Facilitating a call for papers can be a challenging experience. Between managing submissions, coordinating with reviewers and selecting the best content for your conference, it’s no wonder event planners often cite this as one of the most difficult parts of putting on an event. All of these tasks, however, take place after your call is open and you begin receiving papers from potential speakers. But you may be wondering, “How do I promote my call for papers to make sure I receive the best possible submissions in the first place?”
Unfortunately, there is no single technique to make sure all potential presenters are aware of your event. Instead, the most effective way to find new contributors is to promote your call for papers in as many ways as possible. This is especially important if you are putting on a new event, or interested in bringing your attendees back year after year.
Here are 10 things that you can do to create a larger pool of potential contributors for your next event.
Place eye-catching buttons, images or banners in multiple places on your website that explain the opportunities you have for presenters at your upcoming event. The homepage, previous and/or current event pages and upcoming event page are excellent locations to place these buttons. Be sure to include a link that takes visitors directly to the collection website.
Send emails to your mailing lists announcing your call for papers and include a link to the collection website. While it’s a good idea to send out at least one email entirely devoted to your call for papers, you should also mention it and include a link to the submission page in other email communications. One great mailing list to target is contributors from previous years who did not make the cut.
Ask your coworkers to include a brief description of the event and the collection URL in their employee email signatures. This information can also be shared in a P.S. line, which typically grabs the reader’s attention.
Share information–and most importantly, a link!–to your call for papers submission page on Twitter, Facebook and your association’s LinkedIn Profile and Events pages. Vary your posts and use different images to avoid being too repetitive and annoying your followers.
It’s also a good idea to ask your followers to share or retweet your messages to get the word out. Encourage your team and
industry advocates to participate by using their personal social media accounts to pass the info along.
Write an article about your call for papers for your association’s blog and include a link to your paper submission site. Creating a quick, 60-second YouTube video encouraging authors to participate can also help promote your call for papers.
Conference Directory Sites
Add information about your event and call for papers to multiple conference directory sites. These sites compile open calls for papers and make it easy for industry professionals to discover presentation opportunities.
Here are some popular conference directories:
- WikiCFP – a listing for calls for papers (and workshops and journals) that is completely free to use. This site is quite popular with the IT and Engineering specialties.
- PapersInvited – the world’s largest database of calls for papers
- Conference Alerts – another good place to add your event
Due to the amount of clutter online, direct mail pieces are a great way to get the attention of potential presenters. Send out postcards with the event information and invite the recipient to participate in your call for papers.
Your newsletter subscribers are industry professionals. Tap into their expertise by including information about your call for papers and a direct link to the submission page. This doesn’t have to take up a lot of space—a sentence or two, or a small advertisement will suffice.
At Your Event
If your submission site for next year’s event is ready during your current conference, advertise your future event information and direct your audience to the new submission website. Try using signage, attendee handouts or announcements to notify potential speakers.
In Your Final Program and Attendee Products
Include information for your next call for papers on your handouts, website, mobile app or on the flash drive you give to every attendee (or sell after the event). Also advertise the location where presenters can submit materials on your archive or post-conference websites.
Getting more people to pay attention to your website and submit their papers or abstracts helps ensure you have a variety of quality content to provide to your attendees. Following just a few of these tips should increase awareness of your call for papers and create a pool of talented professionals for your selection committee. And, if you’re short on qualified reviewers, most of these tips can work for enticing them to assist you, as well!
What other methods have you used to promote your call for papers? Let us know in the comments!