10 Tips to Spread the Word About Your ‘Call for Papers’
Are you looking for creative ways to attract more great presenters and content contributors to your event? If so, you’re not alone. Many of our customers struggle with this same challenge.
In my role as the Director of Online Services at Omnipress, I’ve had the opportunity to learn from hundreds of our customers who use our online abstract management and presentation collection system for their “Call for Papers” or “Call for Abstracts.”
Here are 10 things that you can do to create a larger pool of potential contributors for your next event or publication.
It’s all about spreading the word to the crowd in as many ways as possible, and you can do this in both traditional and creative ways.
Of course, I assume that you will be using some form of online collection system to collect materials for your conference or publication, whether you are collecting an abstract, proposal, draft paper, final paper, presentation or any combination of these. If you’re using email, fax, postal mail, or a different method to collect materials? The same philosophy applies.
- Your Website: This is pretty obvious, but I thought I’d start with a simple one. Place large “call to action” buttons, images, or banners on your site that link to the collection URL in as many places as possible. Don’t feel like you need to ration those buttons – this is the internet! At a minimum, your homepage, previous/current event page, and upcoming event page are excellent locations to place these buttons.
- Email Campaigns: Send emails to your mailing lists with the collection URL included. I would suggest at least one email devoted entirely to your Call for Papers, but you can also mention your Call (and include the URL) in other email communications. One great mailing list to target is contributors from previous years who did not make the cut.
- Email Signatures: Include a brief description of the event and the collection URL in your organization’s employee’s email signatures. You can also do this in a P.S. line, as this really sticks out in an email.
- Social Media: Share information about your Call for Papers and the collection URL via Twitter, your Facebook page, and on your LinkedIn profile page and Events page. You can do this a moderate amount of times without seeming “spammy.” Encourage your team and industry advocates to also use their personal social network accounts to pass it along. And if you’re using Twitter, it’s perfectly acceptable to request that people retweet your message.
- Blog: Write a blog article about your Call for Abstracts on your organization’s blog and your event blog with a link to your collection web site. And creating a quick 60-second YouTube video that welcomes authors to contribute can really add some spice to your post. For a super tutorial on making great web videos easily you can visit our short how-to video: Improving Your Video for Web Presentations
- Conference Directory Sites: Add your event and collection web site to…
—- WikiCFP – which is a Wiki for Calls for Papers (and Workshops, and Journals) and it’s completely free to use. This site seems very popular with the IT and Engineering specialties.
—- PapersInvited – this is the world’s largest database of ‘Calls for Papers’
—- Conference Alerts – another good place to add your event
- Direct Mail: Send out postcards with the event information and list the collection web site to invite the recipient to participate in your Call. However, if your collection URL is long, you may want to consider using ow.ly, bit.ly, or tinyurl.com to shorten the address.
- Newsletters: Try to find a way to include information about your call and include a direct link to the collection web site. This doesn’t have to take up a lot of real estate – you could devote as little as a sentence to it or create a small advertisement. Think about what communications you send during the year and try to fit this information into the message.
These last tips are for those who are so prepared that you’ve gone to the trouble of having a collection system ready for your next event before your current event even opens its doors.
- At Your Event: Advertise your next event’s information and direct your audience to the new collection web site. This can be done via signage, attendee handouts, in the breakout sessions – walk-in slides, in the speaker ready room, etc.
- In Your Final Program and Attendee Products: Include information on your handout web sites, or on the flash drive or CD you’re giving to every attendee (or selling after the event). Advertise it on your other archive or post-conference web sites.
Even following a few of these tips should increase awareness of your Call for Papers, and draw more great contributors into submitting for your publication or event. And if you’re short on qualified reviewers of the material, most of these tips can work just as well for enticing them to assist you.
Can you think of any other ways to get the word out?
Have you had a good experience trying something that isn’t on this list? If so, please leave a comment below.
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Nine Considerations for Choosing an Abstract Management System
Chock full of key questions and considerations you should be thinking about when evaluating your call for papers, review and collection system.