on the keynote. Leaderboards and awards have proven particularly effective, as attendees compete against one another for more recognition as well.” Our BIMS event had a very popular engagement leaderboard with a 2020 registration as the prize.

The new job: event technologist. “Event technologists will be largely responsible for planning and implementing the technological strategy of their organization’s events programs,” wrote the Event MB team. “They may be involved in sourcing the technology, and will probably be the point-of-contact for tech suppliers. Event technologists will need to be problem solvers with a strong penchant for data collection and analysis. Event technologists will take event and organization KPIs and translate the data gleaned from their tech stack into ROI reports.”

Diverse speaker lineups. There’s no excuse anymore for a speaker lineup that lacks women or young people or people of color. I find that it just takes a little more digging—a look at your LinkedIn connections and their connections, or going through the week’s headlines in your niche—but it could be well worth it because a diverse speaker lineup should also diversify, and increase, your attendees.

Better analytics dashboards. “For 2020, I see an appetite for aggregated analytics dashboards,” said Adam Parry, editor, Event Industry News, in an article on the site G2Planet. “These dashboards pull data from multiple sources such as CRM’s, registration solutions, marketing platforms, and social media. They will help whole organizations make data-driven decisions rather than basing them on historical experience or opinion.”

Tracking onsite engagement. “The biggest tech trend will be analyzing attendee behavior as part of an integrated event management pipeline,” said JT Long, content chief, Smart Meetings, in her response. “[That pipeline will] track activity from interest to registration, emotional responses, engagement with content, and learning over time after the event to inform better future content and create lasting relationships with the company and other attendees.”

Sustainability. Event organizers are looking for apps that reduce their paper consumption and waste, doing away with the need for big programs. You’re seeing more vegan choices for meals and snacks. Look at past years’ budgets to see what areas you over-used and which were on par with your budget. Identify which area you want to target and track the biggest impact.

Even more personalization. As I mentioned yesterday in the story on workshops, some organizations are reaching out to attendees before a conference to help them set up a personalized agenda—and even to know which groups to put them in at a workshop. A recent study by Salesforce found that 84% of customers say being treated like a person, not a number, is very important to winning their business. And delivering personalized experiences drives customer loyalty, with 70% saying a company’s understanding of their individual needs influences their loyalty.