6 Ways to Intersect
Publications and Education Events
Here are some ideas
for showcasing and repurposing your educational content
before, during, and after the event.
By Kim Howard, CAE
Delivering content to your members is a cornerstone of not
only your publication program, but also your education events. As association
publishers, we know that not all of our members attend all of our events. In a
perfect world, they would. But because they do not, how do we share that
information without reinventing the wheel? How can we showcase the content in
the best possible way before, during and after our programs?
Here are six ideas to help your publications and educational
events better support and complement each other.
1. Go beyond an ad.
Cross-promote your events in all your associationís publicationsóbut thereís so
much more you can do in addition to running a house ad. When you have a
regularly published magazine, your content, if itís mission-aligned, will
likely fall in line with topics discussed at your education events. Consider
- 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 memberships that run the gamut from
students to c-suite executives. While it is difficult to serve them all in one
publication or conference, you can successfully integrate your content to cater
to a 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 Q&A discussion during the event. This
is an excellent way not only to generate content for your publications, but
also to showcase the discussion.
Itís also a great way to showcase your volunteers. Many
members covet a byline on your associationís blog or in your publication. Covering
select sessions at your events drives home the message to those members and the
profession in general who did not attend that the eventís content is something
to take note of and hear firsthand. Think of it as your indirect sales guy.
2. Give sidebars new
meaning. Sidebars help break up content and add an element of information
that otherwise may be awkward to include in the main story. For example, you
are likely housing your speakerís content somewhere on your website, and
presentationís subject will likely pertain to something you are covering in
your publication. Remind members and 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 donít have to showcase the entire resourceójust
use a link, headline, and blurb.
And donít forget your associationís other resources such special
reports, webinars, podcasts, blog posts, and other gold nuggets of information
that show your members that they have access to unique industry or profession
information through your associationís website.
3. 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 presenters who were less than stellaróyou may not want to
showcase their content in your publication, especially if itís unlikely that their
content will translate well in a new format.
Add an editorís note at the beginning or the end of the
piece letting the readers know that this topic was first discussed at your conference,
webinar, etc. I have used this approach for years, and our publications have
received many excellent articles.
4. When you have a
hot topic of discussion, ask the speaker or panelists to write blog posts about
it before the event. There is always some piece of relevant information
that speakers wish they could include, but canít because of time constraints or
because it diverts from the subject a little too much. 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.
5. Cross-promote your
education event through Twitter. If your 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 yet another session that may not be covered
any other traditional way. Itís yet another insight into the education content
that your meetings and events offer.
6. Additional ideas might include videos,
executive summaries, testimonials, infographics and more.
planning and scheduling can yield good video clips from members when they are
onsite and give you a way to enhance content in your digital publications.
summariesóCertain content, ideas, or discussions can be repurposed and
shared as resources for attendees as well as those who were unable to attend. Think
of this as a note-taking service or perhaps even enhance these notes with new
information to make them that much more useful.
sample content, learning outcomes, ROI, and testimonials in next yearís event-marketing
materials to make the promotion that much more compelling. When considering
whether or not to attend an event, members always want to know whatís in it for
mediaóConsider year-round opportunities to position your annual meeting instead
of only focusing on it during the two or three months leading up to the
conference; keep the conversations going.
repackaging content into an infographic or other visually interesting format to
help members and attendees digest and share information in a new way.
Even if you cannot implement all of these ideas, pick one
that you know will work with your membership and is doable within any internal
constraints you may have. Starting small is the first step to yielding better
results for your educational events and your content.
Kim Howard, CAE, is an award-winning publisher and president
of Write Communications,
LLC. She is the immediate past president of Association Media