There’s something magical about the vibe you get at a really good educational conference, isn’t there? Attendees are soaking in the sessions like sponges. You can see the wheels turning as they nod in agreement, already thinking about ways they can apply an “a-ha moment” to their daily work. They linger at their tables after a session has ended, enthusiastically trading ideas. They flag down their colleagues in the hallway, excited about new possibilities. Everyone is buzzing, and the energy is high.
But then the conference ends. And the chatter stops. And we are each sucked back into the vortex of our perpetual to-do lists, hoping to find time to implement at least one new good idea we gained.
The learning we experience at conferences does not have to end when the conference does. And that wonderful content that you spent months collecting and vetting does not have to fade into oblivion. You can use it to keep the ideas flowing, keep your attendees energized and, better yet, increase the ROI of your conference for months, if not years, after the fact.
Here are a few ideas to leverage content after an event:
- Start by archiving your content on a searchable website. More than a PDF, a website specifically built to house your conference content means that users can search for relevant topics by session, track, speaker or keyword. By giving your content a user-friendly home, you provide a platform to better leverage your content more easily (see ideas 2-5 below).
- Host an exclusive, post-conference online discussion group for your attendees in the weeks following your conference. This can be one larger group, or you can break the group out by session, track or job function. Invite your speakers to participate (ideally, as part of the initial speaker agreement). This provides a great opportunity for attendees to ask follow-up questions of your speakers, particularly if they were short on time during the session.
- Wrap your conference content into a broader content marketing strategy for your event. Turn a session topic into a blog post, infographic, video or interview article (with links to the initial session presentation housed on your content website). Send this to your attendees to keep them energized, keep your conference top-of-mind and provide additional value to increase your attendee retention. Send it to your members to remind them of the value your association provides and to let them see what they missed at the conference. Use it to market your association to non-members.
- Was there a substantial amount of interest in a particular topic? Based on your post-event surveys, is there an area your attendees want to continue to hear more about? Take a deeper dive into that particular topic with a webinar or webinar series and brand it as a continuation of the conference. Remember to keep driving them back to your content website and remind them of other featured topics they may not have seen at the conference.
- Start an online special interest group (SIG) around specific topics, and set monthly or quarterly virtual meetings. Then, use the discussions from those meetings as fuel for your broader content marketing strategy.
What else has your association done (or is considering doing) to maintain momentum after a conference? Share your ideas with your community here!
Want to learn more about how to leverage online content before, during and after your conference? Read our free whitepaper: More Than Paper Behind Glass