Archive for the 'Content Curation' Category

08
Jul
14

Six Ways to Intersect Publications and Education Events

This month’s blog post is by Kim Howard, CAE, an award-winning publisher and president of Write Communications, LLC. Write Communications works with association leaders to create mission-aligned content for every channel for measurable results. She is the immediate past president of Association Media & Publishing. Howard can contacted at kim@writecommunicationsllc.com.

Kim Howard

Kim Howard, president of Write Communications, LLC

Delivering content to your members is a cornerstone of not only your publication program, but also your education events. In a perfect world, all our members would attend our events. But because they don’t, how do we share that information while not reinventing the wheel? How do we help sell the value of our education events? How can we showcase the content in the best possible way before, during and after our programs? Here are some ideas.

  1. Go beyond an ad. Cross-promote your events in the publications that you have. When you have a regularly published magazine, your content, if it’s mission-aligned, will likely fall in line with topics discussed at your education events. Is your editorial calendar in line with broad issues that are discussed at your conferences? Are you covering your content through the applicable lens for your members? Many associations have membership that runs the gamut, from students to c-suite executives. While it’s difficult to serve them all in one publication or conference, you can successfully integrate your content to cater to the cross-section of members. I use the term education events loosely because this could mean an in-person conference, webinar or podcast, lunch and learn or brown bag, etc. Have staff, freelancers or volunteers cover the event and write an article about the topics and subsequent discussion during the event. This is an excellent way to generate content for your publication and showcase the discussion. It’s also a great way to showcase your volunteers. Many members covet a byline on your association’s blog or in your publication. Covering select sessions at your events drives home the message to those members who didn’t attend that the event’s content is something to hear first hand. Think of it as your indirect sales guy.
  1. Give sidebars new meaning. Sidebars help break up your content and add an element of information that otherwise may be awkward to include in the main story. You are likely housing your speaker’s content somewhere on your website and the subject will also pertain to something you’re covering in your publication. Remind your readers that the content is still there and provide access to it by showcasing it in a sidebar. You could have content available from a webinar, a whitepaper or a slide presentation from an annual conference session. Use it. You don’t have to showcase the entire resource—just use a link, headline and blurb. And don’t forget your association’s other resources such as whitepapers, reports, webinars, podcasts, blog posts and other nuggets of information that show your members they have access to solid industry or profession information.

published

  1. Ask speakers to convert their presentation into an article, or interview them. This approach works best if you have your editorial staff attend the selected sessions and figure out which ones will translate into content for your publication. It also helps to weed out the presenters who were less than stellar: You probably don’t want to showcase their content in your publication. And it’s unlikely their content would translate well in a new format. Add an editor’s note at the beginning or the end of the piece letting readers know the topic was first discussed at “XYZ” conference, webinar, etc. I have used this approach for years and our publications have received many excellent articles that we published.
  1. When you have a hot, timely topic of discussion, ask the speaker or panelists to write blog posts about the subject before the event. There is always some piece of relevant information that speakers wish they could include, but can’t because of time constraints or because it diverts from the subject a little too much for an event. Not only is this a good way to showcase the content, but also it creates buzz about your event and may even increase the numbers from last-minute registrations or day-pass registrants.
  1. Cross-promote your education event through Twitter. If you know that certain members are into social media, especially Twitter, and they have fast fingers, ask them which sessions they would consider covering for you. This approach works best live, but after the event, consider picking out the top five or 10 tweets from the meeting and using that information as a sidebar to post-event coverage. The great thing about this approach is that you are covering a session that may not be covered a traditional way. It’s yet another insight into the education content that your meetings and events offer.
  1. Additional ideas might include:
    1. Videos or other enhanced content in digital publications. Careful planning and scheduling can yield good video clips from members when they are onsite.
    2. Executive summaries of content, ideas or discussions to share with attendees/those who were unable to attend as resources rather than simply as informational articles. (Think of this as a note-taking service or perhaps even enhance these notes with new information to make them that much more useful).
    3. Leverage sample content/learning outcomes/ROI/testimonials in next year’s event marketing materials to make the promotion that much more compelling.
    4. Consider year-round opportunities to position your annual meeting vs. only the two to three months leading up to the conference; keep the conversations going.
    5. Consider repackaging content into an infographic or other visually interesting format to help members/attendees digest the information in a new way.

Even if you can’t implement all these ideas, pick one that you know will work with your membership and any internal constraints you may have. Starting small will be the first step to yielding better results for your educational events and content that you deliver to your members.

28
Jan
14

On target and in the money

11272851-concept-success-red-dart-hitting-a-target-vector-signNow that you’ve settled into 2014 (maybe? sort of?), you’re probably planning an exciting lineup of events.

Maybe your goal is to attract as many participants, from as many demographics, as possible. After all, hundreds of attendees translate into thousands of dollars, and everyone loves a strong revenue stream. Right?

Not necessarily, according to Jeff Hurt, executive vice president, education and engagement, for Velvet Chainsaw Consulting.

“When you create education sessions for everyone about everything, you can’t go deep into the issues and challenges that your audience craves,” he said. “You miss the opportunity to create programming that participants feel was prepared just for them, and ultimately, your conference programming becomes generic. It’s vague and feels like wet, soft, mushy Melba toast.”

So instead, take a lesson from successful marketers. The golden rule of marketing is to identify your target audiences, which are the groups of people who are most interested in your product or services. They’re also the most engaged in your messaging and marketing efforts.

A good example: education tracks. Segmenting sessions into audiences – administrators, planners and vendors, for instance – allows you to cater to specific needs. So when another need arises, these grateful participants may turn to you for business, membership and additional educational opportunities.

At the same time, it’s a good idea to keep vendors’ interests in mind.

Hurt said some associations with significant tradeshows make 60 to 70 percent of their revenue from exhibit booth sales, while another 10 to 20 percent of revenue comes from sponsorships and advertising. According to Hurt, usually exhibitors want: qualified leads; face-to-face time with purchasers, decision makers and budget officers; and the opportunity to bond with current clients.

Jeff Hurt

Jeff Hurt, executive vice president, education and engagement, for Velvet Chainsaw Consulting. Photo courtesy of Jeff Hurt.

“If you see your conference audience as a homogenous, faceless clump of people, you’ll have a hard time selling them as the right audience for your exhibitors and sponsors,” he said. “Instead, think of them as a long line of individuals waiting to have a conversation with you. Do you want to talk to every one of them? Or do you want to seek out the individuals who have the authority and responsibility to purchase products and services for their organizations?”

In short, target audiences at conferences and expos should comprise those groups that are most important to your exhibitors and sponsors. Once you determine those audiences, focus on their needs when developing educational content and choosing speakers.

In other words: You’ll generate the most revenue when you determine which customers will have the greatest impact on your exhibitors and sponsors.

A little market research will go a long way when planning your conferences and events, so for starters, pick up a good marketing book to learn more about target audiences.

Make sense? How do you meet the needs of your target audiences?

13
Dec
12

Transforming your community into a collaborative learning environment

On Dec. 4, I had the pleasure of presenting a breakout session on collaborative learning environments during the 2012 Higher Logic Super Forum. Early in the presentation, we discussed the expanding role of content curation and how it can serve as a valuable tool for associations who wish to make meaning of the sometimes excessive information, content and messaging they share with members.

Simply put, content curation comprises three elements:

  • Sorting through vast amounts of content.
  • Organizing it around a specific theme.
  • Presenting it in a meaningful way.

And it’s valuable because:

  • We live in an era of content abundance.
  • Content curation offers high value.
  • Content curation maximizes resources and builds community.

Simply consider the more formal education programs your association offers each year. This likely includes face-to-face programs, digital learning, other meetings and events, and any certification, accreditation or licensure programs. Now multiply each of these programs by three marketing touch points and it’s more messaging than the average association member can reasonably absorb.

And we’ve not yet even considered the informal learning opportunities generated within our industry’s peer networks. So, it quickly becomes evident that a simple content curation strategy could easily help qualify some of this information, further promoting the organization as a valuable resource and content expert. Content treasurers may take many forms. Following is a partial list:

  • Guest bloggers/journalists
  • Slide decks/executive briefs
  • Handouts/resource materials
  • Discussion boards/online communities
  • Podcasts
  • Audio/video recordings
  • Social media feeds/conversations
  • Participant discussions/chat transcripts
  • Question/answer summaries
  • Program outlines/white papers
  • YouTube videos
  • Newsletter/magazine articles
  • Facilitator interviews
  • Case studies

It’s important to note here that true content curation requires some sort of transformation. It’s not about simply posting a slide deck to a website for someone to download. Rather, curating a series of slide decks from a single conference on the same topic might result in an executive brief highlighting only the key points/images from each.

Besides, when’s the last time you downloaded every single slide deck from ASAE’s annual meeting? Okay, it’s possible; I’ll give you that. Let’s take it a step further. When’s the last time you then reviewed, considered and implemented the ideas from each? This, my friends, is nearly impossible. Not to mention, the thought alone is purely overwhelming.

But it’s not enough to simply create content – curated or otherwise. You must then communicate and share this content with others. Otherwise, why do it? Following are just some of the ways you might consider sharing your content with association constituents:

  • Newsletter
  • Magazine
  • Blog
  • Website
  • Online community
  • Email
  • Direct mail
  • Social media

When utilizing these communication channels to share content, consider these tips:

  • Utilize a consistent learning, education or content brand. This may include a clever name, logo and tagline, as well as certain graphics, colors and fonts.
  • Identify your organization’s available communication channels and draft a comprehensive marketing strategy that utilizes multiple media.
  • Develop an editorial calendar that focuses on a specific subject each month or quarter based on the volume of content you have to share.

Finally, creating a collaborative learning environment requires the engagement of your community. There’s no need for this responsibility to land squarely on the shoulders of staff. Consider your target audience. It’s likely bigger than your current membership. Some examples of your organization’s various constituent groups may include:

  • Subject matter experts
  • Board members
  • Speakers/facilitators
  • Legislators
  • Sponsors
  • Vendors/suppliers
  • Members
  • Staff
  • Volunteer leaders
  • Components

You’ll note here that not every constituent group will be interested in the same content or should be communicated to in exactly the same way. What’s the right combination for each target audience? When you are able to curate the right content and share it with the right constituents via the right communication channels, engagement soars.

Furthermore, utilize these individuals as content experts. Whether this means recruiting them to serve as presenters, facilitators or curators, or simply featuring their blogs and industry resources within your established community, bring them into the fold. Develop file sharing, communication and collaboration tools that makes this process even easier and less cumbersome.

So, my question to you is this: How does your organization curate content? Likewise, how have you transformed your community into a collaborative learning environment (or what strategies are you considering for 2013)?




meet aaron

Association learning strategist & meetings coach. Founder & president of Event Garde. Passionate about cooking, hot yoga, blogging, old homes, unclehood & pet parenting (thanks to Lillie the pup).

meet kristen

Writer, editor, public relations professional. Proud mom of three. Total word geek. Spartan for life.

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 3,190 other followers

Twitter Updates

Featured in Alltop

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 3,190 other followers

%d bloggers like this: