Capturing Educational Conference Content – 7 Questions You Need To Ask Yourself
Content is king, but knowing what content to capture and how to deliver that content may be unclear for some associations.
Because Omnipress works with hundreds of associations each year to capture, publish, share and sell their educational content, we’re always interested in the latest trends. That’s why a recent conversation on the ASAE listserv caught my eye.
When one association executive asked about the trends in capturing and sharing conference content, veteran association strategist Kathleen Edwards of CompassPoints offered great feedback. She responded, “With so many options and possibilities, I’m not sure there IS a ‘what works for the majority of mid-sized associations,’ and if there is, that may not in fact work for YOUR association!”
Kathleen offered this great set of questions to ask to help associations determine the best way to capture and share content. She generously gave us permission to share her questions, and I’ve followed them up with my own observations:
- What type of association are you: trade or professional?
This can be critical to determine how content may be shared. If companies belong to an association vs. individual members, do you need to determine how many people can have access to the content?
- Do your members interact regularly with your website?
If your members are used to visiting your website for resources or information, you might get better traffic with an online library. If you don’t get many hits, you might be better off delivering your content on media that the members use from their own offices, such as CD-ROMs or printed materials. Key point, you need to know where your audience is hanging out and how they want your content.
- How technologically savvy are your members?
If your delivery method involves more than just a simple “push this button” fix, your members may become confused or frustrated. For example, you may offer audio recordings on a CD, and your members may want to download the files onto their portable audio players. Would that process be easy for your members?
- Do they use a computer at their desks, or are they highly mobile during their workdays? Or do they not have much access to computers during the day?
These are very important questions about the best format for your educational content. Will your members take a look on their smartphones, or will they have to use their home computers after work because they don’t sit at a desk all day. Your answer will help you figure out how to best deliver the material.
- What content will be most valued in a repository or library of some type, and how long will it remain relevant?
Some associations offer all content from an event, and others pick and choose to provide the most relevant pieces (perhaps based on attendee evaluations). Content can be bundled and repurposed as well. Another factor in choosing the best content is the shelf life of the material. In a fast-moving industry, content may be irrelevant in a matter of months. The delivery method you choose should allow you to keep the content up to date.
- What other ways do they access content (provided by the association or someone else)?
Not everyone wants to watch an hour long recorded session in front of their computer. They might prefer the session notes or an mp3. You should examine your past history on successful content delivery to see what works and what doesn’t, and you should research other organizations in your industry to find out how they deliver content. You might even survey your members to get direct feedback.
- Do you have an online community, LinkedIn or Facebook group, or some other virtual gathering point where content conversations can be initiated? If so, how active are members in this place? If you don’t, would they find such a space valuable?
Many associations find great success getting the word out about their educational content via social networks. And, social media is becoming a huge factor in making your content relevant and findable to the search engines. These tools are proving more and more important every day.
Capturing Event Content – Develop a Strategy First
Much like getting into social media, associations need to have a strategy in place. You need to know your members long before you start thinking about the technology or you’ll end up spending tens of thousands of dollars capturing content and building the perfect web site and wondering why no one is looking at it.
Learn how two completely different associations captured and delivered content in Kathleen’s article, “Hybrid Meetings That Offer the Best of Both Worlds” from ASAE’s Associations Now magazine.